Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drop Dead Diva.....Fat Like Me

It's been a while since I blogged. Every day I think of something witty I want to write, but then.....well, it just doesn't happen. But for the last 10 days or so I've had something on my mind and I want to get it off.

Let me start by saying that I DO NOT LIKE THE WAY I LOOK. I have ALWAYS thought I was too fat. Ever since I was 8 years old, I've always been the "chubby" one of the group. It's funny, because when I see pictures of myself at that age, I WAS NOT FAT! But, I guess everything is relative, and I know that I always felt fat.

When I was in 8th grade, I dated a great guy who was two years older than me. When I say he was great, I mean he was really HOT! All the girls were in love with him. I don't think anyone could understand why he liked me, since I was not what anyone would call a "babe". Anyway, we "dated" for almost three years. Then one day, he decided to dump me for a girl who was a year older than me. It was a very complicated situation. They got married right after she graduated, had two boys, and divorced. I haven't seen or heard from him in over 30 years, but I think about him a lot. He really liked me, did NOT think I was fat. He always told me I was beautiful, and I actually believed him. It was a long time before another man said those words to me.

So, this brings me to the TV show "Drop Dead Diva". It's a "chick" show on Lifetime Television on Sunday night. It's not going to win any awards, and it may only last this one season, but I really like it because of the basic premise: Hot, sexy, THIN, 20 ish blond model-type dies unexpectedly in a car accident. Through the magic of TV, she ends up in the body of a size 14, very bright attorney. It just so happens that her fiance gets a job at her law firm. What's really interesting to watch is how she adapts/adjusts to life in her new body. Her best friend--who is a young, blond, thin, model-actress and very ditsy--knows the truth, but no one else.

There are some very interesting stories, but I really liked the last two episodes. Jane saw an add for a dress that she really wanted. Of course, the boutique that carried the dress did not carry anything larger than a size 10. They treated her very rudely, and basically told her to leave because she wasn't the silhouette they catered to. She tried to sue the store. Although she didn't win the case, she was able to convince a stockholder (whose wife was a size 14 and couldn't shop in the store) that it was in the best "business" interest of the store to carry sizes for all women. The average women in this country wears a size 14, so you do the math!

The last episode centered around an attorney who really likes Jane and asked her out. Her mother put the idea in her head that the only reason he liked her was because she was "full figured". This had never occurred to Jane. She thought he liked her because he liked her. Turns out he likes her because she is beautiful, smart and sexy!

One of the best things about the show is for Jane to see what it's like to not be thin in the world we live in. When a person is heavy, he/she is treated differently than someone who is thin or not overweight. It is a fact of life, and no one can ever tell me differently. I have been there, and I see it all the time. People are much nicer to meet and more inclusive when I'm thinner than when I'm heavier. Yes, it is a cruel world out there. Kids are not the only mean people in the world. I wish it weren't so, but it is. A fact of life.

If you don't believe me, watch a movie called "Fat Like Me". A high school student needs to do a project to enter a contest for a college scholarship. She is a hot, thin, athletic blond. Her mom struggles with her weight, although now she has it under control. She remembers when her mom was heavy, and was very angry at the time. She decides to transform herself into a fat girl. She goes to summer school dressed in a fat suit, with her hair all messy, wearing glasses. Of course, all the guys that thought she was so hot now tease her to no end. She is befriended by one overweight, very sweet student.

Again, not the best movie ever made, but it shows how the real world treats people who are not only not beautiful, but fat. I'm so tired of hearing about racism in this country. Does it still exist, absolutely. But people are prejudiced toward a lot of things. My husband is Chinese, and when he was in grade school, he was teased, mocked and ridiculed mercilessly. There were not many Asians in the school system in the 60's, and if you were different, you were a walking target. It still exists today. You don't have to be from a different country or have different skin color. If you don't fit "the mold" then somehow people feel they have a license to treat you different (i.e. usually like garbage).

We have worked very hard to teach our kids that this is not acceptable. From what I see, it's worked. They are really good around the kids that are not popular, smart, or the most athletic. They understand the each person is special to God, and the golden rule is very important in our home.

So, as I once again struggle with the fact that I really don't like how I look, I try to remember that how I look IS NOT who I am. I am never going to be a size 4, heck, if I can get back to a size 8 I would jump off the roof with joy. But after 54 years on this earth, I need to accept myself the way I am. A very wise woman told me yesterday that I am healthy, fit, and to just get over my weight issues. I totally agreed with her. If only it were that easy.

So, the next time you see an overweight person, please don't assume that they are lazy, stupid, dumb, and don't care about the way they look. If you are blessed enough to have (or work hard at having) a great, fit body--good for you! Just remember, not everyone is in the same boat.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saving the Worst for Last

Yesterday was my final (5th) and longest (olympic) tri of the season. When I was planning my races, this was to be my "A" race, hopefully my best of the year. But as happens so many times, the best laid plans don't always work out.

I have been having major problems with my right piriformis, which in turn affects my hip, glute and hamstrings. But the hip/piriformis is by far the most troubling. It's something I have dealt with on and off for several years. It was even a little bit of a problem last year, but I don't remember it bothering me as much as this year. Maybe because I raced more often this year, as opposed to less but longer races last year.

