I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and actually putting it to paper (so to speak) is not very appealing because it means opening up and being vulnerable.
Yoda is very intelligent as we all know, and I LOVE this quote. Let’s dig a little deeper…
How many times have you shown up at a race and sized up your competition by their size? How many times have you sized up your ability against your competition because of your size? Do you often think you don’t stand a chance because everyone else is so fit looking? Do you ever think you have the race in the bag because the others don’t look as fit as you? Have you ever not done a race or activity because you didn’t think you were fit enough because of your size?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but who really doesn’t….at least occasionally? Yes, it is something I work on not doing, but dang, it’s hard. We all would like to get on the podium at least every once in a while, so if you’re like me, you like to at least think about your chances of placing…..at least at the smaller races(of course, I used to think this was never a possibility). Then, there’s the thought of racing an Ironman. Last year, I never thought I’d want/be able to complete one. Partially because I really thought that everyone that did them was ripped or at least extremely fit looking. I mean really, who would try to race for 14 hours unless they are in top physical shape and that has to translate to appearance. I realized at the Augusta 70.3 last year that there were all sizes competing and finishing the half, but still a full???? I honestly expected a different crowd, until I went to IM Florida to spectate. People of all sizes and ages were finishing, and they were just as amazing in my book. Maybe a full wasn’t out of the question just because I’m not ripped.
I’m not saying that you won’t improve your own times by losing a bit of weight, but don’t be so quick to count yourself out because you aren’t as fit looking as others. This is a real struggle for me personally. I often look at others and think they’ll kick my ass because they are 20-30lbs lighter than me. It’s taken months and several races with a few placings, but I’m finally starting to realize that my size doesn’t affect how fast I am in comparison to others. Can I be faster by losing a bit more? Yes, but just because I’m 5’6″ and weigh 145 lbs doesn’t mean I can’t kick the 110 lbs person’s butt or that the 165 lbs person won’t kick mine!
Recently, I raced an Olympic distance triathlon, and I honestly didn’t think I’d place overall. It was a small race, but there were enough others there that looked more fit that I figured I’d be out of the top 3. I placed 3rd overall and shocked myself. I ran a decent size 5K in Atlanta in March, and I never expected to place in my age group because I’m just not the small fast runner type and plenty of others were. I somehow pulled off 3rd place in my age group. At the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with 54,000+ runners, I would expect someone my size(average I’d say) to maybe finish around the middle(average) of the pack. I finished in top 9% overall and top 4% of the women. I often doubt my abilities due to my size, and it needs to stop! That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to lose a few more pounds to make myself a bit faster (than my current self), but I don’t need to judge my ability to complete a race or to place by my size because so many more things determine that!
Determination, perseverance, consistency, dedication, faith in your abilities, and mental strength have more to do with your ability than your size does. With those things, you can finish the race, and you can often beat others who are lacking some of those things even if they have the fit body and talent. You(preaching to myself here as well) have to believe in yourself.
I have some BIG goals for this year at Augusta 70.3 and the Marine Corp Marathon. I may be average size, but that doesn’t mean my goal times have to be average as well.
So, lose some weight if you want, but don’t let the size you are now hold you back from trying something or make you think that you’re not as good/fast as someone smaller, and NEVER let anyone else count you out due to your size! Tell them to sit back and watch, then go prove them wrong!