“Love is Patient, Love is Kind…” We’ve heard that reading ad nauseum at every wedding we’ve ever been to. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to take this opportunity to write a love letter to my alter-ego: Fat Carrie. I was pretty overweight until a few short years ago. Unfortunately, my former self still exists on a daily basis in many forms. She’s not always there physically, but a day doesn’t pass that we don’t spend time together. She appears in my mirrors, she appears on the scale, she appears in old photos, she appears in restaurants when I’m deciding what to eat, she appears in my car when I’m thinking of just swinging by a fast food restaurant at lunch, she appears when I’m out with my girlfriends and I start thinking about being “the fat one” in the group, she appears when I’m on a date with my boyfriend. I can hear her whispering in my ear. “Everyone is wandering why he is with you.” She appears at swim class when I’m standing in my suit and she even appears sometimes at Run Class with the Gazelles when I’m reminded that, although I’ve made terrific advances in my running, I’m still in “the slow group.”
I spend most of my days cursing her and begging her to go away. With every spin class, swim class, training run, core class and yoga pose, I’m pushing her further in the distance. However, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the one person who is always there for better or worse.
Dearest Fat Carrie:
First and foremost, I love you. Because you’re in my life, I would not be where I am today. Somedays I find it hard to function without you and I’m honored to be a part of you. You inspire me to greatness and, because of you, I’ve experienced elation like never before. You were with me in 2002 when I finished my very first marathon and triathlon. You were with me in my first Half-Ironman in 2004 when I was struggling through flat tires and mechanical problems. You stood by and gave me permission to quit. That day, I’m glad I didn’t listen to you. I perservered and finished something I never thought possible. You continue to stand next to me. Your presence alone continues to feed me determination to reach goals that were once unattainable. In Sonoma, CA in 2005, you were there for my 2nd Half-Ironman. I felt you next to me when I was struggling through the swim. I eventually got out of the river, got on my bike and rode for my life. You stayed on the beach and waited for your next opportunity to be with me. I caught a glimpse of you at the Chicago Marathon in 2005. I looked at you, acknowledged your presence and just kept running. I finished that race in 3:37 and earned my spot at the Start Line of the Boston Marathon.
I cherish our memories together because we’ve sure had some great times. I can honestly say that you know me better than anyone else. Thank you, Fat Carrie, for your constant presence in my life. Although I don’t always know how to show it, I do appreciate it. Our relationship isn’t always perfect. In fact, sometimes it’s downright contentious. However, I want you to know that your presence is inspiring. Even though we may grow apart someday, I know you’ll always be a part of me.