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An Unworthy Life…

DISCLAIMER: this is a mental mess of a post.

So this morning I went back to the scene of the crime–er–the place where all of “this” started.  The scene?  The original spin class that launched “the Spark” (post: How I Changed) and spread my love for triathlon like wildfire.

Since starting with Coach T-Bone, I had not really been back to this class.  Mostly because I was a member of two gyms.  And that was getting silly, from a practical standpoint.

But also, because since Ironman, I had begun to feel something slipping through my fingers… my sense of self. The who am I part. And that particular class started to feel like torture to me.   Not because it was torture (and man, a Monster spin class— indeed — reinforced that man’s title)… but because of my perception of things. Of myself.  The others in the class.  The “real” triathletes…

This particular gym is pretty full of “real” triathletes.  I have some great friends there.  I have acquaintances. Most are very,very nice.  But I’m not their “kind” of triathlete. I’m like their token, “Awww, ain’t she sweet for tri-ing” friend. They are fast.  I am slow.  They are thin. I am me. [You see, we can compare these trite things all day long. Most of which stem from my lack of self-confidence and general plethora of issues. Ha!]

Still, I felt a particular allegiance to that gym and class… because for me, I couldn’t let go the feeling that I owed something to that gym, to that class, to the place where my triathlon dream was born.

So anyway, for reasons unknown to me, I decided to go back this morning.

As I walked into the class, I saw myself in the mirror (Monster holds class with all lights lit up like Christmas)… I saw myself and I cringed. Just like I cringed on my first day of class.  

Wow, I look much worse than the last time I was in here.

Although, I think the words that actually came to mind were, “You look like shit.”  (Sorry, Mom. I do a lot of internal cursing. Even more than external. Shameful, really.)

Way to be positive.   Way to represent.  Way to even listen to a teeny bit of the USAT Coaching Clinic on the importance of the mind matters.  

So I’m spinning before the class starts, and one of the cool kids in the class shouts over to me, from his bike, “Saw you in the All3Sports email” and then he made a comment about how he could get me to sign my book anytime—because I was right there.  I giggled. (And I said, “Most importantly, did you see my bike?” 🙂 )

Well, the dude behind me, who I have known for a while, said, “Wait. Are you sponsored or something by All3?”

It wasn’t the question that made me cringe… It was the tone of his question.

And the tone felt mean.

And I said, “Well, it’s sort of a sponsorship. Kind of. Actually, more like a partnership, working to make everyone better in the process” or something like that.

Suddenly, my own insecurities rushed over me. Unworthy. Not fast.  Shameful.


Dude could have meant nothing by it.

It could have been a question. A real question, like “Oh hey, I didn’t know that, cool.”  My ears could have heard wrong. I am overly sensitive as a starting point.  (So, yay — become a blogger! That will help!)  Also, I am real-life tone deaf – so maybe that was it.

My friend, Yoda, will inevitably post a comment that reminds me of one of our twenty century rides while Ironman training where the cyclist boys were making fun of me–because:

a) I was either fat,

b) couldn’t calculate time, or

c) they couldn’t believe all that could fit in my jersey.


Then, she will post something nice about how she loves me, but I need to learn to take criticism. 🙂 Then she’ll finally remind me that we were out there riding 100 miles… and I let dumb boys (who turned off at the 65 mile loop!)…  get to me.

You would think that I am now at the point in my triathlon life… that I think I fit in, that I feel I fit into triathlon.

But sometimes I’m reminded (by myself, by things I perceive others say) that I don’t fit…or I am reminded just how far I have to go to be legit.  (Legit? E.g., I need to weigh 120 pounds and wear an XS tri short. (I know that’s not a sign of legitness. I know. Bear with me.)

This whole internal dialogue makes me mad at myself… because the truth of the matter is, I have earned my way.  I finished a freaking Ironman, for the love.  I should be in “the business of being good enough.”



Get out of here.  Meredith. Come on.  Stop it.  Boring. You are BORING!  

I drove home from the gym this morning without showering and walked into the bathroom – scaring the hell out of the Expert – who didn’t expect me to come home before work.  I burst into tears and I told him about the crap in my head.  I cried.  I’m a terrible mother.  I am a fraud. I am just a mess.  He listened. I can’t do this. I am exhausted. My job. The kids. I’m sorry…  He listened. A very good listener, and friend. I am thankful.

And he said, “You need to write about this.”

“No,” I said, “I can’t. What if someone reads it.”

He laughed, “They should. You should. Go write it.”

So here it is.

Raw and unfiltered with a tad of feeling sorry for myself for no real reason–because I KNOW my life is amazing and great and beautiful and I am blessed beyond words or reason. I know.

And I don’t feel worthy of my great life either, by the way, if you are asking.

And I know that I am likely to get some scathing comments on this one, folks. “Get some confidence!”  with a side of “spare me!” and “you’re an idiot” (someone go ahead and just say, “you’re fat” and help things along, okay?) and “you whine.”

