A view from one of the paths my training has led me to get the miles in.
Towards the end of June, a friend of mine said, “Hey Kim. I’m doing the Chicago Half Marathon and you’re doing it with me.”
To which my reply, “Ah…okay…”
I have never, ever, ever, in a million, gazillion years considered myself a runner. Yet, with eight weeks out from Sunday, September 24, I am now running three days a week. This is not my first dance with training; oh no.
My first dance with training was in 2013 when I decided to compete as a bodybuilder as a figure competitor. I loved lifting. I enjoyed sweating. I learned that food is fuel. So I did it.
Then the following year, I entered in two shows, using a new trainer, getting a new suit, and really slimming down to the point that my net intake of calories was about 200 a day.
Boy, was I exhausted each and every day.
This body, pictured left, was difficult for me to maintain. Once the second show was over, to which I placed first in open figure and second in masters figure, my body craved food. Not so much food that I would not normally eat, like sweets, but I did eat, simply for the liberty of the act. I’ve heard of female competitors who lose their minds post show – like they consume bags of Oreos in one sitting – be consumed by the notion of eating whatever, whenever. The idea of the temporary sacrifice becomes too great for them to handle.
Another part of this type of training is that this body, the one I walked on stage with, is a borrowed body. Yes, it is my body after 20 weeks of painfully hard work and extreme devotion to a desire to beat my appearance from the previous year’s competition. No, my face is not Photoshopped over someone else’s (yes, I was accused of doing so by a chauvinistic misogynist). Yes, I was happy to gain weight; I refused to buy the size of clothes that I fit into during this time since I knew of its short-term occupation.
The past three years I settled into a maintenance routine that had kept me active, but now that I’m nearing 40, my body really can’t do all that I was able to do those years ago. My knees would hurt from the heavy squats. My lower back would lock from the well-weighted deadlifts. My neck would knot up from the tension kept from shoulder presses.
I feared I might be pushing my body beyond its limits.
I wanted to be fit, not deformed from injury. Like legendary Ronnie Coleman; this 8 time Mr. Olympian can’t walk now. Not to say that I did lift like Coleman, no way, but the possibility of harm even though one must push through pain simply to earn the seeming limitless acknowledgements. This process is not worth the risk to my body. Now I face a new challenge to shape my body into one of a runner’s, than a lifter’s.