The mindless chatter that happens between a married couple can be damaging. Because the things that I say when I think nobody is listening – someone is listening. And 99% of the time that someone is a little girl who will remember what I said for years to come.
We were on the way to dinner, headed out to a bar for bar food when neither of us are drinking and I am knee-deep in training mode (because we are, as MQD might say wicked smaht) “I should get a salad. Dammit, I really want a burger with a fried egg on top but I should get the salad.”
MQD mumbles something to the effect of “Get the burger if that’s what you want” since we agreed long ago not to police one another’s behavior.
“But five weeks out from the Half IronMan I should really get the salad. I was faster when I was ten pounds lighter and really the faster doesn’t even matter, it’s not like I will place no matter what but it will just be easier to haul my ass 70.3 miles if I am lighter. Not that any of it will be easy but….”
And I realized that both of my girls were listening. And so was my husband. And I was mindlessly rambling about weight.
I took a deep breath and spoke clearly. I spoke to myself and to my girls. “It’s not about what I weigh, but if I eat a burger now I will feel tired and yucky and I have to ride a bazillion miles and run tomorrow no matter what so I should eat the food that makes me feel good. Everything I read supports that. Over and over, garbage in makes for garbage out.”
“So, get the salad,” he said.
I got the salad. And I ate half of Lucy’s chicken fingers but that is neither here nor there.
It’s so hard to train and eat and fight old feelings of being weight obsessed and have small eyes watching.
My new tri suit came in the mail today. My new, new tri suit. The first one came a week ago, an extra-large because it said to size up if you were in between. Against my better judgement (and okay, okay, because my mother said I should) I sent it back and exchanged it for the smaller one. You want a dress that makes you feel good and is comfortable but you want a tri suit that is tight. There’s no other word for it. Tight.
I have avoided the scale all week because I am training hard this week and eating clean (and a lot) and my jeans indicate that I am retaining water (likely because my legs are screaming tired) but I feel strong. And capable. And like 70.3 miles is not an insane goal. I don’t need a number on a scale to make me feel like I am not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love numbers. I have run 346 miles this year. I have ridden 663. I have swum 17. These numbers make me feel strong.
I pulled the suit from the package and I headed for the bedroom to try it on.
When I popped out of my bedroom my greatest fashion critic said “It looks awesome!!” The tiny teller of truth said simply “It’s really tight on your muscles.”
I had to walk away. I couldn’t do a round of “Are you crying? Why are you crying?” just right then.
Yep. It looks awesome and it is tight on my muscles. And it is also tight and unforgiving across the roundness of the stomach that housed two children and the fullness of the hips that are filled with pizza and beers and burgers with fried eggs on top. But all they saw was “awesome” and “muscles.”
Kids see what we show them. Somehow I had just stripped naked, poured myself into a skin-tight tri suit, kicked aside my bathroom scale and presented myself to them as strong and capable and proud and ready to kick some damn ass. Painstakingly slow ass, but ass, nonetheless.
I am calling that a win for the day. Triathlon is hard. Parenting is harder. Being kind to myself, however, is proving to get a teeny bit easier every day.