I love making up words to describe things that everyone has experienced.

Prepcrastination: Putting off doing something because you keep telling yourself it’s so hard that you need to spend weeks or months preparing for it. In the time you spend preparing, you get discouraged, and find a million reasons to stop trying. You might even come to believe that you just aren’t the kind of person who does the kind of thing you set out to do. Even so, you retain a sense of sadness about not having done the thing.

Usually, the desire to do the thing is there, but we’re missing belief in our ability to achieve it. I had prepcrastinated about signing up for a 5K for years, convinced that I needed to

  • Spend weeks training on a Very Strict Schedule so I would be able to keep a respectable pace
  • Run for the whole thing, instead of varying my pace or even *gasp* walking
  • Find someone to run it with me so I wouldn’t be a sad loser doing a Group Activity by myself, even though I am comfortable doing most things alone
  • Be fast and not come in last.

Earlier this week, I found out there would be a bat-themed event in my community (we have a lot of bats in Austin), and that there would be a 5K and 10K. I asked my husband if he’d join me, and he agreed. He’d legitimize the presence of my fat body.

Even this morning, I felt resistance. I looked at the numbers on the scale and thought, Damn. Then my husband woke up with his cold worse than it’s been all week, and he wasn’t going to be able to go. I felt nervous and out of place at registration. But I wanted to be able to say I finished a 5K – even if I mostly walked it and came in dead last. I was there to get some exercise and try something new, not prove my worth to anyone else.

Through the race, I kept a similar pace as a mom and two boys. My past mindset would have been one of self-contempt: Wow, I have the same fitness level as an elementary schooler. But contempt kills relationships, even the relationship with yourself. So I replaced that with kind self-talk: It’s fair that I’m running alongside a mom and her kids, because I’m reparenting myself.

In the end, I finished at 53 minutes. I didn’t run out of breath during the parts that I ran – chub rub just became too uncomfortable, so I walked. In a weird way, it felt good to have chub rub be the reason I slowed down. That meant my heart and lungs weren’t the problem.