Changing my body and changing my life

I’m a real runner now

I visited The Running Room today. It seemed like the Thing To Do now that I’ve decided to run a half marathon. I have in the past felt very conspicuous if I’ve gone into any sport-type shop, as if the people there are looking at me and thinking, “Her? She’s fat. She’s not an athlete. She doesn’t belong here.” But it occured to me that there may be things that could enhance my running. Hubby went with and encouraged me to buy a book. So I bought The Running Room’s Book on Running by John Stanton. I have no idea if his ideas are backed by any kind of scientific research, but I’ll start somewhere and see how it goes.

Did going to The Running Room make me a real runner? No. But today I decided to think of myself as one. I think if someone had asked me “Are you a runner?” yesterday, as people are apt to do, I would have said, “No, not really. I mean, I run. And I’m planning to run a half marathon. But I’m not a runner, not like some people.” I’ve decided to think of myself as an athlete. This is bigger than it might seem. I’ve thought of myself for about 30 years in a few ways, first of all being I’m chubby/fat/overweight. This changed when I crossed that magic BMI line where the experts declared that now I am in the normal weight range for my height. But it’s still taking hold. I was recently talking to someone who is new in my life who is struggling with weight, and I shared with her that I’ve lost 75 pounds so I get it. And she said, “You mean you haven’t always been thin?” and I said, “You think I’m thin?” It takes awhile for this kind of thing to take hold.

The second way I’ve thought of myself is being non-athletic and uncoordinated. I’m starting to realize that after exercising regularly for 3 years and now getting to the point where I can train for an event, I am probably an athlete. No, I am an athlete. I’m a real runner now.

So my helpful tool today is thinking of myself in new ways, and transforming my identity.

Today’s training was to run 6.5 km. The rain made the treadmill the most reasonable way to do that, but after a week of running outside it felt a bit stifling to be down in the basement again. Outside I was finding I needed to stop and stretch every 2.5 km. I decided  to push for 3.0 today. At 3.0 I decided to push for 30 minutes, and at 30 minutes I decided to push for 4.0 km. So I did that straight running, no stopping. The last 2.5 km needed a lot of walking though; I was beat. I’m thinking to do my long run tomorrow (about 10 km) I should do a run walk cycle of about a minute walking every 10 minutes.

Eating wise – yesterday I ended up going out to eat for both lunch and supper. At lunch I was at Boston Pizza and chose a dish from their healthier selections area, which had whole wheat linguini, chicken and vegetables. It was disappointing – the vegetables were supposed to be steamed but they tasted raw, and I think softer vegetables would have suited the dish better. Hubby and I went out in the evening as it was our 16th anniversary. We went to Joey, and I had another pasta dish, asian flavours this time,  with chicken, cashews and lots of vegetables. That was wonderful, but I realized I was getting full and didn’t finish it. This almost astounded me as I’ve been a clean-your-plate person so much of my life, eating well past the point of fullness. To be able to say I’ve had enough and leave it is a pretty big thing to me.

What I continue to find challenging is figuring out the solitary and community parts of my life. How this relates to weight is in terms of the impact on my stress and emotional health, and my stress and emotions impact my use of food as fuel or as drug. I was thinking of it in reading the first part of the running book where he talks about running in groups and it being a group activity. Exercise is something I’ve done in relative seclusion. I do a lot of things in relative seclusion. On the Myers-Briggs scales I’m an introvert, and I’m fine with that, but I know it can, at times, get to a point of being unhealthy for me. I feel the need for community, but I’m not always sure how to meet that need.

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Comments on: "I’m a real runner now" (1)

  1. Cindy Braun said:

    I totally get the whole solitary/group deal.

    My life feels extremely isolated – except when I’m at work. And there I’m an extrovert. But when I’m home, I just want to stay there. Regardless of how difficult it can be here, I’m still a homebody. I kind of like when Doug takes the boys out and I have the house to myself.

    Exercise is a private thing for me. On those rare occasions that it happens… I’m not sure it’s something I want to be social about. I’m not sure the lure of social contact would make it more enjoyable for me, or just increase the guilt factor as a motivator.

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