Last night was the season premiere of The Biggest Loser. The middle of last season was the first that I’d gotten into it, so I was particularly excited to watch from the beginning this time around.
Particularly because the first thing the contestants had to do, before getting to the ranch, was to run a mile. And they were horrified. They were nervous, unsure of their abilities, and just generally not optimistic that they could finish the challenge ahead of them. And the thing is, I felt for them – I’d been there.
I know I’ve written about several races on this site before, so maybe that last sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but hear me out.
Growing up, every year in gym class we had our physical fitness tests. We were evaluated on sit-ups, push-ups, sit-and-reach, and the mile. The first two were fine. (Yes, I took the easy way out with the “girl” push-ups.) The sit-and-reach caused my gym teacher to laugh at me because I was so very not flexible and could barely touch my toes at that point. (I’m significantly more flexible now. Thanks, yoga!) But that mile…god, how I dreaded it.
We were all herded outside to the track and forced to run those dreaded four loooooong laps. And really, I should have been fine. I was young and healthy; I played sports. Four laps should not have been a problem. But they were.
At times, I had to walk. Sometimes I had to stop completely because I thought I was going to be sick. At the end, I would collapse in a heap, even after the teacher told me that it was better to do a cool-down walk. Are you kidding? I thought. I just ran a mile! Why would I want to walk more?
I’m fairly certain that the only reason I was never the last to finish is because there were always kids who walked the whole thing, not just certain stretches.
Now, I run voluntarily. Not even that, but I actually pay to run races, and have my second half-marathon coming up this weekend! My high school self would have laughed at the very idea of it. I’m at a point now where I love running, and I miss it on the off days (and I even want to keep moving after I finish), but it took me years to get here.
Which is why I’m so impressed with what these contestants can accomplish in the course of a season.
And why I can’t wait to see how it goes.