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No, I'll Never Look Back in Anger

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Yesterday I ran my fifth 5K.

What a strange thing to say, seeing as it was only two short years ago where I would have laughed at you, thought you were insane to suggest such a thing. Even last year at this time (after I'd already lost a good 100 freakin' pounds!), I would have thought, well, I can do maybe one. But five? In six months???

Oh, but there's more. See, once again, I set a new personal record. Now, I realize that a part of that is because the initial bar was set exceptionally low, but I'll still take it.

Okay, no, wait a second. Step back. Look back.

This is something I have trouble with, and I imagine a lot of other folks here do, too. We think, oh man, a compliment? How could that possibly apply to me? It's selfish. It's wrong. It's vain. It'll make other people feel bad. Yadda yadda yadda until we end up with just so much white noise buzzing as we minuet out of the way of anything good that anyone could possibly ever want to say about us, and that even means our own self-talk.

So let me try that one again.

My first 5K was run in one hour, four minutes and four seconds, back in May. Yesterday's was run in 38 minutes and 12 seconds, AKA about 39% faster, six months later. I had been hoping I would break the 40 minute mark this year and not only have I done that, but I've blown past it and instead have also broken the 39 minute mark. I'm running one more 5K before the end of the calendar year. Will I break the 38 minute mark? I dunno. I attribute a lot of my success to this time running for one song, then walking fast for another, then running again and so on. I went so fast that I didn't even make it to the finishing song on my playlist. It was a good running day for my husband, too, and our friend Thomas. We had a blast, as always.

There, now, that's better. Did lightning strike me for being oh so self-centered as to say that I achieved something? Of course not. Did the earth stop spinning on its axis because I dared to crow about something good? Tap tap tap I'm still waiting.

I have power, to be sure, but not THAT kind of power.

And you -- what have YOU got? More situps today than yesterday? Looser pants? More weight on the press-up machine? More steps on the pedometer? More errands run by actually running them rather than driving? Being able to say no to cake? Or at least say no after just one piece instead of two? Better choices at the grocery and the dinner table and the restaurant? More restful sleep at night? A happier day? Speaking the truth of these things out loud will not cause the sun to crash into the moon.

But above all, don't look back angrily at the old person. That was you, too, and you need to not just love who you are now but even love who you were then. Forgive that person in order to become the person you are now, and the one you can become in the future.

Every race is with ourselves. Every time I come down that track and I hear those people (this time, my number was 99, so I could hear people calling for 99), I hit the gas. Whatever I've got, I give it then. Sometimes I hit that pedal earlier than others. This time around, it was quite far back where I was jogging, and then I hit the gas pretty far back as well.

And in my own personal race, yesterday I came in first, and the October me came in second, and the September me came in a close third, and the July me came in fourth and the May me came in fifth and then we all stood and cheered and applauded and waited for the ones who never ran, for the 2008 me and, yes, even the 2007 me, even if it took her all day. She may not have been fast. She may not have been strong. She may have been filled with doubts and fears. But she had more courage than any of us, as she saw through to a murky end that was unknown but impossibly hoped for and wished.

One small change to today's song:

No, I'll never look back in anger
No, I'll never find me an answer
Can't be no warning how could I guess?
I'll have to learn to forgive and (NEVER) forget
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Surfed in... somehow... not sure how. But what an awesome blog! Thank you for posting it! Congrats on the new PR!
    4004 days ago
    That was fackin' amazing!!

    BIG applause to all of the YOU's that DID IT!!!

    4004 days ago
    You never fail to inspire me. Thank you. :)
    4004 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/10/2009 1:48:32 PM
    4004 days ago
    Wow, another great blog! Congrats on a great race and time. You are amazing. And thanks also for a very timely topic. I was thinking tonight about how I've improved my fitness and so forth and sort of lamenting the fact that I hadn't found Spark and made the lasting change sooner. But as you point out, it is what it is, and the person I was then is a part of me now. Thank you.

