In my previous post I wrote about my reaction when I was unable to run that first 5K I trained for. Instead of being motivated by watching others run the race I was jealous and responded by quitting running. I have been thinking about that over the past few days. It stirred up some vivid memories of what I now see as my Healthy Tipping Point.
A couple of years before I started running one of my younger cousins began training for the Disney Marathon as a member of Orlando’s Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The family was so proud of her when she completed the marathon. My initial response to her success as a runner was, “good for her, but why would anyone want to run that far. I’ve got better things to do with my time. I would never run a marathon.” Yes I said those words out loud to other people. Clearly I was envious that my cousin was doing something so incredible. I couldn’t get my own words out of my head for a long time.
I’ve been unhappy with my body for as long as can remember, all the way back to my pre-teen years, but my disdain for my body had reached it’s peak. On top of how I was feeling physically I was also very unhappy at work. Unhappiness breeds even uglier emotions like jealousy and negativity. It’s hard to be happy for others when you’re so unhappy with yourself.
Spurred on by my cousin’s enthusiasm for running and my sister’s encouragement I reluctantly began running and eventually training for that fateful 5K. My friend ran that race while I stood by watching. Sure I cheered for her and the other runners, but I probably had a smug scowl on my face. I was miserable with the way I felt and with my life in general. I hated my job, my body and as a new mom with few “mom” friends I was also very lonely. My life was in a flux. I guess I didn’t realize how much it showed.
I am so fortunate that my friend loved me enough to tell me, in not so many words, that I had become a serious drag to be around. Her words stung initially. I cried a lot during that time. I was so disappointed in myself and very tired of this monotonous struggle with my weight. I had gotten further and further away from my goals to lose weight and become healthier. I’m not sure I ever told my friend that she did me a huge favor by being honest. We all say that’s what we want from our friends but then we get angry when they point out the obvious. I knew she was right. I felt horrible about myself. I’m so grateful that my friend valued me and our friendship enough to tell me the truth. She remains a very dear and trusted friend to this day. After a little soul searching I transferred to another unit at work, began running and taking care of myself again.
As I mentioned in the last post I knew before I was even done running the half marathon that I would have to eat my words. I called my cousin after I finished my first half marathon and excitedly proclaimed right then and there that I was going to sign up for the Disney Marathon in 2012 proving to myself once again why I should never say never!
Since that first marathon at Disney, my cousin has run that race a total of 6 times both as a member of Team in Training and more recently as a coach for the organization. She has run the Marine Corps Marathon, the Paris Marathon and a number of shorter races. She is motivating and inspiring. I have since thanked her for her encouragement and shared with her how inspiring she has been to me. Her teammates are so lucky to have her as a coach. I am so grateful she was there at my first marathon.
I have stopped being jealous of others’ accomplishments. I have come to realize that envy is an ugly, self-destructive emotion. If I want something bad enough then I know I need to be the one to get out there and get it. I went from being a bystander to a go getter.
I promise I will get to the marathon very soon. I didn’t realize how reflective the marathon experience would make me. To go from being the girl in gym class who sat on the bleachers nearly failing gym class because I was so self-conscious about my body to running a marathon is a big deal for me.
I’m really loving these posts Aimee, it’s so much better than just hearing about the actual marathon itself. I think I’m the same way that you were. Sometimes instead of seeing other people’s success as inspiring, I”m jealous of it and give up. You’re right though, envy is a very ugly thing.
It’s amazing to hear about how things have transformed for you. and how running isn’t “just running”. So awesome 🙂
Aimee…you give me hope that someday I might be able to be in that same spot. Lately I’ve been feeling a lot of the green monster (aka…envy) and it’s so hard to focus on ME. But I keep trying. Reading about your struggle and ultimate ability to get there is so motivating. I’m so proud of you!
Hi Aimee! I think, just take your time to reflect. It really was such a huge milestone in your life. I felt like that when I did my first big bench press with the 45 pound plates on the bar. Like little Marion had grown up in certain ways. Even more so, I understood myself much better. Btw, it’s great to have a truthful friend who knows what you need to hear.
Running a marathon is such an accomplishment and really makes you feel like you can conquer the world. I try to only compete with myself these days, makes it easier to not compare myself to others. Love reading about your experience!
I’m enjoying reading about your marathon experience Aimee. You must be proud of how far you’ve come. Isn’t it amazing the things that we think we’ll never be able to do that we eventually we do? Can’t wait to read the next installment!
So true Aimee! I’m guilty of feeling that others are faster, thinner, stronger and in the past decided it was better not to try than risk failing.
How things have changed. I do still wish I was faster but it doesn’t take away from the races I’ve done.
The joy of reaching a finish line with friends and family cheering for you makes me wish I’d started in my twenties and not waited till my thirties!
I love that you’re sharing your whole running story as a lead-up to the marathon 🙂