Self Image

“You look like the athlete you are! :-)”

Like many of you I started exercising to shed some weight I picked up from 6 years of marriage and two babies.  I had never needed to loose weight before.  I had been lucky.  But in fall 2005 I went on Weight Watchers and started running.  I was 172 lbs when I started and my goal was 140.  Weight Watchers worked great for me (I did the CORE system, not the points) and in about 4 months I met my goal weight.  During this time I picked up running and subsequently fell in love with it.

Eventually the running for weight loss turned into running for pleasure which turned into running to do bigger and bigger  things.  I ran my first marathon in March 2007 and have since completed many half marathons, 5 marathons, three triathlons, and a half Ironman distance (70.3) triathlon.  But it wasn’t until today that I actually started to think of myself as an athlete.

I have always thought of athletes as people who were professionals, or born with some athletic gift, or super special talent.  That is not me.  I swam in high school for two years because I didn’t want to do PE.  I was on the crew team in college for a year but just because I thought those boats were so cool; eventually sleeping in was more important than 5:00AM crew practice.  So even though now I have accomplished some pretty big races I have never considered myself an athlete.  I hang out with athletes but I always have thought of them as different from me.  I couldn’t put myself in their group.

So the other day I stumbled upon a picture of me with my youngest boy when he was 6 months old.  I was shocked at how fat I looked (sorry to offend if I do)!  I never though of myself as being heavy back then but when you see this picture compared to me now, it is shocking.  So I posted it on the Dailymile I received two comments that really touched me.

Sarah said “You look like the athlete you are! :-)” and Stuart said, “yes, just what Sarah said…the inner athlete is shining through!”

Hearing somebody else say it really made it real.  I guess I am an athlete!  I can finally put myself in that group!

Before (February 2005)

After (February 2011)