I Am Not a Skinny Triathlete


This is my first triathlon season since making the declaration: January diet? Nope, I bought bigger clothes. Over the winter and spring I slowly started adding new pieces to my wardrobe and I’ve been feeling very comfortable in my new skin.

Until triathlon training kicked into gear. I forgot to get larger triathlon clothing!

My ego was bruised for oh, about two minutes. I had to remind myself that when I wear clothes that fit, I know I look fine. Good. Actually, better than fine or good. Sometimes I even look hot.


JL Kale


Putting my ego and mirror aside and bigger shorts on, I got out there. My running is going well. No knee or hip pain. Steady pace. My swimming sucks. But that’s just because I don’t like swim workouts, so I avoid them (I cram my swim workouts in the two weeks before the triathlon — not advice, just a fact).

And then there’s the bike. Finally I was able to pull my bike off the wind trainer and I’ve been riding outside. On the first ride out, I learned something within minutes of mounting the bike:

More junk in the trunk = screaming downhills!

Oh. Yes. I owned that first downhill. And the next. And next.

Now, the obvious conclusion is that more weight is good on a downhill, but it can’t be good uphill. This could be true, but I’ve always been a hill slug -– even when thinner -– so I don’t notice being slower. In fact, what I notice is more power on the uphills. I have legs (and I know how to use them), and they are working those hills.

I used to think I was a “slow starter.” It usually takes me awhile to warm up. But this season I’m finding that I’m in a groove on the run and the bike much earlier than I used to be. I can’t help but wonder if it has to do with the fact that I’m eating more. Over the last six years, whether training for a full marathon or for an Olympic distance triathlon, I was always dieting. When I trained for my first marathon —- I was just turning 40 -— aging gracefully meant being thin. Six years later, I’m not chasing skinny. I’m not dieting. My body is fully fueled. And my workouts feel strong.

I’ll be competing in a triathlon in seven weeks. I’m training in a bigger swimsuit. Bigger bike shorts. And I have bigger workouts.

I’m not going to be one of the skinny triathletes out on the race course. But I will be running and riding with an ear-to-ear grin from the start line to the finish line. Because I’m not racing to burn calories -– I’m racing for the pure joy of it.

And I’ll have bread after the race. Count on it.

JL writes the blog JL goes Vegan:  Food & Fitness with a side of Kale.  You can follow JL of Twitter.


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