Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chubby Girl, Running

When Andy and I had been married for less than a year, we got a flier in the mail about Team in Training--a fundraising program for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, wherein its participants raise funds while also training for a distance race.  Andy was very excited--I was mildly interested.  So, we went to a meeting at a local restaurant, and got the information.  

From the get-go, Andy was into it.  "Let's do the 100-mile bike ride!  Oooh, or a triathlon!" I, on the other hand, was more reserved.  

Eventually, we decided upon a half-marathon (which was later downgraded further to a 10k, due to a schedule conflict).  The Cowtown 10k, in February of 2010.  Our "training" was spotty at best, and when I started running, I could only muster about 30 seconds of shuffling at a time.  I worked that up, but still, by race day, I was in no way fit to complete the 10k.  (I did, however, run my first full mile--mostly for fear of being stampeded by the runners behind me.)  

This year, we revisited the Cowtown 10k, and THIS YEAR I CONQUERED.  I ran the whole 6.2 miles.  I had my coach by my side, and we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, victorious.  Now, I am still very slow (slow enough, in fact, that my running pace finish time was only about 10 minutes faster than my 2010 run/walk time), but I did it.  We're working on that half-marathon now.  Andy helped me finish 7 miles yesterday, so we're more than halfway!  I can't believe it.  

As I started the Cowtown this year, I was misty-eyed as I thought of those early days running.  I thought of myself, huffing and puffing and thinking I was going to die in my 30-second running intervals.  I thought of myself, volunteering to be goalie in the backyard soccer game, because the goalie didn't have to run as much. 

It's taken a while for me to adjust to the fact that running is something I can do now.  That I can run 3 miles now on just about any day.  That I can run a 10k.  That maybe, just maybe, I actually CAN finish my half-marathon.  

For someone who has had body image issues since finding the balance point on the seesaw on my elementary school playground, running has changed the way I look at my body.  I used to think I was just incapable.  "My body simply cannot do that," I thought.  Turns out I was wrong.  My body can do lots of things.  It may require more of me to get to the point of being able to run 5k, 10k, or 13.1 miles.  Maybe I'll never be fast, or look cool while I'm doing it.  But I can do it.  

I'm still in shock that I successfully completed 7 miles yesterday.  It started from 30 seconds.  Now, I can run for the duration of a romantic comedy! I'm still chubby.  But now I know I can do things.  Hard things.  I wonder how my life would have been different if I'd learned that lesson earlier in life:  that just because you can't immediately do something doesn't mean that you lack the capacity to ever do it, and you should therefore avoid that activity at all costs.  

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, Rachel!! I totally admire you for this. The farthest I've ever been able to run straight is 3 miles. I only did it to show a boy that I could, and I'm pretty sure it nearly killed me. :) (I'm totally serious.) You've motivated me to try something hard.