This post started as a Facebook status but I’m longwinded so here we are.
This could be my story. My longest race was a 10k but I’m training for a Half-marathon in February. I know I don’t “look like a runner”…whatever the hell that means. This whole idea of fat acceptance just blows my mind. Why is that even an issue? If you want to run, run. People love to talk about how “you need to get fit” but apparently they just mean in a gym in a treadmill working towards THEIR idea of fitness. Better yet, you should hide while you exercise until you look thin enough to be able to exercise. Doesn’t make sense to me either.
Running was my escape when my dad was sick. I started doing races even before I knew he had cancer. My parents purchased a treadmill years ago. It was more of a clothing storage unit than an actual piece of workout equipment. There were intentions for it but it didn’t get much use. The good thing was that it was in my parents’ bedroom. Using the treadmill was my excuse to get my dad out of the room at first. This thing was loud! He has always been supportive so we would make deals. If he went to the sunroom, I’d have to run (or walk briskly and jog).
Eventually, he got too sick to keep making the trek from the bedroom to the sunroom. I took the treadmill to the sunroom and let him have his space. I couldn’t bear leaving the house. Besides, it was summer in South Carolina. My brisk walking turned into running. The feel of my heart beating was a welcome distraction. The music was a melody to my anxiety. The soreness made me feel alive. With each step, I thought about my dad. How he would encourage me to run when we’d go on walks together. How he’d tell me to get up at 5 am to get my day started. I cried on that treadmill as I envisioned the races I’d finish and how I wouldn’t have him to celebrate with.
I won’t pretend that running is easy. It is hard for me. I think about him with every step I take. I honor him with every race.