Building Confidence

medium_177110753photo credit: rellim via photopin cc

I have to be honest, I’ve never been super proud of my body.  I mean, it does what it’s supposed to, but since childhood, I (like every other woman) have been bombarded by images of stereotypical beauty, and I don’t fall into that stereotype.

(Though I do have fabulous hair.)

As I got older, I grew to accept my body for what it is. I’ll never be thin – I’m not designed that way.  And that’s okay.  But I still felt the need to hide my body most of the time.

A few weeks ago, I was standing in my bathing suit chatting with a couple of people and it wasn’t until later that I realized what I had done.  I was wearing a bathing suit.   One designed for lap swimming, not for maximum attractiveness.  And I was nonchalantly standing around talking, as if nothing was wrong.

Because nothing was wrong.  I wasn’t worried about how I looked.  Because swimming isn’t about how my body looks, it’s about what it does.  And I’m learning that with all the sports I’ve picked up.

With running, I’ve been able to somewhat hide my body (though pictures tell me I’m not actually doing a very good job of that – water belts do nothing for the belly roll).  But biking and swimming make that a bit harder.  Triathlon kits are not made to be flattering.  They are made to be functional.  They fit tightly because they have to.  Otherwise, I would have clothing flapping around as I tried to swim and bike.  Not good for anyone.

And you know what?  I don’t care.  I mean, sure, I would like to get rid of this belly fat.  It’s unhealthy and I would like to get back into my cute clothes.  Also, weight-loss will likely lead to faster speeds when running/biking/swimming.  But my body doesn’t bother me like it used to.

My thighs are big.  They’re also super muscular.  Awesomely so.  Do clothes then fit weird?  Yes.  But I don’t care.  My body has gotten me across numerous finish lines, races I wasn’t so sure I would be able to finish.

All this training has taught me that it’s not about how my body looks, it’s how it works.  And while I need to eat better to keep it working properly, it’s about being healthy and being strong.  Not worrying about what other people think.

Tri Training Plans

I’ve started thinking about my training plans through the end of the year.

That’s right.  Through the end of the year.  That seems like a lot of planning.  But at some point, I’ll have to start training for January’s marathon, and I have another triathlon to train for later this summer.

For the marathon, I’m definitely using one of Hal Higdon’s plans again.  Preferably one with only one 20 mile run.  The idea of doing 2 or 3 just seems painful.  I’ll probably use Novice 1 or 2 with a tiny bit of modifying – I want to keep up with one bike and one swim workout per week, just to keep myself in shape before I jump back into tri training after the marathon.  Yes, I’m just assuming I will love triathlons and will want to do them again next year.

For triathlons, I’ve been using Athleta’s training plan with some modifications (longer Tuesday swim and Sunday run, no Sunday swim, Team Fight swim on Thursdays).  I picked this one purely because the workouts fit into my schedule.  It’s definitely more than sufficient for my June tri, but the one in August will need a bit more distance, I think, especially on the bike.  I think that I may join up with the Mid-Maryland Tri Club for Sunday bike rides on the course and flip my Saturday and Sunday workouts.

But I’m also scanning other triathlon training plans to see what else is out there.  Here’s what I’ve found so far:

  • BeginnerTriathlete.com plans.  They have some nice free plans I may check out.
  • TriNewbies Online.  Lots of info, but I’m not sure how I feel about their plans.
  • Hal Higdon also has some tri plans, but I definitely feel like they don’t have enough training time for me.

Any other plans I should know about?

Counting down

According to my countdown, my first triathlon is in 18 days.  This is the Tri-It Tri, which is a super sprint.  Thankfully, it’s designed for beginners, so if I fall off my bike, no one will laugh.

It involves a 1/4 mile swim with a beach start, a 10 mile bike that is considered “fast and flat” and a 2 mile out and back run.  All these distances are doable.  Right now, my longest bike rides have been just around 10 miles, but I’ve got 22 days to increase that.  And they were hilly 10 mile rides.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

The best part about the tri, aside from the friends who will be there with me, is that on Saturday, after the first-timers clinic and for an optional fee, I can do a swim warmup and safety clinic. That means I can get into the water and try it out before the race.  This is an awesome option and definitely something I plan to take advantage of.

At this point, I’m not planning to wear a wetsuit.  It will likely be a wetsuit legal temperature, but for a quarter mile swim, I’m not sure it’s worth it.  Any time gain will be immediately lost in the struggle to get the wetsuit back off.  The water temp is usually around 75 degrees.  I’ve been looking at wetsuits though and thinking about getting one if I find a good deal.  Of course, that means I really have to stick with this sport.

So far, I really like the variety in the training.  Running can get old after a while and I like that I’m working different muscles.  I can definitely feel the difference.  I’m getting more confident on my bike, though high speeds still scare me a bit.  And by high speeds, I mean anything over 15 mph.  Which is probably slow.  I just need to keep up the training to be sure that I’m as ready as I can be on race day.  Besides, this is just a stepping stone to the much bigger tri I’m doing in August.  And that one, though “only” a sprint, scares me much more.

Fat Shaming is NOT Okay

Yesterday, a somewhat well-known blogger wrote a post fat shaming kids.

Yes, that’s right.  Fat shaming children.

I’m not going to do her the honor of linking to her blog, but I’m sure you can find it by googling the details that I’m putting in this post.  To sum it up though, she went to the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta and saw a bunch of school-age kids, some on a class trip, some with parents.  They were in the section at the end of the tour where you can get little cups and try different products that Coca-Cola sells around the world (kind of like you can at Epcot).

In her opinion, this was inappropriate for the kids.  Kids shouldn’t drink soda!  And then she took it a step further.  She took pictures of the fattest kids she saw.  She put boxes over their faces and put the pictures on her blog, purely to point out that hey, these kids are chubby!  Who in their right minds would let them drink soda?

Now, I’ll be honest.  Kids probably shouldn’t subsist on a diet of soda and Cheetoes.  At least not until college.  But first off, there’s nothing wrong with letting kids go a little crazy and have some sugary soda.  Tiny cups.  They can’t have consumed that much.  Sure, I feel for the teachers on that school bus ride back, but whatever.  Special occasion.

However.  That’s not the point.  The point is that an adult, a mature, allegedly responsible person, is fat shaming children.  Do you think there’s a chance one of these kids saw her taking the photos?  Do you think there’s a chance that someone will see these pictures and identify the kids?  I certainly think it’s possible.

This makes me mad and incredibly sad all at the same time.  When I was that age, I was the chubby kid.  Maybe not the biggest in my grade, but I wasn’t a small girl either.  (I’m still not.)  But I would have been that kid running from soda machine to soda machine, trying all the different flavors.  I still would, though I’d probably go for the unusual flavors – I can have regular Coke whenever I want.

I cannot imagine finding a photo of myself on the internet used to point out how fat I am.  It would hurt now, and I’m fairly self-confident.  I know I’m awesome, and I’ve come to terms with my body.  I’d like it to be smaller, but it is what it is.  However.  It took me years to get to this point.  If this had happened to me when I was the age of these kids, I would have been mortified.  That’s humiliation beyond imagining.  Kids deal with enough as it is.  They don’t need adults on the internet helping mock them.

I am so glad that the internet wasn’t big when I was young.

I don’t know that I have a point here.  I’m just so incredibly appalled.  And I’m sad that some people in our society think that this is okay.  Fat shaming of anyone is not okay.  Fat shaming of children is most certainly not okay.  And I don’t know what we do to stop it.