Don’t Believe the Hype! subtitle: super long post. sorry!

I’ve been more lax in updating this blog than usual. There are all the usual reasons: work, a lot going on personally, having the attention span of a gnat sometimes. But a big reason is a mistake I made. I was getting a lot of followers randomly even when I didn’t publish anything new. What the heck? So I googled this blog. Big mistake. Though 99% of the places it got picked up were super supportive, there was one feed that felt like getting punched in the face. How bad was it? Well, not really bad at all. 

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Most of the commentators were like the last two comments. Cautiously supportive and really supportive. And then there were the first two comments. Literally the only negative ones I’ve ever seen (though I didn’t really look that hard after reading these). These two comments brought me to my knees. Why? I think for a couple of reasons:

  1. They made me feel so misunderstood. I don’t feel that I’ve ever said being “massively obese” was ok. I know it’s not. 
  2. These people were verbalizing my inner most fears. That people find me worthless because of my weight.
  3. There was too much truth in there. yeah, (now 5 1/2) years later, not only have I not dropped all the weight I thought I would, I’m bigger than ever.

These two comments alone sent me into a shame spiral and a little bout of depression. I felt like a fraud. Like this whole blog and anyone I’ve inspired is just all a massive amount of bullshit. Like peoples’ support wasn’t real. And what else were people saying behind my back? I had even had an experience lately with a close friend that left me shaking my head. I was, bizarrely, tracked down through social media by a casting agent that found my blog and youtube channel and wanted me to audition for a reality show. It was by a big time producer that I was a massive fan of. I told my friend (who was also a fan of the producer) and one of the first things he said was “well…do they know what you look like?”. Meaning, do they know how fat I am? It was hurtful and truthful and when I didn’t get cast, that one off hand comment had me convinced my weight was why. 

And then just like that, the comments didn’t matter. Yes, I’m “massively obese”. And though many don’t believe it, it’s something that I’ve worked on changing my entire adult life. If it were easy, there would be exactly zero fat people in the world. There are many factors that contribute to it and then number one thing with me is mental. I won’t go all into it here but I’ve had a pattern for decades of using food to self soothe when anxious, depressed, stressed, bored, awake, etc. Then feeling horrible when I eat poorly and guess what? there goes the cycle again. But what these commenters don’t understand is that yes, I know I need to lose weight. But I’m also pretty healthy. That concept is one that is so hard to grasp for thinner people and a misconception that I and my fellow Athenas constantly battle. Just yesterday I had the results of my blood work. All my numbers are good. I’m not diabetic. Nor am I pre Diabetic. My heart is healthy. There are many thin people in worse health than me. I’m not remotely saying that I’m 100% healthy. My weight issues are leading to joint problems and I’m well aware that my luck with blood work will run out if I don’t continue to make changes. But please don’t believe that I can snap my fingers and be thin. 

I race Triathlon because I LOVE IT! I love training, I REALLY love racing. And my whole goal with this blog is to just share my personal journey with it. To say to anyone that is struggling, to just get off the couch and move. YOU CAN DO IT. Whether it’s just walking around the block or swimming one lap at a time, just move. Obviously get your doctor’s guidance when taking on anything physical. But dang it, just move a bit. This blog also allows me to connect with other overweight folks and hear their stories and get inspired myself by them. It’s also accountability. If I don’t train and race then I have nothing to write about. 

As for the negativity, why is it always so easy to believe the negative over the positive? Why does one less than supportive comment do more harm to the psyche than 100 great comments? Pretty aggravating, right? 

I wrote the above on my flight home to Boston where I had a 10k on the schedule for the weekend. I write below 5 days later on my flight back home to Key West. Having dropped out of the 10k. 

okaaaay….you know what’s worse than what strangers and friends say to you? what you say to yourself! Right? Running has always been a MASSIVE hurdle for me. Pretty dumb as a Triathlete lol. But it’s true. I have run an entire mile exactly once. More than 2 years ago. wtf. And it’s all a mental block. I know I have the lungs and the legs but what I severely lack is any sort of positive self talk when I’m running. I say things to myself that I would murder a stranger for saying to a friend. When I’m running I almost feel like I’m not worthy of running. Things most often said to myself during a run include such lovely things as:

“who do I think I am? I’m not a triathlete. You can’t be a triathlete if you can’t run!”

