Days 23 - 25 -- Pushing Through the Pain

FINALLY!!!  Time, and motivation, to write!  Sorry for the brief hiatus, but even this wannabe supergirl has trouble finding time to get everything in.  Between my trips to the gym (essential), preparing for grad school/fellowship interviews, and catching up at work this week, it seems I haven't had a spare second.  And while I'm still in the midst of all of that, I took tonight off from the gym for some much-needed downtime.  Gotta say, my shins aren't minding the break at all!

Speaking of the gym... 

I have to take a moment and congratulate John -- aka "Senior Citizen", Ted's coworker, a blog follower, and my biggest rival -- for his impressive 5K time.  For those of you who don't know, John and I are of similar build, similar abilities, and weights.  The only difference is that he's got about 20 years on me :-)  That said, we've been going back and forth a bit, trying to out-do each other on the treadmill.  Now, if you know me at all, you'd know that one of the three most common words to describe me is competitive (driven and pushy are apparently the other two.  Thanks, Rach!).  The quickest way to light a fire under my ass?  Just mutter these four words: YOU. CAN'T. DO. IT.  Tell me I'm incapable of doing something, and I'll prove you wrong.  Doesn't matter if I kill myself trying, I'll still pull it off. 

Now, when John said he was inching ever closer to my best 5K time (41 minutes-ish), I thought, I have time to improve my speed.  Then he texted Ted the other night saying he had broken through 40:00, finishing at 39:40ish, I believe.  I vowed to beat him to 38-something.  So, Tuesday night, on my way to the gym, I rationalized with Ted why I absolutely couldn't try to compete with John.  "I have to be careful of my shins."  "If I hurt myself now by pushing too hard too fast, then I'll blow my chances at running the half-marathon."  You get the picture.   As I got ready in the locker room, I coached myself into thinking that I would take it easy -- run at my own pace.

Well, that didn't happen.  Ha!  The minute my foot hit that revolving black strip, it was like a trigger went off somewhere inside my head and everything screamed "Do it!!!  Don't let the old man beat you!"  And off I went!  It killed my shins, and I was sweating more than that old man in the sauna, but it was soo worth it.  I fought through the pain and finished at 39:40.  I broke the 40-minute mark!  I couldn't have been happier!  It was a goal I'd been trying to reach for three months.  Turns out, I just wasn't pushing myself hard enuogh.

A part of me was still holding back.  Running all 3 miles was liberating.  You know that scene in Avatar where the main character gets into his Avatar body the first time, and breaks off at a full sprint into the forest?  Remember his childish grin?  Yea, that's kind of what it felt like.  The fat girl breaking free from the body suit.  For the first time in a long time, I felt like an athlete.  I felt healthy. 

Now, all that excitement soon faded when John updated me on his latest time last night: 38:30.  Ugh.  Back to square one.  But I'm not trying to deny my competitiveness any more.  My next goal is to break 38:00.  But now I know I have the means to do it.  I know just how hard I can push myself, if I truly let go of all that's holding me back, of all the racing thoughts telling me I can't do it -- physically, mentally.  Because I know now that I can.

So John -- congrats on the awesome run time!  But don't get comfy too long!  I'm coming for ya!

As for Puerto Rico... I feel the need to fill you in on what I've been trying to tell you guys all week.  On Sunday, when we returned, I posted a lovely photo of the lower half of a pale, hairy dude wearing what appears to be fire-engine-red boy shorts.  Nice, no?  Then, on Tuesday, in a stark contrast, I posted a pic of me in my bathing suit.  You all saw more of me in that bathing suit than the other travelers at the hotel in Puerto Rico.

Lots of people get stage fright, right?  Well, I do, too.  And let me tell you, when you're overweight, the beach/pool area of a crowded/popular hotel is the biggest stage you'll ever find.  And I was frightened.  I wore basketball shorts or capris to the pool and beach every time we ventured out.  I didn't want ANYone to see me -- all of me.  And I mean, c'mon... who wants to stand in comparison next to 40-somethings toting their toddlers around in two-piece bikinis with rock-hard abs?  Seriously???  I really, really, really dislike those moms who just "have it."  So put together, such awesome bodies, and that's AFTER kids.  Ugh. 

Ted seemed to have difficulty digesting why I didn't want to shed my protective layers.  But when you're the biggest girl at the party, you're bound to stick out.  And I'm all for sticking out -- but for looking good.  And let's admit it, people, when you feel overweight, you don't want to stick out.  I was so embarrassed, no, ashamed, of my body that I couldn't even muster up the courage to swim in the pool.  The kiddie pool.  I'm pretty sure no three-year-old is going to call me out for being fat, nor would they cast disapproving sideward glances in my direction.  But just the same, I wasn't going in.

Then, as I'm sitting in my lounge chair, trying to convince myself to just jump in the damned water, Red Booty walks right past me, with his tight little swim trunks (if you can call them that).  I had to do all I could to keep from giggling too loudly as I quickly fetched my camera from my bag.  I couldn't believe someone had so much courage!  I mean, the man wasn't the most toned, attractive being I'd ever seen.  But there he was, strutting his Peacock stuff along that little pathway, as if he owned it.  And that's when I realized that you have to do just that -- OWN IT.  If Mr. Let-Me-Give-You-A-Close-Up-Look-At-My-Package could do it, then so could I.  Because as much as I hate my body somedays, it's still my body.  And I shouldn't let society dictate what's perfect, beautiful, or attractive, and in doing so, shame me into the corner with my cover-up and towel. 

Granted, it took nearly a day for me to actually make it into the water.  But on our last day in Puerto Rico, I stripped down to nothing more than those brown bottoms and tankini top and hopped in the 2-foot kiddie pool.  I didn't stay in for long, and I covered my legs up with a towel almost as soon as I got out.  But I did it.  I braved the opinions and facial expressions of those other toothpick-like women and made it into the water.  I bared a body not even I'm proud of to the general public.  And I'm still alive to talk about it.  :-)

Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure I'll be all that much happier this summer, after hopefully losing another 30-40 pounds, to disrobe.  But I also need to try and remember that no matter what type of body I have, or how many pounds I'm weighing in at, I need to be comfortable in my skin.  And while that's something I've struggled with in the past, I'm hoping it gets a hell of a lot easier over the next year.

OH -- and don't worry, Ted promised to take me somewhere tropical when I have a nice tail to show off next year!  And maybe this time, I'll get to do EVERYTHING I wanted to do (like horsebackriding in the rainforest.  I didn't know horses had a weight limit!  225 pounds, really?  What makes that the breaking point?  So silly.)

Nicole's Daily Menu
1 Kashi waffle with peanut butter
2 Fig Newtons
Yoplait Light Yogurt
1/2 of a roast beef sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and light mayo
1 cup of broccoli and cheddar soup
Enchilladas made with ground turkey


Ted said...

i'm proud of you baby, both for running (that was a great 5k time the other night) and for getting in that pool (even if i had to go in first). and you aren't alone either. it's not easy for me to show off my bony, surgery scarred body at the pool either. with you losing weight and kicking butt at the gym, and me on the "eat as much as you possibly can" diet it won't be long before we're a force to be reckoned with!

Anonymous said...

Ted - I have another bag of candy for you!

Nicole, Very entertaining post! the guy in the red man shorts was a LOL experience. Keep up the good work. I AM NOT going to run 38:00 or less until April 1st, that's my pledge to you.... so catch me if you can!

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