athletic gear and challenges for the fat girl

What is Zumba?

Though I knew nothing about it when I registered, I now understand that Zumba is some Latin fitness program that uses dance and aerobics.  I am confident that my 5 year dedication to “So You Think You Can Dance” will pay off.   Since Zumba incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and Bollywood (Katee & Joshua!!!), I am certain the Wednesdays spent watching dancing talent on TV, sipping a glass of wine or beer and eating fried dough will pay off.   Squats, lunges and martial arts are apparently also included in the line up.  These don’t excite me nearly as much as the mambo.  I seem to remember some pretty sore hamstrings post basketball court lunging.  Nevertheless,  I will be interesting.  Hopefully no lifts will be required.

fat woman working out doing sit ups

Me, working out. Special thanks to Afton for the "spot-on" depiction of me.

Stay tuned for the results.

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.

Spinning again, I am going to need some new clothes

Okay, I promise, not all of my posts are going to be about clothing.  I do have to continue this thread for a while though.  Glad to hear a couple of you have reached out and ordered some Aerotech shorts.  Let me know how you like them.  I am here to tell you I am going to need some new ones soon.  I don’t have enought to get me through the week.  (Much to the disbelief of my friend Steve, I actually do wash the clothing and have more than one pair.)  I digress.

I wanted to let you know that I went back to spin class this morning.  I have been absent for more than weeks…it’s been months.  What a refreshing reminder of how much I can actually sweat in the course of 45 minutes.  I was very happy that the cycling instructor actually took the time to go from cyclist to cyclist to check on our form and bike set up.  Anyhow, 3 hours later and my cheecks are no longer bright red and my body temperature is back to normal.  I heard an interesting bit on NPR about the benefits of interval training this morning.  I always feel so good after class, but studies are really showing the amazing benefits of speed bursts instead of a steady consistent pace.  So, I am shaking up the system here and am going to keep it up….it is only a matter of weeks till the hilly hundred.

Ask and you shall receive

I have been commuting to work on bike this summer.  I wear these bike shorts every day that I commute, they are awesome.  I love the inside leg hem detail…it is a great little feature and reminder of the designer.   The colleague that I ride in with asked me if I was going to continue this adventure through the winter.  I was completely dumbfounded because….hello….I live in Chicago, so the rides in will be quite chilly.  I started to think about how I am going to dress myself for the cold ass weather.  I started to do some reasearch online and remembered the folks from Aero Tech Designs.  I wondered if they might be willing to help a big girl out.  So, I posed a question to the owner to see how she feels about cold weather tights for plus size bikers.  Lo and behold, I get a message back from her, almost immediately asking if I would be willing to sample some clothes, give her feedback and by winter, she’ll have some plus size winter wear.  Gals, guys, I am here to tell you that we need to start asking for things.  This just took a simple e-mail.  I am going to blog about this in the coming weeks to let you know how the experience has been.  In the meantime, if you want some bike wear gear, check them out.

September 2, 2009

Received a great little package from Aerotech to take a look at their tights and try them out.  What fantastic material.  Just as strong and flexible as the shorts that I own.  I love them.  The padding is great and made my hilly weekend ride very comfortable.  Each pair of tights is hemmable so that people like me (shorties) can have them hemmed or hem them on their own.  I gave Cathy some other suggestions for improvement, we’ll see which, if any, were helpful.  I thought the sizing was a tad off, but that could just be that my butt has been getting bigger over the past year.  I couldn’t tell if they were true to the 2X sizing they said they were.  LOVED them though, and loved the idea that there may be some winter wear coming from aerotech for the big girls.  Can’t wait to hear what she says!!

Where do the fat chicks shop for athlete clothes?

This is a recurring theme here.  More and more people are asking me where to get the plus size gear.  As you peruse the old posts, you’ll see that there are a variety of places out there.  I, however, have yet to find a one stop shop for all of my fat gal athletics.  I am up for posting your ideas and recent shopping attempts!!  I want the swim suits that don’t cut into the hinterlands, the tri suit that zips without requiring liposuction, the bike shorts that plain fit.  Tell me one, tell me all, where do you get your plus size action????

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!!!

 

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