I’ve Signed On for a Lifetime of Sweaty Sports Bras
I just came home from the gym where I spent the better part of an hour doing sprint intervals on the treadmill, all the while surely spraying the people around me with sweat. You probably don’t want to take the treadmill next to mine, you know? I’ve been working on my running speed for the past couple of months, getting ready for a 5K race I am going to run with a friend, trying to break my last best time.
Doesn’t that sound like something a, well, an athlete would say? “Sprint intervals”? “Working on my running speed”? These are things I never thought I would say about myself. This time last year, I wasn’t sure I could even run an entire mile without stopping.
The race we’ll be running in about two weeks is the same event where I ran my very first 5K last year. At the time, I wasn’t able to run the entire distance and I did run-walk intervals for miles two and three. It took me over 42 minutes to complete the race, and when I crossed the finish line I was overheated enough that I had goosebumps all down my arms. In August. In Mississippi. I was also about 95 pounds heavier than I am today.
Crossing that line a year ago was A Moment in my life. I was ecstatic. It was something unlike anything I had ever done before — it was difficult and painful and I loved it.
I had just begun seriously trying to lose the weight I had gained over the past several years — I had about 100 pounds to lose when I got started — and was counting my calories, doing the Couch-to-5K running program, and shredding it out with Jillian in my living room. I’d lost about 10 or 15 pounds so far, but it sure felt like I had a long way to go to get really healthy, like I might never see the metaphorical finish line at the end of my weight loss journey.
Today, I have lost the weight (about 110 pounds), run three other 5K races as well as a 12K, a half marathon, and a sprint triathlon. What I’m beginning to see, though, is that even though I have reached what I thought would be the end of my weight loss journey, I am far from being finished.
I still need to learn how to maintain my weight in a healthy way. I need to figure out, on a basic level, what I can eat on a normal day without losing or gaining weight. I need to learn how to fuel my athletic training and still have a balance of calories in and calories out. I need to figure out how to be the athlete I am becoming. On a deeper level, though, I need to see how to transition mentally from thinking of myself as being on a weight-loss mission with an end in sight to seeing that I am in this for life.
The changes I have made over the last year need to be lasting and sustainable. I need to fit in my track workouts and my long weekend runs, yes — and my Friday happy hours, my dinner dates, my days spent lounging in bed with a good novel. I need for the athletic parts of my life and the leisurely, social, occasionally indulgent parts of my life to coexist happily. I know y’all know that elusive balance I’m referring to, and that most of us are trying to find it in our own ways. I’m not sure how easy it will be to get there, but I sure hope to have some fun while I try.