Sunday, July 15, 2007

I was walking down the beach....

I was walking down the beach yesterday up in Seattle at Lake Washington. I was following a few skinny ladies that seemed to be going my way. We were all heading to the open water swim clinic to prepare for our upcoming triathalons. I felt a little out of place. What am I doing with these slim triathalete women? What was a chubby woman like me really doing here? Why do I have to wear this tri suit that makes me look awful? Where are the the other chubby women? I hate when those negative thoughts come into my head! I banished them for the day. Who cares if I was fatter? I was trying to get thinner and fitter. I was so nervous though as I didn't know what to expect today and how I would perform. I was here to improve my swimming skills in open water and venture beyond the calm pool. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was trying to be open to the adventure, this learning experience.

When I looked around at the group that showed up they were mostly women in their 20's through 50's and mostly fit but a few heavier women too. I was happy that my friend was going to be there for some support and to quell her own nerves about swimming in the lake. At least it wasn't the open water and those kind of waves or salt water. We listened to the coaches give us advice on what we would learn that day and what they hope we would accomplish. We broke into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups. I thought, well, I guess I am intermediate as I am a pretty good swimmer. So we got in the water and swam in groups of 2's so the instructor could see our form. He said mine was good. I felt like we were racing against each other, already the competitive spirit coming into play. I was a little surprised as I don't really consider myself a competitive person. We learned to sight ahead to the buoys or flags that we were aiming for and worked on swim technique and watch the instructor for some tips on style of swim. At the end of the workout we got to swim a 300 yard course as fast as we could doing the crawl/stroke or whatever stroke you wanted. (I will need to swim 750 yards in the race.) We started out in a big group of 50 or 60 and I got the unfortunate place of being in the middle of the pack. I should have started at the back or the sides and I paid the price. I got kicked in the head, kicked in the shins and everywhere. I fell back and tried to find a place where I wouldn't get hammered. I did the crawl for a while but later became tired and did the side stroke and breast stroke. I was suprised how tired I was becoming as I was trying to move fast. In the pool I move pretty slow I guess.

I was having trouble with the goggles and they were fogging up but at least they weren't leaking. I had to stop several times to clear them of the fog as I couldn't see where I was heading to. I finally came around the final bend and headed into the beach. I had fought some icky green, slimy sludge for 1/2 the way and was happy to be in the deep water. I finally made it in and prob. about the middle of the pack for finishing. My friend was waiting and cheering me on the beach. This from a woman who was scared to swim in open water and said she is a beginner. I couldn't believe she beat me! Why did I care? I guess because this is the one sport that I would always excel at compared to her when we were kids. I couldn't help but feel like a slow slug. Who cares that she has been swimming for months at pool lessons? Who cared that I probably outweigh her by 70 pounds? I just felt disappointment. I suppose it is because she said she is a bad swimmer and I know she is way fast on the bike and can run the miles we need to run in the race. So it is a given she will beat me overall in the race. We have a complicated past, where she was always competitive with me and said how much better she was than me. (I think it is because she has 3 brothers!) We were on the tennis team together and she would remind me weekly how good she was. Why the heck am I thinking of this now? I asked her to do this race with me? This is the present and not the past, she is different than she was long ago. What is wrong with me? Am I mourning the younger, fitter, scuba lady I was before? The fitter, younger athlete I was in high school? What?

I have a long way to go on this weight loss journey and I can't expect myself to be fast in sports. It gave me the itch to be better. The longing to be at a lower weight so I can become really, really active at a higher level. I am active now but more at a grandma type level. Well, ok maybe I could beat a grandma on the bike but I go at a slower pace than some. We got to meet an awesome tri lady who is one of the coaches. She came by to talk as she knew my friend from the swim classes. She is thin, strong and positive. She probably doesn't know it but I want to be just like her. I want to do tri's at a whim and be able to perform well athletically. I want that thin, healthy body. I want that body confidence that she exudes. I want that tri tatoo that she has. I was suprised that I had these feelings. Not surprised that I want a body like hers but surprised that I want to be like her in that she was done with her swimming earlier and then was doing more tri training with someone and then running later. She had her numbers painted on her arm as she was doing the Seafair triathalon on Sunday (today). I want to be active like her not this chubby woman that I had let myself become. Maybe I am changing. Hmmmm.... Or maybe it's because I was in an active place with bikers, runners, swimmers all around. So many fit people in Seattle.

Well, that is the way I am feeling today and we will see what the future brings. I am excited for the race in August and I know I will finish it. Maybe not at a good time but I will finish. Maybe I'll do this tri every year for my friend Dawn to raise money for cancer. Maybe it will be other tri's. Maybe I'll use it as a tool to really improve myself. My body and my mind. I have a lot of work to do. I really, really need to work on jogging more as that is my weakest sport! I can't run the 3 miles yet but I guess I'll have to walk some if it comes to that.

