I woke up early this morning – earlier than usual, and usual is usually early – and caught up on a lot of blogs. Laurie said:
Makes you think, "I wonder what else I can do that I always thought I had to be skinny to do? I wonder where I can go, see, visit that I just assumed I'd get to once I was skinny?"
Laurie is young enough to be my daughter, but she is One Wise Woman.
I always thought I had to be skinny – or at least look like a runner – to run a race. But 15 years ago, when I did look like a runner, I was far too unsure of myself to register for one.
I can't remember a time when I haven't been uncomfortable doing or trying something new. I hate the awkwardness of not knowing how to accomplish something I've never done before, and races are not just running long distances. They are getting to the starting line, pinning on a bib, lacing a timing chip to my shoe, going to the bathroom and hoping I won't have to go again before the gun fires. [It helps tremendously to have someone – in my case, family members who live in the towns I've run in – take care of parking and not getting lost and a hundred other things I could add to my list.]
And all the time I'm doing this, I'm thinking, 'I don't belong here, I don't look like these people, what are they thinking about me, who do I think I am? Oh, and I hope that half a banana was enough breakfast, but not too much.'
Such a negative litany when, in fact, everyone on that course is thinking of themselves. Certainly not the same crap I'm thinking, but they don't have room in their heads to be worried about someone else, especially someone who is behind them.
The other day when I made my race-day confession about hoping I wasn't the fattest woman on the course, some of you chimed in with similar concerns. You made me feel less alone, less awkward, less different. Thank you for that.
And this morning, as I read Laurie's thoughtful post, I realized that, while it's taken me a few years to get over it, already, I can do some pretty amazing things. And I didn't have to be skinny to do them.