“I’m just not tough enough for this sport”

“Ugh. You’re so fat. You’re disgusting”

“why would anyone that looks like you, wear this much spandex?”

“you don’t deserve to do this”

UGH!!! Who says these things?! I know everyone has moments of self doubt but when it gets to a degree such as this, something needs to be done! Jeepers. So about 6 months ago, I started to really work on this part. I also signed up for 3 running races making up the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) Distance Medley. a 5K in April, a 10k in June and a Half in October. I was going to turn myself into a runner dammit! I also read some fantastic books on running and talked to runner friends who seemed to have nailed it. And I started training. The self doubt, ok, let’s call a spade a spade. It’s self hate. No doubt about it har har. The training for sure has it’s ups and downs. But I was able to quiet the voices a bit. 

I did the 5k in April. Now here’s the thing, these races all take place in my favorite city on earth: Boston. And it was a glorious, beautiful day. It was a picture perfect spring day with flowers blooming, green green trees and grass, sunny blue skies, unicorns prancing about, you get the picture. I was so happy to be home and so thrilled to be running. Throughout the race, I had literally zero negative things to say to myself. I was happy! I finally felt a runner’s high. Though I didn’t run the whole thing as originally planned, I didn’t beat myself up about it either. I just enjoyed the moment. 

The end of April brought another test of this Positivity Experiment: the Key West Paddle Classic. It’s a 12.5 mile paddle race around the island of Key West. My plan was to do it in a kayak. Things did not go well lol. It was so incredibly rough. Through the harbor we were getting nailed with 4 ft ways coming at us to our left and then the waves were bouncing against the sea wall and coming back at us on our right. No paddle boarders could stay on their boards. I WAS TERRIFIED. I had the very real concern that if I flipped over, I would drown as I’m not sure I could get myself back on the kayak. It was a very real, legit life or death situation. What could I do? well, I could keep paddling like a mofo. And I did! I made it around the island. Hardly any self hate involved because I was too busy trying not to die, lol. The lesson there is that if you concentrate on racing, you don’t have a ton of time to speak poorly to yourself. I got 1st place in the Kayak Division. I also was the only one. You can look at that two ways: I’m the only one dumb enough to do it in a regular non-racing kayak or the only one brave enough. You can make your own call on that, just don’t tell me which you choose 😉

In May I was scheduled for a race but work and the depression mentioned above led to a terrible time of self doubt which I let affect my training. I didn’t race. I blamed it on work but I’m sure I could’ve gone. 

June was shaping up to be a big month! A Sprint Triathlon, a 10k and a member of a relay team doing the Swim Around Key West (when you live on a small island, lots of things involve “around the island”). I was a little nervous about the Tri. Not because I couldn’t do the distance, but because I wanted to make a good impression on MultiRace (the group that puts on the race). I was chosen to represent them this year as an ambassador and I didn’t want to embarrass myself or them. A funny thing happened though: I had an absolute blast! I didn’t do as well as I hoped (how could I, when my training lacked) but man that was fun. I did the race with two good, fun friends and saw more fun, familiar faces during the race (shout out to my BASE Performance teammates) and I also took 1st place Athena 40+. Interesting to note that I was the only Athena to compete in either the Sprint or the Olympic. Again, am I brave for doing it at this weight, or dumb? This one is easy, I’m neither. Just someone that likes to race!

