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Meditations on my upcoming triathlon [Jun. 11th, 2013|11:53 am]
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I am now fully equipped for the triathlon, having received my wetsuit in the mail. And having tried it on to make sure I could actually get into it. With black boots and a mask, I could be a chubby superhero:
Wet suit
Yesterday, as I was biking in the pouring rain, I contemplated the fact that there is a substantial non-zero chance that I will be in last place at this triathlon. This is not some kind of ploy to have people cheer me on or anything, it's just a reality: I am fat, I am old, I am slow. I do not mind being last, but I mind the reason why I will probably be last.

And it has nothing to do with my own fat/old/slowness. It has to do with the fact that most people who are in the shape I'm in, or even slightly better, wouldn't even consider entering a triathlon. Not because, "ugh, I'd never want to do that" -- which is a perfectly legitimate way to feel, as no one is required to participate in athletic events that don't appeal to them. No, it's because there are many people in this shape or slightly better who are thinking, "wow, I could never do that."

And that's sad to me. It's sad that people don't feel like they should participate in such events unless they are going to be good at them, and they will never get good at them because they won't participate.

I have seen this at pretty much every 5k I've attended, particularly the ones that are labelled "5k run/2-mile walk." I realize that the race coordinators are trying to make the event appeal to a wider audience, but there seems to be an implication that if you can't run for 5k, then you'd better settle for the walk. At every one of these events, I start out in the middle of a good-sized crowd of walkers and slow joggers. Then we get to the turn-around spot and suddenly I'm at the back with only a handful of people. After a while, that handful diminishes further as people who can't jog the whole way drop out. Some of them, no doubt, have a physical reason why they can't continue. But others would rather slink away and remain anonymous than finish and see a time that embarrasses them.

I say nuts to that. If it takes you 50 minutes, or 75 minutes to finish a 5k, you are still lapping the guy on the couch. If it takes me 4 hours to complete this sprint-length triathlon, I will still be able to say that I did it. And I will have fun, because I don't have to be young and thin and fast to enjoy my body moving and taking on a challenge. And that is awesome.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: darksunlight
2013-06-11 03:54 pm (UTC)

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Damn that looks sexy on you!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:38 pm (UTC)

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*blush*

Thanks!
[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2013-06-11 03:57 pm (UTC)

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Go You!

[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2013-06-11 04:03 pm (UTC)

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That's awesome. Good on you.
[User Picture]From: naath
2013-06-11 05:24 pm (UTC)

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A lot of the triathlons near me have time limits :( really *stingy* time limits. Which really puts me off. I know they want to tidy up but meh :(
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 07:21 pm (UTC)

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Well, that is a serious problem with the organizational philosophy, and people should object!
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2013-06-11 05:37 pm (UTC)

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looking damn good!!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:38 pm (UTC)

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Thanks a lot!
[User Picture]From: wednes
2013-06-11 05:38 pm (UTC)

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That is all kinds of badass!
[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2013-06-11 06:42 pm (UTC)

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Wowsers! Life begins at 40, doesn't it :)

I just posted elsewhere that when I started climbing last year, I knew it was something I probably wasn't ever going to get "good" at. I go to the gym with all these wirey 20-30somethings who are like squirrels and monkeys on the walls. And I go up and down the easy wall. Sometimes I make it to the top. Mostly, I just practice building my own comfort level and confidence. And I don't care if I ever get good at it! I'm there to do it. For me. :)

And I'll keep on saying that you are part of my inspiration.

Edited at 2013-06-11 06:46 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:39 pm (UTC)

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That's great! Enjoy yourself; that's what really matters.
[User Picture]From: wilhelmina_d
2013-06-11 06:48 pm (UTC)

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Good luck! I'm firmly in the "I don't do these as they're not my cup of tea" camp, but I have to admit that if they were my cup of tea I might be in the "I don't do them because people like me can't do them" camp. I love that you said, yes, people who aren't star athletes can do triathlons and the like! (It's kind of like how I think American Idol and its clones are destroying people's desire to sing if they can't sing perfectly.)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-12 12:47 am (UTC)

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It's terrible that we have all this fun stuff available now but an attitude that only people who are "serious" about them enjoy the fun.
[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2013-06-11 06:54 pm (UTC)

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You look terrific in that!
[User Picture]From: pachamama
2013-06-11 08:02 pm (UTC)

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Hooray for you! You're an inspiration!

Having been on the sidelines for my kids' dad's triathlon training, I can only offer the following advice : practice your transitions. A lot. Especially getting out of a wet wetsuit and into your biking gear. Do it over and over and over again. Having good transitions makes a huge difference to your times, and it's all about technique, not fitness or age.

