Monday, May 5, 2014

SoL Confessions of a Fat Athlete 5.06.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

All of my posts this week have something to do with my trip last week to Washington D.C. The purpose of my trip was to run the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in D.C.!

Fat.  Overweight.  Chubby.  Chunky.  Plus-size.  I hate all of those words.  But somewhere in them, lies me.  I prefer to think of myself as having a more "stocky athletic" build.  I am blessed and cursed.  I am cursed with my parents' bad metabolism.  I got the worst of both of them.  As a friend says, the only way I would be thin is if I ate nothing but lettuce and air.  And if you've ever had Chicago's Lou Malnati's pizza, well, lettuce and air are not happening!  But I'm also blessed with the ability to do endurance sports.  Swim long sets over and over again?  No problem.  Run for hours at a time?  Well, not fun, but yup, can do that.  

A couple of years ago I was on a hotel shuttle bus, leaving a wedding reception going back to the hotel.  I had a conversation with the driver and while making small talk, I told him I had run 20 miles that morning in preparation for a marathon.  His comment... "Really, you don't look like a marathon runner!"  Wow.  Thanks.

I train with two other girls who are significantly faster than me.  We train together, but when we run, I'm on my own.  I'm way too slow for them to run with me.  When plans are made to get together to run, I'm always left out.  Since I can't keep up with them, I guess I don't count.  I've even had one of them make little jabs at me about how slow I am.  My comment to them is that I get the same race shirt as they do and I get the same medal.  I'm not getting prize money, but then again, they aren't either!

This year I'm trying something different.  I'm going to attempt my first triathlon.  My "stocky athletic" build has to get into a tri-suit.  As long as I don't have to see myself in a mirror, I'll just pretend I look good ;)

I've run 3 full marathons and 11 half-marathons.

I love doing destination races.  My favorites are in Disney.  How can you not have fun in Disney?  (well, actually, the running from park to park is not fun, but running in the parks is a lot of fun!) I love finding new places to go to run and if it has a good medal at the end of the race, I'm all for it!

My point is, I know I'm not fast.  That's not my goal.  I set a realistic goal each time I start a race.  My goal is to always finish.  I always try to beat my best time, but I'm ok when that doesn't happen.  I'm doing this to stay fit.  I may not look healthy, but my heart is probably healthier than others.  I don't work at my goals one day, just on race day.  I work on them everyday, for months at a time.  And when I'm done with one race, I set my sights on the next.  

I think this is important to let kids know.  I work hard.  I work at it everyday.  When I accomplish something, I figure out what I'm going to do next.  I set realistic goals for myself.  I don't worry about who is first.  I pick to do things that I want to do, go places where I want to go.  When I hear negative comments, I don't focus on them.

We are all human.  Kids need to see that too.  We push them and we challenge them because we do it to ourselves too.  Kids look up to us.  I want them to see what I can do.

I try to tell my daughter these things too and help her apply them to her swimming.  She's a disabled swimmer but she swims with able-bodied kids.  We talk about what her goals are, what her times are, what she wants to accomplish.  I've talked to her about how I don't come in first, in fact I'm closer to then end of the pack than the beginning (she actually now often asks if I came in last place - see, I've made it into not a big deal, ha ha).  But I concentrate on my goal and work on accomplishing it.

I'm proud of myself.

I love getting pictures like these!  Plus it's a great excuse to stop running for a bit :)

Disney knows medals!

Finding my name on the Nike Wall at the Chicago Marathon expo.

Best medal ever!!!  I'll run 13.1 for a Tiffany's necklace!


  1. I think the Tiffany medal is truly awesome as I said before, Michele. You aren't skinny, but you look very fit to me, & running marathons, tri-athlons, and halves is also just plain wonderful. I'm proud of you, too! I've never been skinny, and weigh about the same as I always, always have. There are too many expectations surrounding us that make us want 'different', & it seems that someone has said something to you to make you feel like defending yourself. Don't! Just live your life and enjoy getting all those medals!

  2. Kudos to you for doing what you want to do regardless of what others see on the outside! You are a role model for all the girls!

  3. I wish you lived in Boston -- I would love to run with you. I too love running and run distance and could care less about my time. My running group is so supportive -- no one cares. If those girls don't want to run with you -- their loss!!! Keep running, keep setting goals, keep celebrating, keep believing in yourself -- no one else matters. Thanks for sharing and reminding us to share our goals with our students.

  4. I think you are wonderful for running these marathons! I have gained so much weight this school and trouble with my foot is NOT helping the situation. This post can so be related to the classroom as well with readers and their pace and goals. What matters most is that it is right for you! Congratulations on your running success!