I’m fat, I tri, and I’m mad

As I said in an earlier post.  I am a triathlete.  I’ve never felt entirely comfortable calling myself that, for some reason I picture an ironman/woman with cut arms in the victory-over-the-head pose crossing the finish line when I picture a triathlete.  Nope, I don’t look like that when I cross it.  I tend to look red faced, sweaty and bloated.  But the point is….I cross it.  Or at least hope to cross it.  I am thinking about the differences in myself from last year to this year.  What has changed about me since last summer when I ventured into my first race?  Last year, I was nervous and excited to start.  Scared about the start and the swim, more scared about the run.  This year, I was more nervous about the overall time.  I secretly wishedI that last year I hadn’t worked so hard so that this year I had a shot at being faster.  My biggest fear was that I would be slower than last year. 

And guess what folks….I was.  

By a whopping 4 minutes.  It really hasn’t affected me that much.  What has affected me and pissed me off entirely is this….the following ditty.

I was excited to attend the expo, find some fun tanks, tees, shorts, suits…all of the stuff that helps us identify that we are triathletes.  The “I TRI therefore I am” stuff, you all know what I am talking about.

I see women in all shapes and sizes at this all female event.   I would venture a guess that 10% of the gals are size 16 and bigger.  Some even (gasp) are the same size as me 18 – 22 (depending on the maker)

I go from booth to booth, feeling more and more dejected each castaway bin I tear through.  There is NOTHING that fits my frame, let alone my breasts.  Nothing for my top or bottom.  Even the technical T’s that are free giveaways, I can’t get a tank top because they don’t have it in my size.  I settle for the short sleeve version.  I am surprised at this point that there isn’t a sign on the back of the tee that says something like “we were forced to give this fat girl a t-shirt” 

I am not the size that you imagine a triathlete should be.  I don’t look like the rest of my tri team either, but we can go head to head in an event.  I want to wear the t-shirts, the skorts.  I want a wet suit to swim in lake Michigan in August. 

Where are the manufacturers who understand that curvey women (and men?) have money too.   

I came home with a bumpersticker and a pair of socks and a crappy attitude resigned to the fact that 2 years into this, I still can’t find a “fit” in this sport.

Fast forward a few days.  I decide to venture into a running store.  I had the need for a running cap.  I figure, surely my head isn’t fat too, maybe I can squeeze into one of their caps.  As I am checking out, the cashier and owner are standing there.  They asked if I had shopped at the store before.  I indicated, that given my size and their selection of clothing….no, I hadn’t EVER purchased anything at their store.  I then take it upon myself to tell this guy what a HUGE market he is missing out on.  How, just because I am a big girl, doesn’t mean I don’t want to go out there and sweat it up, stink it up with the rest of them.  I also told him about the vendors at the event.  I honestly think he was embarrassed.  What does he do, pull out a catalogue, we start going through it item by plus size wicking wear item.  He promises to have some stuff on the shelves for us in the next two months.  In the future when I type in plus size running clothes will his page pop up?  In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and share his info….let’s hope that he doesn’t let us down.




  1. I love your commitment, but do not be mad. It is a waste of energy. I would love to have the ability to take on such a challenge but have been unable to find the right level of balance between family and work to allow time for it. But still hoping to walk a few 5k’s this summer. I found some good sports bras and apparel at AlwaysForMe.com and two styles of “Aquatards” that you might be interested in at Junonia.com. Keep up the great work – you are an inspiration.

  2. I feel your pain on this one! Depending on the manufacturer, I usually either wear a 24W or 26W and a DD cup bra. Pretty much all of my workout apparel comes from Junonia because it’s virtually the only place I’ve found wicking fabric garments to fit. What kills me is the exponentially high price of plus size tech gear. Champion makes a running skirt that is available up to a size 16/18 that sells for $24.99. A running skirt from Junonia in a size 22/24 cost me $49.99. I know it takes a bit more fabric, but DOUBLE the cost?! I don’t think so! Even though it irritates me to no end, I keep ordering from them simply because they have what I need and no one else seems to. *sigh*

    Thanks to the previous post for the link to Always for Me. I’ve never heard of them, so I’m off to check them out now.

  3. I did triathlon for years….even finished Ironman Canada in 1996.
    I stopped (too complex to explain here) and began again a couple of years ago.
    I cannot begin to detail how MUCH my brain goes into overdrive over something I TRULY WANT TO DO. I can finish races. I am strong. I am fit.

    And all I can think about is my weight and how I really don’t belong with these people (triathletes). I’m already thinking about pulling out of a race three weeks from now. Not because I fear not being able to finish (I could do it today with no problem), but because I am fat….and it is simply sad that this thought, this obsession takes precedence over the FACT that I am a stronger athlete that most of the population…..and I am fat.

  4. I’m going to the tri girl tri event in Napa Valley this year. It’s my first tri event and I’m getting excited. I’ve done a few running only events and I can hardly fit into the size L tec shirts they pass out. I would prefer a size XL to be comfortable. But for some of the events that my husband and I signed up for, they didn’t have shirts for us, even though we signed up for L. “Someone” had beat us to all the ones we had both requested… It was sad that they didn’t keep a better track. I hope they pass out the shirts at the begining because I’m sure that’s a part of the price. And that way I’m sure that some other chick that is just “feeling fluffy today” doesn’t steal the size I ordered!
    Size 18, and dropping…. SLOWLY. 😉

    1. Oh do I feel your pain. It does add insult to injury when all of the bigger sizes get snagged up. I have a drawer full of shirts that I”ll never be able to wear. Good luck on your tri!!

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