Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Am a Commitment

A woman named Mirna Valerio was recently profiled by Runner's World, and the article teaser teaser read, "Is is possible to be fat and fit?  At 250 pounds, distance runner Mirna Valerio provides an inspiring example."

She IS quite inspiring:  she just ran the 35 mile Georgia Jewel trail run - read about it here on her blog Fat Girl Running.

But my immediate reaction to the article was wow do I ever need to stop making excuses about my running.  By the end of the article I realized the difference between Mirna and me is that she realizes the limitations brought on by her weight but doesn't let them stop her from doing the thing she loves - distance running.

So now I have to admit it has made this chubby, middle aged lady do a lot of thinking about getting back into some distance running, accepting my current limitations and not worrying about whether or not I'll ever run a 9 minute mile again.

Still it has been quite some time since I've run anything over 5-6 miles that I need to figure out how to ease myself back towards longer distances and just what that would mean at my current weight/pace.

Definitely a lot to think about.


Although I knew it was raining (after months of no rain we are expecting 5-6 days straight of rain), I wanted to make sure I had dressed right to go out to the treadmill for my run this morning, so as I sipped my coffee I grabbed my phone and looked at my Weather Channel app.  What is wrong with this picture?  Seriously, I kept my shorts and tee on, never mind that "feel like" temp.


We are finally done with all the events surrounding Mr. Helen's black belt advancement.  The final thing was the potluck dinner and speeches from those who had earned their belts.  I made Braised Pork Carnitas (the only thing I change in this recipe is that I do not put the salsa in),  Puerto Rican style rice and peas, and homemade coleslaw.  The hungry people ate it up. I actually really enjoyed this particular group, maybe because there were more adults than kids so the speeches were really interesting.

One speech in particular has had me doing some deep thinking.  For months before the actual test, Vince - a forty-something year old man, was posting on Facebook every single day, "I am a commitment to earn my second degree black belt."  Every time I saw that sentence I wanted to correct it to "I am committed" but he's British so I thought maybe that was some colloquial thing and I let it go.

During his speech, he talked about how after he earned his first degree, things sort of fell apart for him and he couldn't seem to get his mojo back but because he's the sort of person who just muddles along and also because his kids attend, he just kept going to karate.  Suddenly one year had passed and it was time for the Kyoshi to select who would test the next year for their belt.  From what he said, she called him into her office and basically told him to snap out of it and that if he didn't he might as well quit because he wasn't going to earn that next belt.  After he left he mulled it over and thought what a bad example that would be for his two girls so he began this mantra, "I am a commitment to earn my second degree black belt." As time went on,his mind believed and he really did begin to act as if he was going to test for that belt. Then, of course, he did - in fact, he and Mr. Helen were partnered up for the weekend and he had some really nice things to say about Mr. Helen.

Anyway, after the speeches I asked him about "I am a commitment" and he explained it this way: if you ARE a commitment to something, that means you are living it - it's something that's in action at the moment. 

Ding! Ding! Ding!  I get that and for me it also goes to the word "committed," which after Vince's explanation, began to sound past tense to me.  Committed meaning that the changes you need to make have already happened whereas being a commitment means you are living it and doing it in real time.

This week I've starting writing in my training journal, "I am a commitment" followed by a couple of different things. In only 4 days, when I've found my thoughts spiraling downward, I have been able to snap out of it faster because I can't be a commitment and go to those dark places.

I get it Vince.  Thanks.


  1. That's an interesting take on being the commitment rather than focusing on the goal.

    It is very hard to accept when you aren't able to perform at a level that you used to. I dabble trying running again and it's just a lot harder for me now after the back injury and an extra 20 pounds. Don't like accepting that, but like you said - accepting the limitations is what is going to make you progress forward.

    That 'feels like' temperature. How can that even be accurate? Someone fell asleep at the switch there.

  2. Your friend's take on commitment is thought-provoking. I liken it to some of my fellow running club peeps who stop running - for MONTHS - after our goal race. While I've eased up on my mileage, I never willingly stopped running...and I think that's where my commitment is not necessarily to the goal race, but to running/fitness in general.

    And speaking of fitness, I recently discovered Mirna's blog - how awesome is she?? You CAN be fit, even if you're heavier than you'd like. She is living proof, for sure.

  3. I loved this post Helen. I've been a rut these last three weeks with bronchitis and it makes me not care about what I eat, etc. and I feel I am being lazy.

    I am attempting to walk at lunch today and hope I can do it without coughing! I'll keep you posted.

    And I love the hashtag: "someone else is better at expressing what I'm thinking." Hugs!

  4. Very interesting.....I'll be definitely thinking about this one as I make a huge decision about my exercise/training.

  5. Well, obviously that girl is very fit at 250 pounds. I think that age is another factor that needs to be considered.

    Very thought-provoking post! I hope it will be an encouragement to you this winter!

  6. I started running in my 40's and found out pretty soon I would never be as fast as the young girls, I accepted that. But here in Holland people that do races are such fast runners and I ended up being one of the last a lot of times. That I didn't like. It got me frustrated until I decided I would just run and it wouldn't matter how fast or slow I was. It's about running itself. I have also decided I don't do races anymore, it doesn't make me happy and leaves me frustrated afterwards.

    Very inspiring post Helen!

  7. This has got me thinking...... Hmm....