Thursday, October 9, 2014

Maps and Finally Feeling the Difference

If you've ever clicked on the "Details" links in my run journals, you've been taken to Garmin Connect where the data recorded from my watch is uploaded and stats are aggregated. A map overview of the run has always been prominent, but a recent redesign of the site has made the map section even larger. Wise move, Garmin. Wise move.

I don't know what it is, but I derive a deep satisfaction when I pull up an run review and see the map. When you're on a run, you experience the moment and that moment is just what is around you. Sure, you may intellectually recognize that you're going a long way, but one doesn't, or at least I don't, really feel the whole scope of the distance. Afterwards, though, when you pull up that map, you can really see the whole run as a whole. It always makes me smile. Every time.

Look at last week's long run map. I've driven those roads dozens of times, and let me tell you in no uncertain terms: that's a long freaking way!. It's awesome! When I saw that map for the first time after the run Saturday, I was practically giddy. The very idea that Matt, that 315 lb behemoth of a year and a half ago who couldn't have run a half mile without stopping, ran that distance and felt good afterwards? Yeah, baby!!


On a somewhat related note, it's funny - after I lost the weight, I was supposed to feel different. Better. As if my life had changed. The thing was, I didn't. Not at all. I looked a little different in the mirror, but I didn't feel any different. Some people treated me a little differently, but the few "real" friends I had didn't, which is just one of the ways that know they are real friends. (Fat Matt. Thin Matt. I was still Matt. I'm not sure if it's coming across, but that's not sarcasm or negativity. I'm truly thankful for these people and that to them, I'm the same person regardless of my appearance.)

This year though? This year, I finally feel different. One of the reasons for this is pretty straight forward, but the other came from somewhere I totally wasn't expecting. The easy one to explain is the running. As I've said before, I can't really say that I "love" running, but I do love that I "can" run, because it's something that I most certainly could never have done before. It's a symbol of the physical changes.

The other reason for feeling different this year is, well, people. While I've always been blessed with having tremendous people in my life (my family is awesome and I consider my friends Rob and Kirstin and their kids are every bit a part of my family as well), beyond that small group, I've foolishly imposed a certain self isolation for far too many years. This year though, I'm trying... really, really trying to open myself up a little. I don't even know why I find it so difficult to do this, but I do.

I'm taking baby steps for sure. A lot of it was almost by accident. I joined a crossfit gym. I could have joined a normal gym where it would have been much more individually focused, but I found the functional training aspect of crossfit interesting and also, though I didn't consider it at the time, it is group focused rather than individually oriented. Oh an guess what, the folks who run it are some of the most friendly and personable people you could imagine. I can't say that I know anybody there really well, but I have formed some friendships and enjoy just chatting with folks. That seems so benign, but believe it or not, it's way outside my normal comfort zone.

Then there's yoga. It's also group based. It's so against my nature to engage people, but before every session, I have a tiny pep talk with myself and say, "Matt, you smile and greet every single person who comes into that room. Ask them how things are going and actually mean it." You have no idea how "not me" that is, but I'm learning and I'll be damned to find out that I'm now actually interested in the answers. For example, "T" is someone who was in my yoga 101 class and now that the class is over I'm sad because I'm not going to find out how her kids are doing after both had car accidents in the same week (no injuries, thankfully).

Not only that, but as I mentioned a few weeks ago, through what again I can only describe as great luck, the instructors at the yoga place are just great people to be around. Seriously, every single one, from the owner on down.

These new relationships aren't deep of course, but they mean something to me. It's a start and it's a huge part of why things are finally feeling a little "different". The weight loss may have been a catalyst, and I'm grateful for it, but it didn't really change anything meaningful. I'm still working on the changes.