Monday, May 9, 2011

Last Training week and a Question

This week represents the home stretch for my very first Tri. I will start my taper week next Monday since my race is just 12 days away. I have the advantage of getting to spend the 4 days before the race at my Aunts house which is about 3 miles away from where the event will be held. A mini Vacation and plenty of time to drive, ride, or run the course =) Yay for the home team advantage. I know that I have worked very hard to get to where I am today in my training and I hope it shows during the race. I am trying not to focus so much on the time since this will be my first race and I just want to have fun and enjoy the fruit of all this labor. The swimming portion is still going to be my biggest challenge but I am beginning to get the hang of it! I sucked it up and asked a buddy of mine, who happens to be a swim coach, to swim with me one day last week. He pointed out that I was working twice as hard as I should be because I was not relaxing my body esp my arms. So he went over a few drills and off I went. I am happy to say today I swam 1300 meters and my arms were not tired! I have to constantly remind myself to relax and the motion just clicks into place. Had the pool not have closed I would have swam all day and normally I am glad my swim is over. So that's where I'm at now. Just getting in a few more workouts and waiting till May 21st with anticipation and the eagerness of a child on Christmas eve. I can't wait. I'm ready! I would also like to say thanks to all of you that have dropped me a line of encouragement and advice! Your support has helped me greatly on my journey!

I hate to change the topic so drastically but I have a dilemma and I am curious of how others have dealt with the same issue because I know I am not the first. First, I guess I need to provide a little background history. Pre Tri training I spent 5 sometimes 6 days in the gym each week weight training. Now I have always been a runner and I would run 3-6 miles before each lifting session just to clear my mind and appease my inner runner but weight training was my main focus. I began seriously lifting right after I became an officer (4 years ago). I have always been on the smaller side and I was afraid that I did not have enough physical strength to get myself out of situations in which I was dealing with men people that would be two too three times bigger than me. So that started my lifting. And like many others I fell in love with the strength I got from lifting. After a while my friends began telling me that I should not lift so much because it was not natural for a female to look as if she lifts weights. This is one of the nicer comments I would get I am sure you can imagine some of the other comments. I don't care to rehash them. Anyway, I am 5'8 and the most I weighed during the peak of my lifting was 134 and that is with no fat on my body. I had to consume large amounts of protein and take creatine in order to get the "size" which in all honesty was not big by any means. But I did this for my own peace of mind. I needed to feel like I could handle myself in dangerous situations.

 I was not as large as they made me out to be. I think its just because I do have a little definition.
I have been involved in several fights since becoming a LE and I know for a fact if I had not been strength training things would not have turned out the way they did. I have walked away from each fight with no broken bones just very minor injuries and the same goes for the other party. For example: about 3 months ago I was involved in a fight with a highly intoxicated soldier who had just gotten back from Afghanistan. I was alone on what should have been a simple quick please turn your music down call but the soldier, having only been back in the states for 2 days, was still in war mode. In his intoxicated state of mind he decided I was the enemy. I am fortunate that I have been blessed with the gut feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong and I keyed up my shoulder mic to ask for help seconds before he took me to the ground and we began literally fighting for our lives. I had long hair which I wore in a ponytail that he got a-hold of and used as a means to control my head I have since then cut off ALL my hair. Somehow I was able to get control of his arms and place him in cuffs then used my body weight to lay on him till my backup arrived. This is why I lift for days/nights like this. The comments tend to sting but I try to talk myself through the negative banter and focus on what keeps me alive. (Please don't misunderstand why I am writing about this. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me or to thank me for what I do or even think I am bragging. I just want to make it clear the motive behind my madness fitness)

Then I started training for this Triathlon. I still weight train just not as much and with lighter weight. Therefore, I have slimmed down and now I can't seem to go a day without someone telling me I'm too small or asking me if I have an eating disorder. I have been told I am addicted and obsessed with working out. That I had a problem and should consider seeing a professional. Its a constant joke to others, at my expense, on how small I am. I am still 5'8 and currently 120 pounds. From the outside looking in I guess I do look very small but I know for a fact that I am healthy. Heaven knows I don't have an eating disorder. It seems that there is no middle ground. I know I should just disregard these comments but I its hard sometimes to not let the words of others take up residence in your mind.

Anyway I am just very curious how others deal with this type of treatment. For now I am just constantly reminding myself no one knows me better than me and I don't care what I look like to anyone other than my wonderful husband who supports my fitness "obsession".

Hope everyone has a good training week!

Think Strong, Be Strong, Finish Strong!


  1. you are gonna do great at that first tri!! I agree, have fun and the rest will follow. I hear ya loud and clear on the your too small crap. I get it all the time. Been lifting heavy since 1989 and i turn a deaf ear to it now. Misery loves company and I have no room for that in my world. You look great and obviously you feel great too. That's all that matters. Plus, it is a lot easier to haul 120 pounds on a bike up a mountain that it is if you are overweight.

  2. One thing. If you're "too small" you can always build up. If you're "too big," that's not as easy to deal with.

    I know a lot of triathletes who are RIPPED and they are all bikers. But in the water and on the run course, they can't hold up.

    You be who you want to be and let it go at that. As long as you feel good, go with it.

    PS, awesome story about the soldier!

  3. I think you're going to do great on your first tri!!! I can't wait to read all about it. Definitely an advantage that you get to stay with your aunt before the race to get acclimated to the course!!

    I don't think it's wrong for women to have definition or to weight lift. I get kinda weirded out by the female body builders just because I don't see how they can like that but I don't think you look "too big" or anything like that. I think, especially in your profession, that it's important for you to be strong physically and mentally and it sounds like you are. I think it is really important for you to keep your strength. I think you just have to go with what makes you feel strong (and safe!).

  4. Who are these people? I say live your life. If you are happy, healthy, and strong that's what's important. Life if short, live YOUR life!

  5. You look healthy to me. I think some of it is people insecure about their own bodies. If you feel good, just ignore it.

    Good luck on your first tri!

  6. I think if you have followed all of my blogs that you know the reaction I get from my family concerning this "new hobby". I like what KC said ... I just don't have room for that in my life right now. Most of that is from people who don't have the guts to try something like this. What's the saying?

    "Obsession is what the Weak call the Dedicated"

    My second Tri is in 9 days (Mad Beach). The open water still fills me with anxiety, but I will get through it somehow, because the friends I have made in THIS sport outweighs all the negative comments I get.

  7. Good luck with your triathlon! I am doing my first tri the end of June and I am very excited. Can't wait to hear how you do!

  8. good luck on your tri.. and you look great! You do what works for you! I personally LOVE weight training!!!

  9. Strength and definition are beautiful! Let your power show on race day and always! I think people sometimes get envious of strength and definition--and even dedication toward a fitness goal--and they make odd comments. Maybe it's worth inviting them along sometime, so they don't feel "left behind" or otherwise outplaced/outpaced? Have a great race; sounds like you have exactly what it takes!

  10. I second what just about everyone has said - forget the naysayers and keep up with your weight training. I think sometimes people's resistance to change is what drives their negative comments - it's some sort of justification mechanism. Just be you! And make yourself happy! And good luck in your race - it sounds like you're ready!