Last week, I kicked off Lorraine Townsend’s official training schedule for the 2013 ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot. Like any new routine, her return to running hasn’t come without some frustration and a few odd aches and pains. Townsend jokingly admitted that running isn’t nearly as fun as her Zumba classes. “If we could bottle the energy of Zumba AND the way I feel after a run, we’d be millionaires,” she joked. “There’s no joy of running when you’re 100 pounds overweight. The joy comes after in knowing that I’ve finished it.”
Still, though, she’s out there doing her four run/walk routines per week, even as fall turns to winter on the East Coast. This past weekend, she covered her 2.5-mile route in about 37 minutes, a four-minute improvement from the week before! Needless to say, she’s well on her way to a successful race on Thanksgiving morning.
Covering the five miles will only be a small part of her success, however. She’s running to overcome a lifetime of pain and feelings of inadequacy. “There are a lot of messages ingrained in me that I need to overcome,” she expressed in her training journal. “I don’t think I’m good enough to be fit, to have fun, or to be active. When I’m hurting on the run, these are the things I’m telling myself.” She recalled two intensely personal memories when her sister got to take ballet classes and she didn’t because of her weight. “I used to go to my sister’s lessons and just watch from the sidelines with a pang in my heart,” she recalled. In seventh grade, she wanted to join the volleyball team, and the coach blatantly told her she was not welcome to be on the team.
These are the demons she battles every day when she tries to be physically active.
In spite of these messages, she is still lacing up her shoes for the child Lorraine who should’ve been given a chance. “I want to encourage her, and not tear her down,” she wrote. “I want her to be fit, strong, and not hide in the background.” She knows that finding her inner athlete will be cathartic and life changing. Her journey to the ThunderCloud Turkey Trot continues one minute, one day, and one step at a time.