I spent the weekend of October 9 in a sea of runners. At the Chicago Marathon Expo I pushed our kids around in a double stroller and took in the sights … many of whom were road-hardened runners. I was unhappy with the clothes I'd packed for the weekend. Most of them clinged in all the wrong spots. My stomach bulged out of my jeans. The weather was hotter than I'd expected so I was a sweaty, exhausted mess most of the time.
And I'd like to blame that all on many things. I'd like to say that I spent four days sharing a hotel room with my kids. I'd like to remind everyone that Chicago time is two hours later than California time. I'd like to proclaim that I've been traveling A LOT lately and CELEBRATING a lot lately and that it's really fine and ok that I've been indulging in food a lot and not choosing to exercise. Because I'm tired. Because eating well and making good choices is not always convenient. Because I WANTED that dang creamy pasta with proscuitto, OKAY?
That old feeling started pounding on my brain, though. That voice that says "You are doing this to yourself. No one is forcing you" spoke up a little louder. I looked around at people who had made better choices, had done the work, were ready to run a freaking marathon (!) … and then back to myself and knew in my heart of hearts that I had no one else to blame.
The beginning of a journey is a fascinating place to be. I have spent a lot of time mourning for the runner I once was: how easy it was to just throw on my shoes and walk out the door and run at any time of the day or night. How good it felt to push myself and to go one mile further. How it felt to have a body that you were the master of, to put on clothes and go forth and never give a second thought to how they might look.
What I need to understand right now is that this is a new place. There is no "old me" anymore. Here I am. I have had two children. I have neglected myself. I haven't exercised seriously in a long time. I have forgotten the aches and pains that come with running and working out. I have forgotten how to fuel my body with food. I am starting all over again. And I will make mistakes as I re-learn to do this as a new person. I will push myself too hard and then not hard enough. I will forget that overeating is not a reward for "good behavior" but even more punishment for a body that has totally had it. I will stay up too late watching television or cruising the internet and I will wake up hungry in the night and get up and make myself a turkey sandwich instead of drinking some water and going back to sleep.
But I will still try. I won't give up. I will train to run the 13.1 race I've signed up for in January. I will keep training to run the marathon I've signed up for in March. I will do everything in my power to be ready when I toe those lines. I want to finish what I start. I want to feel better in my own skin. I want to do something my family can be proud of. I want to push the new me to the outer limits.
The new me isn't really happy about this right now. Actually? She really wants some chocolate cake and a pumpkin spice latte. She's hungry and tired and she's actually really pissed that I ran/walked 3.53 miles in the heat while pushing the jogging stroller this morning and thinks she deserves a big treat. But she's not going to get it.
Don't worry about her. She'll get used to it.