Ok, this is going longer that I thought today. I am happy that I exercised 6 days a week this week!! I will try to take today off as we may go down by a lake and enjoy the day. I am unhappy that the scale is not reflecting all my hard sweat and working out this week. Maybe I shouldn't get on that scale every day as it must be fluid retention cause I haven't been drinking enough water. Maybe I'm eating way more than I think and am thinking of journaling it all down again though I hate to do that. I'm trying to stay positive and just appreciate how far I have come from a year ago. Trying to quit thinking of the negative. I know that positive thinking is one of the keys/secrets to getting this weight off. Why is it so hard some days?

I hope everyone out there is having a good weekend!


Hilary said...

I know that for me, if I am trying to do something good for myself around a bunch of people that I *assume* have it easy and can do it better, I feel low and like I don't belong. No matter how much positive self-talk I do, I tend to slip into that I completely understand.

But you are are making strides to be that person that you want to be and that cannot happen overnight. At least you are doing something and moving towards a goal, and that is enough.

Anonymous said...

Uh, that was me...I was logged into my other Gmail account!

Christine said...

You deserve such recognition for getting out there. I am scared to death of swimming in open water. I love a pool - and could swim forever - but I need to feel the bottom on the pool if I need it. You are very strong to attempt this and you should be really proud. Keep it up - its going to happen - you are very determined.

Rebecca said...

I think its great you had a friend to go with you to this kind of event. I know I would appreciate the support.

You are making positive alterations in your life in order to be the best that you can be. Frankly, I applaud you for that!

christie said...

I gotta say, I am truly impressed. I can understand why you've had the feelings you've had around all the other "more fit" women... but at the same time, I hope you are DAMN PROUD of yourself Patty. What you've done I can only dream of doing. You are showing so much determination about this Tri. You are going to to so well. And I think if tri's motivate you, you should definitely keep training for them. But DON'T let that negative thinking get to you. Turn it into positive motivation ONLY and don't allow yourself to talk down to yourself.
That competitive friend might be a problem, as even if you were the weight you desire to be, she would probably still make you feel like crap. Maybe you should avoid being in competition with her in the future as she obviously hurts your self esteem.

Love you Patty!!!

Spidey said...

I am really proud of you. You have a lot of courage. I wish I was there to cheer at you and jeer at the skinny people!! You are making a statement to all the snobby skinny people who think that they are the only ones who can swim, run, or ride a bicycle! Kick ass!! Swim past a skinny and splash water in his/her face.

"The Captain" said...

You really push yourself when you associate with very fit athletic fitness people. Group think pushes you towards the new you. I am really proud of you. I wish I could be there to cheer for you and also to cheer for the skinny people because they are fuel for your weight loss machine.

Anonymous said...

I have played v-ball for the past 25 years... once at the top of my game, now I'm in the middle - but playing against better people has made me WANT to get better again, at least faster and more agile. I can't just work out, I'm bored, but sports, I'm all for it... last Friday I sent an email out to see if any women wanted to play 2's on Sundays - within 3 days I've already gotten 11 responses! Being that I'm originally from CA (moved to CO 6 years ago) and I haven't made any really good friends this was a real push for me to actually MAKE friends, and have fun, and be competitive. Why I didn't do this 6 years ago I don't know! (I'm currently in leagues but it's all co-ed)

I am glad to hear that you have this competition - even if only in your head. Use it to your advantage in motivating yourself. Those women out there are striving to be the best they can be, just like you are. The women I play with are all competitive and we cheer each other on. It's an awesome combo.


Living to Feel Good said...

Wow!! I am super impressed you went out and did it. I have to admit, that I don't think I could do that. I think it is so awesome that you made yourself do it, and didn't walk away when you saw the thinner people. That is one thing that has always bugged me..when people say they can't be around the thinner people. I know there are mean people out there, but I'd like to think there are a lot of people out there like me too who think "good for you" and think that it's awesome that they are trying to change. I can understand the mean people can make it hard though.
Don't be so down on yourself about your pace, and as you keep practicing you will get stronger, and your time will increase. No matter what your time is next month, be proud of yourself, and take that as your starting point, so next year you can beat it, and you know that you will. Just keep reminding yourself that you are changing, and you are worth it no matter what size you are currently. You're doing awesome! :)
Great post!

~Jen~ said...

I think it is beyond amazing that you are doing this!!'s something I wouldn't even dream of. You are an inspiration!!!

Laurie said...

I love the fact that you aren't waiting until "someday" to live your dream! "When I weigh..., when I lose..." Those limits can hold us back from living our lives. YOU are living your dream NOW, and you should be very proud of yourself! Thanks for the inspiration!