Monday, August 29, 2011

It's the final countdown...and the clothes that go with it!

Yesterday marked exactly 2 weeks until my triathlon. I also had a 5K planned for yesterday, but it got cancelled due to “Hurricane” Irene. I still don't have power and broke out of my garage just to get to Panera for human interaction and this blog. You're welcome.

When I began training, I knew I’d have to figure out something to wear on race day, but I just never went forward with it because it was so far away. The other day I realized I needed to get cracking. One problem though, fat people don’t do triathlons, so it’s near impossible to find tri shorts or tri suits that fit me. The largest women’s sizes go up to XL, and while I am an extra large person, I don’t fit into extra large compression clothing, because compression means squeeze the hell out of you so nothing jiggles while you’re doing this. Makes you more aerodynamic I guess.

I was in a bookstore the other day and I found the book “Slow Fat Triathlete” by Jayne Williams.
It’s about her journey thru exercise and her eventual try at a triathlon. It then goes onto tell about how she continues to compete in triathlons and she loves the sport, etc, etc, etc. It’s basically a push in the right direction for overweight people to get going and stop making excuses because everyone can exercise and theoretically do a triathlon, no matter what your body size.

Lucky for me, I decided I could do that on my own. Now while some of the things in her book have been helpful (I haven’t read the whole thing, just skimmed it through once and I am now going back to read through it) I definitely don’t see her as a Slow Fat Triathlete.

I already love the book, so this isn’t going to be a bash fest. There are so many awesome things in there that I’ve read already, such as a list of places that DO sell plus sized triathlon clothing and lists of accessories to make this journey easier as well as a list of resources to check out for everything relating to a triathlon. Everyone knows I love resources. My main dig to the book is that Jayne Williams calls herself a slow and fat triathlete. HA. What does that make me? A Sloth-like Gigantor Triathlete? Her speed and size may not be what will get her into the pro circuit, but I can’t help but compare myself to her when my 17-minute per mile running (which most people can accomplish by walking) is 6 minutes slower than her 11-minute per mile run (and I'm sure she's even faster now!). And my size weight is about 1/3 more than hers. Her journey started at less weight than I am now and my journey to triathlete will be over in 2 weeks. I’m sorry, but even though the book is great and I will praise it over and over, Jayne Williams is neither slow, nor fat.

On page 30 of her book, she says, “Abandon Self-Consciousness. I just can’t say this enough: Self-consciousness is your worst enemy.” I get what she’s saying there, but isn’t calling yourself a Slow Fat Triathlete reckless abandonment into being self-conscious? At first I took pause and thought "am I being a hypocrite? I call myself slow and fat and other names". But you know what? I am slow and fat! Jayne Williams is not.

Her idea to abandon self-consciousness is definitely a great motivator. Just the other day, I was at the track doing Week 6 Day 1 of the Couch 2 5K program and during one of the running intervals, I went by a group of people who were walking. One of the ladies said, “Oh, no she’s passing us!” in a mocking voice. I said “It’s okay, I’m not going fast enough to maintain it, I’m sure you’ll pass me a little bit later”. She said, “How many times have you been around?” I checked my Garmin, G-cube, and saw I had gone 1.5 miles and said “Six” over my shoulder as I was now considerably in front of them. She said “Wow, that’s a lot”. Then about 20 seconds later she lowered her voice and figured I must have been out of ear shot because she said “That’s a lot of movement for someone that size!”. I didn’t respond, but I definitely did a little jig in my head while I thought "you ain’t just whistling Dixie, lady". It’s DAMN hard to move this big mass into everything I’m doing. Swimming, biking and running, not to mention elliptical, spin classes, yoga, and I’m sure that kick boxing class I got a Groupon for, but haven’t used yet, all exhaust me. But I’m doing it. I’ve heard that people can get heckled while running, but I never really thought about it until it happened to me. But you know what? I’ll take it. Because I was tired and hurting by my 6th lap around that track and her mocking me pushed me to go a little bit faster for the last 2 laps. Thank you, lady.

