On Running & Self-Trust
On Running & Self-Trust
I’m doing a half-marathon on August 3. It will be my second. This makes me sound like more of a runner than I am. I’ve done a handful of races but I really don’t like races. I like training for them more than I like the actual race. I really don’t like running around other people. I think I’ve spoken about this before. Anyway.
I’m going to do some posts on running because I had a big turning point in my training this weekend (did my first significant long run) so what seemed to be heading toilet-wards is now going in a better direction than I thought.
Running has taught me many things. Fitness and health aren’t the things that I’m thinking of, though. The closest thing I can think of about physical benefits has to do with trust.
I went through puberty early and since then, I’ve been distrustful of my body. If it could freak out and get its period and boobs at age 9, then Jesus Christ, what the hell else was it going to do? From an early age, I didn’t look like who I was. I don’t know if that makes sense but I can’t explain it any other way. I was a tomboy and cerebral and silly and childish and suddenly I had giant boobs and had to wear giant maxi pads and it was gross and awful and I hated it and I hated my body and I was mad at the fucking world for making this happen.
I don’t know if there was anything to be done to prevent this. It just happened. But my mother kind of looked at me like I was growing horns, of course; the whole thing perplexed her just as much as it did me, I imagine. Why is my cute little child changing like this? It seriously was like I’d swallowed a magic potion in a cartoon or something.
This experience gave me a generous helping of self-loathing. I didn’t believe anyone when they spoke positively about my appearance. I thought they were crazy; I still do. I don’t want to talk about it. It brings up gross feelings and doubts and I want them to shut up. I can’t believe in myself, physically, really. I don’t trust my body like I trust my brain.
Running has restored some of that lost trust, though. Not all of it. I will probably always feel sort of ripped off and unsettled in my own skin.
But now I know some things about my body that I didn’t realize before:
1. I’ve got good lungs.
2. My heart does its job very well, too.
3. I can rely on my thighs when shit gets difficult. Those fuckers know how to handle anything.
4. When something hurts, I don’t have to quit; it’ll go back to normal soon enough.
5. After 38 years, there is something in me that might be labeled ‘tough.’