Some of you thought I might be writing a post about Pulp Fiction. But, I'm talking about fitness levels here, people!
I always thought triathlons were for only real athletes who were not only good at one sport, but good at all three (swimming, cycling, running). Kind of like being a triple-threat in the acting world: only with the ability to act, sing, and dance will you get the chance to perform on Broadway. So, when I decided to try a triathlon, not being a very good swimmer or cyclist, I had a lot of hesitations about joining what I thought were a truly elite group of athletes.
My friend Bryan (AKA the "Lean Bean") tried to calm my fears about my first triathlon experience last fall by telling me a story about his first tri. He did a sprint triathlon with a couple of friends last summer, and was intimidated by a some guys in his wave who looked like mega athletes: they were ripped with muscles, were warming up very seriously before the swim, wearing really expensive tri suits and goggles. . .
Yeah, he smoked em'
There are all kinds of people competing in triathlons these days, it's just a matter of not being scared to join them. People come in all shapes and sizes, and you never really know what drives them internally to train for an event, whether it be a tri or a 5k run. So, you can't possibly base their performance abilities on external factors like age, weight, gender, and definitely not their tri gear.
Check out the ages for the top three women at the Coyote Hills run a couple of weeks ago:
1st place - Age 46
2nd place - Age 15
3rd place - Age 24
Um, enough said. 46 year-old smoked everyone, trailed slightly by someone who can't drive yet.
Many endurance athletes are "overweight" according to the BMI. The BMI is basically a good measure of nothing. Read this fab article by my new new Facebook friend, Dr. Stu, and his team of bloggers. Dr. Stu was also disturbed to hear about such a thing as "normal weight obesity." Remember when being obese meant you can't fit into an airplane seat? Now normal-sized people are fat.
Men may have been bred to be more athletic than women, but I guarantee there will be a mix of both sexes finishing at different times during the race. I like my speed because I tend to run with a lot of the more hefty, or muscular dudes, as opposed to the lanky runner-types. Hence, I am a chubby chaser. :) Women, if running with men makes you nervous, there are all kinds of races especially for women. If you are a man, I don't know what to tell you. I don't make up the rules here.
Gear is nice, and the proper gear does help. But, there is no shame getting started in a cotton t-shirt and Target jogging shorts. (Target has some good workout gear anyway, imho.) But, the truth of the matter is, there are plenty of people who will spend money on something that they don't really need, or don't even know how to use properly. Have you ever seen someone driving a car that they don't know how to maneuver? Like the tiny woman at the grocery store with her Yukon, trying to fit into the parking space? Yeah, it's something like that.
"C'est La Vie," said the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.