Thursday, January 10, 2008

Caution: Fat Girl Running

This is what a fat girl looks like before her run! I was pretty proud of the fleece. Light weight but warm, and best of all, on sale. I was trying to get H to bring it on but he feared my wrath.

So the fat girl is running, and loving it. I have always loved to run. I love being alone. I love having music blaring in my ears. I love the feel of the ground everytime I hit down. I love feeling the wind. Today, I ran in the rain, and I loved the feel of the rain. If I could capsulate freedom in an action, it would be running.

I stopped running in high school. I was on the cross country team. I loved it. Running in the woods is amazing. But...I was slow...really slow. And of course my team hated it. And someone took me aside and suggested that I needed to lose some weight because the extra weight was making me slow. I quit the team the next day. No one, including the coach, encouraged me not to . I went to the meets for awhile but it was kind of painful to watch. I believed fora long time that fat people just couldn't run. Everyone I saw running was always thin. The girls who ran track and cross country were always these tiny little things. The big girls played field hocky.

I didn't run for a long time. I rode my bike a lot as an undergrad. But I didn't run. Until I went to Mexico. H and his parents run at a park called Los Viveros. The first time we went I was assuatled with images. The venders with their wares, sneakers, sport's bras, shorts, tank tops, laid out on blankets. The fruit sellers, the peanut sellers (peanuts for the way overly friendly squirrels). H and I used to stop and get a coffee from this great shop, El Jarocho that had these huge sticky doughnuts. What I loved/hated about the place where the millions of bees that buzzed in and around the place. It was a slight terrifying adventure to venture in to get your coffee. But it was worth the terror. We'd leave with steaming cups of strong, sweet coffee, and huge chocolate covered doughnuts.

The first time we stood drinking our coffee and watching the runners, I realized that a lot of them were kind of fat, like me. At first, I started walking. We'd wheel Umberto around in his carriage, playing around on the side paths, taking pictures, looking for cara de ├▒ino bugs. But I was watching those big people run. No one acted offended. No one laughed or commented on how slow they were because some of them weren't slow. In fact, a lot of the thin women were much slower than the fat women.

Within a few weeks, I began to run. I loved it. This time it didn't matter if I was slow. No one cared. I didn't run against anyone but rather ran just because I loved it.

I don't know why I didn't keep running once back in the U.S. I think it was that shame about my fat. But I started to pay attention to who runs here in Charlotte. There are a lot of fat runners in Charlotte. I started off in quiet...running in my home. Then I ventured out onto a secluded trail not used by many. Next I ran a more populated park, and took encouragement when meeting a seasoned runner, and who nodded at me as I belonged there too. Today I ran on the street for the first time. I made a conscious decision to not spend time worrying about what others would think. I ignored the cars, and concentrated on the pavement.

And as the rain poured down, I wanted to laugh, and I found I had this huge smile on my face. The faces that looked back at me from the cars were filled with sort of admiration but also that "What a crazy person" look. But I didn't care. I wanted to yell "Hey this is what it looks like when a fat girl runs. This is freedom. This is a fat body moving so get the hell out of my way." And today I realized that this running was freeing me.

The fat girl exhausted by her run...note child doing stretches in the back...


Lolabola said...

ah running, I love it too. you sum it up perfectly in that second paragraph.

unfortunately my knees no longer love running and I do love my knees. a lot.

Lolabola said...

also I hate that you quit the team and no one thought to encourage you not to. terrible.

Erica said...

You're not fat! But I do get what you mean. I also should be doing something about my body. I would love to fit some exercise into my schedule, but I don't think it is possible this semester. At least, I'll try to change my diet.

Erica said...

I agree with lolabola. And how rude of them to make such a comment.

Ginger said...

I say fat girl with a great deal of affection now:) It's all part of my not dieting mentality that I'm learning to embrace LOL But thank you. And no I'm not nearly as fat as I always thought was. And yeah it was pretty rude. Looking back it was so stupid as our team sucked period with me and without me:P

Jess said...

Wow, I'm always impressed with runners! It's so cool that you enjoy it! :)

K said...

You could have run on my cc team in HS. We had runners of all shapes and sizes.. and we were quite good despite only have 10 girls on our team.
Also, you certainly don't look fat and you most definitely belong out there with all the other runners. Good luck!

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