And that brings us (FINALLY, sorry) to the BAA 10k this past weekend. The week before my triathlon, I stubbed my foot. This is not news. I am clumsy and constantly am stubbing toes and tripping. Yet I still don’t wear shoes in the house. Anyway, it hurt but nothing seemed too bad. I was able to work out in the week leading up to the triathlon. Halfway through, I started feeling some pain at the ball of my foot. Then on the run, that pain was AMPED up. Every time I started to run, I was in pain. It was difficult to push off the ball of my foot. Despite that, I still enjoyed the run. The problem was after the race when it hurt to walk. Two days later, I still wasn’t walking without pain. I went and saw the foot doctor (Southernmost Foot and Ankle Specialists, holla!). The X-rays showed no break. PHEW! Dr Mick said it was soft tissue damage. He said I could still run on Sunday, but that it wasn’t the best idea ever. I of course heard “you can run on Sunday”. I hobbled around for a few days completely fooling myself. I toed (ha ha) up to the start on Sunday and took off. I made it about .2 miles and was like “nope. I’m out.” Not only did it hurt like a mutha to run, but 3 days of walking funny around the city had me realizing that the weird gait I was sporting was starting to wreak havoc on my knee and on my hip. Was 6 more miles worth jeopardizing the rest of my season? HELL NO! So I simply stopped my Garmin and went to the finish to wait for my friends to finish (they ROCKED it). Now usually in this situation I would endlessly criticize myself. I was a quitter. Every person that doubted me was right. The voices in my head were correct. But this time it was different. I knew that pulling out was the right thing to do so I let it go. FOR SURE I’m upset that I didn’t get to run. That I’m out of the Distance Medley. But oh well! I’ll still train for my next triathlon in July, I’ll train for the Half Marathon in October and I’ll do the Swim Around Key West this weekend (cause I don’t need to push off on my foot). I’m going to keep training and keep the nagging self hate to a dull roar. And I’m never, ever going to Google my blog again!!

I’m doing the Distance Medley (well 2/3’s of it) to raise money for the Shawn Thornton Foundation which is dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s live a better life in honor of my Uncle who has the disease. To Donate: https://www.crowdrise.com/dashboard/kathygilmour2/kathys-baa-distance-medley-for-parkinsons

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Egg Hunt Tri Wrap Up (spoiler alert: no eggs)

ahhhhh….yes…..an actual Triathlon!!! It’s been ages!! I haven’t raced since August 2017 to be (semi) exact. Why not? well…Irma cancelled 2 races outright, I didn’t evacuate with my bike so was nowhere near ready for a 3rd and then the 4th was cancelled as the race was about to start due to some crazy weather rolling in. Needless to say, I have missed me some racing! Was about to take to the streets with an old medal and just start asking random strangers to put it around my neck. Needless to say, I was excited to race the Egg Hunt!

kj kit

Glad Kelly Jane realized here kit was on backwards before we got to the start!! 🙂

I was a little nervous about the race. I wasn’t exactly feeling in tippy toppy shape. Also, this was my first Multirace event as a Multirace Ambassador. Multirace. (I’m not sure how many times I’m contractually obligated to say Multirace. har har. Multirace). I wanted to make a good impression and not embarrass them in their selection of moi. But I was racing no matter what!

Race day was coolish (for South Florida). Luckily it was a Duathlon and Sprint so we didn’t have to wait around for 6 hours after transition closed to start the race. And at only around 225 racers, it was a nice small crowd with a quick start. It was billed as a good thing that it was a lake swim. Here’s the thing. I HATE swimming in lakes!! For some of the following reasons:

