Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reality Check

What a day yesterday was. I am still recovering physically and emotionally. High highs, low lows, but most importantly: a reality check.

It wasn't brutal or disheartening, as reality checks sometimes are. I simply came to some realizations that I should have come to months ago. That's not how it generally works, though.

I stepped way out of my league yesterday.

The Survivor Race was not intended for middle-aged fat chicks -- no matter how fit they fancy themselves to be. I am glad I did it. I rose to every challenge and only ultimately failed one. I felt a little bit like Seegar in An Officer and a Gentleman when she just couldn't make it over the climbing wall. As I hung there -- right at the top, but unable to make it over -- I actually flashed to that. It didn't ultimately defeat her, but she had a little more time than I did to conquer it. Tom played the Mayo role, offering encouragement and help and not allowing me to judge myself too harshly when I ultimately failed.

Tom was amazing.

He took every challenge easily and helped me when I struggled.

When the two of us hit the finish line last, he stepped back and let me cross it first.

We had talked about it going in. His goal was to complete every obstacle. My goal was the same as it is in every race: Not last and not lost. For the first time in my life it looked like I wasn't going to reach that goal. But he didn't allow it. He stepped back and crossed behind me -- claiming last for himself and allowing me to hit my goal.

I do not have any words to describe how loved I felt in that moment.

I've been grunting and howling and posing like I'm some sort of fitness success story.

I am very very very much not.

That realization could have been tearful and painful, but he transformed it into a moment of unselfish love. My smiles at the finish line were genuine. Not because I'd finished. Not because I'd attempted every obstacle and failed only one, but because I felt, in that moment, the depth of my husbands love. This race wasn't important to him, but he knew it was important to me. He didn't allow me to fail.

I am overwhelmed.

I win.

I have worked so hard in the past year. Tom, who does nothing fitness-wise, met every challenge. I struggled. There are just genetics and other circumstances at play here that cannot be denied. Am I in better shape than I was a year ago? Indubitably. Am I in good shape? Not even close.

Our visit to the Arnold Classic Fitness Expo sealed the deal. It was huge and crowded and loud. The energy was high. It is THE expo for fitness -- my thing, right? -- in the US. And I didn't belong there. I anticipated that moment Liv had when the Chicago TARDIS convention hit its stride. She was home. She was with her people. She nearly wept with joy. That didn't happen for me. Not even close.

I imagine I'm the only one who was even mildly surprised by that.

I will keep lifting. I love lifting. And maybe now I can get back to the love of it and away from the weight and fitness goals. I'm not going to be thin. I'm not going to be fit. I'm not going to be hot. But damned if I can't push heavy things around.

I have strayed from the low-carb lifestyle, but I will get back to it.

I am not an athlete, though.

No more competitions.

Just for fun races and events, maybe. 

Because fun is fun.

But no competitions.

I didn't cross the finish line last, but I earned last place.

Not fun.

I am not an athlete.

I could fill a book with all of the things that I am not, and that makes me sad.

I'm fifty years old. I should have figured out what I am by now.

I do know one thing that I am, though. 

I am loved.

I really am.

And maybe that is enough. It's more than many folks ever get to experience. In the long run, it's more important than finding a niche.

I write a little.

I knit a lot.

I lift.

And I am loved.

That's not so bad.

That's not bad at all.

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