In one of my running groups today someone commented that a family member was giving them a hard time because of their slow running pace. I felt sad for that person, because I know how it feels to work really hard for something and then have someone stomp all over it. Then they said what their running pace was and I felt even worse, for different reasons.
The pace that was "really slow"? Is about 45 seconds faster than the pace I'm currently trying to work up to. Note I said "work up to". I'm not there yet. Right now? I'm not even at a pace they consider slow. Not just slow, but REALLY slow. I'm even slower than really slow.
I thought about tonight, while I was out out on my run. I think a lot while I'm running. I wear headphones because I use a intervals app and it periodically shouts at me to do things like go faster and walk and go faster again and cool down (there is never enough of the cool down), but I don't listen to music. I think. I try to breathe, and I think.
I'm in the place that I call the in-between. It's not a particularly unpleasant place, but just feels unfinished.
I used to call it maintenance. I guess it is maintenance.
I hate maintenance.
I mean, I don't. Not really. I am glad to be where I am, honestly. Many, many times it felt like I would never get here, but yet I'm sitting in downtown here. Population: me.
That's the thing though, that's the hardest about maintenance. It's not very exciting and it's very, very lonely.
I remember when I did a 5k in 55 minutes a few years ago and I was SO, SO proud of this and posted about it on Facebook. All the comments were super kind and supportive and I swear to God at the time I thought 55 minutes was really good. When I first started I struggled with 20 minute miles. I finished in less than a hour! I was a freaking rock star! Let me tell the world!
I'm embarrassed by that now. Well, I'm kind of embarrassed. I now understand that 20 minutes is a slow walking pace, at least for people who don't carry around an extra 200lbs but...I mean, we all start somewhere, right? It's okay to be a beginner. It's okay to start from one place and then keep getting to the next place. I get this. I know it.
No one cheers for a 40 minute 5k though. No one cheers that I've been the same weight for the last 18 months. No one is interested in maintenance. It's not very exciting. It's not sexy. It's not full of triumphs. It's just...life.
I would argue that's completely, 100 percent okay, because you really aren't supposed to lose weight so your 2000 Instagram followers will be inspired. You are supposed to do it for yourself and that's it.
Is it nice to have the extra support? Of course it is. Is it necessary? Absolutely not.
So then you do it. You hit your goal weight and everyone cheers for you. No dancing girls in bikinis or bros who lift show up to throw you a peanut butter parade, but you get the idea. You've succeeded. You are the victor.
Welcome to the rest of your life, kid. It's about to get a whole lot harder.
This part legitimately makes me laugh because, you guys? I seriously thought losing 210lbs was the hardest thing I would ever do.
The hardest thing I've ever had to do was not regain those 210lbs and then 50 more on top of it to make up for all the brownies I haven't eaten in the last three years. To not faceplant in cheesecake. To not drown my sorrows in pints of Ben and Jerry's. Jason and I were at the store the other day and he said, "Look they have Chubby Hubby!" and I swear to frog I bolted down the aisle as though the mere existence of that delicious peanut butter-pretzel filled creamy goodness would cause my thighs to explode.
(Jason was bewildered and said, when he caught up with me, "They also have Phish Food" in kind of a sad voice. Then I felt like a bad wife. Then later that week he told me had lost 11 pounds because he didn't eat lunch twice last week so frankly, he can suck it)
Maintenance is no fun. For real.
So I'm in-between.
I think it's all just a head game, honestly. If I say in maintenance that feels like saying I'm in drudgery and sadness. If I say, "I'm in-between" it feels less scary. Like, it's still not fun really. No one is cheering me on from the sidelines anymore and I've ceased to be that inspirational fat girl slogging her way around the track (not that I wanted to be that either because that feels really eww). Now I'm just "normal" and while that is delightful in many ways, it also feels, as I mentioned, really unfinished.
If I say I'm in-between think of all that could mean. Really, like a million things. It still feels unfinished, but it doesn't feel bad. It just feels like I'm still deciding. I don't know what I want to next, I'm still deciding. Maybe I'll start lifting really heavy weights. Maybe I'll start doing Crossfit and learn how to stand on my head and whatever. Maybe I'll just start doing yoga and obtain some inner peace. Maybe I'll finally get to a 12 minute mile, which is all I wanted anyway. You don't know!
Neither do I.
I'm figuring it out though. I'm working on it. One day, one run, one meal, and one minute at a time.