  1. I can’t see the bottom. So obviously the snakes will get me.
  2. you have to wade through the soggy grass to get in. Probably disturbing the snakes.
  3. there is no salt water for buoyancy. And if you’re someone that say, ate there way through a hurricane evacuation and never stopped so your wetsuit doesn’t fit, u gonna sink.
  4. snakes
  5. Given that most people fear the ocean, there will likely be fewer panicking people for me to pass (and I may be one of the panicking people)
  6. snakes. Ok. I realize that is a silly fear. it’s bred from summer camp when we swam in a lake where there was a too healthy population of water moccasins (snakes). Most people at the start were worried about gators. I was like “sweet, they’ll eat the snakes”
  7. there is no 7. I can’t figure out how to not automatically continue this list when I hit the return key. son of a

there we go! Where was I? oh yeah, at the start where I was realizing that THIS SWIM WAS LONGER THAN THEY SAID!!! MAN! I hate that. I know it was only a 440 yard swim and I certainly can swim a mile (in just a shade under an entire day. i kid. sort of), it’s just argh, I hate it when it’s clearly longer. Like I don’t have enough to worry about with the sinking and avoiding the snake eating gators.

egg hunt swim

What? I’m not last???? Is there a snake behind me?

 

I was definitely a little freaked out during that swim. I kept waiting for something to grab me. I should’ve taken the gillyweed and grown some gills. Halfway through I just calmed down and enjoyed my glimpses of the sunrise (except for when I got all tangled up in the buoy line. boy did they put that anchor on the wrong side judging from all the people that got clotheslined). 10 hours later  In no time at all, with all the grace of a drunken sumo wrestler on sand, I exited the water.

 

Off to T1, no major hiccups there except for the fact that I am NEVER a picture of grace running (ok, lurching) into T1. I see you. I see you athletes loping like gazelles out of the water. I see you and I don’t like you. There, I said it!

It was time for the pancake flat bike course! time to fly! Like a twin engine prop plane encountering turbulence, I headed out onto the bike course. And it was flat! What a blessed relief to do a race in South Florida and not have to climb bridges that are built tall enough for a cruise ship to go under! I don’t know why I wasn’t faster.

egg hunt bike

so happy before the spill. and not at all aero

I really did push it. Especially since I have finally mastered the art of pedaling while drinking Rocket Fuel (BASE performance, here’s your mention!). Yes, you read that correctly. For the past 5 years or so I have been completely unable to pedal and drink water at the same time. But I’m good now! (insert triumphant Breaking Away montage here). Though I wasn’t getting the speed I thought I would, I was at a pretty good clip when I came around the corner and the “dismount here” sign snuck up on me. Another athlete got surprised too and we both came in a little hot. I unclipped one side as I usually do then swerved to avoid him and yup, down I went while still clipped in on the other side. Crashing in the dismount area is enough embarrassment but thankfully, there were plenty of people to witness it! thank goodness!! The bike is ok! (I know you were wondering. New saddle, new bar tape). When I fell I twisted so the bike wouldn’t really hit the ground. Cheaper to fix a broken bone than my bike?  I was pretty much ok. some road rash on my left leg and the next day would realize that the pain in my back was bruised ribs.

egg hunt run

dammit! not done yet! my boo boo hurts

Being super mature, I headed into T2 all kinds of crazy, irrational mad. I did not want to continue. Racing was stupid. I saw my friend KJ while I racked my poor bike. She was done! what? I suck. I’m so slow. I’m bleeding and embarrassed. She encouraged me to go on so I did. It was a two loop run. I told myself I’d just do the first loop and then quit. We all know that once you go, you go. I just plugged along, ignoring the sharp pain in my leg every time I ran. I did not run as much as I wanted to, but I ran more than I thought I would after the (low speed) crash. I only wanted to quit like 5 or 6 times on that first loop, lol.

Slightly (understatement) mortifying moment when I neared the finish after the first loop and everyone was like “YEAH! YOU DID IT!” and I was like “no! one more loop!” and then they awkwardly clapped. But around again I went. It was a really pretty course. Not shaded (you’re a liar, Kaspar!), but I’m pretty used to the heat.

egg hunt finish

YAAAY!

And finally, finally, finally, there it was. The glorious finish chute. There really isn’t anything like coming down that chute. And I was done. My first race in months and I only embarrassed myself a little. I knew that if I finished, I was on the podium. There were only 3 in my Athena group. Some (a certain Pathetic group) would say that my 3rd place means nothing. But it meant a TON to me! And I can’t wait to race again!! Thanks for joining me Kelly Jane!!

egg hunt podium

yaaay!! 3rd place!

