It’s funny when I talk to people about doing this triathlon in a couple of weeks and the reactions I get. Most seem to say things like “oh better you than me,” or “good luck with that,” but the ones who are already athletic and in shape, seem to “baby” me or try to give me some kind of confidence boost as though I’m probably going to fail. They don’t do it intentionally, I don’t think, but it drives me crazy. In short, because I am overweight, they think I am taking on more than I can probably do, and therefore, need some confidence. What they don’t know is that fat or skinny, I am not someone who gives up and is not afraid to come in last. I am, however, afraid to never try.
Recently, I’ve upped my workouts to 5-6 per week. That’s an achievement for anyone, in my opinion, much less someone who holds down a 40-hour a week job, has two small children, commutes 45 mins each way and still gets meals on the table at night for their family and tucks the kids into bed. Most days, my hair does not look as pretty as some of the other girls in the office (does wetàdry-on-the-way-to-work count as a hairdo?), but I am at least dressed in my business attire. I’ve been skipping lunches with friends to do Zumba or the treadmill. I’ve given up watching my child at gymnastics in order to take long bike rides. I’ve done two 5k events in less than a month. So needless to say, I am really taking this thing seriously.
But it annoys me when people look at me, and judge me by my size, so as to say and think, “well, do you really think you can do a triathlon?” Sure, I may not look like a svelte athlete, but the whole point of this is to get healthier and have a goal so that maybe one day I will! Because not having something to work toward is much harder for me to stay on track. Most people I know would probably never even sign up! This way, I have an end in sight, until the next goal.
I’d be lying if I wasn’t nervous. The bike portion alone keeps me up at night because the course must be done in 2 hours or less. And adding up my 5k time and bike time (not counting if I have to get off the bike and push it uphill), I am going to be quite close to the 2hr mark.
Last Friday night after work, I wanted to go home and eat pizza and hang out with my kids and supportive, awesome hubby. But I biked a hill workout and then went to swim. The man I shared the pool lane with was very nice and encouraging (we chatted about swimming a little bit and what not) but he kept condescendingly saying things like “well, I’m glad you’re getting back out there and trying. Even if you don’t finish, at least it was a start.” Which yes it’s true but who says I won’t finish? I can see it in people’s eyes and hear it in their voice, that they think I am less of a competitor. It really is annoying. I know they are trying to be encouraging and helpful, but really, I just feel sorry for people who think that because I am fat I will fail and give up. They didn’t know me as an 8 year old swimmer who swam the longest and hardest events in swim team every meet. They didn’t know me as the girl who was so aggressive in basketball I had to wear knee pads and fouled out many a game. They don’t know that this is in fact my fifth triathlon, and I sucked at the previous four, but I still did them. I am a hardworking, athletic person, no matter my size, and do not ever give up. As I say all the time, “you never know unless you tri.”