Anyway, it was really bothering me on Thursday and Friday, so much that I contemplated not racing on Saturday. But, I knew I would be able to complete the race, so I decided I would head up there and try.

Waking up at 4:00 a.m., while not something I look forward to, is doable. But for this and one other race, wake up was 3 a.m. It's about a two hour drive to Niles, and they are on eastern time, so we also lose an hour. The race started at 7:30 our time.

Jerry drove, and we had a couple blips on the way there--we've been there 10 times, but still managed to miss a couple turns. We arrived about 15 minutes later than planned. I pre-registered, but packet pick up was a little crazy. There is race day registration, which adds to the chaos. They were also having a super sprint race in addition to the olympic, which means a lot of first time racers. I ended up "racking" my bike next to the garage building in the transition area (which is behind the fire station). It actually worked out nice, since I always seem to have trouble with those racks (me and my bike are small in height). Anyway, after a lot of crazy pre-race issues, the olympic race started--men in the first two waves, all women and relays in the third wave. The super sprint followed the olympic racers.

I wore my wet suit, and for the most part had a pretty uneventful swim. Sighting is hard on the way in because the sun is right in our faces, but I got out of the water in about 31 minutes. Not my best or worst time, but I was OK with it.

Coming out of T1 some young lady ran into me when I was mounting my bike. She felt really bad, I told her no worries, things happen. Have a good ride. The bike course is challenging--very little flat, mostly rolling with two tougher hills, one of which I had to get out of my saddle. I knew I wasn't riding as fast as I could--in fact, the first seven miles were really hard. I just wasn't feeling good. I realized later I had nobody to ride with to push me. I passed quite a few people, but no really good, fast riders. The last time I did this race I set a bike PR, and I was riding with a 35 year old woman for about 20 of the 25 miles (I dropped her at the big hill). I started feeling better after I had my gels around mile 11. I'm sure I negative split the course and what's funny is the two big hills are on the way back. I passed a 28 year old girl going up the hill--found out later she finished 2nd overall woman. (Our ages were marked on our calves.)

My bike time was really bad--somewhere between 1:14 and 1:15. (The race was not chipped time, so the splits are not really accurate as they include transition.) My time on the course in '07 was 1:09. Yikes, to say I was disappointed is an understatement. Plus, at Evergreen I rode 1:12. Oh well, it was time for the run.

As I was running out of transition, a lady passed me who I recognized--I remember her passing me in 2006 in the last mile of the run to finish 1st in our age group. Well, I figured if I was lucky I would get 2nd again this year, provided none of the others in my age group passed me on the run. I had no idea how many ladies there were, but I knew it wasn't a lot. (Turned out to be 5, I think.)

I had the worst 6.2 mile run of the entire year--I'm talking about since January, outside, treadmills, you name it. My stomach was fine--but my butt really hurt every time I took a step. At mile 2, I really wanted to stop. But, I knew I could finish. My original goal was to do under 2:50 (my time in 2007 was 2:39). After four miles, I knew this was not happening, so I decided under 3 hours would be good. I felt a little better at mile five, and two 40+ guys passed me and commented on my cycling abilities. Now I thought I could break 2:55. Final time was 2:54:19. When I was in my 30's, I would have loved to break 3 hours. But now, well, I was very disappointed, but knew that I did the very best I could.

I have to admit I played a lot of mind games with myself on the run, something I rarely do. This race was more mental for me than any race I've done in the recent past.

Jerry informed me that the winner of my age group finished in 2:43. I wasn't surprised at her time, and I was happy that I finished second.

I spoke with Kathleen--she was the age group winner and she's only 53 so I'll have one year without her in my age group if I go there again--she was sooo nice. She's headed up to Canada to do a half iron race next weekend. It's really fun to talk with the "older" ladies because while they are competitive, they're also very gracious in both winning and not winning.

Turns out that the overall winner was a 49 year old--2:29. And that 28 year old I passed on the bike up the big hill at 20 miles took second overall. Third place was Kathleen--which meant they took her out of the AG awards and I got first place. Ha! How funny was that. They gave away really nice plaques that had a printout with our name and time on it. (Now I have to look at that crummy time for a while.)

Yesterday I realized that after the bike portion of the race, I was in second place of all the women. Yes, it was a small race, but still that is kind of exciting. However, that good thought is outweighed by how bad my run was. Oh well, there will be more races (I hope).

Another thing I try to keep in perspective is that there is a point in time when I won't always get better. I'm starting to think this is that time. Maybe if I can stay healthy and not injured I still have a PR in me, but those are big ifs right now. But all in all, I'm pretty happy with my season. I have some goals for next year--drop a few pounds (which will definitely be the most challenging) and do one or two halfs next year, hopefully something new.

For now, I'm going to enjoy some rest time, which means swimming, riding and lifting for fun. I think I'll rest from running until my hip is better.

Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend, especially Waddler and Sharkie, who did amazing at their half iron race. You ladies ROCK!

Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day weekend.

Until next time--God bless!