Hitting A Little Close To Home

It’s been a while since I’ve written in here so thank you for stopping by to read this. It’s also been several weeks with limited running for me thanks to the frozen tundra called Philadelphia,PA. Luckily the weather did break, the snow and ice melted and I was able to pick up with my training. The half marathon I’m running is 3 weeks away but more on that at the end of this post.

My main reason for writing this post is about an article that I read this week and a follow-up article on the same subject. Like many of you, I subscribe to different running blogs, groups, etc. on social media.  Here’s a link to the original article:

http://www.closeronline.co.uk/2014/03/to-the-fatty-running-on-the-track-this-afternoon-facebook-user-pens-surprising-message-to-overweight-runner

Basically, a Facebook user posted this on their status update:

“To the fatty running on the Westview track this afternoon:

You, whose feet barely lift off the ground as you trudge around the track. You, who keeps to the outside lane, footslogging in the wrong direction. You, who stops for water breaks every lap, and who would probably stop twice a lap if there were bleachers on both sides. You, whose gaze drops to your feet every time we pass. You, whose sweat drenches your body after you leave, completing only a single, 20-minute mile.

There’s something you should know: You f**ing rock.

“Every shallow step you take, you carry the weight of more than two of me, clinging to your bones, begging to be shaken off.

“Each lap you run, you’re paying off the debt of another midnight snack, another desser, another beer..

“It’s 20 degrees outside, but you haven’t let that stop your regimen.

“This isn’t your first day out here, and it certainly won’t be your last. You’ve started a journey that lasts a lifetime, and you’ve started it at least 12 days before your New Year’s resolution kicks in.

“You run without music, and I can only imagine the mantras running through your mind as you heave your ever-shrinking mass around the next lap. Let’s go, feet. Shut up, legs. F**k off, fat.

“If you’d only look up from your feet the next time we pass, you’d see my gaze has no condescension in it.

“I have nothing but respect for you. You’ve got this.”

   Ok, my mind almost exploded after reading this. How dare this person post this?  How should I feel about the last few lines of this post? Was this meant to inspire and be some kind of crazy high five? I wasn’t feeling the love that this person was trying to convey. And, I wasn’t sure how to feel or how to respond.

Then I read this: The response from the person this post was aimed at. It’s AMAZING!

Link to rebuttal:

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/inspiration-youre-doing-it-wrong-1540633035

Or read below:

“To the man who judged me on the Westview track,

I see that you wrote a Facebook status about my journey and me. It described me on the track and from what I gather it was supposed to inspire after a little insult. It went viral.

So let me tell you what I think of your post…

First off I would suggest you not judge me at all. You have my journey all messed up. My journey did not start twelve days ago. It started over a year ago. You see me at 300 pounds but what you do not know is I was over 400 pounds. You did not know this because I was embarrassed to run in front of other people. So I would come to this track when no one else was around. Sometimes I would go for a couple of minutes. Sometimes I would go for four minutes. It all started when I went for 48 seconds my first time running. Yes, I timed it. Yes I was upset. And yes, I promised it would never happen again.

When I was over 400 pounds and decided to make the commitment to change my life I would wake up and look in the mirror. I would find at least 100 negative things about my body. All the descriptions you made about me…I was even harder on myself.

Then after losing a few pounds I looked in the mirror again. I did not look at my body. I looked in my eyes. I saw determination and character. I saw a man who did not want to be an inspiration for others but one for himself. I was that man.

Your whole post insults me like no end. I do not eat midnight snacks or drink beer. You probably think all “fat” people do this. Well, we do not. I ate better than most at 300 pounds. In fact, I have not had a drink in well over 20 years.

I look down because I see you stare at me all the time. I do not want to give you the satisfaction of looking into my eyes. There are people who were supporting me all along. Not people who made up fictional parts of my life.

I also do not listen to music because I hear everything. I hear the laughter and I hear the snickers. They are never about me except they always are. I have been overweight my whole life. I have not had my blinders on for some time.

There are no mantras going through my head. When I run it is clear. I have no anger or happiness. I am there to complete a task. I am good at that.

You fooled people on Facebook but you have not fooled me. You do not have respect for my journey because you do not know it. I have told my story to thousands of people. I have been told that I have inspired many as well. Not because of the way I run but because of the person I am. Not because of my 200 pound weight loss but because of the words that I have had inside for years.

Many of us have been that person being judged and then twirled into some weird inspirational story. I was judged at the gym at 400 pounds. I was laughed at in Panera at 350 pounds. I was embarrassed at 300 pounds and honestly I was the same person at 195 pounds as I was at 420 pounds.

I tell people now that weight loss should not make you love yourself more. That is the mistake I made.

So next time you look at me on that track do yourself a favor. Look away. I do not look like I once did. I do not want to be your inspiration or your motivation.

I am a runner. I was a runner at 420 pounds and I am a runner today.

And runners do one thing.

They run. Not write about other runners.”

WOW!!!!!! I want to meet this guy and high-five him. AMEN! This guy nailed it. I love how he proves everything wrong about the original post. It sounds like the first post was set up to be one of those motivational stories but he was wrong.wrong.WRONG in the way he went about it. I was once a 300 lb. runner. And while I would try my best to run a mile or two I’d get the “encouragement” from other people on the street. Granted, it was all positive verbal encouragements like “Yeah! Push,man! You got this!” Ok, I know I got this. I’m not running a race. The real me should have stopped and said, “Oh thank you mister cigarette smoker for helping to encourage me to become healthy and fit!” Am I wrong for feeling this way? I know these people arent trying to be malicious or ill-willed.

When I’m out there running I often wish other runners would wave, smile or high-five me and each other. And when I’m not running and I see a runner I want to high-five them, as well. But why do I feel this way about this topic? It’s the generalization that this runner was given. Other people assume that we should “put down the chips and soda”, well, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had either and I weigh 260 lbs. I’ve even seen people who are serious weight lifters join our training group and while I can’t bench as much as them I’ve run circles around them when it comes to running laps. I do not want to make any more assumptions about this runner, but I’m sure there are the people in his immediate life who he has inspired. I hear that a lot from my friends and family but that is different because they have witnessed, first hand, what changes I’ve made and how far I have come.

In closing in on this topic, when you see someone running, just know that they are doing it for any number of reasons: weight loss, race training, getting rid of stress. And never assume. If you are a runner you know that while we enjoy running it’s almost always a struggle at some point. But we do it.

Back To Training

I’ve had a bit of a relapse with my training schedule but nothing that I cannot overcome. When I started it was 5 degrees outside and I was all proud of myself for getting out there in the cold and then we got buried in record snow, ice, and below freezing temperatures. I will get my ass to the starting line of this race, and while I may not PR I will run… and walk… and I will get my ass to the finish line.

Here’s a set of pictures from last week’s runs. Enjoy the view!

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4 responses to “Hitting A Little Close To Home

  1. Love this whole post. It reminds me of one i read a few weeks ago….a girl blogged about how a heavier woman showed up at her yoga class, and how she could feel that woman hating her for her thinness. I wanted to reach through the computer and slap her.

    • You should post that article. –ok, maybe not. Funny how the psyche works during workouts. I’m always in a world of sweat when I workout so I can’t be bothered by what I look like or others.

  2. Even with YakTrax this winter was tough for outdoor running. I’ve second guessed my half a million times today alone, but I always end knowing that the worst case scenario is that I stop and walk. Like you, I will cross that finish line. Good luck!

  3. Think spring…smile…and keep on keeping on, no matter what. You can do it and we will be there to cheer you at the finish line.

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