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This runner's body

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I was in Los Angeles this past weekend to run (or my version of running) in the Rock N Roll half marathon. I shared a hotel room with a couple of other runners who are much more accomplished and faster than me. The night before the race we met up with a couple more runners who are also faster and/or more accomplished than me. Did I forget to mention they are all skinnier than me?.....anyway I digress. As we are carb loading the dinner before the race they are all talking about their goal times, weight lost, average speed per mile and so on. I keep quiet during the discussion until I am point blank asked what my speed is - and I respond "Super slow" and we all laugh. I am laughing on the outside and embarrassed on the inside that I run so slow. One of the women was running her first half marathon and was hoping for a time that does not even seem to be in my future - near or far. I feel my confidence slipping. Later back at the hotel one of the women I am staying with brings up again that she started running at 208 lbs and how could she have ever gotten that big....I nod empathetically .....embarrassed to tell her that I started 1 year ago at 260 lbs and am currently around 237 lbs and yes I know how I got this fat. I talk to other "runners" in the corrals at the race in the slow poke area aka walkers corral and the conversation again turns to speed.....and even the walkers are faster than me. I know I can do the distance. I have 10 successful half marathon completions coming into this race. I find myself judging my value and if I can call myself a runner, albeit a slow runner, with these people.

I start telling myself not to judge my insides by their outsides. They don't know how hard I have fought to get to this point. They don't know that running for me is not about weight loss (though a nice side benefit), it is not about the medals, it is not about "beating" someone else's record - this is literally about saving my life. This is about keeping one step ahead of the depression that seems to be forever nipping at my heels. This is about learning to live and not just survive despite the loss of Halleigh and all the other hurts in my past. This is learning a new way to work through the emotions instead of stuffing them down, hiding them under layers of fat and food, not numbing myself with alcohol.

I may not be the strongest. I may not be the fastest. BUT I try the hardest.

I don't run with my legs. I run with my heart.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1956 days ago
    YOU ARE AWESOME!! Thanks for the motivation!!
    1961 days ago
    Thank you Karen and Remember!
    1962 days ago
    Amazing blog!!!! You are clearly so very strong. I remember being asked that over and over. My only goal was not to hit 'the wall' and I told people so. My goal was not speed. I did not want to be in the pain, as they say, of hitting 'the wall". And I didn't.

    It is interesting when people have no idea of our history isn't it. My man makes everything look easy and people have no idea how hard he has worked over the years, BUT.... I know... and you know how hard you have worked. You can look in the mirror proudly and should!

    1962 days ago
    I hope you had a fabulous time and a kick-butt run that you're still celebrating. On your own terms! Cheers to you!!!!

    1962 days ago
    Your "Heart" is strong...I can feel it emoticon

    I feel a slight discomfort when I see the photos from the race, but they keep me honest with myself. I am almost 50 and have no desire to be the fastest, I just want to keep moving.

    1963 days ago
    And it was a good run and victory for me as it was very hot and I still finished in the time limits, not DLF and was not a a very good run =)
    1963 days ago
    Thank you MBShazzer and Ohriotfolk for the kind comments - they mean more than you will know and John The Penguin is among my heros =)
    1963 days ago
    I hope you enjoyed every step of your half marathon over the weekend! One thing I have learned after over 16 years of running is that the best motivation is to do it for yourself. Everyone, even the professional "elite" runners get passed, have bad races, disappoint themselves. Running is so individual, and you are only competing with yourself. One person's PR is another person's horrible failure, and vice versa. I remember I once posted a race report about a really bad half marathon and so many people commented on my blog that they would be ecstatic with my time. That was really a reality check. Running fast or slow doesn't make you a bad or a good person or runner!

    One final thought - John Bingham - aka The Penguin - was at the awards ceremony of a marathon representing Runner's World magazine. He was chatting with the winner and the winner asked him what his finish time was. It was something like 5+ hours. Bingham, somewhat embarassed, shared his time and the winner said in amazement, "How can someone run for over 5 hours?? That is amazing!!" - so it's really all about perspective!

    Congratulations on your weight loss and your 11 half marathon successes!

    1963 days ago
    I'm cheering for you! I found this blog through the recent blog posts page and it really touched my heart.
    1963 days ago
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