My first couple races, I tried to find meaning in my race numbers. Now, some of you are really good at that. Me? Not so much. I would try to come up with something, and then after the first couple races decided that the number is just that, a number for the organizers to identify and keep track of me.
When I picked up my package for this race though, the number was 255. Immediately, my mind went: "that means something". I couldn't figure it out though. Was it a number that actually had meaning to me, or was it just my mind trying to find meaning in the number again, even though I gave up that hobby? I tried to brush it off, but whenever I thought about my number, or glanced at my bib, my mind kept reminding me that there was meaning there.
It wasn't until after I finished the race that it came to me. I was sitting with my family, refueling in the shade when my husband mentioned "it's neat that your number is 255, because that's the maximum number of bytes you can have." (I'm probably not getting the quote right, but it was some dorky computer thing.)
Then it hit me. I knew exactly what 255 was. And no, it had nothing to do with bytes or computers.
255 is the highest number of pounds I have ever weighed (excluding pregnancy and a couple weeks following). I can even tell you the month that I hit that weight: June of 2006.
I'd had a rough year and I was at one of my lowest points ever. I had worked 2 jobs to put my husband through school. I was coming to the realization that my "dream job" was a nightmare. In 10 months I went from 190 pounds to 255. Serving tables combined with obesity had taken a toll on me and I had some injuries that wouldn't go away. I conceived and lost my first baby.
And, somehow in that haze of sadness and depression came a light. A new job. Another positive pregnancy test. Entry into a new phase of my life in which I changed and grew. And 255 defined me no more.
On Sunday, I carried 255. I now weigh almost 60 pounds less then that. I'm in another phase of my life filled with change and growth. I'm finding myself and figuring out who I am. Does 255 define me? Well, it did. For a few hours. As a way for the race organizers to identify and keep track of me.