Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Owning It

Being the third of four daughters, I kind of had my work cut out for me. There's a gap of eight years between the 'Big Girls' and the 'Little Girls' (terms by which we're still defined today), so really by the time my sister and I came along, my older sisters had already done all the effing up that made my parents learn what they needed to worry about and what they could chill about. (Although it wouldn't be years until my mom finally went on Zoloft...but that's a whole other story.) One thing that they maintained, however, was that we needed to be involved in extra-curricular activities. They did not expect us to be stellar athletes, but they did absolutely expect that we would be good team-mates, and good sports. Sometimes I think I learned more about myself and the big, bad world by being not so great, than I would have had I been flawless.

My sophomore year in high school, all awkward 70 inches of me figured I'd be a shoe-in for volleyball. Apparently I couldn't bump, set, spike it just they way the liked it, because I didn't make the team and was left to lick my wounds (or groan about my sore quads) in the remainder of my summer job at the health-food Mexican Restaurant where my older sisters worked. I had the super-glam job of prep-cook and Taco Bar filler-upper. But then school started, and I found what my parents already knew; I am not good with having a lot of free time. Since most of my friends were clearly better bumpers than I, it would be a long, lonely season if I didn't find something else to do. Enter Cross-Country.

The Cross-Country coach at our school was a bit of a legend, the toughest English teacher I've ever had (including college) and he was nothing if not a straight shooter. He embraced my Athena bod and welcomed me aboard. I had the insane good fortune to get to be part of a State Championship team for three years. Points that I contributed to that feat during meets? Zero. Percentage that that fact made me less a part of the team? Zero.

Basketball season started just a week after cross-country ended and I found that the sprints and line drills were suddenly easier than they'd been the year before. Huh.

Throughout college, I dabbled in running, and then started an uber-stressful career in Child Welfare, got married, moved away from home for the first time, continued stressful career, enjoyed waaaay too many lunches out, had a baby, got fat, moved cross-country, had another baby, got fatter.

After coming to the realization that every mirror, window and camera lens that I passed probably was incapable of adding the number of pounds it would take to make me look so terribly puffy and distorted, I resolved that I'd had enough. When the boobs are almost eclipsed by the gut in profile, it's a sad state of affairs.

Through a crazy turn of events I joined dailymile and a mom with a similar goal (to finish a 10k by the summer) who was also a knitter told me about a running group that was starting at the Y where we lived in Massachusetts. The rest is history. I joined the group, had a ridiculously supportive and positive coach, made amazing friends and in just three short months, I'd finished my first half-marathon and lost thirty pounds. Just in time to pack it all up and move back to the West Coast...and do a second half-marathon in Oregon the next month.

It doesn't matter that I'm still a fatty, because I own the size I am now, knowing that I'm working and making changes in my daily life to make it better. And, I'm less fat than I was before. I've registered for my first full-marathon and the first official day of training was yesterday. On June 4th, I fully expect to have put in the time and miles to allow me to cross the finish line, with a smile (maybe a grimace?), of the most daunting physical feat of my entire life. Yes. Including birthing nine plus pounds of child.

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