Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Forgetting where you came from

When I named my blog, I wanted a name that would work for where I was at, but would also work later, when I had (hopefully) changed. So nothing with "Getting Skinny" in the title because some day I would BE skinny and not "getting" there. At the same time, I didn't want something that reflected what I planned to become, because it would be embarrassing if, five years later, I was battling regain and no longer there. (Or, worse, never got there.) And nothing about how bad off I was at the start. Who wants a blog called "The Fat Couch Potato" when you are wearing a size 2 and run 3x a week?

So I thought long and hard about having "Fatty" in the name. Would would it still fit when I was oh-so-skinny? And, would I still be fighting back?

Obviously, I decided I would.You can't throw off 45 years of being the "fat one" overnight and maybe you can never throw it off and maybe it's better that way. I still have struggles around food and I still see people my former size and feel like we're both in some secret club and know things about life that other people don't -- mostly about how much it sucks to be that big.

Also, it's a good reminder of where I came from and where I could go back, if I don't keep my act together. I absolutely did not want to forget where I came from as I think that's the surest way to get back there.

Another way I don't want to forget where I've come from is in the area of fitness. I never want to forget what it was like to be training for my first Sprint Triathlon and my first 5K and being totally intimidated and not sure I was even going to be able to finish them.

Whenever I stop feeling that way about what I am doing, I figure out a way to get that feeling back. Which is why I keep going for longer and longer distances. Believe me, I felt just as scared of doing my first triathlon as I do when I think about doing the Wildflower Long Course this May. (We won't even talk about Ironman AZ ...)

But some day I'll run out of distance because I have no desire to do events that require me to keep racing around the clock. I hope, when that happens, I find a way to keep that "OhMyGodWhatHaveIGottenMyselfInto?" feeling and never forget what it's like to be at that stage in the process.

I really do think some people forget this. It's easy enough. You get used to doing 25 miles rides as any easy social ride and forget that when you started you were lucky to get in 6 miles before you were completely pooped. Or you get to the point where you can bang out a 5k with no special preparation and you forget that there was a time you were not sure you'd make it through the entire 25 minutes of Couch-to-5K, Day 1.

On a related note, something I see all the time that I feel is, at least in part, people not remembering where they came from is people trying to make distinctions that aren't real.

Like trying to tell people they aren't really triathletes even though they are training for and doing triathlons. To me, and most sane people, you are a triathlete if you've done a triathlon. Duh.

But there is always someone who wants to qualify it somehow. You aren't a real triathlete unless you...
-did a race in Open Water (pool haven't got real water, apparently)
-did a race in the ocean (there have to be sharks?)
-complete an Olympic (a Sprint is too short? too "easy"?)
-complete a Half-Ironman (just when you thought you were a real triathlete because you'd done an Olympic, you find out it doesn't count either)
-complete a Ironman (So what if your HIM took you 8 hours -- that's nothing compared to the "real" thing)
-do 10 triathlons a year (I guess Chrissie Wellington isn't a "real" triathlete, either; good to know)
-do Kona (it's not enough to do an IronMan, you have to make it to the World Championships!)
-win Kona (and, no, winning your age group isn't the same thing; but, heh, at least Chrissie's back in the "real" triathlete pool with this one)

To my way of thinking, it's all just a way to say "you aren't good enough to be in my club" and I think that's crazy. 99% of the population will never do a triathlon ever, of any distance or toughness or prestige. How much more elitist do you want to be than that and to what purpose?

Don't get me wrong. If you don't like doing Sprints because they are too short, that's fine with me. You should do what challenges you and you find fun. I try to find races that are in open water because I prefer it to the pool, myself. But I would never dream of telling someone they weren't a real triathlete because they've only done Sprints or won't do races in the ocean. If you swam, biked and ran in a formal race against other people and the clock, it's a triathlon and completing it makes you a real triathlete. End of story.

So, if I ever lose sight of this and you catch me saying things like "you aren't a real triathlete until you ...." just shoot me, okay?
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