 

 

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Happy New Year!! Wait…what?

I, like a lot of people had grand plans for 2018 starting on Jan 1. EAT CLEAN! TRAIN DIRTY! CLEAN HOUSE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY! NEW YEAR NEW ME!

yeahhhhhh….how’s that working out? turns out, not so well.

gym meme

mmm…are my earrings cherry flavored? @classicalartmemes

Here it is March 1st and I’m way below my own expectations as to how I thought this year would start. What follows is a thought by thought breakdown of everything I’ve failed at this year.

KIDDING!
Who wants to read all of that? And no thanks, I have zero plans of reliving and beating myself up. ugh. Time for another  a new start. I am just gonna try to let that sh*t go.

I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling disappointed in myself and others. and it has done me zero good. Instead of being Uncle Fester hanging out with his friend Petty Officer Tom Petty, I’m going to really try to just acknowledge the situation and then move on.

I can start over any day I want. And that day is today. And if I stumble. Whelp, than the next day is a new start.

I’ve got my first race in MONTHS coming up. I’m so excited. and I’m also not close to ready for a variety of excuses reasons.

run meme

How I feel right now. But so what? I’ll still have fun! @classicalartmemes

But who cares?! I have nobody to compete against except for myself. I’m going to go into this race remembering why I love the sport of Triathlon so much. It’ll be a great weekend of fun with friend for Las Olas on 3/11 and I cannot wait!

I’ve got a bunch of races coming up this year that I’m pretty pumped about. I just need to get the heck out of my head and just get out there. When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to just stop. You’ve heard of Fight or Flight? well, I just STOP. It’s not at all productive.

Let’s see if this old dog can learn some new tricks.

Happy March 1st everybody!

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Onward in Havana

Long time, no blog. oopsy. I’ve had some insane writer’s block. Plus I wasn’t sure what to write about. To say that 2016 was a disappointing race year to me is an understatement. It’s like saying “Trump’s tweets are a tiny bit of crazy”. I started 2016 with a DNS (did not start) at HITS Naples due to injury. My big Olympic Tri moment in Boston was over with the swim and some hypothermia (sweet!), then I ended 2016 with a DNS at TriKW (bronchitis).

To sum up: “blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine” Oy. Now you know why I’ve barely written anything in the last few months. Mentally and physically, I was DONE with triathlon. Was sick of training, sick of the routine, sick of not trying, good lord, I’m whining again. Apologies.

Basically going into Havana Tri last weekend I hadn’t raced since September 2016 (my beloved Escape to Miami). I was nervous as hell. Not only haven’t I raced in awhile, but I was racing in a foreign country. There were many logistical things that could (and did) go wrong. But that weirdly took the pressure off the race. I was heading to Havana to experience some of Cuba and whatever happened with the race, happened. whatevs!

The biggest worry about heading over to this race was getting the dang bikes there. It was such a hassle to figure out the bags and the flights and the…zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Yeah, was gonna go into details about the whole race, but gawd. How boring. Here’s what really stood out to me about the race. It was the most fun I have ever had from start to finish. Why? It’s probably many different things. Not to get all Stuart Smalley but it was pretty much the first race I ever did where I felt like I deserved to race. What?! You see, the mental game is always a struggle. For me, it’s the fact that I’m always last. I am always so slow and (so far) I always have to walk a good portion of the run. I always felt like a phony. I would say the most awful things to myself throughout the entire race. Like if I tried too hard than people would be like “look at her, like she shouldn’t even be out here, why is she pushing it” (which people have actually said to me in some form or another on the course). But this time was different. I was full of self love (relax pervert, I mean mentally). I was giving myself daily affirmations that would make Oprah be like “PREACH”. How did I flip this around?

