It's been awhile, a long while, since you last heard from this fat runner. As you may have guessed it, it's marathon season and I am back with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.
Team in Training is a program that trains you to run an endurance race while you fundraise to help fight blood cancers. This is my third season with Team in Training. I'm running the Disney marathon in January, making it my second marathon. While people run marathons all the time, what makes me different is that not only do I not look like a stereotypical runner, but I also had to drop 200 lbs. to be able to run and STILL have about another 150 lbs. to lose. I am a fat runner!
The last time I checked in with everyone, I talked about what it was like looking for love after weight loss and how it seemed almost impossible to find someone who not only supported my weight loss goals but also my running. Well I have some news everyone, I'm not running this race alone... my fiance will be joining me! That's exciting but what makes it special is that she is a fat runner (and she has lost 85 lbs.) too! This will be her first marathon and over the next few months we will be sharing our journey as two fat runners train to cross the finish line.
This week has marked the first official week of training. I was excited about the first team run while Monica, my fiance, was more nervous than anything. I wanted nothing more than her first practice to be spectacular and for her to instantly fall in love with endurance running.
Anything that could have gone wrong that day did. Her shoes didn't fit right and rubbed her feet raw, the socks were too big, the course was all hill (which I promised she wouldn't see until farther into the training schedule), and she panicked with the breathing on the hot and humid day. It was clear that my romantic notions of running "love at first sight" were destined for disaster when she finished three miles by saying, "That was miserable, take me home." I thought for sure she was going to quit that day but Sunday came around, she came home from work and put on her new better-fitting running shoes and we followed the training schedule. This time she did it with a little less grumbling but still was not too eager to be running.
Then we had a speedwork day in training where we work on getting faster. I've never done speedwork so this was new for us both. Not only did she outrun me, but dare I even say it, she enjoyed herself a little. After we were finished, I could see a smirk of pride on her face from her accomplishment and it reminded me of when I first trained for my first marathon.
I was anxious about the training, worried that I wouldn't be able to actually do it, frustrated that I wasn't in better shape and a little overwhelmed with this massive army of coaches and teammates that constantly shouted "GO TEAM" at me, a phrase I would come to love later on. It took me awhile, and many miles to build up my confidence as a runner. I had forgotten that. I just assumed that Monica would walk right in having learned all the lessons I have simply because I talked about them.
Marathoning and the lessons you learn from it are earned, not inherited. No matter how much I talk to her about running, she's going to have to learn on her own. I'm looking forward to watching her come into her own this season and I am excited to be right beside her on what will most likely be a crazy, funny, sweat-soaked journey to 26.2 miles so stay tuned!