It’s not all about the skinny, elite athletes at a triathlon. Regardless of your size, you can do this. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
My second triathlon is done. I finished second in the Athena class.
That’s right, I’m an Athena. Over forty years of age and over 165 pounds. Yes, I did admit to both of those numbers in the same sentence. Let the fat-flaming and body-shaming begin. Nicole Arbour, the Canadian comic who posted the much-reviled Dear Fat People video, would have a field day with me. Not that she would be the only one.
But it turns out there are a lot of folks out there like me (the men’s equivalent class is called Clydesdale). And while there isn’t a lot to choose from in terms of trisuits, tops and bottoms, there is a very active support network of bigger athletes who like the sport, are very active in it and are quite willing to share what they’ve learned. And we can easily find each other at events because let’s face it – we’re not the skinniest people in the tightest compression gear. And we’re not usually finishing in the top three in our regular age group, either. The Athena-Clydesdale classification gives us the chance to compete against people we look like, on the same, yet more level playing field than if we were up against the elite athletes. Call it unfair, call it over-specialization, call it coddling – I like the idea of doing the same event, but not looking like an idiot over and over again for finishing last in my age group.
What’s next? At least one more spring triathlon this year, then an early season sprint triathlon in 2016, and just maybe – move up a level, from sprint to international length. Six months ago, I said I’d never do a triathlon, never swim open water, never do an ocean swim. I did all three of those this year. As each “never do” is turning into a “done that,” I think about what the next challenge will look like. But I don’t fear it. And I look forward to meeting my bigger and beautiful athletic brethren.
Oh, and in case you are wondering what I did with my second-place medal; it’s hanging from my dining room chandelier. Not my idea, though. The Husband thought I should show it off.