Exactly one year ago:
I woke up and began getting ready for work. As I stepped onto the floor, I felt a slight tightness in my calves from my 2 mile run the night before. I was excited because it was a beautiful day, and I would be leaving work early to meet my friend C downtown to pick up our race packets for the next day. C flew up from California so we could run in the Seattle Rock n' Roll 1/2 marathon together. I grabbed a pair of tan corduroy jeans off the floor, wiggled a little to get them over my upper thighs and butt, and sucked in a deep breath to button them. The pants cut into my stomach, but so did all my pants, and I just put on a roomyish t-shirt to "cover" it. I slipped in a pair of flip-flops and headed out the door.
After my brief work day, I headed downtown and parked. I had about a mile to walk until I reached the Qwest Field Expo Center where I was meeting C. Half way to the Expo Center my legs were in excruciating pain. Sometimes when I ran, the outside of my lower legs (right above my ankle) would seize up, almost like a cramp. This was happening as I walked. I walked through it. I had too. I knew eventually it would relax, just when that would be I didn't know. I thought, wow, I hope this doesn't happen during the marathon tomorrow.
We picked up our t-shirts and race numbers, I had a really nice dinner with C and her parents, and I went home to bed, ready as I could be for the big day. As I laid in bed, I was incredibly nervous, and my stomach was very acidic feeling (it was like that pretty much everyday as I went to bed, I now know that I was suffering from heartburn, and had been for over a year).
My alarm went off, and I was awake. I noticed my room was still somewhat dark, meaning it was a cloudy day. After a search of my drawers, hamper, and dryer, I couldn't find the cute capri cargo pants that I just discovered fit me to wear. Oh, well, I thought and grabbed the pair of pants that were sitting on top in my pants drawer- the tan corduroy jeans. As I slid them with incredible ease over my legs and didn't need to struggle to button them, I smiled. I threw on a fitted long sleeve shirt, only to find that it is no longer fitted. I smiled again, then headed to the mirror to see how I looked. I couldn't believe how much room I had in the shirt.
I thought about how it was not that long ago that I would force these pants to button. They would cut into me all day, but I still insisted they "fit." That was 10-20+ pounds ago. I was in denial. I could still button my pants (barely) but I was wearing them, so therefore my weight couldn't be that bad. I can't count how many times I've heard an obese person say "I just don't know how this happened!" It happens because of the things we decide to gauge our size on, whether it be a pants size or an athletic feat, or carrying on normal activities are still possible. When that one thing, whatever it is becomes impossible, we either a) start a new diet or plan or whatever, or b) find a new way to gauge. Constantly adjusting the gauge leads to people one day "waking up fat." Nobody wakes up fat, you trick yourself into justifying things based on arbitrary gauges. I am an expert on this for sure.
I grabbed my last portion of breakfast for the week, quickly threw leftovers from last nights dinner in some tupperware, and headed to work. I thought about the long work day I had ahead of me, and the huge deadline I had coming up in less than a week. I thought about how it was a Friday, but I would be spending time in the office all weekend.
Every once in awhile my eyes catch the registration receipt for the 1/2 marathon pinned to my bulletin board, and I feel guilty for spending that money and not running. Then I think about how there is no way I could leave work early today to pick up my packet. There is no way I can make my boyfriend wake up at 5am to drive me to the start (when he went to bed at 1am) again this year. Especially since this year I do not need to run to prove to myself that I am not fat. I know that I am fat, and I'm working on fixing that.
I'm 20+ pounds lighter than last year. My clothes are loose on me. I haven't had any heartburn in over 6 months. I went for a 3 mile run on Tuesday, and wasn't the least bit sore the next day. I haven't had that odd cramping in my lower legs during a run or walk in months. I feel fantastic.
Last year, finishing the run only allowed me to continue deceiving myself. I was SO impressed with myself that I finished a 1/2 marathon. It did not inspire me to run more. It did not make me lose weight in the coming months. All it did was give me a false sense of reality and kept up the lack of awareness of how large I had become. It was 6 months after the run that I woke up and realized how out of control I was.
Not running this year is me not fitting into my jeans. Yes, in the past 6 months I have made great strides. But I will no longer judge my progress on misinterpretations of events. Just as cramming myself into jeans is fooling myself into thinking they fit, finishing a 1/2 marathon in 3.5 hours is deceiving myself that I am in shape.