I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a runner. Not because I “wasn’t born to be a runner” (although I wasn’t), but because my husband became a runner first. I don’t think we can handle doing the same sport.
He’s a competitive runner. A week from today, he’s running the Chicago marathon. I started running 4 weeks ago. At this point, I can still speed walk faster than I can run (if I want to maintain that speed for a respectable distance). Training for a marathon takes a ton of time and many, many miles. Since running is basically his whole life right now, apart from work and family, he talks about it a lot. He reads books about running. He watches documentaries about running. He reads Runners World cover to cover every month. He knows “everything” about running and he likes to share his knowledge. But I HATE talking about workouts. If you ask me how my run was, the most you’ll get is “good” or “not so good.” I think this is why the running has lasted 4 weeks. I refuse to talk about it, so I don’t say things about running that he considers insanely obvious or really dumb.
The first two times I ran, he told me he was proud of me in the same tone of voice he tells Meg he’s proud of her. It was a bit condescending, but I KNOW he didn’t mean it that way. I didn’t take offense to it, because I knew he was genuinely proud of me for doing something I’d always thought I couldn’t.
Then last week, I mentioned the Cou.ch to 5.K was going good, but that I was not going to be able to run a 5K by the end of it. I’m slow. By the end of the 9 weeks, I’m sure I’ll be able to run for 30 minutes. But those 30 minutes will not get me anywhere near 3 miles. I wondered whether I should go back a week or two in the training and start running the suggested distances instead of the suggested times. Like this week – it said Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes). I’ve been doing the times, but I don’t run anywhere close to ½ a mile in 5 minutes. So he said something like, well, if it takes 5 minutes 30 seconds then just do it. Don’t stop at 5 minutes. When I told him how long it actually takes me to run a half a mile (8 minutes), he looked completely disgusted. I know it was involuntary. He can run a whole mile faster than I can run half a mile. Pretty much EVERYONE can run faster than that. I bet you FORREST GUMP runs faster than that. Who wouldn’t be disgusted? He would never tell me I suck at running, but I suck SO BAD, he can’t even hide his shock. Its not exactly encouraging.
Right now, he’s comparing himself to professional runners. He thinks he’s really slow. He hasn’t yet run a race fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He doesn’t always finish at the top of his age group. In his mind, it doesn’t get much slower than he is. But he’s in a league far above my own. I’ve only been running for 4 weeks. He’s been running for over 2 years. I don’t think its at all fair to compare. (To be clear, I’m not saying he IS comparing – he tries not to, but its almost impossible.) Yes, it took me 8 minutes to run half a mile. But that was the first time I’d ever run half a mile without stopping in my entire life. Can’t I get something between condescension (Yay! You did it! said in the same tone of voice you’d use to talk to a one-year-old) and disgust (are you sure you can’t run faster than that)?
I’m really considering quitting. I know I’m a fat girl who can’t run worth a damn. But until a month ago, I hadn’t worked out since October 2008, when I got hit with morning sickness so bad I couldn’t walk from the apartment to the car without throwing up, let alone continue my (kick-ass) workout routine. At least I finally got myself off the couch. I actually LIKE running! But its not worth it if running makes me feel worse about myself than I already do. My self esteem is kind of fragile right now. In general, I think it’s a terrible thing to be down on yourself about weight. Its unproductive. Either do something about it, or make your peace with it. I’m remarkably good at making my peace with it. It generally doesn’t bother me. But MY CLOTHES DON’T FIT. I am trying to do something about it. However, in the meantime, its hard to wake up every morning and realize your ‘fat clothes’ don’t fit. I can’t take criticism (even constructive criticism) on my running skills right now. Just leave me alone.
You know what helps when I’m “in a mood” like this? RUNNING. But I’m too scared to go. I’m worried some jerk is going to fly past me and make a derogatory comment about how slow I am. I know my own husband thinks I’m pathetically slow (despite his attempts to hide it), so I’m sure everyone else does, too.
I swear, if some troll posts “My four-year-old can run a 5K faster than you, you fat slob,” I’m shutting down the blog.