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"Races Are Stupid!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It’s true that I think this sometimes. Why do I think this? More quizzically, why did I find myself tearing up at the finish line of an 8k yesterday?

I have been in the technically “overweight” category for a good deal of my adult life. For the most part this wasn’t much of a problem. I’m a tall woman, carry it well up to a point and didn’t physically feel affected by it. Generally I shifted up and down between 160 - 180 depending on my daily activities. About 8 years ago, the zone of fluctuation ticked up to 180 - 210 crossing into the "obese" category. During that time I started not feeling like myself. Looking back I believe my weight gain story can be told very much through the lens of stress and its deleterious effect on my life. I did try to do something about it. But my efforts were unfocused due to the combination of major life struggles and multiple areas where I focused my life energy. About 6 years ago I went back to school and became super sedentary. I stopped having a fluctuation zone and started piling on the weight with no end in sight. Hello 260ville. When I started school, I thought that I would have more time to work on my health and weight since I was no longer working full time. Clearly I failed at that effort. But one of the things I did initially was sign up for an 8k. I thought signing up for a race was a good goal to help in my efforts. Unfortunately I was a novice at the planning aspect of the goal setting. I was not a runner and did almost nothing to prep for it. The exercise I was doing was mostly weight lifting, not cardio. Race day came and I spent a freezing day out in the cold more or less walking this race. And for what reason I don’t know. I looked around and felt like it was mostly pointless. Seriously. If I wanted to walk five miles I could just get up and do it. I didn’t need to pay 40 bucks, get up at the crack on a bitter cold morning and do it on an overcrowded wind tunnel of a street with five thousand strangers. That just sounds dumb. There was nothing fun to me about it...

Fast forward 5 years. School is done. I weigh (what feels like) a ton. And I am getting back on the horse and working to get ME back. As with most things in life, school was a mixture of good and evil. Scoring way too many points for Team Evil’s side was the crazy amount of sedentariness combined with an even crazier amount of stress. On the good side it taught me so much about the process of goal setting. When I went back to school I was desperate to finish. Yet I wasn’t sure I knew what it took to make it to that finish line. All of my previous schoolerization attempts had crashed and burned. In order to survive I had to develop an internal goal setting super hero of epic proportions. School gave me lots of opportunities to flex the muscles of goal setting and achieving, particularly of the long range variety. I had this long range goal of graduation. But to get there I had to face repeated short range challenges. I had to study unit after unit. I had to pass test after test. I had to advance semester after semester. I needed to pass certain courses with A’s without fail or not be able to advance down the road. It. Was. Grueling. And I am bringing those hard won lessons to bear on my current goal of losing weight. I do not believe Team Evil will be able to stand against the power of Super Sha: The Lean Mean Goal Achieving Machine.

Quick digression: For anyone interested in the crazy images my over-active imagination produces: As I was writing this blog and named my twin nemeses of stress and sedentariness “Team Evil” the images flashing in my mind were those two crazy bad guys from the second Matrix movie. You know those albino dreadlocked twins who have the very scary ability to materialize into your vehicle even as you are trying to make a getaway


Yesterday I biked over to watch that very same “pointless” 8k to cheer on a friend of mine as she ran it. Now I know I get teary eyed at race line finishes. But as I teared up at this one, I knew there was an added dimension to it. Now I am dreaming of being able to run. I am dreaming of becoming an athlete. I am dreaming of maybe running a race someday. Only this time, instead of being merely a dream, Super Sha has a plan with incremental steps to reach it along the way. I don’t know how far I will take this. But I know I keep setting goals. And I keep reaching them. And my sights keep getting set farther and farther out. And the horizon continues to become more enlarged, more expansive, more beautiful and alluring. And even though I still think races are kinda stupid… I also think they might be kinda awesome.

Stay tuned peoples… ;)

p.s. I'm pretty sure one day I'm gonna run a race and wear a cape while doing it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You go girl! You have accomplished many goals and I believe you will accomplish your weight goals also!
    1498 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    Me, too!
    1503 days ago
    Incremental, small goals achieved and raised add up quickly to become massive goals achieved. Keep up the good work.
    1516 days ago
  • 859320
    way to go. You are motivated to succeed. emoticon emoticon
    1517 days ago
    This is awesome, and you can do it! The "Couch Potato to 5K" plan is one way you can do it, but there are other ways to help you make that plan and keep it. So find your plan and go for it, you can do it!
    1551 days ago
    You're already an athlete. You're just working on adding "runner" to your repertoire.

    The cape thing would be awesome. I'm pretty stoked about doing a Disney race myself someday. Helllllooooo tiara!
    1552 days ago
    Nice blog! I love "hearing" your enthusiasm. I've been thinking about goal setting a lot lately. It is amazing how important that can be. Btw, have you tried Hip Hop Abs yet?
    1555 days ago
    You definitely will run an 8K or another distance and finish "cape" strong! I really liked this blog. I remember once when journaling, I had a revelation, and named my nemesis Major Guilt. It really helps to name that part of yourself that is pulling you down. So every time Major guilt would show up in my thinking, I would verbally demote him and eventually he left the army - but it took a long time.

    Looking forward to hearing about your - health and happiness - journey.
    1555 days ago
    Good for you. Set small goals, reach them, then set larger ones. Concentrate on a better you, and that is what you will get. You go girlfriend!

    1556 days ago
    Sounds like you've got the most important ingredient for success....ATTITUDE!

    Believe me, you can do it. I smoked for 25 years, finally quitting at age 47. I could barely run half of a quarter mile track without gasping for air.....

    ....9 months later, I ran my first marathon.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it. Set a goal, make a plan.....then get real stubborn about reaching that goal!

    good luck...and thanks for all the comments!
    1556 days ago
    Very cool to hear how you've arrived at this point!

    And races are WAY cool *IF* they are OUR races and we've chosen them especially for ourselves.

    Every year I do a 5K in May. I'm not a runner, it's no biggie to me, not much of investment other than committing myself to mixing it up a bit and not being TOTALLY obsessed with One year I'll score an 11-minute mile, the next a 13-minute mile: I'm like 'meh.'

    But when I pick a CYCLING GOAL such as my self-supported tour of Cape Cod last year and my eagerly anticipated (assuming I get off this anti-coagulant!) goal of joining with some other club members on the annual 500 miles across New York ride in the peak of summer heat in late July?

    I am PSYCHED!

    It's all in getting to know yourself, your capabilities and picking just the right challnge that gets your blood flowing, heart pumping...which it sounds like you are doing! Woo hoo!

    1556 days ago
    School really can be a bear, I remember those grueling days! Good crossover re: goal setting and discipline. It's good to remember our persistence and "stick-to-it-tiveness "
    1556 days ago

    If you can finish school, you can accomplish anything.
    1556 days ago
    It's such fun when you invite us inside your head!

    When you compare achieving a healthy lifestyle with getting through school, it all seems so much more achievable! Heck, if we got through this school thing, there's no reason we can't accomplish anything we set our minds to!!

    Thank you for letting us share this journey with you! emoticon
    1556 days ago
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