Fat Girl on a Run

Running to raise $9,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

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busting down stereotypes

Posted by fatgirlonarun on January 29, 2010

So last night I had a drink with three women. One is a close friend, another is a new friend and the third is someone I’d never met before. We had beer and pizza and caught up on each other’s lives, and somewhere in there my close friend asked me whether my boyfriend and I had any trips planned. I said no – well, other than going to Nashville for the marathon.

The woman I didn’t know grinned, interested, and said: “Oh, is your boyfriend a runner?”

I almost said no. I don’t think of Matt as a runner. We’re just doing this thing, but we’re not actually runners, you know? And then, in the split second before I said anything, I remembered that I’m a runner too, and I realized that she had looked at me and assumed that I wasn’t. So I said “Yeah, actually, we both are. I’m doing a half marathon and he’s doing the full and it’s the first time for both of us.”

It was so awesome. She was totally great about it, asked me how I was enjoying the training, got excited when I told her I was running with Team in Training, wanted my info so she could make a donation. But I loved nailing her a little bit, catching her assuming, because I’m fat, that I’m not a runner. And hell, if I’m doing 13.1 miles I am absolutely, fully, completely in the fold. I’m a runner!

I’m just going to include the link to donate at the bottom of every post from now on. I know I don’t have many readers yet, and I know it’s a lot to expect of folks I don’t know at all… but it’s for a great cause, donations are completely safe and 100% tax deductible. Just click here and you’ll be taken to my fundraising page for the Leaukemia and Lymphona Society. Thank you!

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I can do this

Posted by fatgirlonarun on January 15, 2010

Every week, on the night before my long run, I freak out a little bit (or a lot). Sometimes I even cry.

It’s not about the running, really. I’m usually afraid that I can’t do the distance, but the fact is that it’s next to impossible to be truly unable to do the distance – I can always walk if the running is too difficult. The freaking out is about the social aspect. I’m afraid that one of the coaches will want to run with me, that I’ll be embarrassed at how slow I am, that I’ll have to make conversation. I’m afraid of what people will think of me.

So last weekend I did six miles. I’ve run six miles before, when I did the Marine Crops 10k with my father last October. I didn’t prepare well for that race and it felt really hard, so I’ve been feeling nervous about the distance ever since. I kept myself up the night before worrying about it. And then I went and did it and it was hard but it was great and I learned something really important.

Here’s what I learned: For me, the challenge of running is almost all emotional. It’s not that the physical challenge isn’t significant but that the emotional challenges are so huge that they overwhelm everything else. Every single time I run, I have to convince myself that I can make it (even when I’m just doing a couple of miles through my neighborhood – at the start of every run I think to myself: “No way! If I feel this tired after a block how can I possibly do three miles?”). Every time I run in a group, I have to convince myself that it’s ok that I’m the slowest person there (and I am, always) – and I have to gird my loins to speak up and tell folks that I’d prefer to run alone.

It is liberating, having learned this. Suddenly, running went from feeling like I challenge I didn’t know how to conquer to being something much more familiar. I’m used to reckoning with my emotions. I know how it feels to have to buck up and do something that seems impossibly scary. Having a name for what’s so hard about running makes it not quite so hard.

So I have another six mile run tomorrow. It’s on a different course, one with lots of hills that I’ve never run before and I feel pretty nervous. But instead of freaking out tonight I’m consciously giving myself affirmations: I can do this run. I did six miles last week and it felt really good. So the hills will be a challenge – big deal. I’m getting better at running and it’s probably time for a challenge. It will feel awesome when I finish and know that I accomplished something that’s hard for me. If someone ends up running with me, I can tell them that I’d rather run alone. And even if I do end up running with other people, it might not be that bad. I might like the company. I’ll just stick to my ratio (one minute of running, one minute of walking, one minute of running and so forth) and soldier through. Next week will be seven or eight miles, which will be the farthest I’ve ever gone and that will be an amazing accomplishment. I can do this.

(Want to support me? I’m raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Click here to donate!)

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My first mile

Posted by fatgirlonarun on December 16, 2009

I don’t really have time to write right now, but I couldn’t keep this in: I just ran a mile and three-quarters without stopping to walk!

That’s the longest I’ve ever gone without walking.

(It’s a little embarrassing to write that, actually. It’s a big deal to me, but I know there are people out there who will scoff at it. I’ve been running over a year and I’ve never gone two miles without walking?)

I’ll write more about everything soon, but for the time being: GO ME!

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Caution: Fat Girl Running

Posted by fatgirlonarun on December 14, 2009

Last fall I watched the Marine Corps Marathon. I stood on the National Mall and cheered on as every single runner – from the man who eventually won the race to the ladies who brought up the rear – passed me. It was a life-changing experience. The people who ran past me came in every shape, size, weight and age. here were women so thin they looked sick. Men with muscles like bodybuilders. Fat people – people most of us would write off, assuming they never hit the gym.

I was at Mile 19. That meant that every person I saw was kicking ass. All of them had run or walked a distance most of us don’t even want to imagine. There were people like me, people who must have spent their whole lives thinking they could never be an athlete. They were about to finish a marathon.

I decided to start running.

In the past year, I’ve run two 5k races (that 3.1 miles) and, in October, the Marine Corps 10k. We crossed the same finish line as the marathoners (and although he had to run 20 miles more than me, the man who won the marathon finished only about an hour after I did!). Now I’ve decided to take the next step. I’m training for the Country Music Half Marathon on April 24, 2010.

And I’m fat*. Really fat. Not like this woman, who wrote an article for Newsweek about being a fat runner. At my heaviest, I weighed over 300 pounds (I don’t weigh myself anymore). These days, I wear somewhere between a size 20 and a size 24.

I’m writing this blog for a number of reasons. I’m going to document my training for the half marathon. I want to demonstrate that people like me can do something like this. I hope that I can connect with other fat athletes and inspire other fat men and women. I’m also working with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I hope you’ll make a donation.

So enjoy! Comment – although I’ll only accept size-positive comments. Forward this link to your friends. Tell me what kind of athlete you are! I look forward to sharing this  journey with all of you.

* I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor. I’m not casting aspersions on myself or anyone else. Fat doesn’t define me, but it doesn’t insult me either. It’s just one part of who I am and what my body looks like.

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Recycling some old posts…

Posted by fatgirlonarun on December 14, 2009

Some of you might know me better as Fat Girl on a Date. In 2008 – and a little bit this year – I blogged about dating as a fat girl. I started running somewhere in there, and a few posts on that theme crept into my blogging. (Along the way, I also met and fell in love with Matt, who is training to run the full Country Music Marathon while I run the Country Music Half Marathon. Ain’t love grand!)

Check out these links to posts I wrote on running back on the Fat Girl on a Date blog:

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