water running hotter than sweat

The lesson is simple: the time that you close off and draw away from your friends is the time that you probably need them the most.There have been no gym stories for a while, and that should be a tip-off that I'm struggling. The month before dragon*con is always a wash for me when it comes to workouts, because my brain gets eaten by the twin towers of tech and DCTV. Coming on top of May's pneumonia diagnosis, things have sputtered for months. What had started off terribly well ended up in a major disappointment for me; the costume I had spent a year and a half researching was one I could not fit into when it came time for dragon*con 2005.

I put it away for another year. Not without tears, though.

By the time I dragged my embarrassed self back to the gym post-dragon*con, I knew I was in trouble. I'd slid back several steps. What had been an easy part of my routine, frankly, sucked. Where was the body that had been able to do 45-minute runs and 30-45 minute lap swims six days a week? Where were the legs that could handle 45 minutes at level 9? What was this "twenty minutes at level six" business?

It made me sad. But, in the end, I guess this is the important part: it didn't just make me sad and send me home to eat chocolate and cry. It pissed me off. I knew my body was capable of what I was asking of it. I just had to tough it out, find a way, and just bloody well do it. (A big finger to the shoe company, just on principle.)

Now, I'll be the first to admit, I pushed myself too far today. Yesterday I did thirty-six minutes at level 8 and was comfortable with it; today I did thirty-eight minutes at the same level and came home so exhausted I skipped out on the Tuesday night movie (which I always look forward to). For the past couple of weeks, I've been pushing myself: slowly, surely, a minute here, a minute there, trying out a new level for part of the workout and then stepping down when it became too much.

Amidst all this, I forget how far I've come. I forget that two years ago I was the person who would rigidly steel her breathing so that no one saw that a flight of stairs left me winded. I forget the changes in my body because I gave away the clothes, and so have few reminders. I've become accustomed to the thinner shape in the mirror, and—shock of shocks—begun to expect that stores will have clothing that I can fit into.

I was embarrassed when I walked into the gym not because I didn't belong there, but instead because I did, and the people there had missed seeing me. (I am, apparently, cheery whilst sweaty.)

I forget that backsliding is part of the process, part that probably every person reading this post understands, so why was I ashamed to admit it? When did this site become just about presenting the good, instead of the honest?

So … you know what?

Today's run was excellent, but I had a killer stitch in my side the last five minutes of it. I stuck it out mostly because I refused to hop down off the damn thing before I got my Pavlovian you-survived-it beep. I went home and ate a banana and an energy bar and my legs were so rubbery I almost begged Jeff to order a pizza so I wouldn't have to stand up long enough to cook.

I never said this was easy. Just that it was worth it.

I stood in the shower under water running hotter than sweat and promised myself something: this is October, my month of renewal and beginning and orange-colored birthdays. This is as good a month, as good a week, as good a day to start again and mean it, to lean against the shower wall and admit the tired and the ache that comes along with small victories. To celebrate the victories, no matter how small, because they are mine as this body is mine.

It's taken a long time to say this, but it is true: I think, if I don't lose any more weight, I can learn to accept the body that I have now. It is chubbier than I want, but because of my efforts, it is healthy. I am willing to work more to achieve the reward I want, but if this is where I stop …

… then, with a deep and shuddering breath, so be it.

I'll run again tomorrow. I doubt I'll go to thirty-nine minutes, but you can bet I won't be backing down to thirty-seven.


You've come a long way, and are still inspiring... :)