Years ago, the first time I lost all of my weight, I had just finished a marathon and decided that I wanted to attempt a triathlon.
Now, I’m a person who will research everything to death so I made a few trips to my local bookstores to see what kind of reading I could find about triathlons. I came across a real gem of a book on day when I was in Borders. The title of the book was Slow Fat Triathlete written by Jayne Williams.
I loved this book. First of all, the author has a great sense of humor (very similary to mine, probably why I liked it so much). Williams told some great stories about first learning to swim, trying to find the right bike and trying on her wetsuit for the first time (I was laughing out loud).
The best thing about this book was the message the author was trying to get across: don’t not do something because you are worried about how you look or what other people will think of you. As a matter of fact, a lot of triathlons actually have specific categories for men and women who are over a certain weight.
I admit, I sometimes struggle with walking into my gym when I see all of the skinny, athletic girls there. I struggle with joining races because I am not a fit athlete.
BUT, I have found that Jayne Williams was correct. Most people aren’t even paying attention to you. You are the only one worried about you. Everyone else at that 5k race, half marathon, triathlon or bike race is thinking about their own race and how they are going to accomplish their own goal. They aren’t even thinking about you.
As a matter of fact, I have found that triathletes are some of the nicest people. I have been in so many races where I was struggling to finish running and those people who were passing by where cheering me on. Just last year when I was finishing the 56 mile bike ride of my half ironman race, I had another biker pass me and tell me he was proud of me for getting out there and race for my cause (I raced with Team in Training and had raised $3500 for Leukemia & Lymphoma research).
Most of the races I have competed in have been emotional but that half Ironman is one of my most memorable just because that man stopped to encourage me at the end of a long bike ride and just before I had to start doing my least favorite thing (running).
So, as both Jayne Williams and I have found out, whether your overweight, just slow, or both, don’t give up on something you have wanted to do just because you are not at your ideal weight. Just go do it.