Back in November, I reapplied to be on the BASE Performance Race Team. I wasn’t sure if I’d be accepted nor was I sure that I would accept. This team is chock FULL of Ironman finishers and triathlon rock stars. How would a (slow) Sprinter like me be worthy? But I got on again. And when I expressed shock and hesitation, the CEO and dudes in charge very vocally gave me their support. And have continued to do so.

The other thing? It was a book. Diana Nyad’s “Find a Way”. I was lucky enough to see her come ashore in Key West after her historic swim. When I saw this book, I had to read it. I started it in the airport on our way to Cuba and finished it the night before the race. I couldn’t put it down. One word of hers kept me going through the race. Whenever I started to flail, I just told myself “Onward”.  So when we had to swim 200 yards to the start and swim in a not so clean canal? “onward”. When I had to do the 6 miles of climbing in my big ring because my gears were broken? “onward” (ok, maybe some four letter words in there too) and when it was hot as hell during the run and I was DONE? “onward”.  When I was tired and done drinking that night in Old Havana? “on-hiccup-ward”.   And onward I went.

I managed to PR on the swim and the run for this race by a lot (when compared with the same distance of TriKW. Ok, you can never compare like that. Yet we do).

IMG_6929 2

FINISHER

And I missed the total PR by only a couple of minutes thanks to me stopping during the bike to see if I could fix my bike. Which was insane of me considering I have absolutely zero mechanical skills.

This race was fantastic! I came out of it feeling great and am trying to build upon it so that I can go into SoBe Tri on April 2nd and finally, finally, make that damn race my bitch once and for all.

photos by Kathleen O’Dowd kathleenodowd.wordpress.com

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Afraid? Do it anyway!

My childhood dream was to be on Saturday Night Live. I heard you needed 3 characters to try out so I constantly invented them. I loved going to stand up comedy clubs, I love funny movies and I love to make my friends laugh.

When a good friend of mine and her boyfriend decided to bring comedy to Key West, I thought “ok, here’s my chance”. Well, it took me 2 months to get up the courage. I’m very comfortable on stage. I have emceed various events for work and fundraisers. I was just worried about being funny “on demand”. Last week I prepared 3-5 minutes of material. Well, “prepared” is a bit of a stretch. I prepared an opening and thought of things I thought would work. I made an index card of words that would prompt me to remember different bits and off I went! I loved it! I plan on doing it again and really hope I always play to an audience made up of like 80% people I know 🙂

Here’s the video. Moral of the story? it’s in the title above. Afraid? do it anyway!!! (kind of my triathlon mantra)

stand up comedy

 

enjoy! or, not. CAUTION!! LOTS OF CURSES! Apparently I swear like a sailor when nervous.

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Time to Roar

These times that we’re living in are causing me some emotional distress. The treatment of women is getting worse rather than getting better. If a woman is sexually assaulted, she is victim shamed. If a woman is fat, she is fat shamed. If you’re “pretty”, you’re stupid. Women are being told to “smile”. Powerful women are being told that they dress too nicely or not feminine enough. And the wage gap! Oh the infuriating wage gap. We also have the most powerful male political figure completely degrading women while those that support him (men and women) justify it as acceptable because it’s just “talk”. As if what you say to people and how you treat them doesn’t matter deeply.

 

If you’ve read this blog before, you know I’ve had to deal with a lot of fat shaming. And there are some who have let me know that I’ve brought it on myself because I “let” my body continue to be overweight (as if it’s not something I struggle with, to some degree 24/7/365). I’m gonna go ahead and assume those folks no longer read my words and that’s fine. Part of what makes America (already) great is the fact that people can choose to read or not read what they want. Unless you’re in 8th grade and dammit, you have to read Johnny Tremaine no matter how badly it bores you to tears.

