Tuesday, June 25, 2013
On a Spark Team I lead, a woman posted a concern about her feelings of fatigue when performing a certain kind of exercise. A bunch of us jumped in to say, oh yeah, that's really common when you first start out because you are not performing the exercise in an efficient way, and here are some tips for how you can make it much more effective and less likely to cause injury.
"Oh, thank you," she said. "I just figured it was happening because I'm fat."
I've also seen topics where women went to the doctor for a problem and only got a diagnosis of "it's because you're fat; lose weight." Even when the problem had nothing to do with their body size. And these women just accepted that answer.
I've done it myself. When I only had one bike and was riding a lot, I was continually needing to adjust the seat height. "Well," I thought, "that's because you're so heavy. You're just making the seat go down."
Then I got my hybrid bike, and I never had a problem with the seat height changing on it. Still, it didn't occur to me that the problem might be mechanical rather than my fault until my daughter Erin started riding that bike and had the same seat-slip issue. That was when we finally took it to the bike shop and found out that the seat stem was the wrong diameter for the bike. Because it was Erin, I thought of doing something to fix the situation. When it was just me? Well, I just had to settle for what I could manage.
When you're fat, there is a lot of assumption by society that anything wrong with you is wrong because you are fat. And that you should be ashamed of your body size and simply endure the failure state of whatever is wrong, because it's clearly being caused by your fatness.
So we settle. We assume the guilt for any failure is in ourselves, not in the product or service that failed. We are too ashamed to even ask whether the problem might not be our fault; we just assume the failure is personal and, silently and in deep embarrassment, endure it.
It's time to stop that. Yes, there are situations where weight is a contributing factor to a problem, but we need to stop just assuming that weight is the only possible factor. We need to ask questions and really look at the answers. Because the first answer may be predicated on weight assumptions made by the person we're asking. If the answer is "you just have to deal with it," it's time to ask about alternatives.
We may be on this journey with the goal of losing that weight and getting into better shape, but that doesn't mean that we should punish ourselves by settling for now.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Me making an appointment to get my hair cut always ends up sounding like some kind of tense hostage situation: "I'm in the bathroom with a pair of scissors. I swear I'll do it!"
In the meantime, the receptionist is telling me to calm down and just give her a little bit of time; she's sure she can find me an appointment if I'll just give her a little bit of time…
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Had to go to the doctor today for the pain in my left foot. Turns out it's a stress fracture. No running for 4 to 6 weeks. Still allowed to bike, if it doesn't hurt. Swimming and strength training allowed.
To keep me motivated and my spirits up, I just registered for the Perry's Victory Triathlon on August 11, one week after Pedal to the Point.
And speaking of Pedal to the Point, I am way behind on my fundraising! Only $270 of my $2000 goal so far. You people aren't torturing my at all--I'm already biked twice as many miles as dollars! C'mon, folks, make me work for it!
Here's the link to my donation page. And thanks, everyone!
(For some reason the link won't work if I add it in with SP's link adder, but you can copy and paste it. Sorry for the inconvenience.)
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Hubby brought home half a dozen cupcakes from the fancy cupcake shop in town. I didn't know why he did it, but I was upset because he's not allowed to eat them anymore. I looked them over, and they smelled so good that I couldn't resist a taste. These are the kind of cupcakes that are piled high with buttercream frosting. Before I knew it, I had eaten all the frosting off the top of one. Then a kind of eating frenzy overtook me, and I ate the frosting off of every single cupcake! I felt horrible and guilty and was throwing the cake parts away so I wouldn't eat them, too--
And then I woke up. I was completely disoriented and confused. Then relieved to realize that I had only dreamed that binge! Whew!
But it was so realistic that all day yesterday I kept thinking, "I am way over my calorie count!"
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Hubby Ferrett and I drove to Oregon, Ohio Saturday afternoon to pick up the race packet at Maumee Bay. I happened to arrive just in time to hear the orientation talk. Which included a talk about how there have been a number of deaths at triathlons. Not from drowning, but from people panicking in the water and having heart attacks. He told us how it was going to be intense and disorienting and that it was important to relax and pay attention to our reactions.
After taking a look around, we checked into our hotel, then met up with dear friends Steve and Lea, who had driven down from the Detroit area to cheer me on. After a lovely dinner and a soak in the jacuzzi, it was early to bed. But somewhere in late afternoon and evening I noticed pain in my left foot, just to the side of the ball of my foot, below my toes.
