Opinion: You must look the part
My husband Doo and I began participating in triathlons last year. We were looking for something new to whip us into shape that wouldn’t require knee replacement surgery any time soon. We’ve completed three sprints thus far, and are gunning for an Olympic length tri over Labor Day. If you’re in with the Lord, please send up prayers this Sunday!
I bring this challenge to your attention because in my quest to beat Doo, my former-collegiate-athlete brother-in-law and every middle-aged female on the planet, I’ve found that in addition to actually training, looking the part is equally important. To that end, I stepped up my game this summer by purchasing not only an honest-to-goodness road bike (the hybrid model I used in my first race was so slow I should have just attached a wicker basket and enjoyed a nice ride to market), but also real adult goggles (that don’t fog over after 2.3 seconds and won’t have to be stripped away for the second half of the swim) and a legit cycling outfit (on sale and straight from China). For me at least, appearing to be a capable, competitive athlete really does provide a boost in confidence, and consequently, in my performance. Plus, if you look like the winners, then even if a pregnant woman pushing a jogging stroller blows past you in the run, you can still pretend it never happened as you roam the post-race celebration, free brew in hand.
The problem arises when people assume you know more than you actually do. Case in point, I recently fell off my bike and dropped the chain on a very busy riding trail. I received a few offers of help, but no one actually stopped. I think I looked too dang good! They probably thought I was sprawled in the weeds on purpose, perhaps practicing a therapeutic yoga move. And then I crashed again, less than 10 feet away! This time? Chirp.
Alas, though I’ve done a decent job of exuding the serious triathlete vibe, I’m really just a gal trying to stay fit without bionics.