 

And the lovely fat shaming doesn’t just happen to me who is obviously obese. A good friend of mine, who is one of the most physically fit people I know (I can feel her shaking her head as she reads this. STOP IT) got fat shamed by her DOCTOR. That’s right. The person who is supposed to be looking out for her physical and emotional wellbeing. She has run like 6 marathons for f’s sake and works out like a fiend. Does she fit the stereotype of a whippet like runner? Nope. But guess what? She can out run most people including that damn doctor. And she’s beautiful inside and out.

 

I belong to a couple of private triathlon Facebook groups. One is for Athena athletes past and present. There are stories like the one above on there EVERY SINGLE DAY. The leader of the group is an amazing athlete. She lost 100 lbs and just the other day someone in her life gave her a hard time about what she USED TO LOOK LIKE. Totally ignoring how far she’s come and the badass athlete she is (and was!). The other Private groups have women and men alike shaming the Athena and Clydesdale athletes for competing in what others think is an easier category at races. Ummmmm…excuse me, we do THE EXACT SAME RACE. And on and on and on….

 

I was raised by an incredibly strong and capable Mom. And my male role model was (is) my Dad who always believes in my 100%. I was always brought up to believe that I could do anything I wanted. There were no specific gender rules to follow. I was a tomboy through and through. I grew up in a neighborhood where for the most part, girls and boys played on equal footing. I was the only girl on my Little League team, I played basketball, I swam, I had friends that were boys and friends that were girls. Sure, I had Barbies and liked to wear pink and had crushes on boys and experimented with makeup and hair. But I was never treated like I was “less than” because I was a girl. I’m so grateful for all of that.

I was also physically, emotionally and sexually abused as a child by a close family member from the ages of 6-13 (estimated ages. I can’t really remember the start or end and I’m told that’s common for the level of abuse). I seriously contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. I essentially split into two different people. One was a confident person who had zero problems making and keeping friends. I excelled in school and sports. I joined any club that would have me after school. Anything to avoid going home. I had (have) a great relationship with my parents and never really majorly rebelled (though they’ll tell you that me registering as a Democrat broke their hearts) In a sense, the abuse fostered some of my best traits. The other person was a terrified child that was afraid to be alone in the house and afraid to go to sleep. This manifests itself even today. I can’t sleep if I can’t be aware of everything going on in my apartment. (I could never live in a house by myself) All doors open. And at least some ambient light to see what’s what. Anyone that shares a hotel room with me knows that I can’t sleep closest to the door (though they would also share that my snoring will keep any attacker far, far away).

 

I also gained a crap ton of weight when I was younger as a result. I wanted the insulation to protect me. I also got myself a super cool emotional eating habit. Sweet! Now, this abuse took place like 35 years ago (oy, I’m old). I’m not using it as an excuse by any means to justify my obesity. That is merely a result of the coping mechanism to stress and emotion that I’ve honed so well over the years. These patterns take a long time to break. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten way better at it and improving all the time. I tell you this, dear reader, not to try to garner sympathy, more just so you know where I’m coming from!

 

It is so easy for us to believe the worst about ourselves. It makes zero difference that my friend’s doctor is a flipping idiot, it makes no difference that my abuser had severe mental health issues (doi), it makes no difference what other people say, right? Well, it does. The credibility of the person that make a ridiculous statement like “how are you so fat?” or “you’re not going to catch a man if you like that” or “you’re lucky you have a pretty face” and on and on and on…. Doesn’t matter at all. When you hear your worst fears about yourself or situation parroted back to you by someone, it is truly devastating. It’s very hard to get off the mat after it happens. But we do. We soldier on and hopefully the words don’t keep chipping away at us.

