The Bitch Inside

I hang back during a beach launch because it’s crazy out there. New Road ID tri top worked really well.

Yesterday I swam in the Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Mile Swim and finished with a time of 36:17:00. There were about 400 people competing, with the men launching 5 minutes before the women.

Before the start, I was standing around waiting with John and my friend Sonya who lamented how bad pictures are of her emerging from open ocean swims. I concurred. Despite the

The sand swirls at the shoreline as the women swim away.

photographic abilities of my husband, the pictures of me emerging from the ocean really appall me. In fact, Sonya said she wished there was a way to keep the photo vendors from publishing photos of us if we selected to not have them posted online. It is hard for me to find a photo I like of me coming out of the water. I look like a tank. I can’t stand it. It is very hard for me to actually emerge from the water and stand, let alone start running up the beach. There I am trying to get a sense of balance, trying not to fall, trying not to get sucked back into the ocean, so it never occurs to me to suck in the gut and stand up straight until after i see the pictures. Sigh. The Bitch Inside really gives me a hard time: Look how fat, look how thick, look how big, look how hunched over, look how old, look how slow (well, you can’t really see that in a still).

Would be wrong to edit.

I need to tell The Bitch Inside to STFU. I am doing things I love, such as swimming and riding my bicycle. I am doing something that tells me I love myself with each painful step, which is running. I absolutely adore pushing myself, connecting with friends during my Try Fitness Hawaii training sessions, getting up early to ride with my husband John, or going out for a run with him. I don’t adore my Monday evening masters swim at The Oahu Club until I’m actually in the water. I get a serious case of the drowsies about 3-5, so it is extremely hard to get to the pool. But every time I do it, I am so happy. Especially when that hour is done. I feel so good. I glow.

Today John showed me a picture posted on the Facebook page maintained by I ❤ to Run. It is a photograph of a woman named Jackie, her legs Sharpied with the number 114, jiggling and running her heart out. Jackie wrote in and thanked Swim Bike Mom for publishing her picture, stating she hopes it goes viral, because she wants to be an inspiration to others. She used to weigh 415 pounds. She is still very big. But she is confident, she gets up off her ass, she shakes off insecurities, and she just lets the insults roll by. She has plans and it doesn’t include hiding inside from mean people.

Jackie inspired me. She brought tears to my eyes. I hope her story goes viral, too. And I think I should show The Bitch Inside the accomplishments of Jackie, so I can tell her to STFU once and for all.

I also learned today that Bree Wee of Kona won the Louisville, Kentucky, Ironman. Bree is tiny. Bree is wee. She’s actually quite an adorable person to behold. From what I can see, she’s pretty funny, too. She is a natural athlete. I remember watching her and some of my other friends like Rachel Ross and Katherine Nichols participate in the Hapalua Half  Marathon Coconut Chase earlier this year. I went for a run after my husband and the rest of the field took off in a different direction. As I was on the east side of Diamond Head on my way to Kahala, there was Bree running so fast because she was being chased by professional runners, including a few Kenyans. She remarked how they seemed to run without their feet touching the ground. She ran so hard and she beat the rest of the women that day.

But what good would Bree’s win that day or today be if the only people who showed up were the ones who knew they could win? What if the rest of us stayed home?

We don’t. We train, we show up, we have a different goal. We swim, we ride, we run, our targets are our personal bests. Sure, we have some rivalries among others in our age groups, and we do try our best to be amazing. For yesterday’s swim, I’m in the tail end of finishers chronicled at Timeline. It’s OK. I’m going to keep training. I might just want to complete these days, but the person I want to compete with is me. And beat once and for all The Bitch Inside.

Showering, surrounded by average people who have accomplished extraordinary things.