The Marathon Journey

I want to quit.  Although in the past two weeks I’ve had some of my best runs since I found out I was pregnant, there is a huge part of me that really wants to hang up this whole marathon dream and just give up.  I’ll pick it up again after I have the baby.  After I’ve lost the baby weight.  When I’m closer to my weight loss goal.  When it will mean something.

See, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to run this marathon because there is a part of me that believes there isn’t anything for me to feel proud of anymore.  For various reasons I’m sure I’ll blog about at some point, I’ve really been struggling with food and I’ve already gained quite a bit of weight.  I feel HORRIBLE about myself (what is it about extra weight that makes me feel so ashamed?) and I just want to bury myself under the covers and never, ever leave the house.  When May comes around, I’m not going to be the girl who lost a hundred pounds and ran a marathon.  I’m not going to feel all cute and athletic in my running outfit and I’m not going to feel like I’ve achieved any of my goals (what makes me forget that running a marathon IS one of my goals – and a huge goal to accomplish, I don’t know.)

But then tonight, after a really encouraging conversation with a friend, I realized that I DO have something to be proud of if I run this marathon, especially if I’ve gained 20 or 30lbs by then:

I’m going to run it while pregnant AND fat!!!  :)

(I should probably clarify that my friend didn’t call me fat – he was actually expressing to me how proud of me he was for various things, including running while pregnant.)

After our conversation I came to realize that while others may be proud of me, I haven’t been feeling proud of me, lately.  There is a LOT about this marathon I had tied into losing weight.  When I realized that not only were my weight loss goals unobtainable right now, but I’m actually working in the opposite direction and gaining weight steadily (and rapidly), the marathon became something I wanted to give up on.

This marathon was supposed to be a glorious ending to an incredibly difficult struggle and victory over my weight.  It was supposed to be the crowning achievement of all my hard work.  I realize now that although I love the idea of running for the pure enjoyment of it, the reality is that up till now, I’ve trained for the marathon for the sake of having a beautiful moment of closure to what has been an incredibly difficult journey.  It was supposed to be a turning point – defining who I was (and what I weighed… the two are unfortunately linked in my mind) forever after.  When I realized it wasn’t going to be what I had planned it to be, I didn’t want to do it anymore.

But here is what I saw clearly for the first time, tonight: it’s not about me becoming who I think I want to become.  It’s not about a moment of truth, or the brilliant ending to some incredible journey.  It’s about me being exactly who I am, exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing.  The marathon is part of my journey – whether I’m running while pregnant or nursing or menopausal, whether I’m at “goal weight” or wearing plus-sized running pants.  I pray that this is the first of many marathons (and maybe even ultra-marathons!) on my journey.  More importantly, I pray for the wisdom to see each stage of my life as another part of the incredible journey God and I and a bunch of amazing, wonderful people he has placed in my life are taking together. It’s all a part of the journey.

I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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7 Responses to The Marathon Journey

  1. tracye1 says:

    You. Go. Girl! That’s awesome. I remember running a 5K when I was pregnant and it felt great. I am reading a book called “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst, it’s about renewing our relationship with Christ as it’s meant to be and by removing all the cravings we sometimes fill that “God-shaped hole” with…food, smoking, drinking, etc. Pick your poison. It’s set up to be used as a bible study also. I am about 6 chapters in and I can NOT say enough about the Truth spoken in this book. Your battle with food is one many of us share with you and this book faces that animal head on. God bless!

  2. Thanks for this post, Rina Marie. When I read where you wrote: “See, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to run this marathon because there is a part of me that believes there isn’t anything for me to feel proud of anymore.” I know exactly what you mean even though I am neither pregnant nor a runner (but I’ve worked up to 3-miles everyday on a 4-mile walk DVD, does that count?–Working my way up to the full 4-miles). However, I’ve been unemployed for almost three years now and have had no income whatsoever since my unemployment benefits ran out last May. Well, let me tell you that I don’t want to run this “marathon” of a trial anymore either. I want to run away. I just want to know if anybody, out there, even cares anymore. I don’t want to keep facing another day of nothing… of fading hope. Even the Florida sunshine (where I live) fades under this weight. But then I have to remember (and it is so incredibly hard to do this after so many endless days, weeks, and months of going nowhere), that this race is not about me. It’s about Him. And that is what helps me face another endless day of fading hope. Well, some days are better then others. Guess I’m just having a “bad hair” day today. –Sara

  3. Patti Milam says:

    No matter what you weigh or how big you are, remember Jesus loves you. You need to remember that that baby needs nourishment that you probably don’t want to take in because you think it will make you gain more weight. Running and being pregnant is going to be a lot harder than just watching your weight while pregnant. The baby always comes first. You have to eat for the baby and you have to keep your strength up for running. That’s a double whammy.

  4. runitjojo says:

    I’m glad you experienced that wonderful revelation! Running a marathon while a human being is growing inside you isn’t something a lot of people can check of their “amazing things to do list” anyway, so you’re already amazing for not postponing this running event! And you’re also giving that baby of yours a chance to run her/first marathon along with you!! – that’s the way i look at it and i can’t wait to hear all about it:)

  5. Deanna says:

    Hi Rina,
    I find your writings to be very inspiring. I’m currently learning my way around maintaining my 70lb weightloss. Thank you for sharing. I hope that at some point I will be brave enough to commit to my BIG goal and actually take some action on it. For now I live in a bit of fear that I will put it all back on and actually shooting for something bigger is scary.

    • Rina says:

      Deanna, I’m currently trying to maintain my own weight loss, due to pregnancy making it impossible to lose right now, and I honestly think maintenance is harder than losing!!! Congratulations on your weight loss and even more congratulations on maintaining that weight loss!

  6. Jane says:

    Hi Gina, Congratulations on deciding to run a marathon and writing this inspiring blog (I read this cause I was so sad that I was slow when I was running now that I’m pregnant with my 3rd child and I’m contemplating on running the Gold Coast Marathon – although it’s right on my due date, so I doubt I’ll actually do it).

    A marathon is a great achievement, but I doubt it would be the end of the journey you were hoping for, pregnant or not. I have run a marathon and it is hard, although you should put in perspective that it can be slightly more exhausting giving birth naturally (both my experience and that of Amber Miller). The marathon is one positive event in the battle to make yourself fit, healthy, pretty, more lovable, stronger or whatever. Don’t give up on losing the temporary, “diet”, “there is an end” attitude and adopting more of a “it’s my lifestyle” kind of attitude.

    At the end of my last marathon the person who helped me through it said, “tomorrow you should recover with a spinning class”. You’ve got to be joking I thought, but that’s the kind of attitude I needed to adopt to maintain the healthy lifestyle I had begun – so the next day I rode to walk (my legs were blue and I couldn’t walk, but I could ride, so I rode).