Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fat in a Box

I ran on Saturday.  After ten weeks of no running, I ran.  I raced the Chicago Hot Chocolate 5k.  I wasn't really sure I was actually going to run at all. The shin had been quiet for a few days, but it acted up  there the days before the race.  I was worried about running. But, the doctor did  tell me to do a light run before today's appointment.  So, I did.  I ran a 5K.  My legs ran.  My mind ran.  My heart ran.

I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome it felt.  Even though I was in a lot of pain, I was so happy.  To be on the run again.  Running from what?  Running to what?  I still don't know. But, running.

Today I went in for my ortho appointment.  I had more xrays done on my shin.  This time also on my spine and hip (aka, AK area for those in the know) to see about dics problems in my back that possibly could be causing my UBHA pain. Thankfully, the spine and hip looked good. 

The results are that I will continue to stay on Injured Reserve for awhile longer.  Apparently, the good old ortho doctor is not so sure it's a stress fracture after all.  He thinks it's taking WAY too long to heal. I agree.  So, his thoughts are now that it perhaps may be some type of tumor causing pain on my shin. Oh, yes, goodie.  He said tumor.  Before anybody freaks out, I am not freaked out.  Well, not yet anyway.  More tests to follow at 5 am Friday and then we go from there.  I'm pretty confident it's still a stubborn stress fracture.

I'm more freaked out that I still cannot run.  Ten weeks of no running is hard.  Hard on the soul that's for sure.  I need the run.  For me.  For my sanity.  For my body.

Running was always mental therapy for me.  Absolutely.  But, along the way of that journey my body kind of followed suit.  As I ran not only did I feel better mentally, but physically as well.  My body started to change.  Honestly, I didn't even notice it.  Not until people started making comments to me. Strangers even.  Telling me that I looked great.  It was weird.  Very odd in fact.  I wasn't used to this.  Remember? I used to be invisible.

It was hard for me to come to terms with the change in my body.  Honestly, I never really thought about how I looked.  I mean I thought about how I looked. But, I didn't see myself as a fat person.  I'm tall.  I'm used to people telling me I'm big.  But, I guess I didn't realize they were also referring to my size in general.  Honestly, I think I hid it pretty well.  Well, at least I thought I did.

Until I lost weight.  From running.  Sixty five pounds of running my ass (literally) off.  The weight was on for a reason.  To protect me.  It kept me safe.  (a whole other blog that may never be written) I was scared to lose that security. I didn't know that then.  I know it now. 
But, oddly, I felt good.  Felt good about myelf.  For the first time in a VERY long time.  The New Andrea.  It was nice.  People who know me would say I was always confident person.  But, it was a lie.  I was not.  But, I began to feel it more now.  Own it more.

People made comments.  I still get them.  The ones I get often are from people who haven't seen me in awhile, a year or so.  It's usually a stare, then, "Oh my God, you lost a ton of weight."  Of course all I hear is, "Holy shit you were a big fat pig"   Its embarrasses me.  Of the person I used to be. 

 But, then I see my friend Claire.  Who who owns her weight loss journey  like nobody's business.  When we ran into each other at the 2011 Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon medal engraving  our lives collided.  We had met earlier this summer at Chicago DoLife 5k .  When we met this second time we couldn't talk enough about running, social media, our running friends and how our lives had changed drastically through it all. She lost weight but still saw the fat girl of old.  I stood there before a beautiful woman full of confidence but not yet owning her beauty. I couldn't tell her enough to jump out of that box and own it.  All of it. Be proud of it.  Be the New Claire.

After our conversation, Claire become an unofficial #DoEpicShit  girl.  She earned it.  For sure.  I'm amazed each and every time I see her rock yet another race PR.  I had the pleasure of cheering her on for the  Chicago Half Marathon She looks phenominal and is now training for her first marathon.  One hundred and twenty five pounds and one year ago a different woman.  Now, a women possessed.  A beautiful strong women.

So when people tell me I look great I think of Claire. I still just stare at them.  I'm horrible with compliments  I don't get them often.  When I do, I don't know what to say.  I have to learn to accept them. I'm just so used to deflecting them.  Because I am not worthy.  Don't feel worthy of them.

I'm getting better though.  When they ask me how I did it, I tell them I run.  I didn't try to lose weight.  I ran for my sanity.  The weight was a by-product of that.  I get excited and try to get the person to run too.  I encourage them to sign up for a 5k.  I want them on my party train.  Choo-Choo!

Problem is this train is stuck in the station.  Not only am I mentally shot not being able to run,   I'm freaked out that I will go back to the old me.  The sad me.  The fat me.  The unworthy me.

I started 2011 with resolutions.  They were interesting ones to say the least.  But, the goal was to get me out of my box.  To stop living the life of the old me. Needless to say I skydived out of my box right out of the gate.  It felt good.  It was fun.  I was happy.

But, now here I sit.  Not running.  Still. 

I'm scared I'm going to crawl back in that box if I can't run.

 It's dark in there.

 It's lonely in there.

 I do not want to go there again.


  1. Andrea, I appreciate your raw honesty. When I met you on dailymile, I never would have guessed where your journey has taken you. I saw a beautiful, strong, determined, independant woman who had a way with words and an awesome sense of humor. An ex-swimmer turned runner... You caught my attention. I hate that you have been set back by pain and injury but I know you have the fight inside of you to prevail. I will continue to follow you on your journey because I believe there will be a great outcome. You are an inspiration and you are more than worthy!

  2. You are the beautiful person you can't see. But rather than acknowledge it you shine a light on others and their successes. But you are that person too, capable of so many things. Unfortunately your test is a little longer than others, the setback a bit more painful than others. Some people get busy and let life lead them astray. You on the otherhand know exactly what you have to lose. Don't let go.

  3. Read Logan's comment again, cause that is what I wanted to say. You are amazing Andrea. No box for you!

  4. You can do this. Use whatever you need to to keep yourself out of that box. Remember how much effort it took to finally kick that thing to the curb. Keep an eye on the future and treat this as part of your training. Read, study, and dive into the sport that keeps you sane. It will be hard. But you can survive. You can do this. You WILL do this.

  5. The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest

  6. This post is beautifully written, sincere and brave. I think you are already on the right path by just being aware and courageous enough to tell the world. I love the video and song, great share all around!

  7. Hi Andrea, we "met" at the fitblog chat the other day. Of course I'm always interested in meeting new people and reading blogs so I came over here to see what you are about. I have to say at first onset, we have something similar going on but our stories are a little different (that makes no sense but bear with me). I'm not a fast runner. I'm not a great runner, but it's been the best therapy I've ever had in my life (and trust me, I've had a lot). I had a knee injury and was told in June I couldn't run for 3 - 6 months. Stupidly I've never cried harder in my life (well, maybe once or twice). And I've been floating around, being half-assed ever since. I don't have the go ahead from my physio yet, but I started up again last week. I HAVE to. I don't want to go back to that place. I can't. I need to just do it now. I plan on telling the physio this afternoon at my appointment. I've learned what I need to do and now I need to do it to stay away from that dark and lonely place.

    It's good to meet you - We don't have to ever go back! Plenty of people to support you in that!

  8. Andrea, I think you are PHENOMENALLY, inspirational, for what out is worth. The fact that you have the courage to face all of this head on speaks VOLUMES about your character. I am sending LOTS of love and prayers to you, my friend!