I am a runner. I know I am. I know how to train properly, what shoes/clothes to wear, what to eat and when. I know all about various race courses and the pros and cons of Shamrock vs. Rock 'n' Roll. I know the lingo of PRs, tapers, negative splits. I have run three dozen 5Ks, a dozen 10Ks, six 10-milers and seven half marathons. I trained for a marathon and got up to 20 miles in my training.
Standing at the New Year's Day 5K on Saturday, dressed in a men's 2X running shirt that still showed my bulges, I know what I looked like: a lazy woman who decided to start her resolutions by attempting a 5K, probably because she watches "The Biggest Loser" and thinks if she can run a lap she'll one day run a marathon.
When you see a runner stretching her calves after a race by bending forward and touching her toes, you assume, well, she's stretching. When you see an overweight woman stretching after a race, you assume, as has happened on more than one occasion and again on Saturday, she's sick from running. Let's make sure she's not about to faint.
I am a runner. But it's not what others see when they look at me. And it's not what I felt like Saturday as I ran 3.1 miles around Mount Trashmore.
I was pleased that after a month of inactivity I still had the cardio ability to run a mile straight. And I really only walked when there were ice patches on the course (granted, there were many in the final two miles). But I could feel my weight with each step. Walking felt more like waddling. That word, which hasn't been in my vocabulary in eight years, actually popped into my mind numerous times on Saturday.
I am a runner trapped in the body of an obese woman.
In my head, I have glorious visions of training and races in 2011. But when I actually get outside and hit the pavement, I don't feel like Deena Kastor or Kara Goucher or the friends and coworkers who are in my running circle. I feel like 317-pound Diana gasping for breath as she walked half a block when her weight-loss effort began eight years ago.
I know I have come so far since that day in January 2003. I am proud that I've kept off 80-some pounds. I am proud I'm as active as I am and that the looks I get from others haven't stopped me from running. But if I want to be that true runner, I need to act like a true runner. I need to eat foods that properly fuel my body. I need to stop making excuses and Just Do It.
Saturday: Ran/walked 3.1 miles
Sunday: Walked 6 miles
Today: Resting (though it sure doesn't feel like it as I work at warped speed to finish and mail off proofreading job)