Sometimes I do stupid things. Frequently I do things that aren’t necessarily stupid, but may seem very implausible given my current circumstances. One of the things that I have done several times over the past five years is sign up for races and events that I never complete. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve signed up for a sprint triathlon or a 5K or 10K with the hope that having that carrot dangling out there in the future would help me stay focused on my fitness and training. Frequently, it really seems like these are just pipe dreams–good ideas for someone else. A plan for someone with a different life and a different body. Someone who is more of a doer and less of a dreamer. Someone who not only wants to do those things but also believes she can.
Under the Tuscan Sun is one of my favorite movies. I love that the main character takes action and creates the life that she wants for herself. It doesn’t happen immediately. It isn’t without obstacles and times where she wants to throw in the towel and go back to what is safe, what is easy. One of my favorite scenes finds the main character, Frances, having a conversation with her realtor friend, Martini, while he is searching for a snake she saw come into her home through a window. Frances is frustrated with her home and her life in general. The exchange goes something like this:
Frances: “This house has three bedrooms. What if there’s never anyone to sleep in them? And the kitchen, what if there’s never anyone to cook for? I wake up in the night thinking, “You idiot. I mean, you’re the stupidest woman in the world. You bought a house for a life you don’t even have.”
Martini: “Why did you do it, then?”
Frances: “Because I’m sick of being afraid all the time and because I still want things.”“
The last time I watched the movie those lines hit me like a ton of bricks. My registering for these events (or buying gym memberships, or joining weight loss challenges, or buying exercise videos, or hiring trainers, etc.) is like Frances buying that house. I see them as the means to having what I want–an athletic, active, healthy body. But there are a lot of obstacles in the way and I often find myself staring down the barrel of an event that I signed up for and haven’t sufficiently trained for (because my body is like that house that was hundreds of years old–falling apart and in need of a lot more in-depth repair than one might think initially) and saying to myself, “You idiot! You are the stupidest woman in the world. You signed up for a race for a body you don’t even have.”
At the end of the movie Frances and Martini have another conversation wherein he points out to her that she got exactly what she wanted–just not in the way she anticipated. There was a wedding in that house…just not her wedding. There was a family in that house…just not the family she anticipated. There were people to cook for. There were people to sleep in the bedrooms. Buying that house for the life she didn’t yet have helped her achieve those things that she wanted–even if it was in a way that was different than she anticipated.
Back in January I signed up for yet another race, the Top of Utah Half Marathon. I thought that I would have plenty of time to train and this was just the incentive I needed to get me moving towards that body that I want. Well, two weeks ago I had my moment of reckoning. I could either just count this as one more failure and move along like I had so many times before, or I could do what I could do (which honestly does not look anything like I anticipated when I paid for that entry). I’ve been walking. Fast and furious. I will be doing the half marathon. I won’t be running. I’m not down a hundred pounds and able to run like the wind. But I can walk. I have been walking. And even if I am unable to finish that race, I will know that I started. I took a step in a positive direction.
I feel in my core that these past two weeks have put me back on that long track towards getting what I want out of my life in regards to my fitness. Because I too, “am sick and tired of being afraid and I want things.”
If you could all send out good vibes to me on the 23rd I would appreciate it. I’ll do what I can with what I have right now. It may mean I will finish in 5 hours. I may mean that I will have to call someone to pick me up at mile 7. Whatever way it works out, I am on my way to that life that I want.