Monday, July 14, 2008

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (aka FAT!)

Let's start with the good: Did even better at the sprint yesterday than I thought! Had a really good bike and run. I'm happy about that. I felt good yesterday, although getting up at 3:30 a.m. and being done racing by 9:00 makes for a really long day! One thing I noticed--I was starving all day. I ate more than I usually do even after a long workout. I guess my body was telling me I needed more fuel.

The Bad: Well, not really much was bad. I'm really thankful for all the blessings I have in my life: a great, supportive family (husband and kids), my health (in all ways but the nasty RA), living in a country that I still believe in, and I worhsip and serve a God who I believe loves me and cares about me in every way possible.

But, if I were to nitpick: I had a SLOW swim yesterday. A minute slower than last year. What's with that? I felt really good--it was a pool swim and I seeded my self good so I wasn't crawling over too many people and they weren't crawling over me. We had to estimate our 400 meter swim time on the race registration. I put down the time I actually did last year. Now, I KNOW there were people who estimated wrong, either on purpose or just because they don't have a clue how long it takes them to swim 400 meters. That was evident by watching as the swim took place. It was a time trial start, and the fastest swimmers started first--theoretically, at least.

I felt really good, got into a good rhythm, and was really unpleasantly surprised at how slow I swam. Oh well, I wasn't going to let that bother me, so I just ran to my bike and starting riding as quickly and fast as I could.

Now for the ugly part: I DO NOT LOOK LIKE A TRIATHLETE! If you saw me on the street, or even at the start of a race, you really wouldn't think I was an athlete. I am short, have always been considered chunky, even as a kid. Now that I'm going to be 53, I can call myself fat. I KNOW I am fit--other than the RA, everything about my health is exemplary. Except I really don't like the way I look. Two years ago I worked really hard and lost about 30 pounds. I was about 10 pounds lighter than I am now. I was relatively happy with the way I looked then. I realize that at 52, having had two children late in life, and always fighting my weight, I'm not going to look like those professtional/elite women I see at races time after time. But, if I could just get those 10-15 pounds off, I would look so much better. When you're 5'2", 10-15 pounds makes a huge difference.

Believe me, it's not from lack of trying/working on it. I worked sooo hard for 18 months, and I haven't been able to lose a pound. Well, sometimes I'm a little bit lighter, but then the next time I weigh myself, I'm back to that same old crummy weight. I've worked with a nutritionist and a trainer, and they believe my problem is that I DON'T EAT ENOUGH! That is so hard for me to get my head around! Basically, when I started training for longer distances, I did not increase my food intake, put my metabolism in starvation mode, and my body is hanging on for dear life to the fat/weight I do have. I know in my head this is possible--I read it over and over in the triathlon magazines and in articles by nutritionists. But it's hard for me to translate this to my food.

I eat a very healthy diet--lots of all the good stuff--very little of the bad stuff. Now that I'm in the longest weeks of ironman training, I know I'm going to need to eat more. No matter what I do now, I know I won't lose any more weight before Louisville. Sometimes, I'm OK with it. Other times, I'm really depressed and sad about it. I keep telling myself I should be happy with myself, but it's really hard going to races and see so many "skinny" women, especially when they're my age or older. Plus, I know my run and even my bike could be faster if I was lighter.

(And the absolute worst is seeing myself in pictures at the races! I can't even look at them. I know that's how I look, and I just want to die when I see the pictures. I won't even look at them unless I'm in a REALLY GOOD MOOD! I don't even look at the pictures my husband takes of me because....well, you get the picture.)

Listen, I don't want to be a stick. I like women who look like women. We were made to be softer and rounder than men. Curves are good. Plus, I am extremely fit. I test very well, have a good AT and VO2 max. I have been told by those who know that I'm an "aerobic machine". I don't have a short twitch muscle in my body, but I'm really good in the "endurance" department. I want to look like a 53 year woman, but I want to look like one who does triathlons and does pretty good for an "old broad".

So that's it for the "ugly" part. Just wanted to vent and get that off my chest.

Also in the "good" column is that I had a really good swim this a.m. I swam 3,950 meters--which is more than ironman distance (2.4 miles is approx. 3,862 meters). I haven't swam that far since before I had my kids--we're talking over 15 years. So, now I know I can do it! YEA!

Hope everyone has a great Monday. Weather here today is perfect again!

Until next time--God bless!


Michelle said...

Let's start with the good: Yay! Whoa, 3:30am is hard core. I'm glad you enjoyed the day and did so well. Were you happy with your overall time?

Regarding the ugly..."I DO NOT LOOK LIKE A TRIATHLETE!" What does as triathlete look like? Like you, like me. Why do our body types not count? I know I'm taller than you but I have plenty of extra fat and sure, we don't look like what people might think a triathlete looks like but they're wrong. WE ARE TRIATHLETES!! I hear what you're saying and then I see that pic of you in the upper right hand corner of your page and I feel a disconnect. I wonder if you see yourself as others do. You look fabulous!!

Irene said...

I've learned, through marathon-ing, that there is no one athletic type physique. You're an athlete.

I can soooooooo relate to you about the height/weight thing. I'm short and every pound shows! 5 pounds is even the difference between fitting into certain clothes and not. The good news is that you have a healthy lifestyle. If you want to have an elite physique, you'd have to eat a certain wall all the time, and it's not much fun. Seriously.

You're a triathlete! Woohoo! How many women in your age group can say that???

IronSnoopy said...

Building on what Irene said...I know maybe a handful of women in or around your age that can do what you do. And all of ya'll I met at the gym!

It's really hard to not compare yourself to people at races, but believe in yourself.

Did you ever think maybe you're at the perfect weight? Maybe if you were at -X weight you wouldn't be healthy? You'd be plagued with stress fractures and chronic injuries?

As for eating more, I estimate on most days I burn between 3,000 - 5,000 calories! Eating during exercise is important, but so is eating before and after.

Nice job on the swim! Stay focused on your race. You are strong and healthy and you'll be at the start line at Lou. That's what's most important.

If we were all 5'2 and 100 lbs, life would be pretty boring. :)

Vickie said...

Being almost a couple of years older, I can relate to not looking like a triathlete. When I was a competitive runner, I was very thin, but with age, slacking off, lots of other stuff, the weight came on. It has come and gone and come back. I truly think after 50 to lose weight you really have to shock your system. I don't think that's a good thing to do right now. Wait until the off season. The only problem with that however is the ability to keep it off while keeping the training volume high. Its a delicate balance and unless you're a pro athlete, I doubt you will ever look like the pros in our age group. You should be proud of the fact that you do as well as you do in the races and are as fit as you are. I tell myself when I look in the mirror: you are better than most women your age, but then I look at some local tri women and I realize I still am not as good as some. I sympathize with you completely!

Cathy said...

Hey, Karen!

This is in the "inner beauty" category, which is far superior to the outside appearences. God's given you GREAT health and stellar motivation. So who's the supermodel????----YOU!
God's SPEED in your tri-adventures this summer!

Erica said...

Congrats on all your amazing accomplishments. I was just reading about your 70.3 finish: so inspirational! When I read this post about not looking the way you think a triathlete should look, I was reminded of a post by another blogger I like to follow. I thought you might like to read it:

Athena Diaries

Congrats again on your amazing fitness and fantastic race results.