NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, August 30, 2007

On not being a stick insect.



There are some signs that something unusual happened this past weekend: my back is a little stiff, I have a little blister on one toe that is healing.

My weight soared to 171 pounds on Tuesday as my body retained extra water in relatiation for Sunday's mistreatement.
But, on Wednsday, peeing. All day. Clear water. All the water is leaving.

My shins stopped aching. I did a light jog/walk around the track yesterday, and some gentle running drills.

"Hey, Mrs. P, how long are you going to wear your medal?"
" You got a problem with my medal?"
"No, m'am."

One of the other teachers asked me how my weekend went. "Didn't you have, like, a marathon or something" and I said, "Yeah, something like that."
"So how did you do?"

I said that I did do a marathon, but I had to do some other stuff before I was allowed to start it." When you put it like that, you get instant attention. Allowed to do a marathon? What kind of "stuff"? In a river? How many miles? OH, MY, GAWD. IN ONE DAY??

And that's when it hit me; I can't joke about being lazy with anyone other than triathletes any more. I've been kicked out of the lazy club.

I'd already been kicked out of the diet club. You know the one: everyone sits around, eating Lean Cuisine, swapping information on the latest internet diet but refusing to exercise other than a bi-monthly salsa class, and then you say, brightly, "I've had a lot of success with jogging and biking!" And then the excuses ensue.
  • "I'm 'different'"
  • "I can't run."
  • "I don't have time to exercise."
  • "I have bad knees."
and my favorite:
  • "I have to wait until I've lost weight before I start exercising."

So, what does all this Ironman stuff mean to me. Hmmmm.

I When I was in LooAville I was laying awake the night before mulling over the possibility of success, or failure, and what they'd mean to me. I imagined writing two notes to myself.

One would say, Open this if you made it to the finish line.

and the other one would say, Open this if you didn't make it to the finish line.

The first one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"

The other one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"

So, what's sinking in? That I'm good enough. Not in a Stuart Smalley sort of way. But in a healthy body sort of way. When I started this part of me was hoping I would wind up being thin and, well, willowy, something I used to dream about being called.
As in, "That's her over there. See her? She's the willowy blonde on the left." (I'm not really blonde, but let's not go there...)

But no more. Barbie may be pretty, but I bet she can't do an Ironman.

So, I'm not tiny. I'm not petite, with a tiny ring in my tiny belly button on my tiny belly. I'm not shivering pre-race in my tiny size S or XS triathlon suits, trying to find a size 48 bike frame. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So, I'm not twenty. I don't have a twenty-something body.
So, I'm not sub-140 pounds. My weight hasn't changed much in the past two years. I'm a few pounds on either side of 160.
So, I'm stocky. I'm broud-shouldered and wide-hipped and I'm definitely NOT aero. But my body is healthy. My doctor is thrilled with the changes I've made. He doesn't say a word about my weight, despite the fact that I'm officially overweight at 5'6". My resting heartrate has dropped nearly 20 beats.

I no longer say things like, "When I get skinny, I'm gonna...." or, "I'll do that when I get thin again."

I refuse to fit myself into someone else's idea of womanhood when I shop. I will not wish that I was skinnier so I can all the cutest triathlon clothes, or buy clothes that are too small hoping I'll lose enough weight to fit into them.
I'm healthy, dammit. If someone wants my business, they're going to have to cater to me. Kiss my zaftig ass, and don't you dare call it extra large.

I'm am not, as Bridget Jones says, "an American stick insect."

I may never even get to see all the new muscles I've been developing.

But now I know without a doubt that they're there.

So that's where I am right now.

...

48 comments:

  1. YOU ARE THE BEST!

    I would say something highly intelligent, but that seems to sum it all up nicely.

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  2. What a wonderful post! We've recently written our own body image manifesto -- and couldn't agree with your sentiments more!

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  3. You should try to publish this in a women's magazine. Seriously. very nicely said.

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  4. You are so pretty! Which I know completely blows the entire point of your post. Bear with me.

    We saw you guys about 90 times this weekend and I never quite knew what to say to say that, well, I know you. Not "know you know you", but...know you. You know?

    You ARE Barbie pretty (not that thre's anything wrong with that) and you are muscular and lean in an Ironman Babe sort of way. I thought you looked fabulous.

    Congratulations, again. :)

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  5. Stop taking all my excuses!! ;-)

    Let me tell you about my bad knee....