    4005 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4005 days ago
    I am so proud of you! You have such a way with words! And yes, I ate only one very small piece of cake today (how did you know???)...I REALLY wanted another, but I said no.
    4005 days ago
    Awesome post as always. You are an inspiration!
    4005 days ago
    Wow Congratulations on your 5K! This Blog was great, I really enjoyed the imagery!
    4005 days ago
    I don't have anger toward the old me. I feel kind of sorry for her. Sometimes I even pity her feelings of helplessness and hopelessness about her weight. She'd given up. There were too many other things going on in her life (and her mind) to focus on fitness and health.

    I just want to go back in time and hug her, and show her the size 12 jeans I'm wearing that i inherited from our big sister (who is also losing weight), and tell her not to worry, that it will turn out OK. That it's not too late to begin again. That she will be fit again in the future.

    Heck, I'd even go back to the old me of December 2, 2008 when I weighed 326 lbs and tell her those things.

    I don't know if she'd listen to me or believe me, but it would feel good to be able to go back there and try to tell her. The best I can do is tell her, now, because she's still very much with me.
    4005 days ago
    J, another GEM of a blog!
    I got all teary-eyed with pride for you and the imagery of all the you's lining up cheering you on! Absolutely fabulous!
    And congrats on the PR!
    4005 days ago
    Thumbs up on your blog, girlfriend! Love the "2007 & 2008" imagery...powerful. And even happier to hear of you holding the line! AWESOME success story...
    4005 days ago
    Wow. That was FABULOUS. Those lyrics at the end made me cry.
    4005 days ago
    Great job!!!
    4005 days ago
    wow this is beautifully written. I especially like the part about the loving and cheering for the "you" that was, and admiring her courage. Because she, of course, is now the you of today. I hope your blog finds folks that are just starting on their journey - one that may seem insurmountable. You are proof that it doesn't have to be.
    Congrats on your PR!!
    4005 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/9/2009 1:15:57 PM
    Great job. And wonderful blog. I love giving myself pats on the back. I think it's because my immediate family don't really give them to me - for my weight loss or running. (Now my friends gimme plenty - but my family? - they just sort of buzz along perhaps pretending not to notice - JUST like they pretended not to notice when I got big)

    I looked for an applause emoticon for this blog because I LOVE the pictures you painted and the set-up too. that image of all of the former selves lined up at the sidelines cheering you on at the finish line. WHat a fabulous visualization! I'm gonna steal that.

    I bet you'll get that 38 minute PB on your next one. ANd what a superb idea to run one song and walk fast the next. Great idea -I bet you invented that for your own use and it seems to have worked perfectly. I love it when we invent something and it spurs us forward. (I *thought* I invented the system of picking a goal pace speed and trying to run one minute longer at that speed every day or every second day, but alas after doing that to achieve a PB in my 10k time, I read about the system in Runner's WOrld. Huh? I was SURE i'd invented it. LOL)
    4005 days ago
    Ccongratulations, you are doing great!

    4005 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Don't just crow
    go up on the roof top and shout it to the world girfriend.
    You should be proud of what you have done.
    We sure are proud of you. You are an inspiration.
    You are the bomb!!!!!!
    I got excited for you just reading what you have done.
    4005 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/9/2009 11:56:20 AM
  • JLITT62
    Awesome job! And such sage advice.

    It's funny, I often think back to the me that hated living in VT all those years ago, now that I've been dragged back to the Northeast. I'm such a different now than I was then. Would the me of today hate it as much, or would today's me find the positive? I'll admit I'm glad I'm not actually in VT, so I won't completely have the answer . . . but we'll see how the winter goes!
    4005 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3248497
    emoticon on beating your previous time!!
    4005 days ago
  • NIKKIR123
    congrats!!!! Great Job!
    4005 days ago
    Now this is an absolutely beautiful blog. You are wonderful.
    4005 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4749243
    yup. that's it.
    4005 days ago
    Absolutley awesome! Great job!!
    4005 days ago
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