formats

The escalator at the Pentagon Metro station is broken.

This is not, in and of itself, unusual for Metro. Lots of escalators are broken now. One of the entrances to the Dupont station is entirely closed for escalator work. The system is kind of a disaster.

But three years ago, it was in slightly better shape. An escalator outage would happen occasionally, but not daily. I would trudge up the stairs, huffing and puffing my way to the top, swearing under my breath. I was tired, my feet hurt (mostly from wearing heels), and I just wanted to get on the damn bus and go home.

So much has changed.

Sometimes I still swear under my breath, but it’s because my legs are sore from running or doing squats. I don’t breathe harder going up the stopped escalator unless I’m really moving, trying to make it to a bus in the nick of time. Running to catch the bus on my street might be irritating, but it’s not nearly as embarrassing as it used to be.

The hill by my house? I can walk it at a brisk pace without raising my heart rate much at all. I can run up the entire thing without stopping, even though I’m really tired by the time I get to the top.

I ran 15 miles this weekend. Mostly. (I walked maybe two or three miles, because it’s hot and I’m still adjusting. But I was on my feet for 15 miles, and

The top part of the hill by my house.

that sure as hell counts.) I lift weights on my own regularly and feel like I know what I’m doing. My clothes fit better and I have more energy. I’m eating significantly less crappy food and enjoying what I eat a tremendous amount more.

It’s an amazing feeling, to feel so much better about myself and my life.

And yet. I’m still not at my ‘goal weight.’ I’m still outside what BMI says is a healthy weight for my height (160 is the max, and I’m around 173).

I’m learning to care less about that. I’m strong and healthy. I had a physical last month and all of my numbers on those tests came back well within the healthy range. And yet. I’ve been thinking of myself as overweight and unhealthy for so long that the only thing that I thought would satisfy my health and my vanity was to hit my goal.

I think I was wrong. I thought, as I started this marathon training, that losing that last ten pounds or so would be critical because I could be faster and run more easily. I’m not convinced it’s true. Oh, sure, it would probably help some, but I’m trying to focus less on weight and more on building muscle to help me run faster and recover better.

I don’t know. I’m happy. I feel good about the way I look and I have a wardrobe I adore. Why on earth should I kill myself for a weight my body may or may not be able to maintain, using a set of data that are of limited use (the BMI charts). I want to get my body fat percentage tested – the last time I did it I was at about 30% body fat, down from 36% in 2009. Any progress on that front would make me happy.

I’m trying to use a different measurement than just weight, is what I’m saying. And I think I’m getting to the point where tracking my food is hurting more than it’s helping. I already barely weigh myself – mostly just a check every few weeks to make sure I can still fit into my pants – so it seems like this is the next step I need to take for my mental health.

I might never weigh 160 again. I might be completely okay with that. But I’m still mulling it over, hoping to reach a conclusion.