Also check out gels for energy/electrolytes. They're repulsive but very effective and easy to carry and digest.

Reading your blog makes me realise I can finish Saturday's 5K4Boston event, Meniere's or no Meniere's.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:36 pm (UTC)

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I'm probably not going to get to this time, but I will try to make a few practices.
[User Picture]From: guldensupp
2013-06-11 08:21 pm (UTC)

Thank You

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You inspire me to be a better me. May you do the best you can do and enjoy it. I will attempt the same in my world.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Thank You

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Thanks so much!
[User Picture]From: idic_writer
2013-06-11 09:11 pm (UTC)

Good for you!

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I admire your spirit. :)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Good for you!

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Thanks!
[User Picture]From: labelleizzy
2013-06-11 09:47 pm (UTC)

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go Gini!!
[User Picture]From: tfcocs
2013-06-11 09:52 pm (UTC)

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That suit is AWESOME! Pure awesome sauce!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-11 09:57 pm (UTC)

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LOL! Thank you!
From: ext_2007496
2013-06-11 11:40 pm (UTC)

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My first 5k (last Sunday!) took me 70 mins. I'm expecting the next one to take me just as long. And the tri I got dared to do.. I will be dead freaking last. Fat. Broken. Not certain I can finish the super sprint (half your distance!) I know I can't finish if I don't get off my ass though. So I /am/ going to drag my 300 lb ass to a tri. Cause dammit, I CAN. (I hope).

So I wish you luck, and skill and all the awesome you already have. :)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-12 12:42 am (UTC)

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I have so much freaking respect for you. Rock on with your bad self.
From: anonymousalex
2013-06-12 01:16 am (UTC)

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I was totally thinking superhero even before I read any text. Now you just need a cool superhero name.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-12 02:15 am (UTC)

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I am open to suggestions!
[User Picture]From: cynic51
2013-06-12 02:30 am (UTC)

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I know Edna Mode says "no capes", but dude, this so totally needs a cape. Just stay away from jet engines.
[User Picture]From: whyelaborate
2013-06-12 04:38 am (UTC)

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This is extremely inspiring!
[User Picture]From: midnightsjane
2013-06-12 06:06 am (UTC)

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I say Bravo! and good luck.
[User Picture]From: dana3
2013-06-12 12:31 pm (UTC)

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Awesome it IS indeed!! GO you!! I'm impressed.
[User Picture]From: sammiantha
2013-06-12 12:50 pm (UTC)

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The Cancer Research raceforlife series in the UK is really good for that.

'Walk jog or run 5km'

In those there are still people crossing the finish line an hour after the 'winner' and they are just as proud of their achievement as those busting 20-something minute personal bests, and get the same congrats at the end. I know this because I volunteer at them and was handing out participation medals to the finishers last year.

Running one of those gave me the confidence to enter a 'serious' event the following year and not be so intimidated by the crazy fit folk.
[User Picture]From: smldada9801
2013-06-12 08:06 pm (UTC)

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I am so inspired by your posts. After reading about a blogger who was training for a marathon with triplets and a singleton, it really it me that I don't have any excuses. So I signed up for a race. Because a half marathon, in 12 weeks, is a perfectly sane goal for someone with 100 lbs to lose... But I trained. And I did it. And I finished. Dead last. By an hour. And now there is a time limit on the race. But I finished it with an official recorded time of 4:11:40, even if they had had already taken down the finish line.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-13 12:31 am (UTC)

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Great job. That is absolutely fabulous.
[User Picture]From: fluffydescent
2013-06-16 10:55 am (UTC)

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OMG! You are made of awesome!

*claps*
[User Picture]From: smldada9801
2013-06-16 01:17 pm (UTC)

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You have made my day :-)
[User Picture]From: fluffydescent
2013-06-16 02:52 am (UTC)

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Hi, I happened to be reading the 'friends of friends' pages and came upon your amazing post.

As a person who has only recently discovered the joy of exercise, I love hearing these sorts of joyous, inspirational stories. I too am at the back of the pack, but run because I love it.

Would you mind if I added you? I would love to cheer you on from the interweb sidelines!

[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-16 09:40 am (UTC)

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I am thrilled to have you add me! And as I am just getting up to head for the race site, this was a lovely morning post to see!
[User Picture]From: fluffydescent
2013-06-16 10:53 am (UTC)

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Yay!

Good luck today!!

*waves pom poms*
[User Picture]From: fitfool
2013-06-28 11:46 pm (UTC)

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hear hear! The personal triumph is in the attempt.