I’ve always been inspired by people who persevere through criticism and living outside social norms, but it turns out that the ability to do that is critical to my chances of IRONMAN success. But let’s back it up a little…
I hate carrying a water bottle while I walk/run. I. hate. it. I find that it makes my form weird, as I drink it starts sloshing around which is irritating, and I think that carrying it causes muscle imbalance that is throwing off my swim* The water from the fountains near where I train is very warm and very gross, and the little shops that sell water aren’t open in the
middle of the night early morning when I’m doing my long workouts and most need water.
*Yeah, this is a not true at all, it’s a totally BS attempt to construct a “good reason” why I shouldn’t carry a water bottle, but the truth is I just don’t like doing it.
So I’ve been exploring options – I’ve tried smaller water bottles to accommodate my little hands (that didn’t work…so. much. sloshing.) and water bottles that have have various hand grips (no joy) and after hearing me complain Julianne offered to become a moving aid station and just hand me water at various points (tempting, but I feel bad enough asking her to wake up and help me with sunscreen.) I tried hydration backpacks but they chaffed horribly. So I started researching and finally found a fuel belt that would fit me. Sort of.
The catch was that I could’t find a belt that would fit around my waist without causing all kinds of chaffing issues. So I found a belt (fitletic Hydra) that fits up higher around my ribs, just under my sports bra. I currently use a Hippie Runner running belt in the same way, so it’s not a new idea to me. It is a little strange though. There are people who share the same trail as me who carry water bottles (who can do this? It sucks so much!) and people who wear hydration backpacks, but you don’t see a lot of fuel belts.
Last year, this would have tripped me up. One of the things that this IRONMAN journey has forced me to deal with is self-doubt/fear of looking foolish that I haven’t had to deal with in quite a long time. The world of athletics – clothes, gear, etc. – is not made for fat people and so often we have to engage in some combination of making do and innovation. This leads to people (and especially those who have easy access to the clothing and gear that they need) offering “help” in the form of unsolicited, unhelpful advice.
When I started, this would really throw me – I was a rank beginner at two of the three disciplines and impressively terrible at the third so if someone questions what I was doing, I questioned it to. This combined with people’s tendency to engage in outloud sizeism and fat shaming (last week two runners passed me on my long walk/run while I was eating an energy gel – as they passed one said to the other “you know she’s not going more than a mile but god forbid she miss a chance to eat.”) This happens with reasonable regularity and, unlike with dancing, I don’t have the defense of being good at what I’m doing to cushion the blows.
My trolls inadvertently helped me out with this – their ceaseless criticism of me and every single thing I do, say, and write has helped to desensitize me to criticism, and helps remind me that what other people think is just not important unless I decide it’s important.
Do my neighbors think I’m odd for doing walking squats in the yard? Probably. Do people think Phyxius (my little Frankenbike) is ridiculous. Definitely. Will people think it’s strange that I’m wearing a fuel belt around my ribs instead of my waist? I’m sure they will. Do I care? No.
Now, as you might imagine, that doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to speak out against fat shaming bullshit, it just means that I’m not allowing the potential for, or the aftermath of, fat shaming bullshit to affect to my decisions. (To be clear, it’s not the only way to deal with it and if fat people choose to make decisions to avoid dealing with fat shaming – that isn’t their fault but becomes their problem – that’s an equally valid choice.)
For me, it’s the joy of not giving a shit.
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IRONMAN Sale: I’m having an ongoing sale on my books, DVDs and downloads to help pay for my IM – you get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! To check it out, you can go to https://ironfatblog.wordpress.com/support-my-ironman/ No money? No problem! If you feel like it, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail (email@example.com) saying something encouraging, that’s incredibly helpful as well!
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