triathlon

Me=Sausage – Wetsuit=Casing

In preparation for the lake swim this week, I had to try on the wetsuit I bought a couple of years ago for the Chicago Triathlon.  Some of you may remember that the original purchase of the wetsuit I fondly call Michelin was one the most horrible shopping experiences of my life. That was in preparation for Accenture.  Today, I am heavier and rounder than I was a couple of years ago, but I spent $200 on the thing and need to use it for this program.  The lake is 67 degrees and Thursday evening we are doing our first lake swim.  I need to try it on.  So, I went upstairs to my non air-conditioned room on the most humid night in recent history with the worst sunburn I have had since 6th grade, sprayed some goo on my ankles feet and legs and began the process of pulling the wetsuit on.  Inch by inch I progressed, I was nearly out of energy, sweat was rolling into my eyes, and I had only reached just past my knees.  This was going to be a long haul.  Pulling pushing putting twisting aching and rolling on the floor and finally, the thing was on past my ass.  With a twist and pull of the arms, over my shoulders (added tire marks to the sunburn) – but it was on.  I couldn’t get it zipped, so I went downstairs to have husband zip Michy.  It took a few minutes and some construction equipment, but finally, it was ON.  Wet sweat hair plastered on my head, I looked at my husband who asked  “Is it too big?”  I nearly killed him.  The scary part is that the whole process took over 30 minutes.  I am supposed to swim at the lake with a group of people after work.  I am NOT going to go through that workout in front of humans.  My strategy is this:  Dress in the gym at work, but only wear the suit to my waist.  Have K pick me up in front of my building.  At the beach, finish dressing and have K zip me up.  I hope it all works out and that I don’t spontaneously combust in the car or while we are waiting to start swimming.  I really question why I joined this program.

I’ll never do that again…Tales of Training gone bad

I hate meeting new people.  People tell me they don’t believe me when I mention this to them.  I am a pretty outgoing person when you get to know me (surprised by that?) But initially, I am filled with a sense of dread and angst before I meet new folks.  On that note, yesterday was heinous.  You see, my gal pal K and I signed up for another training program for tris.  Last night was the FURLKLE training or some crap like that.  No, the word is FARKLE which still sounds like IKEA furniture.  The plan was for me to meet K, do the w/out with her, load my bike onto her car and drive home.  Well, due to uncontrollable and horrible circumstances, K couldn’t meet me.  So, here is a recap of my LOVELY evening:

5:46 – Leave work on my bike to head up north for training.

5:50 – Nervously dodge cars and buses on the unfamiliar route.  Nearly get hit numerous times.

6:00 – Arrive at location, park bike and enter training building a full 30 minutes too early.

6:10 – 6:20 – Stand uncomfortably waiting while people mill in.  Note that each athlete seems to be the size of these people.  Listen to high pitched ramblings of tri stories and bragging.  Grow more and more nervous.

6:30 – Learn of the quick 3/4 mile jog…easy paced…to get to the training area at the softball diamonds.  Where there will be running and fast running in intervals.

6:40 – Begin the jog, realize my run is a slow jog and I feel slow but am going as fast as I can it is hot hot hot, everyone is passing me, wait how do I walk 2 jog  4 with this group why am I here I really don’t like this and don’t like one person especially that one with the stinkeye where is K

7:15 – One lap down everyone is evil I need to get away from them I am going back.  Fuck the FARTKLELSLEKLS

7:35 – Bags in hand, load up bike, head to train.

7:45 – Jackson Street elevator broken.  Attempt to carry 200 million  lb bike down stairs with my bike cleats on, sliding bumping jumping bike breaks $100 bike  bag.

7:50 – wait on train platform trying to guess which car will be a bike friendly car, inevitably guess wrong and have to run on platform with cleats on granite nearly kill myself but make it.

8:00 – Finally, on train.

8:30 – drink full glass of wine, cry to dear niece

8:45 – feel better

9:00 – resolve to NOT do this again

Clarification to Port-o-Potty Reference

En route to the lake for a morning swim today, my girls commented about how they couldn’t believe I put on my wetsuit in the port-o- potty.  I apologize for not being clearer.  In no way did I change in the poop chamber.  I  stood on a grassy knoll in front of thousands of people and wiggled and stretched my way into the wetsuit I lovingly call Michelin. 

p.s. we found no parking at the lake so in dedicated athlete fashion, we went to breakfast instead.

Slow ass tri girl finishes triathlon at a snail’s pace

So, did I tell you that Accenture was this weekend?  Yeah, big race, the golden one for many a triathlete. For me this was supposed to be the year for the Olympic distance, or the “Oly” as some would call it. I, on the other hand, just couldn’t muster the strength, dedication, interest or stamina to really drive it all home. So, I decided to go ahead and do the sprint instead. I can’t tell you how liberating this was. Perhaps a little too liberating, because my fitness level the day of the event left a tad to be desired. However, I was determined to have a great time.

Woke up at the same before the crack of the crack of the butt of dawn and loaded up the ford blue van with 3 of my closest friends. We convoyed downtown to meet the packs and droves of insane people on bikes carrying large backpacks and wearing alien helmets. Transition was fun. I was next to this lady named Sandy who I swear, had more makeup on than I have seen on most models. I even mentioned I trained in less time than it took her to apply her mascara. Regardless, friends were made, laughs had. I had dilemma though. My start time was about 7:15 a.m. and I had to put on the wetsuit. See my previous explanations and adventures of trying on the wetsuit to understand why I may not want to do this in public let alone in a port-o-potty. At around 6:30 though, I had no choice. I put it on and immediately began to dehydrate because of the vast pools of sweat dripping from my face.

