Just when I thought I was a badass… Wrong.
You don’t have to go far in this valley to realize how far you have to go. I get my butt kicked regularly in class by men and women in their 60s and beyond. Now, that doesn’t mean I am sadly pathetic and out of shape. It does mean that I live in a place where people are maddeningly fit. For those of you who don’t live in the Vail Valley, it might be hard to imagine a place where scores of natural athletes congregate, train, and drink kombucha. But that would be here. There are tons of professional athletes, wannabe professional athletes, endurance athletes, team riders, team runners, etc. You know, like World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn, Xterra champions Josiah Middaugh and Tamara Donelson, Western States 100 champ Anita Ortiz, just to name a few. Another appalling example would be my own husband. One day he went to watch the Leadville 100 mile running race, and the next day he just woke up and started running. Far.
As a fat girl, it can be downright discouraging. Especially when I think I’m doing so well. People are complimenting me, my clothes are falling off, and I’m no longer cringing every time I see a picture of myself posted on Facebook. But there’s the constant nagging comparison. How will I ever measure up to these other people in class? How will I ever race in a triathlon or even a local 5K with all these…people? I just have so…far…to…go.
To this particular mental roadblock, I guess the only thing to do is to just dig in and go for it. Who cares if you finish last? At least you did it. That’s what I started doing. 25 pounds ago, I just decided to do my first triathlon and a couple of 5Ks. I raised some eyebrows, but I got support from seasoned veterans who were happy to share their knowledge and weren’t judgemental at all.
In that first triathlon, I pretty much collapsed with an asthma attack at the end, but I finished. And do you know how many skinny, fit people said to me, “Oh I wish I had the strength/ability/ knowledge to do a whole triathlon?” A LOT. Many more said, “Maybe I could do it next year if I trained for it.” And you know what the great thing about that was? I was already doing it. I didn’t have to wait until next year. Because if you just start doing it and keep doing it, you’ll find that the comparisons are turned around and people are now comparing themselves to you.
Maybe you have heard it before, but I guess it bears repeating if you are still sitting there reading this post. Instead of wishing that you could do something, or hoping that one day you will be skinny enough to do something, maybe you should just go out and do it. Because if you’re out there doing it, then you have a lot more in common with those amazingly intimidating athletes than you think.