This is a personal post, much more personal than my usual posts. I want to share my thoughts and experiences from my first triathlon up to and including this year’s training.
The Year Was 2017
My first triathlon, a sprint held in July of 2017. For me, this was an unbelievable goal. I remember crossing the finish line with all the strength I could muster up. I was so proud of myself. I finished the race and was still standing. I found my family. They were all super supportive and congratulatory.
Then the results came out and I was sad. I finished almost dead last in my age group. You see I am a bigger endurance athlete, and I struggle with that. I started doing triathlons to lose weight, but that hasn’t’ happened yet, but I am very active and healthy.
The Training Continues
I trained and continue to train, really hard and I work hard to keep my diet mostly clean, but there is that pesky chocolate to deal with. Even if chocolate didn’t exist, I still won’t ever achieve the body type of an elite endurance athlete. My issues are most likely a combo of appetite, genetics, and age. I can have a perfectly clean diet for a month and lose only one pound. If I slip and have a bad week, I will gain three pounds. It’s frankly frustrating and makes me sad.
I should probably choose a different sport that better suits my body type, but I love endurance sports. Testing just how far I can push myself make me feel alive, and let’s face it, there is not much that beats triathlon training. I train every day, not out of a sense of obligation, but because I love it, especially the running.
I don’t feel well physically, mentally, or emotionally if I go too many days without working out. I am most alive when I am pushing myself to the limit, and pushing past what I thought was possible.
There is always this nagging voice in my head telling me I’m too fat and I’ll never win. I won’t let my size stop me from competing though. I love to race. When I am racing and I see all the other female athletes around me are 40-50 pounds lighter, I feel like a whale up against a sailfish. I work hard to control my thinking and focus on me and the challenge set before me.
My results have steadily improved over the past years, even though I have stayed the same size. I am very proud of this, but I can’t help wonder why my size is still the same.
Training in solitude, where my only frame of reference is me, helps to eliminate some pressure. My speed reference is based on my results the day or week before, not someone else’s. Size doesn’t matter because there’s no one to compare too. Eventually though, when I group train, I feel like throwing in the towel.
These thoughts of quitting don’t last long though. I’ll find a race I want to do, sign up, and be motivated again. Or I’ll find time to pen a blog post and as I write I can’t wait to go out and train.
I’m sharing my thoughts because I thought others might feel the same way. There is a lot of pressure in our world today that thin equals healthy while large equals unhealthy. That pressure is even more magnified in the endurance community filled with super fit competitive people. When light = fast, this can feel like a losing battle.
I will continue to race and train for triathlons because I love them. In doing so, I hope I can encourage others too, no matter their size.