Week 4, Day 2. It’s getting serious now. Today we drove to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail (sort of like the trail that goes to Lowell Park for all you Sauk Valley-ites) for our training session. The trail will be part of the 5K course we plan to run in November. I don’t know what it was about today — Two days of rest? A long walk the night before? No breakfast? — but I struggled to stay motivated today. For the first time since we started this journey, I felt like giving up during one of the running segments. It’s a mental game for me right now, I think. My body can do it. I know my body can do it. But, at least today, I didn’t want to. We finished without turning around, so we had a long walk back to the car, but by the time that was over, I felt like I could run again, not that I was going to, but I had recovered my will a little.
The reality of running this far is starting to weigh on me. I keep thinking of myself as the fat kid trying to run a mile and a half in gym class in enough time not to fail. I see the athletes and skinny kids passing me, finishing with an A or a B grade while I struggled to push myself to a D grade. I’m wondering if I really can do this, if I really have it in me.
Forgive my side trip into therapy here for a minute, but this teenage insecurity has been plaguing me lately. Last night, I suggested to my husband that we go for a walk as a family because I didn’t think our 2-year-old had had enough exercise that day, and I thought, when I looked at her, that I could see a bit of a “pooch” in her belly.
So here’s my fear: I am still scarred by my own body image insecurities and will pass those on to my daughter through my actions, attitudes, behaviors, etc. Being the “fat kid” in grade school gives me a bit of anxiety when the doctor says Isabelle is in the 75th percentile for weight and the 10th percentile for height. I don’t want her to have to struggle with her weight or how she sees herself or to be teased by kids and have her zest for life sapped from her.
This exercise with family thing is such a balancing act. If my husband and I want to have a good workout, then the kids have to ride. If we want the kids to get exercise, then we sacrifice our own fitness because of their pace. I’m happy about the changes we’re making to be healthy and fit, and I know that by building this foundation now, we’re setting ourselves up for an easier time of family exercise when the kids can keep up or ride bikes. Still, I worry. Too much.
And I know that if I don’t deal with the “fat kid” from my past, then I’ll be of no help to my daughter when she begins to face these issues. I don’t want to be indifferent about her activity levels, but I also don’t want to create an environment where she overreacts to the many changes her body will undergo. (We’re watching the current season of “The Biggest Loser,” and one of the contestants has a daughter who was starving herself because she didn’t want to be fat like her mom. Lord, help me, I don’t want to be there.)
Like I said before, it’s a mental game right now, and this is some of the baggage I’m carrying as we train. I’m hoping to throw off what hinders, as the apostle Paul says, so I can truly run free … literally and spiritually.