Picture by Cathy Nguyen (love the shoes!)
During a recent conversation with a woman at the gym, both of us suffering on spin bikes, I had a real eye opener about how women perceive themselves in the world of endurance sport.
While spinning away, we traded stories about what we do and after mentioning that I do triathlons and did most of them while working full day, the first thing she said to me was that she will never be able to do it because she would feel so guilty. My response to that was “why guilty?” Her answer was simple. “I would feel guilty spending so much time doing something for myself and not on my responsibilities”.
I am very privileged to have a fan, aka husband, that is fine with me getting up and doing my thing, no questions asked. One question that did get stuck in my mind was if the small number of women in endurance sport due to the lack support or something else, because research indicates (there is a LOT of that) physiologically we are built for endurance sport.
I am fairly certain that your significant other, manager or director never actually said the words “Sorry, you cannot do a Ironman, because you have to work/cooking/cleaning to do”. In fact, completing an endurance event like a triathlon, makes you a hero to your kids and their friends, an inspiration to your co-workers and stark raving mad to your significant other. (They are after all the ones that see what is going on behind the scenes. From sore muscles that cries from fatigue to 1am cravings for protein and peanut butter…and they still love us).
The only conclusion I then could get to is that WE are the reason. WE are keeping ourselves at the back of the pack. As women we are putting everyone else’s needs before our own, because that is the way it is supposed to be and how we were raised. The spectrum of women accomplishing things are so broad. Women today are homemakers, mothers, wives, climbing corporate ladders and breaking through glass ceilings around the world. Except when it comes to what we love for ourselves. And if and when we dare break the mould or swim up the stream we beat ourselves to a pulp with the guilt, crushing that happy feeling before we have time to enjoy it.
Stop it. Just stop it. You owe this to yourself. To your heart, body and soul. Enter the race, chase the dream, cross the finish line and set yourself free. You can have the best of both worlds without the guilt, but that decision, lies with you. There are numerous support groups out there, filled to the brim with amazing women who decided to love themselves and do what makes them happy. Join a group and learn from them and before you know, you will be one of them.
Have no limits