I was that girl in gym class who always got picked last for every team. 20 minutes into class, there I'd be, me and some other awkward, visibly NOT athletic kid would be standing, silently praying to either get picked next (at least I wasn't picked last) or spontaneously burst into flames.
Flash forward 25 years and I have redefined myself as an athlete. In 2005, I began the year wanting to run a 10K, but secretly adding to my very own Bucket List that I wanted to run a marathon before I kicked it. By the end of the year, after hours of planning and many, many miles of running, I had run the Philadelphia Marathon in just under 5 and a half hours (no walking, no stopping - except once to hit the port-a-potty at around mile 12). That experience was a huge turning point. It was the point I got Beyond My Stuff around being overweight, or unattractive, or old, or a girl. It was the point I released all those limiting labels and became ... an elite athlete. (Seriously - that's what it said on my Marathon Certificate.)
Once I had the label, elite athlete, I didn't want to let go of it. I made the decison that every year, I would run the 10-mile Broad Street Run in the Spring and a half-marathon in the Fall. That's what brings me to where I am today, laying in bed, blogging about the fact that in a little over 8 hours, I will be running in the Philadelphia Half Marathon, my third half-marathon. As I picked up my race packet (noting with a smirk that they still assume that of the two of us, my 6'2", 230 pound husband must be the one running the race), I walked with a little more strut in my Stuff, knowing that this is no longer a big deal for me, it is a tradition.
No matter what the scale says (and it happens to be pretty darn close to the 160s, I might add), I am an athlete. I fuel my body in a way that allows my body to function at maximum efficiency, and I strive to let go of excess fat so that I can perform better, not so that I'll turn an extra head or two (although I fully intend to do that, also). I order my race shirts in Medium, not Extra Large, because I'm now a regular-sized, fit, toned athlete.
Tony rocks. And I rock because although he gave me the guidance as to how to get to this place, but I was the one who followed it.
OK - I'm falling asleep. Pray for me, everyone. I cannot wait to come back and report that I ran it successfully (and in under 2.5 hours, if I have my way!)...