February was especially challenging because I was working almost every bit of my free time preparing for a pretty big exhibition of my work (a two-person show with fellow artist Patrick Robideau, whom I greatly admire). All my focus went to that, and my eating suffered and my training suffered – but, I still hung on the edge of the cliff with the tips of my fingers. I am pleased to say that I got everything finished in time and that we had a stunning and very well attended opening reception last night. It was totally worth it.
Funny enough, a couple of the best things about last night were the comments I received not only about my paintings, but about my appearance and my fitness efforts (many folks read about my running on Facebook). Even though I've gained a little of what I've lost back recently, I still got a lot of positive feedback and I'll admit it, it made me feel good and helped cement the feeling that there is no way I want to go back to the way I was. Second, much to my surprise? Some photos that a friend took of me and Pat. I actually do not hate the way I look, and that is HUGE. I see progress despite my setbacks. I see the future and what I can be.
|Me and Patrick Robideau as the proud artists. Photos by Matt Kenny.|
|Looking like bad-ass artist-intellectuals. That's Pat's sculpture hanging to my left, and a couple of my paintings over by Pat.|
I mean, yes, I still have a ways to go. Maybe I still don't love my belly or my double chin. But those things are much improved. It's actually fun to see my whole body like this in a more casual, typical pose instead of my usual in-the-bathroom-at-work progress shot. These photos have done a LOT for my self-esteem. I'm pretty excited. It was the total icing on the cake of having a very successful art show opening and seeing our work come together in a beautiful gallery space.
Another recent photo was a nice surprise. My co-worker Kristen and I have agreed to meet before work every Thursday morning for "homework" runs. She's a lot faster than me so technically we don't run together, but we do hold each other accountable and we know we're around doing the same work, which is awesome (In fact, she is the fastest member of the group we're in, and I am the slowest!)
This past Thursday, she posted this sneaky photo on Facebook, which I loved.
|Kristen's selfie with me in the background!|
I was all like, "Hey! I almost look like a normal runner"! I know, using that terminology is problematic and is disordered thinking, i.e. what does "normal" mean and why is that assigned a positive connotation vs. me viewing myself as someone who is fat and runs? I grapple with this all the time, but in the interest of honesty, I am sharing my immediate reaction. I guess my point was that, again, the photo is one that allowed me to see progress in the shift of my physical state.
Long story short, I am gaining my confidence back. This morning I was happy to see that I was just a smidge into the 270s again, which is a big relief. Even better than that was that I crushed our five mile training run with NoBo! We were out there at 8am. Here's how I did.
|Vanessa later texted me to say that "FYI my watch had our average moving pace at 14:22 and total time (not including our break) 1h 11m!", so YAY!|
It had been my goal to complete the 5 miles in under one hour, 15 minutes, and I did it. Next weekend I will be all set and confident when I do the Shamrock Run, which is an 8K (5 mile) course! Really excited now that I know I can still do this distance. Even better was that this time around felt the best of all those I had done previously (I think about 3 or 4 times total – and the first time was brutal!!!). MOAR progress, baby.
I can do this.
This, of course, being the half marathon distance. I just have to trust the training. I have to do the work. And if I get back to losing more weight, it'll be easier and faster.
Really proud of myself right now.