The scale. Most of us have one and like many of the other tools we use on the path to health and wellness, it causes more pain than joy. I avoid mine because I know (mostly) that the numbers I read don’t always mean what I think they do.
Lately I have been running more. I found a love that I had lost. I was hopeful and then momentarily crushed when after weeks of volume I weighed more than the last time I checked. As far and endurance athletes go I am on the bigger end of the continuum. Certainly, in relation to many of the athletes I compete against. I don’t need a PHD to realize that performance can be hindered by additional mass. Since I cannot convince everyone else to strap on a back pack when we race I am always trying to lose weight. I can be rational about it and often say that my ultimate goal is health and longevity but really, I am secretly making the relative comparisons I always advise people not to make. I compare my body to everyone who goes faster than I do and end up with a renewed sense of shame. It is a vicious cycle. Another thing I am always trying rid myself of.
I actually feel better than I have in a long time. I can feel the years of eating my feelings slowly slipping away. I actually posted a 1km PB on a run not even 10 days ago. So, what is it that makes me (and maybe you) forget all the good stuff just because a machine has measured us in a negative way? The list of perpetrators is long. We grow up with societal pressure, media imagery and even personal bias. When you finally enter the world of sport the notions of body type are present but even more harmful is the notion that a certain body is needed for a certain activity. Well if you are reading this then you may be ready to agree that this is bullshit and that while we may have to accept some limitations at first, the only thing that stops us is that we accept these standards in the first place. We forget that athletes who embody the ideal that many of us strive for, also pay a price. We can argue that their reward is success, respect, accomplishment but then again, those goals are achievable by everyone.
As long as you are moving you are winning. As long as you get to the line and take the first step you are succeeding. As long as you do the best that you can you deserve the respect of everyone around you. I say that out loud as much for me as for anyone else.
I can’t promise you that I won’t look around the track at my next workout or across the start line at my next race and not be immediately aware of how different I look from many of the other people there. What I do promise is that I won’t let that stop me from putting one foot in front of the other with the simple goal of beating yesterday. That is something that we can all do whether running is your life or your running life is just beginning.
Ultimately, I feel that I am lucky even though some days getting out of bed takes all the energy I have. Running just makes me feel better. I want to share that and my renewed passion for running with someone who also might need some help getting out the door. I was recently given a pair of Size 13 Brooks sneakers at a photo shoot. It would make me very happy to give them to someone who is thinking about starting to run or who maybe just needs a new pair to keep going. Please share your story with me and allow me to share my love of running with you.