Friday, January 16, 2009

How far we've come

The same day as Steve posted his back story, sans gross foot picture thankfully, me and Manatee Momma had an impromptu motivational chat about positive changes and achievements in our lives. Well, she chatted, I listened. Rather embarrassingly, in fact.

Manatee Momma says what she's thinking, and not in the annoying I-don't-care-what-you-think-this-is-my-opinion thing that I do. She blurts out the important stuff, the touchy feely stuff that we all need to hear more of now and again.

We were talking health, fitness, weight loss, the balance with family time, mental well being, putting ourselves first, all that stuff, and she told me she considered me an inspiration. Me! Me. I was stunned, and instead of brushing it off, I thanked her (accepting compliments is gracious, try it on).

I've written the story of when I started running (on a blog that no longer exists so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it is riveting, exciting and inspirational), I'm chronicling my weight loss and climb back to health here on this one, but there's another aspect to all this change - the emotional one - that maybe doesn't get the attention it deserves. And that's what Manatee hit on that got me thinking.

When I started making positive changes in my life, such as running and eating well, cutting down on junk and liquor, I was in a good place. I was newly married, in our first home and content with my work. I was - and still am - a pretty content person. Outwardly, I was upbeat, high energy, chatty and (I think) fun to hang out with. Inwardly, though, I was struggling. Struggling with loving myself, caring for myself and recognizing my own self worth.

I admitted it shortly thereafter and have continued to ever since - I don't like to let people down, but the one person I think it's ok to let down has always been me. I'm forever reaching for not the gold, but the brass ring and pretending to be ok with that. My inner monologue has always been defeatist, even when outwardly I'm the first to tell someone doing the same thing to buck up.

Last year, for my first Mother's Day, Jen P paid my entry in to the Fall Colours Half Marathon. Want to know something? Had she not, I guarantee I wouldn't have run it. I would have found all sorts of reasons to put off entering; the cost, the time to train, etc., but the real reason was that I didn't think I could do it. But when someone foots the bill, well, I had no choice but to show up and get it done. And I did.

And somewhere in the midst of all that training I started recognizing what I could do. What I could really DO. I realized that only I was responsible for what I achieved in my personal and professional life. That my health was my own. That I was responsible for every foot in front of the other, for the miles, for the hydration and nutrition. Same thing goes for my constant turning to food for comfort, to combat boredom, to derive pleasure. It's all me. No one else to blame, and, maybe more importantly, there doesn't have to be blame: I am capable. I am good at what I do. I am healthy. I don't have to use food as an outlet. I can have a healthy relationship with myself. I, dear lord, can be an example for someone else.

Instead of stewing and simmering over all the reasons why I couldn't sign up for another half, I just made myself do it. It was surprisingly easy, and I look at the upcoming training schedule not with trepidation but with enthusiasm (only partly because I'm basically guaranteed no +30 degree days of sprints, yay!). And everyday, I recommit myself to WW and to the next 15 lb. I want to lose. Not because I want to be thin, but because I want to be at a healthy weight (and running is easier when you weigh less? Let's go with that). There are also things I want to do in my life that require I be physically fit, so here I am.

There are those that have really helped me to this place, but if running 13.1 miles has taught me nothing else it's that ultimately it's all you out there. Dig deep, eyes up, keep going.

Wumpus note: My apologies, especially to See Teacher Run, for the emotional blogobarf that is today's post. But it's winter. It's cold. I'm essentially house-bound with an infant and my hormones are in a tizzy.

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