I have been thinking for a while now that I might have to venture out onto the track and do some running there. I have actually been thinking about this since I wrote about my late night attempts at running, in the dark, so no one will see me. However, I never spoke it out loud until the other day. It is amazing how speaking something out loud makes a dream or vision that much more real.
So yesterday, I tried it and I decided to hold my head high and look around me as I did it instead of avoiding eye contact.
What an incredible time!! I walk/ran for 2 miles yesterday! I ran slower than I do on the treadmill, but I was trying to make it the whole way around the track before stopping as opposed to running a maximum of 1 minute, but still, I did it!
Here is what I noticed. When on the treadmill, it appears that no one really notices you except maybe the 1 or 2 people to your right and left. Outside of that, you are just one of 50 people lined up on the machines. However, those machines face the track. I run along the perimeter of the basketball courts, for all to see. Past the free weight and stretching areas which have mirrored walls, so even if one is not facing the track, they see what is happening on the track. Then there are all the runners and fast walkers who pass me too. There is much more exposure on the track than on the treadmill. Which means more attention.
One lady ran up next to me, and at this point I was nearing the end of a lap and had my head down, simply because I was concentrating on keeping one foot in front of the other, playing a mental game to keep running the final yards til I could walk again. Anyway, she ran up next to me, put her hand out to get my attention and when I looked up she smiled and gave me the thumbs up sign and moved on. Huh. That was different.
Another guy was leaving the “meathead area”(where the muscle builders hang out) and he was heading out to walk the track. He smiled and nodded at me as I ran past him. Then as I came around again, he had gone to the stretching area. Every time I passed him, he looked up at me and smiled. Huh. That was different.
In fact, I noticed several people as I looked around looking up at me, smiling and deliberately making eye contact with me. Now I don’t know their stories. Maybe some of them are former fatties trying to send some vibes of encouragement my way as Jason posted about on his blog. Maybe there were some that were amused at the sight of a 300+ lb woman attempting to run…or maybe there were some that were just encouraged that if “she” can do it, then I can too. Who knows. All I know, is I was encouraged to keep circling that track despite burning legs and lungs.
Today, I went again. I did Pilate’s in the morning, followed by a 2 mile run/walk. Then went to spin class tonight where I fully believe the instructor was punishing US for HIS week off, but that is another story. After a bit of a break where I talked to Coach, I decided I had enough in me to at least run/walk 1 more mile. Plus I kinda wanted to show off what I could do. Hadn’t been to the gym with him in a bit so this was new to him too. Oh what fun to actually run with someone!!! He ran/walked with me (except he skipped the last lap-WIMP!). Now you all don’t know this man I have taken to calling Coach, or most of you don’t, but he is a man that stand 6’5 and runs somewhat fast, comparatively to me anyway (he wouldn’t say he is exceptionally fast though). I am 5’7 and have 100 lbs on him. But besides weight and time spent running or physical fitness levels….his legs alone could out pace me simply by walking while I ran. So it was somewhat comical to see this man shorten his stride by half, then half again so he could match mine and not pass me. However, I had no oxygen to spare for such luxuries as laughter, so I tucked it away in my head to laugh about later! All in all, it was fun to run with him and to have him counting down how much further we had to go. Normally I am playing the mental game of telling myself…one more corner, just this section of weights, only 20 more paces….but instead he did it for me! So fun! Oh how I will these men in my daily life!