I’m a gal who carries a bit of extra weight (boobs and butt, if you’re wondering). Since puberty I’ve fluctuated by a handful of pounds depending on the season and what type of activity I’m into at any given time. Overall though–and throughout my entire life–regular physical activity and healthful eating has been a priority. While there may be one or two things about my body that I’d like to change (as there seems to be with most women), for the most part, I feel good physically and am happy with how I look.
Last summer, my workplace offered a lunchtime running club, which I saw as a fun opportunity to get outside for an hour mid-day. Thus, running became my activity du jour. It was a lot of fun too. I enjoyed the dedicated break for sunshine and exercise and it was nice getting to know co-workers with whom I might not otherwise engage on a day-to-day basis. By the end of the summer, we were all doing pretty well. Our endurance had grown and we were averaging the 5km mark. I even went out for a few races (including Mud Hero, which was the best time ever).
When the club was re-offered this spring, I jumped at the chance to have the same experience as last time (and even start some training for this year’s Mud Hero). After a long winter of not-running, I knew I’d be starting again from scratch. Now, I haven’t been entirely sedentary. I go to a fabulous spinning class at the Canada Games Centre with everyone’s favourite watermelon-blogger, Justine, and obviously Rigby doesn’t let me off the hook when it comes to his walking, hiking, and his otherwise exhausting playtime routines. Still, I know it’s going to take me some time to get back into it…and that’s okay.
At the end of my first week back at it, I finished today’s run feeling great. We were doing a run:walk ratio of 5:1 and I had finished each set of 5 feeling strong. As we wrapped up the final lap, my pal and I high-fived and the instructor (a new one for me this session) jogged over to congratulate us.
Well done! That was especially good for you…
She put her arm around me.
Since you’re at a real disadvantage…
Disadvantage? Oh, she must be referring to those shin splints that were halting me up last time. Those guys have been a real pain over the years, but-
because of your weight.
You really should be watching your joints with what you’re carrying.
Ouch! Tears immediately rose to my eyes. Fortunately, the icy wind of “spwinter” here in Halifax provided a decent cover. I immediately asked myself,
Am I too fat to be running?
The answer, in my I’m-an-expert-on-my-body-therefore-I’m-an-expert expert opinion is
NO FUCKING WAY.
Now, I know her comment came from a good place. I get it. I do. She was trying to be encouraging and instructional and keep me aware of the issues she feels are important for this exercise. Still, her comment presupposes some pretty crucial information and neglects some of my own personal truths, including:
- I know my body.
As I said, I’m the expert on myself. While I do like to push it in a workout session, I also know when enough is enough. I’m fine to walk-it-off or take a stretch if I need to. I also know my past injuries and know how to adapt most workouts to avoid exacerbating them or re-injuring myself.
- I am not a beginner.
Not only did I participate in this same running club just last year, but most summers I’ve spent time re-introducing jogging into my repertoire. Sometimes I work up to 5km or so, other times not so much. Oh, and there was even one time I entered a 5km, got lost, and accidentally ran 10km. Good times. Above and beyond this, I have a good range of exercise experience. I was a competitive swimmer for nearly half my life and throughout the seasons I regularly hike, bike, and x-country ski–with a handful of team sports tossed into a few of those past years for good measure.
- I know the basics of exercise physiology.
Though I guess it’s not obvious to look at me now, my younger years on the pool deck included some pre-competitive/competitive swim coaching as well as teaching AquaFit, which included CALA training. I did spend the required time learning the basic physiology essential and necessary to be able to deliver in those capacities. Now, I’m not suggesting that I’m any sort of authority on the matter, but I do think that I’ve retained, at the very minimum, an understanding of how my body works while performing most functions.
So, onward I will go.
I want to continue with the running club. I want to forget the words of the instructor and push through to my goal of increasing my strength and endurance. Is it going to be harder for me than the lighter women in the club? Maybe. Do I need anyone to acknowledge that? No. As if I need the excuse!
The first few runs of the season are tough for all of us. In the end, if it’s making you feel good, all that matters is sticking with it. Regardless of your size.