At about 4:30am I woke up about halfway out of the bed, thanks to a crash of thunder that was the topic of discussion among runners the next morning. Dayum, that thing was loud. Fortunately, all the wild weather passed in the wee hours and by the time we got to the race site the weather was merely overcast.
Ferrett woke me up at 5:00, which was a damned good thing since I'd cleverly set my alarm for 5:20 PM--I am dumb. But thanks to Ferrett, we were able to have some of the complimentary breakfast and load Greta, who'd spent the night safe in our room, back on the car. We had a late checkout at the hotel so that I'd have time to come back and shower before lunch. I found myself limping a bit. Bending my toes up or down hurt.
Got my race numbers written on me, my ankle tag attached, and my wrist band--no race bib for this one. Ferrett walked with me while I warmed up. Then I slithered into my wetsuit and went down to the water to take some warmup strokes.
The water was really murky. Like, can't see my hand in front of my face murky. And choppy. This is when I realized that I hadn't spent enough time in the water, and that I should have gotten into it in my wetsuit, because it made me float higher and made it harder to lift my head out of the water and look around. But hey, it wasn't THAT far out to those buoys.
Then the race waves began. Elite men and men ages 19-29. Men ages 30-39. Men over 40.
Yes, all the women at once. I don't know if large group had an effect on what happened. But it might have been a contributing factor.
Because when I got into the water and started swimming in all those arms and legs, I suddenly went into a complete panic. I tried to swim the crawl, but I was gasping for air. I tried lifting my head to stroke and got a nose full of water. I finally had to roll over and start back-stroking. Even then I felt like I couldn't get my breath. The mass of swimmers left me far behind. And I couldn't swim in anything like a straight line. I probably swam an extra 30% of the distance zigzagging around.
But I didn't stay alone. Because just 5 minutes later, the Olympic-distance swimmers entered the water. So pretty soon I was surrounded by a lot of aggressive swimmers, definitely making things more difficult.
Eventually I reached the turn. It seemed like it took forever. I reached the second buoy and headed back toward shore. Still trying to turn over and swim freestyle, still not able to keep calm and keep my face in the water. Still zigging and zagging. I resorted to the side stroke and breast stroke, and slowly, slowly, sloooowly, the shore neared. At last I was able to stand up and stagger toward the beach. Olympic distance runners were jogging past me, but I was still trying to catch my breath. And my foot hurt. So my exit from the beach was...leisurely.
And Ferrett was there, cheering me on.
Change of shoes, and off on the bike. Quick departure. Except I manage to drop my chain right at the mounting spot. So, pulling over to get the chain back on. Argh.
The bike ride was...not brilliant. It was very windy, and I was slow as hell. And my legs were unhappy, probably not helped by the adrenaline mess from the swim. But I kept pedaling. And eventually the biking ended. Back into transition, off the bike. Staggered a bit, but stayed upright--yay! And Ferrett was there, cheering me on--awesome hubby!!
Change of shoes, and a wander to find the beginning of the 5k. As I walked through the transition area I was completely unsure that I could actually manage a jog--my foot wasn't happy about any of this. But once I actually reached the start of the 5k I manned it up and began my slow, crawling jog. I was being passed continually, but I kept chugging on. Lots of those people took a breath to cheer me on; it's one of the awesome things about participants, that they are so supportive. Finally reached the turnaround, and did my own cheering on of the few sprint people who were behind me.
Without any music to help my pace, I was having a little trouble keeping the pace up. And when I could see the finish line, halfway around the lake, there was a moment when I almost gave up and dropped down to a walk. But I doubled down mentally and kept up my excruciatingly slow jog.
And eventually I turned that last corner and headed toward the finish line. Steve and Lea were there along with Ferrett, cheering me on as I jogged those last few yards. Ferrett has a funny video of me staggering forward, snatching a cup of water from one volunteer, my finishers medal from another, pausing just long enough to rip off and return the timing chip from my ankle, and then staggering out of the finishers chute. I look completely grim and all business.
They were all waiting to hug me. I waved them off while I bent over, hands atop a traffic cone, and caught my breath for a moment. Then, still wet, sweaty, exhausted, I took those cheers and hugs.
On the advice of other friends who've done tris, they took me straight to food. As I described the event, Steve asked me, "So...did you *enjoy* this?"
I had to pause. Honestly, there were almost no moments of it that I can point to and say, "That part was enjoyable." But as a whole? It made me very satisfied.
And I'm already planning how to improve my training for the next one. There will definitely be more pool. And more open water swimming.
And, I fear, a trip to the doctor for an x-ray. Because this foot is not happy. Not swollen or anything, but definitely sore.
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