 

It’s hard not to let our own voices stop or stall us on our journeys. Running. Oh god, the running. Why can’t I do it? Well, I can do it. I do, do it (heh, do do). I just don’t run as fast or as far as I think I should be able to at this point. Why is that? Well, maybe I’m just slow to improve? Or maybe (more likely) is I let the voices in my head tell me that I can’t do it. It’s all the people that have told me I can’t. And the loudest voice is my own. I know so many people that do this too. I’ve let this voice win all year this year and it aggravates the piss out of me! Even when I’m doing well in a race, I back off. Like I don’t want people watching to think that I think I deserve to finish the race. What in the actual F is that?! I mean, I’ve encountered some vocal haters on the course and in training but really, I have so many people (friends and strangers) rooting for me. Why is it so easy to believe the bad voices in your head? I have another friend who is just an amazing mom to two girls. She’s also a great triathlete. She spends a lot of time training and racing and CONSTANTLY beats herself up for spending time away from her girls. Instead of focusing on what a positive role model to them she is! Makes me crazy. Another friend is crazy Crossfit strong and still picks apart her body at times.

 

And I could go on and on and on…..What’s the point of all this? I don’t know. Maybe just to let any person reading this that gets plagued with self doubt know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! And also maybe to let people that say shitty things to women about their appearance or perceived athletic ability to STOP IT!!! Words do, in fact, hurt. A lot. You ain’t saying anything that a woman hasn’t already told herself. Don’t reinforce it.

 

Now let’s get off the couch and out there everyone and KICK SOME ASS!

 

<climbs off soapbox>

baaHalf

I am Super Runner! (just a slow one 🙂

 

 

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Local Races Rule!

We have a little race here in Key West that happens twice a year. It’s the FKCC Sprint Tri and it takes place every September and March. It’s (allegedly) a 600 yard swim (I got 440 on my watch this year), a 10 mile bike (8.6) and a 5k (close!). You get the point. But I LOVE this race. For many of us here on the Rock, this race was our introduction to Triathlon.

Though it was my first full Sprint 4 years ago, I had done it as a relay twice prior. And oh my god. Was I terrified. I still get nervous, but nothing like the first couple of times. I mean, race day is a bit like having the flu isn’t it? The night before the race is in bed early, tossing and turning, fitfully sleeping. Then up in the dark, fumbling your way to the bathroom feeling nauseated and sweating. You try to take in some food but really, solid food just makes you more nauseated. And you basically spend some hours living off of just electrolytes. You hope you’ll make it to the end but you’re afraid it won’t ever end. But, you finish! Sweaty, salty and happy to have survived! If you’re me, you probably had one last spectacular vom at some point during the run.

With a couple dozen Sprints under my belt, my pre race/race feeling is less horrific bout of flu and more like slight motion sickness (excited to be on the water! but a little nauseated). And though my nutrition is pretty on point, I occasionally have some GI issues (usually right in front of a friend. sorry Josh).

We just had the FKCC Sprint last weekend. It was super fun. I love racing with all my friends. It’s usually a pretty small field and I like it like that. It makes it way less intimidating for newbies. For the most part, everyone has a “let’s just go have fun attitude”. Sure, there’s some competition. But it’s mostly friendly and for pride. For awhile though, it wasn’t very fun. There are quite a few very talented triathletes on our island that would talk down about the race for a couple of years. They would , loudly, make sure everyone knew that it was “just” a training day for them. They’d want everyone to be aware that after the race, they were still going to go out and get their 50 mile bike in. They would definitely mock the “everyone gets a trophy” (even tho some don’t) aspect of this race. It was super disheartening for those of us who felt like this was an Ironman. We trained and pushed and this was (is) the extent of the distance we could do. It turned off newbie to the race, it caused a whole lot of discontent among the community. I have to say though, that in the past few months, that attitude has shifted. And I’m proud of our amazing Triathletes for that. It’s super important for all triathletes, no matter the skill level to go out and support the local race. Whether you race it with grace or you volunteer your time. These local races build our sport!!!

I no longer stand on the dock crying at the FKCC Sprint like I did that first time. But you better believe that I remember that feeling! Remember that the next time you do a “little local race”. Somebody next to you is probably a first timer and is fighting back the tears and nerves. All it takes is some encouragement and a smile and you can be the difference in the race for them! I can’t wait for the next FKCC Sprint!

(and I get down off my soapbox…)

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