Thursday, May 26, 2016

I can't let it consume me

Two days ago, I looked in the mirror and didn't see noticeable ripples on my thighs. Where did my cellulite go?! I thought the mirror was playing tricks on me so I went in and out of the light. And then to a different mirror. Still not really there.

I felt elated at first. I hadn't tried to make it disappear and yet, it was gone!

But then like a slowly deflating balloon, I started to feel mad. Mad at myself for caring that it was there in the first place. Mad at myself for putting self-worth on my appearance. I'm not supposed to be the type of person who cares about this kind of stuff!

19 years ago I spent almost an entire year caring so much about my weight that I was on the brink of complete self-destruction. I went from a happy, healthy 130-pound girl.... to a selfish, obsessed 80ish-pound shell of my former self. I lost friendships, I scared my family, and I spent a week in a hospital.
One day, nearly a year after my downward spiral, I snapped out of fog and began the journey to recovery.

Within 6 months, I was back to a normal weight and able to run normally again.
However, it took years before I stopped truly obsessing about food and weight. And despite having a healthy relationship with food now, I can never escape all of those habits completely. It's like a scar that fades away slowly, but you can always still see it.

Running was part of my life before anorexia, during it, and after it. It was a small contributing factor to my weight loss, but food was the the #1 enemy. I have always been mindful of trying to maintain a healthy relationship with running. Always taking rest days. Always being okay with forgoing a workout for socializing, sleep, or just plain laziness. Always respecting what my body can handle and making tweaks along the way.

I hope running and I can be happy and healthy friends for a long time.

Which brings me back to my cellulite story. Instead of being proud of all my legs have done for me in the last 6 months, I was stupidly only elated about their appearance. Which is extra stupid as I am likely the only person who notices or cares.

I don't judge my friends/family on how they look, so why am I doing it to myself?!?! 

It made me think about one of my newfound running #sheroes who posted this last week on Instagram:
Sally McRae is a badass runner. She eats mountains for breakfast and still has enough energy to let her infectious laugh bring a smile to every person she meets. 

Sure, lots of pro distance runners fit into the stereotype of incredibly lean and compact. But much like recreational runners, everyone is different. And playing the comparison game is likely only to infuriate. You do you.

This goes for weight. This goes for how far. This goes for how fast. This goes for everything.

If you inspire someone along the way to be a better version of themselves, awesome. We are all in this thing together. A finish on the podium is just as worthy as the person who had the courage to start.

I digress.

I remember a runner telling me that he had given up all sweets during his 18 week marathon training period. He was so excited that he "got to" eat a cookie after the race. For some reason, this has stuck with me ever since I heard it. Perhaps he felt the need to earn it? Perhaps he was afraid 1 cookie would lead to 400 cookies? Perhaps he had his own bad relationship with food?

But I couldn't help but think that for me, I was happy that I was living a life that was okay with eating a cookie.

Maybe I'd be a few seconds faster if I didn't order a double waffle cone of cookies n' cream. Maybe I'd inch closer to a 3-hour marathon if I really got structured with my training.

But I'm happy. Like really, really happy. I love going out for random adventures in the woods and running until I'm bone tired. I love watching Netflix and YouTube videos on the treadmill and just slipping into the easiness of a recovery run. I love running into the sunset on the Greenway after 8 hours of work on my feet and suddenly feeling recharged. I love running road marathons and trail races. I love competing to be the best version of me (the one that allows for nachos and beer) and I love helping others be the best version of themselves. I love that after over 20 years of running I am still able to get that wheeeeeeee feeling every once in awhile.

I know what I need to do to train at the distances that I compete. I respect the distance. But I don't let training consume me. I can't let it consume me. We promised to be friends for a long time.

1 comment:

  1. I once read that you'd be hard pressed to find a female distance runner who has never at any point had a dysfunctional relationship with food, and in my experience that is a very accurate statement. So glad that you are happy and healthy, and enjoying it all!!