As background, I’ll say this: I have a metabolic problem that makes it virtually impossible for me to lose weight. I’m working on it, and I’ve got medical folks working on it. But that doesn’t slow me down. I ride my bike ridiculously long distances (working up to a century), I run ridiculously long distances (I’m still working up to that half marathon I didn’t do yesterday) and I am constantly moving.
I know my body and nutrition needs as well as any other endurance athlete, I have a resting heart rate of 54 bpm, and though I’m slow, I can take the distance.
When I race in duathlons, it’s in the “Athena” class. My boyfriend races in triathlons as a “Clydesdale”. This qualifies me to write the following:
The Fat Athletes’ Manifesto
- Fat Athletes have the right to reasonably flattering sport clothing – The running skirt is by far one of the best inventions I’ve ever seen for fat female athletes. We know we don’t belong out there in spandex. It would be nice if someone would make XL sizes honest to gosh XLs though, in terms of bicycling jerseys and performance wear. We don’t want to be hanging around in skin-tight clothing. It makes you uncomfortable, it makes us uncomfortable. But there are so few options available on the market, we suck it up, and suck it in.
- Fat Athletes have the right to know our limits – No one knows their pace and timing better than a fat athlete. We know we’re slower than everyone else. For goodness’ sake, we are hauling 5x the bodyweight ballast than our svelte competitors. We understand this, and we chug along at “Little Engine that Could” paces. We will make it, it will just take us twice as long to do it. But you’ve got to understand that we are trying our best, and that our best is good enough for us.
- Fat Athletes have the right of water at water stations – So, that fat guy at the back, chugging up the hill like the Tortoise in the racing story from childhood? He needs water. Give him some! Don’t run out before he gets to you, and don’t close down the station before he gets to you. Communicate with others on the course to know if he’s out there!
- Fat Athletes are Athletes. If you take nothing away from this post, I want you to hear this. I’m an athlete. I don’t look like these people who wear spandex as fashion. I am not going to pass you in a sprint race. But I trained for this event, and I am working hard to do what I came out there to do. I’ve got something to prove to myself just like you do. My time doesn’t matter. My placement doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m out there doing it.