    Seriously, well written! Yeah, you should submit it to a Tri magazine.

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  6. I'm with Nancy - you should submit it.
    The description of your co-workers is spot on - it could be any one of many of my friends, co-workers, acquaintances. Everyone has excuses why they can't exercise or how they can't lose weight. My standard answer anymore is "I call bullshit on that." People spend more time making excuses or setting themselves up for failure than if they just go DO IT for goodness sake!
    I am not a stick figure either, but I am compare to where I started and I only go there by counting my miles and counting the peas on my plate - there was no magic pill or fad diet that did it for me.
    You gotta start somewhere and it might as well be here.
    You look great, you feel great, adn you are doing things that you didn't think possible in the past. You are more than good enough in my book, and hope in yours.

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  7. I love this! I, too, am no teeny-tiny girl. At my last tri, I had to laugh at how big my bike looked in comparison to all the others. One of my sons commented on how small so many of the women were at the race. When I asked him if I looked huge running to the finish line, he said, "No...you looked STRONG!" The old me might have been offended, but now I'm like...cool.

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  8. This is a great post. I was going to email you at some point and ask what you've gotten (mentally) from finishing your Ironman. How it's changed you. But I won't, because now I know. :-)

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  9. Great post! Let the people say AMEN!

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  10. Where you're at seems like a great place to be. I hope to get there some day. I'll have to get past some excuses first, though.

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  11. I love this line: "Barbie may be pretty, but I bet she can't do an Ironman."

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  12. Cindy I can identify with your post...a while back I asked Sweet Baboo what it was that first attracted him to me (hoping it would be something like my delicate beauty or something like that) and he told me he loved how strong I looked. At first I was a little put off by that, but now I totally dig it.
    Isn't it Nytro who has "Athena: Goddess of Kick Ass" on her blog?

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  13. Excellent...you are strong and happy and smart and good-lookin' and loved....
    (One always wants what they aren't...I wish to look stronger and wouldn't mind being called "stocky" as I associate it with healthy and strong!)

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  14. and I wholly and fully agree...magazine worthy, definitely! (try Her-Sports, they are always accepting things from female athletes like yourself!)

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  15. and I wholly and fully agree...magazine worthy, definitely! (try Her-Sports, they are always accepting things from female athletes like yourself!)

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  16. When I first learned of the Athena class of triathletes, I could not help to be a touch jealous to be excluded from the class of athletes who took her namesake. I'm a student of Greek/Roman mythology, and I know that Athena is the ultimate kicker of asses. She is the very embodiment of female empowerment.

    And now you own her.

    Screw the M-dot tattoo - you should get Athena tattooed on yourself.

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  17. Do you ever have those times when things line up to present a message to you in a number of different ways? Well, your post was the topper in a week of signals for me. This may not make sense, my post will make it much clearer. But, thank you. You honesty was exactly what I needed to kick me in the ass and get me moving.

    You should absolutely get this in a magazine. A lot of women would benefit from reading it.

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  18. Thanks for checking in and letting us know what your Ironman has meant to you so far.

    Glad your recovery is going well - it must be if you're out there on a track!

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  19. Good for you! I like the way you write. S

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  20. I so needed to read this today. I am my own worst enemy.
    Thank you.

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  21. What an awesome post. You are in better physical shape than most guys I know, let alone ladies. I think it's cool when women embrace who they are and what they are and you have certainly done that.
    Sweet Baboo is one lucky guy for sure. I saw the pictures on Duanes blog and you guys looked great. I really can't wait to meet up with you sometime. Might have to travel to your neck of the woods and race next year. Then Jenny and I will have people who actually know how to use the camera take our pictures as we come in long after you.

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  22. I think you encompassed what a lot of us (women) are already thinking, you just knew how to write it out and express it perfectly.

    Totally agree with you and I'm really happy for you.

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  23. What a great place to be.

    I thought your link on zaftig would go to Tyra Banks revoltingly hypocritical 'kiss my fat ass' video. If only she embraced her body and loved it instead of promoting unhealthy skinniness. She was just pissed because she was criticized. blech. I like your position much better.

    (click link to view)

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  24. Clapping!! I love it!!

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  25. Hugely amused that you now have the IMCDA 2008 countdown running.

