Sunday, February 04, 2007

Self portrait

Since the Bloggies linked to my site last week, I've received a couple of e-mails from people who wouldn't have normally stumbled across a bike blog like mine. A few commented that it's weird that I post pictures of myself wrapped in winter clothing until most of my identifying characteristics are masked. "Either go for anonymity, or don't" one (ironically, unsigned) e-mail said.

One thing I have never been is anonymous. And lately I've been admiring the work of Dirt Diva, the ultrarunning goddess also known as Catra, who almost daily posts interesting self portraits on her blog inbetween the 100-mile runs she regularly completes. Since I had plans to go to the gym, and there's nothing remotely scenic there (trust me), today I took a picture of myself ... getting ready to do a hamster wheel workout at the gym. I gotta say, it's really weird to post an unmasked picture of myself on the Web. It makes me feel so ... exposed.

Anyway, it's been about three or four weeks since I last visited the gym. It's the only place I ever weigh myself, and the number is hardly ever interesting. The last time I went, the scale registered 133. Today, the little needle climbed to 125, and just stayed there. I waited for a while. Nothing. I was feeling a little dehydrated, but not eight pounds dehydrated. Which means ... I've probably lost some weight.

But what really struck me is my initial reaction. I wasn't worried about muscle mass loss or water needs or nullifying all of my hard training through some kind of nutrient deficiency. No ... I was excited. Giddy. And then I was disappointed in myself for feeling that way. Disappointed that I was ego-tripping about a meaningless number when what I really want is strength and endurance, and disappointed that I'm letting society tell me what I need to do to feel good about myself. And as far as I can tell, society is still telling me to go visit a tanning salon already and try to stay away from the Fruit Loops.

Not that I'm going to try to gain it all back before my race. After all, that could very well be eight pounds less I'll have to haul across the frozen trails of the Susitna Valley. But it was a little dose of self-revelation, because I have worked hard to put all of those insecurities behind me. But really, I haven't.