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The Race

Paula Bee


(from "300 Pounds Down" Thank you, Lindsay for writing my life, too.)

When I was in the 3rd grade, we started having the Presidential Physical Fitness Test every year. My most dreaded part of all was the "600 yard dash." The first year I did this, I went out sprinting from the start. It didn't take me long to lose my breath. I can still remember sucking in cold air and trying to breathe. Before I even made it through the 2nd loop, I threw up and was pulled from the race. Looking back on it, I should have paced myself instead of trying to start the race in a sprint.

The next year I was so psychologically intimidated by the 600 yard dash that I started worrying about it several weeks in advance. I was ready to throw up days before hand, and sure enough, I did before the whistle was barely blown.

This became a regular tradition with me every year. Kids in my class would sit around making silent bets on NOT whether I would throw up, but WHEN. "Will she at least make it past the whistle blowing?"

I had some friends who were determined to help me beat this. They would willingly abandon their own race times to run along beside me, cheering me on, but making sure to get out of the way before I threw up.

Unfortunately I was never successful, and I NEVER finished the race.

My story differs from Lindsay's in several ways... First of all, I started having asthma attacks when I was in the 2nd grade. Inevitably, running the 600 brought fear into my heart, and my doctor and my mom had a fit. I had a doctor's note from that point on prohibiting me from running the 600 or any other aerobic activity that would trigger my asthma. This worked great until we moved to Lafayette, LA, where they required 4 dreadful years of PE. I brought my note from the doctor, and the teacher, (Ms. Soileau) refused to excuse me and made me run the 600. I walked most of it, but if you did it in more than 3 minutes you had to do it again the next day. I don't know if I got under 3 minutes, but I staggered up to her, wheezing audibly, and accidentally puked on her shoes. Then, I missed the next week of school with asthma. This happened the 2nd year, too, but after incidences of pukey shoes, I was excused from the run at that point.

Since then, I have had asthma on and off for years, and I have used it as an excuse for not exercisng. Finally, at my weight, it became a reality, even in water aerobics.

I want to lose this weight, to be able to take a walk with my husband, to go to water aerobics and make new friends.

It will not be a sprint for me, but a journey... there is no running fast to get to the end quicker, because there will be no end. My eating habits will change forever.

I need a new me.


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