The Fat Athletes’ Manifesto

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
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6 thoughts on “The Fat Athletes’ Manifesto

  1. A friend directed me to your blog, and I wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this.

    I've been a fat woman my whole life. I don't see it changing and I'm not looking for it to change; I'm enjoying the activities I want to participate in and I'm practicing wellness rather than self-loathing, which makes me happier than being thin ever could. (Who knew. I just wish I figured it out sooner.)

    I have been left not only without water but to simply get lost during a five mile race, because the organizers decided they were tired of waiting. And even though I crossed the finish line, I was counted as a DNF, my only DNF ever.
    Most of my other experiences (abut 20 of them) of 5ks have been very positive, though; other runners of greater ability have been enormously encouraging and welcoming. It is a community I have enjoyed being a part of. I was surprised to find that habitual runners are not adult versions of the mean kids from gym class (though those people DO drive by and make their opinion known…and my response is still a hale and hearty F— YOU).

    Junonia.com has been a LIFESAVER for me…they have all the bicycle shorts, skirts, yoga wear, etc that I could ever hope for and they are well made and well fitting. I'm in the size 26-28 range but I believe they start around 14-16.

    I'm glad to know there are other 'Athenas' out there. 🙂

  2. Oh the clothing thing hits the nail on the head. Why is it that XL workout clothing is so much smaller than regular XL clothing? I will have to check out the link that your other commenter left. I shouldn't have to pull and tug at my workout clothes when I'm trying to work out.

  3. Lili,

    Girl let me start off by saying THANK YOU! My girl turned me on to this site and I love it. Us bigger girls need to stick together and fight this nation of prejudice skinny folk. I have been “bigger” since I was little. Made fun of just like most bigger girls did but I grew to love myself. Shoot I was pullin men better than my skinny friends. This one guy La’Jon was everyone’s dream man, and he chose me over all my skinny friends. More to love he always said.
    I am also allergic to the gluten and the soy so I am loving your recipes. I will have to send over my momma’s fried chicken and biscuits recipe at some point. Do you ever go off the diet and splurge?? I can’t take it sometimes and have to go eat me some of the gluten and the soy. There is this China Buffet near my house and Mmmm Mmm girl it is good? La’Jon hates when I go because I am not so nice for the next few days.
    Well I will be reading and commenting so I just wanted to introduce myself to you and your readers. Can’t wait to get back on!

    Annie

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