Once Upon a Fat Girl

Monday, June 26, 2006

Numb Bootie Disorder

I did my fourth weekly long bike ride today. The first week was 45 minutes, then 50, and the last two have been 60 minutes. Last week I did 10.5 miles in 60 minutes...drumroll please...this week I did 18.03!!!! That means that I went longer than the bike ride required for the Pumpkin Man Triathlon next October. Whoo hoo!!!

The best part was that, while my bootie was completely numb afterward, I still had legs. I could have walked at least a mile. I wasn't dying, gasping for air and wobbly on my feet like I was that first week.

Joyce asked if I read Geneen Roth. I never have. Is she good? I think she writes about non-dieting, right? I'll have to check her out.

I'm reading a book by Judy Molnar called "You Don't Have To Be Thin To Win." Judy started out at about 330 pounds (she's 6'1", same as my sister Jill) and over three years lost 130 pounds and started doing triathlons. She even completed the Ironman Hawaii! She was Rosie's Chub Club coach. Anyway--I find her book very inspirational. The Amazon reviews complained a little about her being a high school athlete, saying that those coming from a non-athletic background wouldn't relate. I was a high school athlete, too. A swimmer and a runner, plus basketball and soccer. But I think that anyone could get something from this book. Some of the reviewers said that it must have been easier for her, since she had a background in athletics. Let me tell you--that is so not true. After ten or more years away from it, plus a 100+ pound gain, whatever athetic ability you once had is a ghost.

I do think I retain some benefit from being an athlete eons ago. For one thing I seem to be a little more flexible than people I know who were always sedentary. I move pretty well, despite my size. Also, I think that sometimes fat people who have never been athletic assume it comes easy for those who are, and I know better. It's a lot of hard work, no matter what you weigh.

Back in the day, when I swam for distance--like 1500 meters for endurance--I used to be able to run an entire movie in my head. I could 'watch' Top Gun or Dirty Dancing or episodes of 21 Jumpstreet (am I aging myself? hahaha) all the way through while I swam lap after lap after lap. The mechanics of strokes and breathing were so mechanical for me, and I was in good enough shape that I could go on and on and on without feeling like I was going to drown. My mind was free to wander. Sometimes I wrote stories in my head. Epic romances usually--I was sixteen. I want to get back there, to that place where I can lose myself in the water. It doesn't happen on a bike or a treadmill or walking outside--there is too much going on. Doing a long swim is like being in a sensory deprevation chamber. You are totally alone with yourself. I miss that.

On the bike today I was thinking about the moment when I decided that I wanted to be an athlete. It was in the seventh grade. I was twelve, and had been swimming for about a year. I wasn't taking myself too seriously though--it was just for fun. I never pushed myself. And at school in PE I limped around the track everyday for our mandatory 1/4 mile lap, coming in at the back of the pack. We had a teacher who was a beautiful, blond rower. I wish I could remember her name. Anyway, one day after PE she stopped me on my way to my next class and said that she loved my top, and asked where I'd gotten it. The Wet Seal. That was Friday. On Monday, just as class was starting, she said that she loved my style, that she'd gone to the Wet Seal and bought my shirt.

I'm not sure what made her take an interest in me. But she did. My family was falling apart, my parents going to court every other day it seemed like over custody. And this woman liked me, was interested in me. And I wanted to impress her. So I started running around the track. It took me a few months, but eventually I was faster even than the fast boys. She was impressed, and recruited me onto the track team. She told me I was strong and fast and had potential. The running improved my swimming, and suddenly winning at meets started meaning something to me.

I clearly remember that teacher telling me that I was an athlete. And I believed her. I worked hard to make it true.

I've noticed myself telling people in my life that I'm training for a triathlon, and I think I'm looking for that validation again. Sadly, I'm not really finding it. Except from Kevin, who never once has laughed at the idea of me running three miles. But when I told my dad, my sister, my brothers -- I mostly get polite nods and that's about it.

They'll see!

4 Comments:

Blogger Joyce said...

What a great post! The concepts that you have described made me assume that you were a huge Geneen Roth fan, but then when you spoke of searching for good reading material, I wondered... That's an almost weirdly spiritual thing- that you could be living proof of what she preaches, and yet YOU CAME UP WITH THIS WISDOM BY YOURSELF?! Maybe, you are not only a tri-athlete, have a great sense of style, but you are also intuitive and brilliant!
This post fired me up so much, I may just write my own post in response to it!

6:10 AM  
Blogger duenneschen said...

I love your writing! I love that your not "diet"ing!

I think just because your trying, your showing the mentality of an athlete.

I'm totally 100% behind you and your goal of doing a triathlon.

I can't wait to hear more about it!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Shaunta said...

Joyce: I've read other non-diet books. My favorite is 'Fed Up' by Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt. It's excellent. And...OMG, thank you for calling me a triathlete! LMAO

Duenneschen: Thank you so much for the support. It really means so much to me.

8:18 AM  
Blogger caygraymomma said...

My word I can identify with everything that you wrote. I too come from an athletic (swimming) background and am using my goal of doing a sprint triathlon to create the result of weight loss. It was nice to read this and know that someone else out there has the same things going on and the same goals. Oh and the validation thing--go you for training for a triathlon. You'll do it. I missed the goal last year but I am closing in on doing the sprint one this year. Good luck- I'll be back for sure.

Okay I just re-read my comment and I didn't mean to sound all creepy internet stalkery like. I was just excited to find someone else with the same goals. Okay really shutting up now.

12:03 PM  

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