Saturday, January 10, 2009


I've gone and done something slightly mad. I signed up, this morning, for the Portland Marathon. I have never run a marathon in my life, so what possessed me to think it was something I could or even should do?

I have always had body-image issues. In my teens and throughout most of my 20s, I was too skinny. Now, before you think "Oh, boo hoo, Olive Oil", my sisters and I can tell you that being too thin is just as painful as being too heavy. In high school in the early 80s, leg-warmers were in. I got some and wore them UNDER my levis (pulled aaaallll the way up to my crotch) in order to make my legs appear less stick-like. I did not wear shorts in public until I was 20 years old and then only because I was in a foreign country where I didn't know anyone. My oldest sister has NEVER worn shorts in public and she is 52. I was actually called Olive Oil by certain mean-spirited people, and I HATED it. I once had a girl corner me in the bathroom of a bar, when I was 21, and DEMAND that I admit to being anorexic. If only she knew how desperately I wished I weighed 10 or 20 pounds more.

Then, in my late 20s, my wish came true. Suddenly, I started gaining weight. Friends who'd known me all my life could NOT believe that I was no longer a string bean. I know they secretly LOVED it. And I did too, for awhile. I actually liked having boobs and curves in places I'd never had them before. For the first time in my life, I felt like a woman instead of a 11 year old boy. I had always been a size 4...and then I was briefly a six...and then and 8...and now I'm a pretty solid 10. For awhile I was pretty comfortable in my skin, feeling like a "big girl" and being ok with it. But I'm not anymore. I am sick of putting on clothes and feeling like they look a size (or two) too small. I am sick of looking at darling clothes (like the ones in my post below) and thinking: "If only I were a couple sizes smaller, I would buy that and it would look great on me!" My thought-process now, when shopping is "Will that hide my stomach?" And I'm sick of it.

I went from feeling too skinny to look good in clothes, to feeling too heavy to look good in clothes. I have never been truly happy with or in control of my weight or my body, and it's time.

Last night David and I went to dinner with our friends Sarah and Carla. Carla is on a very strict "eating plan" and she has lost 120 pounds in the past 2 (I think) years! She is so cute; she brings a little scale to restaurants, orders a plain chicken breast (NO sauce or oils) and a side of steamed vegetables. Then she whips out her scale and weighs it all and eats only her allotted portion. I KNOW that I do not have the discipline to diet, and so before I get to that point I need to get moving. Anyway, at dinner, Carla and Sarah were telling us that they are going to do the Portland Marathon; they are going to walk it. And so, after I'd had a glass of wine (or two) and I got fired up and declared "I'm going to do it too!"

I have been an off and on runner my entire life. I actually LOVE to run. But I enjoy it only outside; I can not stand gyms or treadmills. I have run a few 5ks in the past and I do better at sticking with it if I have a goal such as a race. So a couple of times a year I'll start running for a week..or two...maybe three...and then I stop because my hips hurt, or my knees hurt, or I have a cold, or it is snowy get the picture. If there is one thing I excel at, it's QUITTING. I am a champ. I can't tell you how many unfinished sewing and knitting projects I have in my sewing room.

But this has to be different, and that is why I am announcing it to the world, to be accountable.


And along the way I am going to get fit and healthy and I hope to stop having the reoccurring dreams where I am so weak that my legs don't function. I am going to show my daughter what it looks like to set a goal and achieve it. I am going to lose weight and I am going to feel good about my physical being for the first time in my life.

And so I need all of you to hold me accountable and ask me how my training is going so that I stick with it.


PS. It's time for another edition of "Celebrities: WHAT were they thinking??" Head on over to Hair Thursday to read my post there.


jpogue said...

You go girl and I'll be right there watching you come across the finish line! I remember running in highschool for PE and mom had to tell them I couldn't do it anymore because I lost weight when I ran. So, I guess I won't be joinging you(well leave that to Heather and maybe Jake), but I'll sure as hell be standing there cheering you on!

Anonymous said...

Dang, now I guess we really better start that lunchtime workout thing, because I've publicly announced that I'm doing Las Vegas. See you Monday, running shoes in hand!

kate said...

Laura, really?? When is LV? And WHY LV?? I was going to invite you to do Portland with me.

Ok, sister. Monday it is!!

Dee said...

Forget the running ! It is too hard on your joints---knees, hips etc. Hard pounding is bad.
However, I've heard, fast walking is so much better for you and will accomplish the same thing.
I know, my advice is just meaningless, but check it out, and then do what you want to----as always. ! signed, Smarty Pants

Fancy Schmancy said...

That is an amazing goal! Good for you, I'll be on the bloggy sidelines, rooting you on, while eating a bag of chips and drinking a vodka martini, of course!

Blank Girl said...

Were there no marathons in Spokane? Why Portland? Why not Boise? We have a marathon in November (The Great Potato Marathon) -- or that other famous and challenging race that someone you know ALWAYS runs (ROBIE CREEK!). Do they serve beer and twinkies halfway through the Portland one? :)

It is tempting to run this with you, though... Where are you staying when you get there? A hotel?