I've been training for a marathon. As of this afternoon, I've officially covered 100 miles in my marathon training program. I'm in my seventh week of training. My longest run so far has been 10 miles. When I train, I take a two-minute walking break every three miles.
I'll admit that when I started the program on January 27th, I had some mistaken expectations. In particular, I was expecting to have lost more weight by this point. When I started the program, I weighed 158 pounds. I'm 5' 6 1/2", by the way. I now weigh 156 pounds, which gives me a BMI of 24.8. Anything in the range 18.5 - 24.9 is supposed to be healthy, so I guess I'm at a healthy weight. Up until now, I had been calculating using a height of 5' 6", which gave me a BMI of 25.2, so I guess that extra half-inch really does make a difference.
I know that this is a marathon program, not a weight-loss program; the goal is to to be able to run 26.2 miles on May 31st, not to lose weight. But I guess I thought that weight loss would be a more evident side effect. To be honest, I thought that I was going to look really good when I got to here, the 100-mile mark. The fact is that I just don't really look any different. I have flabby arms, love handles, and a very big waist compared to the rest of my body, just like I did on January 26th. My legs look good, but they looked good on January 26th, too.
This is not to say that there haven't been changes to my body. My thigh muscles are getting to be rock-hard. The backs of my thighs are firmer than they used to be, and there's slightly more muscle definition in my calves. My resting heart rate is about 64 -- I'm not sure what it was before, but I know 64 is supposed to be good. And a three-mile run, which is a staple of the training program and which was once a considerable effort for me, now feels almost effortless.
But I'm still frustrated over the way my body looks. Or, more specifically, I'm frustrated over society's reaction to the way my body looks. When I went to the Underwear Ball a week and a half ago dressed in skimpy lingerie, I got a lot of "Wow, I'm so proud of you for wearing that" and "Good for you" and that sort of thing. One girl saw me and said, "Yes, you have a body like mine" and gave me a hug -- as if to say that she was glad that someone else was there with a similarly flawed body. What the fuck? When I tell people that I'm training for a marathon, their eyes inevitably run over my body. They sometimes say things like, "You mean a half-marathon?" or "Are you walking it?" Um, no. It's a marathon and I'm running it. Why do people have to be so condescending?
As I sit here, thoughtfully poking at the rolls in my stomach and trying to decide whether I want to write about this on Plans, I wonder how many other women athletes there are who are frustrated and pissed off because so many people misjudge them based on their looks, rather than on their actual ability.