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  26. Heh...maybe someday there will be an athena or triathlete barbie! I'm pretty sure the original barbie can't stand on her own two feet without high heels :)

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  27. Those are awesome thoughts. Exactly where I need to be! It does get interesting when you realize that most of the people around you no longer understand what you mean when you talk about being lazy or missing an important workout. I think the day for me was when I realized my weight watcher leader couldn't help me figure out how many points I could count a 5 hour run as. Um, yah.

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  28. i particularly loved this:

    One would say, Open this if you made it to the finish line.

    and the other one would say, Open this if you didn't make it to the finish line.

    The first one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"
    The other one would say, "Will you finally accept and love yourself as you are?"

    i think this applies to a lot of people, zaftig or willowy...and me, right now - only it has nothing to do with size. it brought tears to my eyes. i love your blog. plan to come back again & again. glad i found it!

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  29. Yes, good on the Coeur d'Alene countdown!

    I think there should definitely be a Triathlete Barbie--think of all the gear she would have (cycling shoes!)...

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  30. Beautiful post. And yes, I do wish people would just focus on being healthy and let the body shape do what it must.

    We're not all supposed to look the same. Just healthy. That's what makes you beautiful.

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  31. I've been following your adventures for the past 6 months or so. Just as impressive as your athletic achievements is your writing. There are times I cheer, laugh, tear up (wouldn't admit to crying) and smile. String your blog entries together, do a bit of tweaking, and I swear, you've got a publishable book. Continual success to you and S Babboo.

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  32. This is a great post, and so much what I needed to see today.

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  33. Athenas Unite!
    http://www.floridahalfironman.com/entry.php

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  34. Do submit this. I feel so privileged that I follow your blog and get to read and be inspired by you. I think there are so many others that would read this and say "Amen" if they only had access to it. I already had plans to print some of it off and give it to a coworker. I especially plan to give it to her after today's post. Good stuff!

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  35. Iron Misty. has a nice ring to it.

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  36. I am not a little person. I will never be anything but an Athena. There is no physical way. During all of the pre race stuff I kept looking at all of the little bitty people wondering how in the world I would compete with them. Well guess what...I did and I did well!

    I had someone from my kids school come up to me this week and congratulate me on my finish. She said you are just so strong, just a rock of muscle. I find this humorous because there is still a layer of softness over the muscle but I accepted it. Because that is how I am looking at myself these days!

    Thank you for putting this into words. I am so sorry I did not get a chance to meet you in Louisville.

    Laura

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  37. Wow, your race recap as so great and inspiring and showed your determination.
    Take it easy on recovery and enjoy wearing that Medal.. YOU Totally Earned it!! Ironman!!

    See you all at IMCdA unless something comes up sooner.

    rockon`

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  38. I just finished reading your last three posts and each one was more moving than than last. By the time I finished your latest, I had a lump in my throat.

    Good on ya. Your balance and perspective in life and sport are a model for the rest of us.

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  39. Why is it sometimes the person hardest to please is yourself? It sounds like this experience has been a self-revelation of who you are, and the fact that you have a man who loves you just for who you are is a bonus.

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  40. You are a GODDESS!!!

    (And on another note... not all of us who need a size 47 bike frame are shivering in XS tri suits! In fact, some of us have trouble finding an XL tri suit to go with that dinky little bike frame. It ain't always pretty, but like you said, there's serious muscle mass hiding under all that!)

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  41. You, are simply amazing.

    You took the words right outta my head.

    Could I borrow one of those envelopes? Because I think I may need to read that line over and over again. When will I finally accept amnd love myself the way I am???

    I never really realied how much I say "when I loose this weight".

    I am me, and I am a runner, and soon to be triathlete.

    You have made a huge mark on me. Thank you for inspiring me!!!!

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  42. Misty...your SB sounds like a great guy! It's so nice to have a husband who appreciates you for who you are. My husband and I just got back from our first 50 mile bike ride (I'm hurting), and we passed a really thin girl on her bike, and he told me, "you look better." Also, your blog has really helped me to feel proud of my athena-ness!

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  43. There's NOTHING like clear pee!!

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  44. Wow- that post can blow you away. No doubt needs to be read by many especially those who never dare to try.

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  45. Just found your blog by doing a search on google images for hot and sweaty running (?) ANyway, see you're also on BT and I love your blog entry. I can relate to much of it and will follow you -- hopefully to finishing an Ironman next year. Thanks for being so honest and congrats on all you've accomplished.

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