I don’t know about you but despite watching what I eat and drink (well mostly) and exercising most of my life, I still cannot remove the nagging thoughts that I am fat. I am not looking for sympathy, but what is it about us women that we rarely see our good points or see our achievements in a good light. Is it in my genes or is it the fact that being in sport I am consistently surrounding myself with younger and more able bodies. No matter how much I am told to judge myself on the general public, people of similar age, and not twenty, thirty year olds in the prime of their lives, I am still left feeling fed up and unconfident about the way I am. I understand that I should expect to see wrinkles, grey hairs, a thicker waist, but it doesn’t come any easier to accept it gracefully. There are times when I could lock myself away and never come out of the house and then other times I am delighted to mix with others and even compete with them. I have to admit weight gain comes easy for me as my Mum is on the large size and it’s always been a battle to keep the weight off, even more so that I’m no longer running. I also know you are what your parents are so from the start I was up against it. My Dad although always slim and a boxer in his day was active but I’m not aware of him running, biking or swimming and my Mum has been inactive all her life and prone to depression. Those genes are most definitely in me and I am surprised I have the desire to race and actually enjoy the sport, but as for natural ability, it’s short in abundance. I have to work hard but there’s always that nagging voice telling me it’s easier to give up or I’m not good enough. How many of us women feel like this also? Maybe I do have a competitive nature without realising it or wanting to admit it and that’s what Spurs me on, I don’t know. Everyone around me appears to be confident in their looks or their ability or do they just hide it very well. It would be lovely to hear from others with their honest opinions of how they cope with getting older and still competing in the triathlon world.
On the other side, even feeling this way, I manage to race and reasonably well for my age group, I coach others and can give advice on everything I feel about myself. Being in the company of other like minded people gives me the courage to keep trying and they inspire me hugely. Training with others is enjoyable and fun and allows you to become friends with those who only have your best interests at heart so together you can work your demons out and move on. The support you receive is humbling and makes you see sense, wakes you up to the fact that actually you aren’t so bad. Being part of this triathlon family is a comfort and something you can always rely on. You can’t feel down for long because of the infectious energy that is given to you its uplifting and what they aspire to do can rub off on you, so you always have new goals no matter how small. It’s exciting listening to your friends talk about their own experiences of the races they have had and it’s through that you learn how to deal with different situations.
I know I can’t be rid of my demons but I know being in the sport I have more up days. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful friends I have made in the past and those I currently know and it’s thanks to them I can continue to push myself and my boundaries.
Understand that we all have dark days and our own way of dealing with it but it is a comfort to know that our triathlon family is there if you need them, you only have to ask.