Running While Fat: A Cautionary Tale


A long time ago, in a land far away known as “high school”, I was a runner.

I joined the cross country team after my older sister, who was captain at the time, convinced me to go out for the team (Ok, she basically told me she’d beat me up if I didn’t). I hated her for about six months  as she teamed up with my coach at the time to humiliate me in new and underhanded ways, including driving next to me in our parents minivan while I ran and she screamed at me if I stopped to walk. (Yes, my family is just a TAD obsessive).

Eventually, I got pretty good at it. Not the best, but I could hold my own. For about 2 years, I was solid. The-little-chubby-that-could, if you will.

Then, in the throes of my teenage crazy years,  I got too big for it to be fun. It was not only physically challenging, but downright humiliating. (Hello, have you seen the booty shorts runners wear? With my booty? No bueno).

It was then that I became a repeat offender of RWF, or simply “Running While Fat.”


It wasn’t that the rest of the world thought it was so much of an offense, although as you’d imagine, the boys on the team did indeed have a way of taunting me (I forgive them, they were teenagers). But instead, it was mostly in my head.

I agonized over the uniforms. I faked injuries so I wouldn’t have to practice with the rest of the team and worry about keeping up with them. I stopped to tie my shoes and told the others to go ahead. I thought about impending races for weeks and the inevitable brutal headaches that would follow. I came up with creative ways to carry baby oil in my track bag (chafing is no joke, boo). I cried silently each time that I came in last in a race (which, to be fair, was almost every time.)

At this point, you might find yourself asking the obvious … why didn’t I just quit? Because I’m a lunatic? Well that too, but mostly because I actually really loved the ACT of running.

It’s hard to explain to people who hate running why it is gratifying for some people. Because, let’s face it, running hurts. It’s very difficult. It’s trying on your muscles and your lungs if you don’t know how to breathe properly. It can give you dreadful headaches if you combine improper breathing with dehydration.

But there’s a point where, if you keep going and keep improving, running becomes like medicine for your soul. It’s amazing how clear your thought process is when it’s just you, your ipod, your sneakers and the path rising to meet you like an old familiar friend. And of course it helps that it’s an awesome workout and will keep your body healthy.

To me, running is also the ultimate metaphor for life. It’s always a challenge. It’s always a sacrifice to run. You have to listen to your body and ultimately learn when it’s really had enough and when it’s the lazy voice in your head just trying to talk you out of pushing yourself. And once you DO get past the initial pain of it all, it becomes therapeutic.  There is no greater test of patience and dedication.

I picked it up again in my 20s and was running steadily. I got up to about 3 miles a day, 5 days a week. I felt very healthy and happy. Running and I became BFFS 4EVA.

Or at least until some life crap happened. I got a demanding job. I gained weight. I got a pedicure. It was cold out. I had to wash my hair. Whatever it was, I made excuses, and I stopped running.

Now, I’m bigger than my body’s natural, happy weight, which means that the joyful act has been replaced with again RWF.

It’s back to panting. Back to mostly walking with a bounce. Back to three sports bras. Back to stopping. Back to headaches. Back to chafing and jiggling. Back to too much weight on my knees. Back to being embarrassed when my pants ride up. Back to being the hard, shitty part (I hope you don’t mind if I curse, it is my blog after all, and I’m Irish, so get used to it.)

But I’m reminding myself WHY I am doing this, even though I'm afraid of the pain – it’s for my health.. I don’t care if I lose 1 pound from running, to be honest. I am comfortable in my skin. What I want is to be healthier. And to make peace with vigorous activity again. I want my peaceful, old friend back. I want to enjoy running again. I want to awaken my inner athlete.

This week, I am setting a goal to walk/run at least 3 days for the week. I’ll find my rhythm again, it’s a promise I’ve made to myself. And one day, I'll work my way up to the ultimate goal - the New York City marathon.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Funny pictures and moments will certainly ensue. After all, what good is a life without laughter? And who better to laugh at than my own damn self.

Do you have a goal you’re setting for yourselves? Do you miss an activity you let slip out of your life? Let’s work on those goals together!

**disclaimer: I’m sorry if you’re offended by the word fat. Because then you probably will hate my blog and hate me too. Honestly, it is what it is. I don’t take myself seriously. And I’ve made peace with my current state of fatness. So with love and hugs I say to you, get the hell over it J

Until next time loves! Xo.

CONVERSATION

3 comments:

griselangel said...

Looool omg your freaking awesome!!!

I
Love
Your
Blog

Angela said...


I googled "running while fat" because I'm now faced with the same experience you described. So glad you wrote this! My favorite part:

"To me, running is also the ultimate metaphor for life. It’s always a challenge. It’s always a sacrifice to run. You have to listen to your body and ultimately learn when it’s really had enough and when it’s the lazy voice in your head just trying to talk you out of pushing yourself. And once you DO get past the initial pain of it all, it becomes therapeutic.  There is no greater test of patience and dedication.

Serene Lee said...

Hi Allie

I love to read your blog, I love the fact that we should love both our body and ourselves. We are all fighters.

I agreed with Angela too, I love this part:

"To me, running is also the ultimate metaphor for life. It’s always a challenge. It’s always a sacrifice to run. You have to listen to your body and ultimately learn when it’s really had enough and when it’s the lazy voice in your head just trying to talk you out of pushing yourself. And once you DO get past the initial pain of it all, it becomes therapeutic. There is no greater test of patience and dedication.

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