On being an athlete…

Okay. Hard post to write, but lots to process, so here goes…

I really, really struggle with seeing myself as an athlete. I was a fat kid and have struggled with my weight and body most of my life. Even since I fell in love with running it hasn’t been easy, in fact it has complicated it even more in some ways. I’ll have spells where I’m good with myself and don’t give it a second thought, but ultimately I still see myself as a fat girl. By and large I’m to a point where I can say that I don’t care and mean it–I’ll run around the city in my sports bra because I don’t really care what other people think. If they don’t like my body they don’t have to look. They certainly can’t say anything to me that I haven’t said to myself a hundred times already that day.

This is one of the beliefs that holds me back the most, and it’s not something I can ignore, try as I might. A hundred times in a hundred different ways I’m confronted with the dissonance between my self-perception and reality. I reach for sizes or order race shirts that are too big because I can’t get it through my thick skull that I’m not as big as I used to be. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or see a picture and am caught off guard because it doesn’t match my usual self-critique. I frequently comment to my BRF that anyone who doesn’t know me wouldn’t think by looking at me that I work out at all, let alone as much and as hard as I do. He of course rolls his eyes and tells me (gently, of course) that I’m an idiot and to get over myself.

It is this very thing that smacked a little bit of reality into me a week or so ago. We have some new hires at work, and management does a little introduction game early on so they get to know us. The ice-breaker this round was Truth and a Lie. We had to present a truth and a lie about ourselves and see if they could guess which was which, without knowing us at all. So, armed with the belief that I don’t “look” like a runner, I said I was training for a 50-miler and have 2 dogs, sure they’d call the 50-miler the lie. They did not. Three people who have never seen me before and met me only moments earlier believed out the gate that I’m training for a 50-mile race. What the what?

So I’ve been wrestling with this demon for the past couple of weeks, trying to get my head around the fact my self-perception is so messed up. I know this is one of the things that holds me back as an athlete. I write myself off all the time, if only in my head, as being ‘pretty good for a fat girl’ or ‘kinda fast for a fat girl.’ But here I am training to run these crazy stupid distances and the unbelievable thing is the distances and why anyone would do that in the first place, NOT that *I* am doing it.

I’m working harder on shifting my self-perception to athlete. If people I don’t know from Adam can believe I’m an athlete, why shouldn’t I? I can honestly say that my keto-experiment (which I also need to update you on, but that’s another post) is coming from a pure place of athletic experimentation and not just an attempt to lose weight. I am LOVING this training cycle. I guess I just need to put it out there and be real about the ongoing struggle. One step forwards, two steps back. The little dance called life.

More soon, friends.

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