Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taking back my city at a time

Hello my Lovelies and Gents,

Well the Rock'n'Roll USA Half marathon is just 9 days away. I am very excited, but I'm also very tired. I have trained for this race more than any other race. For a while I had some injuries holding me back and I had to be cautious, but I conditioned myself and pushed myself harder.

I'm happy to report that I have not had any ankle problems in a couple of weeks. It bothered me on a long distance run a couple weeks ago, but that was the last of it. Other than being tired and muscle-sore I've been okay...until this week. ARGH! All of the running and pounding on my knees is taking it's toll. My knees are sore. SORE. Until this past long distance I was handling it. This week I still ran and I still had a pretty good pace. But, I had to cut it back some because 15 minutes in my knees felt it and they started screaming at me. I am hoping that I can rest them enough for this race.

I would just like ONE without injuries holding me back. I can't afford to take myself out of commission for a long time. I can't afford to aggrivate or seriously damage anything. I really really wanted to push myself for this one. And here's why.

This is my third location for a Half Marathon. The first one was at the beach where I have spent most of my summers throughout my life.  The second one was in the city near where I grew up. This one is where I lived after college.

I am systematically Taking Back the areas that the Former Fat Girl dominated. I have lived in many different areas up and down the East Coast and I intend to finish a race in all of those areas.

My race at the beach was emotional. The beach has given me to much pleasure and so much pain over the years. As much as the Former Fat Girl loved going there, it was pure torture being around healthy and fit people showing their bodies. It was a constant reminder of how much she hated her own body. And yet she would do nothing to change. She would hate herself for how she looked and then go get ice cream or a couple slices of pizza.

Philadelphia was another significant location for me. I grew up on Philly Soft Pretzels, Cheesesteaks, and Hoagies. While some people might have them occasionally, the Former Fat Girl ate them regularly. 3..4...5...times a week. She gained a lot of weight in Philadelphia.

Completing races in those areas was HUGE for me. It was me taking a stand. It was me showing them how far I've come. It was me Taking Back my cities!  Reclaiming them!  Enjoying them they way they should be.

This race is in Washington D.C.  I moved to D.C. after college. I spent a summer interning at the Department of Commerce and then moved to Virginia for a year while I worked in Arlington.  That was a very interesting time for me.

That summer I was about as broke as you get. I was interning for free, going to school, and living in DC. I was living off of mac'n'cheese and hot dogs. Luckily the museums are free and air conditioned. That's how I spent my weekends. I didn't live far from the zoo and I would spend many saturdays walking around there. I walked and walked and walked. I lost a little weight that summer. It would have been more if I had eaten correctly.

Then I moved out to Virginia with my family and worked in Arlington. I wasn't making a lot of money, but I could afford food. I spent my days commuting in and then commuting out. Most of my friends were in DC and I didn't really feel like going in there a lot on weekends so I spent that time in front of the tv. All of that progress I made with my walking during the summer was gone. The sad part is that I had access to a free fitness center one block away the whole year. I believe I went in there twice.

Something happened during that year that I don't really talk about. My family doesn't even really know how much this affected me. That Spring was the plane crash in Croatia carrying the Secretary of Commerce and 34 other people. Friends of mine. During that summer I interned I worked very closely with another group on a project. Several of those people I worked with died in that crash. Young people that had so much to give. That was very hard to process. And it was all over the news and impossible to escape. And so I ate. And ate. And ate. I didn't talk about it. I just internalized it and let it literally eat me up. It's very hard to heal when something is in your face day after day. And this was before the internet was big. *dating myself I know*

The city that I loved to walk around and explore now became an emotional and physical mountain. It became hard to walk around and not think about them.  And it became hard to walk around period. I was gaining weight and losing momentum. Going to the zoo for a day now became the most monumental task. I could not walk around nearly as much as I had before. I had to sit down way more often. And the rest of the day would be shot because I had no energy left.  I LOVE going there to see the Pandas, but it was no longer fun for me. 

Next weekend I will be back in those areas that I haven't explored in years. I still go into D.C. every now and then, but generally it's to a museum or an event. And of course I have tackled the zoo. But, I don't go to the little areas I liked to wander around.

It's no surprise that I get emotional during races, but now you know a little of the reason why. I fully anticipate a total breakdown once I cross the finish line. And I WILL cross it. I will Take Back D.C. And then the next city....and the next city..I won't stop until I have reached World Domination!  Haha. Just kidding. 

Have a Blessed Night my friends.

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