Swim start….I am chatting away to anyone who will listen so that I am taken aback when the actual horn goes off. I had no idea it would be that fast. I begin to try to develop some sort of rhythm to no avail because I am being kicked, pulled, yanked and otherwise beaten in the water. I also believe I ran over someone doing backstroke (sorry). Finally though, I am out of the water which is great for me. I search for my shoes which are under the crunch sign and see my girlfriend Kitty who I begin to have a conversation with…right there. We chat for a couple of minutes before I remember that this is a RACE. I proceed to hobble to the bike transition.

No amount of strength or flexibility will get me out of the wetsuit. I am like a turtle on my back, feet raised trying to get the sucker off of my ankles. Finally people stop to ask if I need help. I must have looked like I needed some medical attention. But, I prevail and walk (can I say that again WALK to the bike exit) I take my time getting on the bike and take off. The bike itself was uneventful. I couldn’t really get any speed worth mentioning, but there were some nice looking bikes along the way. Once off the bike I walk….yes, walk to the rack and change shoes, take off helmet, put on hat, do my hair (wait, I have none) Finally, I am off again. I get out on the run course and realize I still have my bike gloves on. Silly me, so I have to carry them with me.

I hated the run, every bit of it. I walked a lot of it and just smiled when I remembered I wasn’t doing the “Oly”!! Toward the end of the race I see a woman in front of me, she is struggling to get through this, but is giving it her all. I follow her for quite some time until we are within a 1/4 mile of the finish line. At that point I see her start to walk. I shout “Don’t you dare start walking now woman…I have followed you this far, you had better pick it up!!” So she starts running again. We sort of laugh together, the crowd starts to cheer us on because I am cheering her on Man oh Man what a RUSH!! We cross the finish line arm in arm in the actual victory pose. Hip Hip Hooray!!!!! All of the sudden a voice comes over the loudspeaker “Ladies, you have not crossed the finish line yet!!!!” We burst out laughing finish the race with a hop and smile.

She told me I made her race, that she wouldn’t have been able to do it without me. Now, I know that isn’t true, but it really was a nice thing to hear.

I had my slowest times ever in this race. I am not going to deny that in the negative area of my brain, that horrible place, I can feel bad about it. But mostly, I had a great time. I laughed and cried when two of my closest friends crossed the “Oly” finish line. I am so proud of them.

And you know what, even if I was the slowest of the slow….I am proud of me too!!

Great Job Terry from Naperville….whoever you are. 

p.s.  If you’d like to see a 30 second video of this finish….let me know….it is priceless.

 UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST

En route to the lake for a morning swim today, my girls commented about how they couldn’t believe I put on my wetsuit in the port-o- potty.  I apologize for not being clearer.  In no way did I change in the poop chamber.  I  stood on a grassy knoll in front of thousands of people and wiggled and stretched my way into the wetsuit I lovingly call Michelin. 

p.s. we found no parking at the lake so in dedicated athlete fashion, we went to breakfast instead.

Fat girl buys wetsuit

I call the dressing room the Satan’s Den of Despair.  I asked for a barf bag because my nerves were shot.  After about 15 minutes of pain, I got it on.  It is a Mens XL …but it fit….I feel a little like something shrink wrapped, but….I got it.  I told the owner how difficult it is for someone my short fat size to come into a store like his and see nothing obvious that fits except a sweatband.  He seemed to “hear” what I was talking about.  He also assured me that EVERYONE feels uncomfortable trying to put on a wetsuit.

I guess the lesson learned here for me is not to jump to conclusions.  Sometimes, even in the most unimaginable places, things might actually fit. 

The intended owner had a penis, but I have BALLS!!!

 

Lake Michigan is friggin cold

So, fellow triathletes and more specifically, any of you who are larger than a supermodel, or just plain large like myself…..today, in mere hours, I will attempt to (drum-roll) TRY ON A WETSUIT.  Shoot, if you thought fat girls shouldn’t wear pumps, wait till people get a load of this.  

Here is the dilemma.  I am doing a long triathlon this summer.  In the friggin frigid waters of Lake Michigan.  I have avoided and avoided going to any store to shop for a wet suit because….wait, I don’t need to tell YOU why….you already know.  So, I have been on forums, on triathlon web sites, athena/clydesdale websites all looking for a wetsuit.  What I have found is this.  There are some companies out there who make wetsuits for plus size gals.  I am a short 5 ‘ 3″ size  anywhere from 18 – 22.  They make them.  They’ll send you one, have you take some measurements, you send it back, they alter it.  This may be the way I go.  There are, in fact, some on-line merchants that you send your measurements to them and they whip up a wetsuit for you. 

I decided, before I shop online, I need to find out if there is anything here in Chicago.   Here is how my conversation with Mission Bay went:

“Hi, Steve, Um….I’d like to know if you have any plus size wet suits.”

“Um, yes, we do”

“What sizes do those run in?

“Well, I actually need to ask you something that no one feels comfortable asking….how tall are you and what do you weigh”

“5’3″ and 230 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Edvard Munch screamer)

He checked downstairs and in the lockers and tells me….well, we have some men’s suits that might work for you, but really, you are going to need to come into the store to try some on.

So folks, I am on my way there in a few minutes.  I may have to drink heavily afterward, but can you believe it?  I am actually challenging myself to do something that I REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO, but I must.

I figure, even if they don’t have a wetsuit for me, I’ll be able to educate them on the importance of focusing on  the big girls too…….wish me luck…….send me good thoughts……please.

 

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.

http://www.runchicago.com/home/index.php