It’s a term any runner is familiar with. We strive to beat our OWN best time or pace. We celebrate it when we do. It’s a race only against ourselves. Nobody else is needed in order for us to win…or lose.
In my first 5K race, I placed 2nd in my age group. My time was good. Lots of people were faster than me… many were slower. I was not unhappy with my time. I was proud! I was so happy and nobody was going to take that away from me.
In my 2nd 5K race, I knew I wanted more. I knew the variables would be different. Different competitors, a different terrain, different weather (good golly, the humidity! 😓) , different everything! Except me…I wouldn’t be different unless I tried to be.
Because I knew so many variables were different and I was inexperienced at that point in understanding exactly HOW, I just randomly set an odd goal. “I want to at least place in the top 15 in my age group…and beat my time from the last 5K.” Don’t ask me why I said that about the top 15. That was so random and unnecessary. I couldn’t control how many people ran slower or faster than my best…heck, I didn’t even know how many people were running in total, let alone in my age group! For some reason though I felt like I needed a way to compare myself to others.
I began my race, and it was a hard one for me. I started off really strong but maybe too hard with too much humidity and got lightheaded. People started passing me…what felt like tons of people. Definitely more than 15 people…I tried to notice how many appeared to be in my age group. I was ready to call my husband not even a half mile in to tell him I quit.
Then, I remembered the other part of my goal. The important part. I wanted to beat MY own race time. I could control that. So, like Forrest Gump, I was running.
I ended up placing 4th out of 21 in my age group this time. Not 2nd like in my last but I beat my own time. I didn’t get a medal for 4th, I didn’t “win” against my competition but I knew that I’d beat the only person in that race that I was really competing against. Me.
I feel like a lot of people worry about my state of mind when it comes to my body image after the weightloss. They think I’m comparing my body to other people. That I’m striving for perfection…or a theoretical “top 15 in my age group”. I’m not. I promise I am not comparing my body to yours or Kylie Jenners or Marilyn Monroe’s or anyone else.
I am unapologetically striving for more from myself though. I’ve EARNED that with the efforts I’ve put in.
If I don’t train for a race, I have nobody to be angry at but myself if my time is not up to par. If I train hard, I know my time will reflect that.
I’ve trained HARD for this body. Hard. I’ve logged every bite of food for over 500 days. I’ve put in hours at the gym and worn through countless pairs of shoes to get here. I went from not being able to do a single “modified” pushup in a workout to doing 90 decline pushups in a workout. I’ve gone from not having any core strength to doing advanced abdominal exercises while smiling through them (I LOVE medicine ball situps on a decline with russian twists, ok?!).
My body is not reflecting the efforts I’ve put in because of my stubborn skin that can’t be exercised or dieted away. It’s OK for me to want it gone. I’m not vain. I’m not letting other people’s bodies determine how I feel about mine. I’m just trying to get my outside to more closely be the “result board” that reflects the effort I’ve put in to get to this PR.
I want to word this next part carefully…
I’ve gotten many, many, many messages and comments from other moms who say they have loose skin as well and were never obese like I was. They tell me that pregnancy did that to their body. They remind me that I may have had the loose, saggy skin even if I never carried or lost all that weight. That I may have ended up with a stomach that looks like this just from carrying 4 children.
They remind me that I am blessed to have gotten the chance to carry and birth 4 children because some don’t get that chance and please for one second don’t think that I don’t agree!
Some of these women have learned to love and embrace the bodies they have because of the story their body tells.
I UNDERSTAND and RESPECT all of that. I do. I think it’s BEAUTIFUL and admirable. I feel like I would likely feel the exact same way if I were them.
I’m not them. This is not their story. This is mine.
Yes, my body tells a story of my children but it also tells the story of the many years of abuse I put my body through. This story is the one I want to forget.
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. I hated the old me. Its ok for me to want to forget her and be done with her. Anyone who knows me will recognize that I’ve never hesitated to cut toxic people from my life without a second thought so why should I feel differently about trying to let go of my old toxic self? I did not hate myself BECAUSE of my weight. I ended up that weight BECAUSE of how much I hated myself.
I just want to embrace and love the new me without it being tarnished with reminders of some very dark times.
Please, try to understand. Stand by my decision as friends and encouragement.
I know every person who messages me is trying to help me feel better. They are trying to show solidarity or give a different perspective. They mean well and are trying to be helpful. I’m not mad at any one of you for trying but I will tell you that despite your best efforts or intentions it is not helping.
I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t lived through exactly what I’ve lived through to understand my feelings. That’s not why I am writing this. I’m writing so that when someone who IS feeling this way stumbles across this blog, maybe they won’t feel so alone and ivalidated.
I’m not striving for perfection. I’m not here to compete against anyone but myself. Only I will ever understand the tough competitor I can be against myself…
A PR is limited only when you stop trying for more. Don’t quit. I won’t.