I used to race. I wasn’t fast. I wasn’t good. I often finished dead last. I didn’t run, per se, but I was moving. I put myself out there. I was doing something.
Somewhere along the course of the last year, I gave up on myself. I lost my way. I stopped fighting. I forgot to care. I packed my shoes in the back of the closet and pretended they weren’t there.
There isn’t really one specific thing that shoved me into the pit. In the beginning of the epic world shut down, I was still committed to moving. I walked daily, I signed up for virtual 5K races. I laced up my shoes and put in the time.
As the weeks of lockdown slipped into months, and the months slipped into over a year, I just… I don’t know… stopped. It wasn’t that long until I forgot about it altogether.
Virtual races are frustrating. There is no race party. No one to cheer you on. No competition to set your sights on. No community. The races were just me and my Apple Watch trying to set some sort of pace and having a snack at the end… if I remembered to bring it. I was just paying money for a shirt and a medal that I didn’t push myself for. So I gave up.
I used to race with others. I had friends that wanted to join in and acquaintances that I met over the two years that I was racing regularly. It was fun seeing them, and finishing some of the course with them. But they got better and better, and I didn’t. My race friends started finishing long before I ever made it to the turn around. It started to become embarrassing and I didn’t want to let them down or hold them back. So I gave up.
It got hot. I hate training when it’s hot. I get all chafed and sweaty and angry. Then it got cold. I hate training when it’s cold. I can’t feel my toes and I have to layer too much and my nose runs. So I gave up.
I let people get it my head. A fat girl shuffling was not a legit racer. Half the time the race was shutting down and most people were gone when I crossed the finish line. I felt the groans and eye rolls. I could hear the patronizing “bless your heart” and “good for you” called out to me… and it was humiliating. So I gave up.
The loneliness and frustration and stress of the past year pushed me into a dark place. I was sad all the time. I cried a lot. I didn’t feel like moving. Moving stopped making me feel better. So I gave up.
Racing was never about winning anything. I wasn’t doing it to try to impress anyone. It wasn’t about losing weight or being buff or having some sort of incredible body at all. I simply did it because it made me feel better… like I cared about myself.
I don’t want to give up on moving. I don’t want the two years I spent racing to be just another wild idea I tried and gave up on. I don’t want it to be something else I spent time and money on…once upon a time. I don’t want it to become piano lessons, or journaling, or blogging, or tap dancing. I want racing to be something that I do for the long haul. I want it to bring me joy.
There is only one way out of the pit I have created for myself. It’s the way I started in the first place… one heavy, sweaty, lonely step at a time. It won’t be easy, but I owe it to myself to try.