So critical

Yesterday was amazing! Some running friends invited me to fill in for one of their marathon relay teammates at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. The weather was perfect for running. The people on my team were awesome!

Then, there was me. I’m still not back to being at the speed I wanted to be by now. I was running the last leg because it was the shortest distance of the relay, but I was going to kill their time by being so slow. I set my watch for intervals of 10 minutes running and 1 minute walking. The crowd was amazing! There were people lined along the route cheering. There were runners around me who were encouraging.

I kept having to tell myself that many of these people had run over 20 miles already that morning and I had so much less than that. I reassured myself that my teammates told me to run for fun and not worry about time. I looked at my watch as my pace slowed. I winced as my shins felt each foot strike on the ground. I stopped looking at my watch and started listening to the music coming through my headphones. I waved and smiled at each spectator as I passed them. I thanked people for encouragement. I got a little faster and felt a little more confidence. I followed my intervals and I finally met up with two of my teammates at mile 26 as we went to run into the the stadium together. At first, I didn’t feel like I could catch up with them a few steps ahead of me. We hit the turf for the field and the final stretch and I felt weightless running in. We finished together and got our medals. I even felt a renewed confidence that I could actually run another marathon one day despite my Chicago race. 

When I finally had a chance to look at the race photos, this one was in there:

20180429_084721.jpg

Ouch

I see every fat roll in my shirt, in my pants, and all of my chins. I see a fat person. I was sad and upset to see this version of me.

I had worked so hard in 2016 to accomplish my marathon goal and I’d been in amazing shape. I haven’t gotten that back since the injury and I want it badly. I feel completely drained most of the time. I showed the photo to my husband and told him that I hope this makes a good ‘before’ picture and that I don’t keep getting fatter. I honestly feel like I work harder than what shows on my body and trying isn’t good enough.

Things have been hard. I don’t want to look like this. I wish the effort I’d put into it was reflected on my appearance.

I’d like to be positive when I write here. Being under constant stress and feeling exhausted all of the time really shows on my body. I wish I had the answers that would make me not carry the weight of the depression and stress. I wish I wasn’t such a harsh critic of myself, but the truth is, I see and I judge myself more harshly than anyone else would think.

I am aware there isn’t a magic pill and I’m not looking for one. I’m not interested in buying the “latest and greatest” program. I’m not looking to buy anything.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that just floored you? Do you have comments or suggestions? Please let me know!

 

 

2 thoughts on “So critical

  1. Jen,
    I HATE photos of me when I am running. I LOOK like I have 12 chins and like I should consider getting some botox. But you know what I’ve decided that how I FEEL running is SO SO SO much more important! I am so glad that you are running again! See you out on the trails soon!

  2. I don’t know that I have suggestions. Really all i can say is that i relate to not feeling like the work you put in is reflected in your appearance. I have the same frustration. Your post is timely because this topic has been at the forefront of my mind today as I’ve all in one day completed a really tough workout and passed by the mirror several times and not like how I’ve looked. I think i need to start separating the two if i can–what my body can do and how it looks. It really is a disservice to all my hard work when the only validation for it i seek is muscular thighs and a flatter stomach!

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