My morning started off pretty well, with me finishing off Rachel Cosgrove’s “The Female Body Breakthrough“. If you recall, Maya sent it to me as a surprise gift last month. I had been reading something else at the time, but this past week I was finally able to get to it. I really enjoyed parts of the book, including Cosgrove’s discussions of the female hormones (and how to use your cycle to your workout benefit) and overcoming unhealthy relationships with food.
While I probably won’t adhere to everything just as written (running may be an advanced exercise that I haven’t “earned the right” to do at this point, but I’m signed up for a 12K next month, so I’m going to run!), I was completely excited about the idea of starting the strength program. While I used to strength train when I first joined the Y in 2007/2008, I didn’t keep up with it. Plus, I only used weight machines. I was always envious of those on the weight floor, working with free weights and just body weight, but the trainer who prescribed my weight circuit plans told me he wanted me to build up a little before he introduced me to free weights. I sorta never built up and made another appointment. My bad.
After finishing up my reading I did something that I think makes me either totally badass, or perhaps slightly out of my mind: I registered for the lottery entry for the 2011 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. I’m not sure why I’ve recently become inspired to try a half marathon, especially given my difficulties with running just a 5K sometimes. Nevertheless, I just decided that I wanted to try.
Plus, I’m a sucker for bling that comes in a blue box.
One of the questions in the registration for the lotto was the following: I RUN TO BE ______.
Your job was to fill in the blank with one word. I spent a lot of time thinking about this. I know most people would just say the first thing that popped into their head, but not me. I stopped to really think about why I run. After a lot of time and consideration, I declared:
I RUN TO BE FEARLESS.
I know. A weird thing to say.
I guess that because of my past and various things that have gone on in my life, I am always afraid. Of failure. I could never run as a kid, so I think part of me just associates the act of becoming a runner (or at least completing a substantial race distance, such as a half marathon) with reinforcing the idea in my brain that I can do anything I want to. I just need to commit and do it. All of the doubts, worries and silliness is all in my head. I want to conquer this running thing so that in the future, when I think I can’t, I can remind myself of what I have achieved and that if I can haul my butt 13.1 miles, I can do anything.
With thoughts of my new mantra ringing in my brain, I closed my laptop, changed into my workout clothes and headed towards the Y. I figured I’d drop off my clothes in a locker and do the AT&T loop. I needed to get in a run as my wisdom teeth extractions had put me behind in my Bay to Breakers preparations. Just as I was about to hit Market and Van Ness, I approached a large (maybe 10 or so) group of homeless/street people sitting on the sidewalk. As I started to walk past them, one of them yelled out something at me.
I don’t want to get into what he said specifically. Essentially, he made a comment about how a part of my body looked in my workout clothes. A nasty, rude, offensive and frankly, mean comment.
I flipped him off and kept walking.
But the damage was done. I hadn’t even looked back to see which guy said it or who was laughing. I was looking at the ground, feeling my face turn bright red and tears welling up in my eyes. I kept walking. I used to have strangers publicly humiliate me due to my size on a daily basis, but it has probably been a couple of years since it has happened and frankly, it hurt a lot more than I remembered it hurting.
I briefly toyed with the idea of skipping my run. I felt fairly demoralized, all of the joy from the morning’s fitness related activities drained from me. I thought about just going to the Y, showering, changing into my street clothes and then going to work early. However, when I got to the locker room, I just shoved my backpack in a locker, grabbed a runner’s stamp from the front desk and went out to the Embarcadero.
The first mile hurt. I ran against the wind as fast as I could and I made myself promise that I wouldn’t stop until I reached the turn around point near AT&T Park’s Giants retail store. I was pushing myself so hard I couldn’t even think about anything. I just ran. When I hit the turn around I felt spent. It may’ve only been 1.25 miles, but I was huffing and puffing as if I had just ran a marathon. I walked for the rest of the distance around the park, catching my breath and drinking my Nuun. I thought about what had happened and how I felt.
But I realized it wasn’t because of how I looked in my work out clothes. I had already noticed the way my body looked in this outfit. I hadn’t been too bothered by it. I mean, if I am in my work out clothes, that means I’m working out! No shame there. I realized that it just hurt because I was ashamed of the fact that I haven’t been giving things my all in life. Even my recent plans. Though I’ve been doing so much better, I’m still not doing my best. That is the only thing in the world that a person should ever be ashamed of.
If you are doing your best, what more can you do?
So what I put to myself was the following question: Every time someone teases you or gives you a hard time, are you going to cry? Or are you going to be fearless because you’ve done your best?
There is only one choice worth making.
Once I hit the Embarcadero I took a leisurely pace back to the Y and finished up my 2.5 mile loop.
While I felt much better after my run, I’ve still felt pretty low today. I am making consistent efforts to not “be the fat girl” anymore, but sometimes it is just hard to be convinced when others have the nerve to tell you to your face, whether it is true or not, that you still are.