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.