I am not sure why I get excited about event photos from races. Very rarely do the pictures actually turn out good.
If I try to smile when I spot a photographer, the photo looks forced. Like, "OMG. I'm running and trying to smile. Maybe I should just pick one."
Then there's the photos where you are actually running the race and could give a crap that the photographer is 3 feet away because the finish line is within sight. After 13 miles and 1 hour, 53 minutes and some change, no photo is worth dragging out the process.
And then there's the photo that captures it all. The feelings of fatigue and complete misery. The photo where you are reminded that once ago, you didn't weigh what you did. You were 120 pounds heavier. And no matter how much you try, you can't forget that.
I debated posting this picture. A photo where my face expresses sheer agony as I try to wave to a friend in the stands. A photo where you can see very dimple and every fold of extra skin - on my arms, stomach and legs. Oh, the skin on my legs. It almost looks grotesque - especially when you factor in that the bandage covering my knee was flailing in the wind by this point.
So why did I decide to post the photo? Especially when it makes me cringe?
I think it's important to remember that weight loss doesn't solve everything. When you are going through the process, you are so focused on the goal. The finish line. You think that once you cross that mat, that things will be different. You can forget what it was like to be at the start.
It's just not that easy, though. Your body hangs onto its former self. The stretch marks don't go away. The saddlebags are still there albeit smaller. Skin doesn't shrink back. The bikini you once dreamed about is just that - a dream. You can do all you can to hide it, from wearing mid-rise jeans and capri running pants to buying padded bras to make your now minuscule girls "stick out" farther than the skin on your belly.
But when you get out of the shower and stand in the mirror, it's there. Reminding you that you'll never get rid of the fat girl. It's hard for me sometimes, and Mark has had to stop me from pulling and stretching and trying to figure out what the me hiding behind the fat girl would like. It's no good for me, he says. The skin - it doesn't take away from the work I've done.
Sort of like the bad photos. No matter how bad I look, I still crossed the finish line.