Just one of the things Jayne Williams says is get out there and do it, it doesn’t matter what your size or fitness level is, we all have to start somewhere. That is so true and brings me back to a favorite quote:

So back to my struggles of finding tri gear that fits me. I checked in stores and found that most tri shorts were small medium or large and if I was lucky, there would be an XL on the rack. But as I said before, XL just wouldn’t cut it. I searched all around the interwebs to find someplace that might have something for me. My problem was tri shorts are NOT cheap and I wanted to be sure that returns were possible and not charging me $15 for shipping, then the same for returning. Welcome to Zappos!VIP. I was upgraded to VIP last winter when they kept sending me the wrong size snow pants. With Zappos! Everything is free shipping both ways, but with Zappos!VIP, it’s free next day shipping. Pretty sweet. I try to do a lot of my online shopping with Zappos!, especially if I already know my size in something and need an extra pair. Or I’ll try something on in a store and decide later that I really do want it. Zappos! is my friend and it should be yours too.

In my experience of being a large and in charge lady, I’ve found that men’s sizes are sometimes (almost all the time) bigger, even though they don’t have the hips God granted me. So I went in search of men’s tri shorts. If anything, I’ll get more padding in that area down there, right? I found two pairs that interested me: one was 2XL and one was XL. I was in the frame of mind that men’s XL is larger than the women’s XL, Which is usually the case. The tri gear arrived on Thursday and I danced around excitedly.

Pearl Izumi Elite Tri Shorts
I tried on the Pearl Izumi 2XL shorts first. I didn’t take pictures. No one needs that visual. You’re welcome. They fit just fine, but the waist was huge. Luckily there was a drawstring and I cinched them up nice & tight. They are a little bit shorter than I would like them to be, but they cover all the possible chub rub areas, so they’ll do. Then I took a short walk around the dining room. The material is of the sort that likes to make sound and be noticed. It sounded like I was rubbing sand paper together. Of course I got the giggles. I said “MY god, I could start a fire with these things! Imagine catching on fire during the race? I need to call these people and tell them to have fire extinguishers on site!” My mother just laughed at me.

Then I tried on the longer tri shorts. Size XL.

CW-X Ventilator Tri Shorts
They were a different brand, and they looked a LOT smaller. Like maybe a medium. But they were longer, which was desirable. I got them up to my knees and was laughing to hard to get them up any further. I said “Look, at the thigh part, it barely fits on my calves!” My mother said “Oh, those ones don’t come in XL?” I said “Mom, these ARE the XL!”. She said “Oh, but I didn’t mean it like that!”. She now claims that she was talking about something else, and she doesn’t remember what that something else is, but I think she’s just trying to use her senior citizen discount.  Story of my life.

I’ll be returning the medium shorts, excuse me, the XL shorts and I’ll keep the 2XL. With the way those shorts run, I was expecting to need a 4XL. Those things are tiny when no one is in them!

But here’s the real question in all of this. Tri shorts are made for swimming, biking and running. So, since it’s technically a swimming suit for the swim portion, I don’t know what to do about under garments. Regardless of the top I choose, whether it’s a swim suit under the tri shorts or just a rash guard (like a surfing tee) I will need 2 sports bras under there in preparation for the run.

Oakley Rashguard: though he's not bad to look at either.
But if I go without the bathing suit, do I wear underwear? Such a dilemma. 

What would you do?

1 comment:

  1. First off, those CW-X shorts HAD to be compression - CW-X is known for their compression, and boy howdy, is it incredibly tight. As my running friend puts it, she "has to allow 10 extra minutes to get into them" - so don't feel bad about those shorts. I know what you mean about having a hard time finding athletic clothing that fits - when I started working out, AFTER I had lost about 60 pounds, I still had a hell of a time getting anything to fit. Sucks.

    Secondly, "slow" is all a matter of perspective. And who you're comparing to...obviously the author of that book was comparing herself to someone like Kara Goucher or the like...but I agree with you - an 11 minute mile is not slow!


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