And I get it… But I also know I can’t be completely alone in this horrible web of unworthiness.  I wish I felt differently, and I do know that some days I feel great, and happy and full of butterflies and unicorns.  We all have issues.  It just so happens when you carry a food addiction–you wear your issues everywhere for the world to see (or for yourself to see).  So it’s different, that way.  Anyway.

I write, at my core, because I want people to know they are not alone. If you feel this way, I’m here with you. And I write because it makes my insides hurt a little less.  I write because it allows me to process my thoughts in a way that thinking can’t do for me.  So thank you for listening.

And in closing, some irony… I am getting certified to teach Spinning on Sunday. (Face in hands…)

Today, this morning… with the best intentions in place, I returned to the scene of the crime because I wanted to feel strong and worthy and powerful.  I wanted to be inspired.

Yet, I let myself…   hurt ME.

So for myself, I post my own poster. In hopes that I will start to believe.

Motivational Monday2 - Swim Bike Mom - Meredith Atwood


  • Andi B.

    January 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    It is because of, not in spite of, your struggles to become who you are that you inspire me and help me to believe I have a chance to become an athlete. I won your book, and within the first few chapters I had the “that’s so familiar” feeling about a zillion times. That day, I decided to make an Oly Tri my goal for 2014. I hope you get your confidence back soon, you’ve earned it.

  • Amanda Parr

    January 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    This has so been me lately. I have felt unworthy and kind of crappy. I have to remind myself I’ve done some pretty amazing things in this not so great body. I totally get it. No offense but sometimes it is nice to know that even when you become semi-famous and get paid for this you still feel like this. Hang in there for the good days.

  • Kathy Bruinooge

    January 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    WOW!!!! so very close to home… it’s all about the part where I think I’m on the outside and everyone else fits in. So what if I’m a large TRI-shirt.. .which I have to swim with a bra underneath because I have been so blessed! (which my hubby loves ;)… but at any rate… I do it too.. I will always hope that someone at one of my sprint triathalons will be bigger than me and slower than me! WHY DO WOMEN DO THIS????
    WEll, at any rate.. Alone we are not! so let us ban together and BELIEVE… IT’S A POWERFUL THING. Thanks for being so gut wrenching honest and forthcoming! Your expert was right… you need to share.
    Thank so much 🙂
    Kathy (debating whether or not to up my distance this season? olympic? not sure)

  • Carin

    January 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Damn Girl-You are human and entitled to feel and write anything you want but just for the record-I think you are kick ass and I find you to be inspirational-you’re honesty is freshing and I wish I had your guts.

  • Karen Waxler

    January 24, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog off and on for a while. And while my tri-life has ended (for now, I’m back in college), I still love reading your stuff. I was nearly 300 lbs in 2007, totally depressed, blah blah blah. I lost over 120 lbs over about 2 years and got my shit on track. And even as awesome as I feel with this person I am, and have somehow managed to STAY, I feel exactly like you do. There are days I look in the mirror and see lumps and bumps and the dialogue starts all over again. OH NO, is it all going to happen again? Why can’t i just be *one jean size smaller*? Why can’t I run just a little faster? Ugh. Girl, I hear you. It’s kind of like the further I get from the old me, the worse it is. I have friends now who legitimately did not know me when I was obese. For them, this Karen is the Karen that always has been. When they see a photo of me from ‘back then’ they are shocked. So why can’t that make me happy? Why can’t I be satisfied to not have to shop at specialty stores anymore? Why can’t I just be free? I’m with you, and I send you a huge hug. It’s never easy.

  • Laura

    January 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Meredith you are more than awesome and I’m so thankful to have this blog/post & facebook! How I came across your blogging I don’t know but, your honest and amazing. Many of us regular people are thankful for you!! I was feeling so discouraged on Wednesday after spinning with a coach/ironman experienced individual. He may have totally not realized that his comments where that of slightly insulting to me. This is what I posted that day on my facebook page:

    Feeling slightly discouraged with the fact that those with the most experience in this sport, the ones you look up to for that wealth of information seem less interested in you and more themselves? The day I stop enjoying this sport, encouraging others and training for the pure enjoyment…………that is the day I will hang it all up !! My family comes first, career & then the training plan that works well for my lifestyle. It might not be the elite plan others would find “appropriate” training, but it works for me & gets me to that finish line

    Keep your head up and don’t let others bring you down. I also sent you a private message Wednesday about how your honest & true inspiration are so encouraging! The fact you responded MADE MY DAY ~ If anyone make these comments on an intentional basis, it’s only because they are so self absorbed & jealous that you have succeeded 😉

  • Becky

    January 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Meredith-love this entry. While I do not have a food addiction, I have had a rough life; losing my parents at the age of 6 1/2 and 7; a divorce, single parent for a while, struggled with my weight all of my life and now, here I am, in my third TRI season.

    I, too, feel this way-like when I was at a fitting for my TRI team’s new apparel and one of the “performance” women athletes on my team was there and I held up a pair of the new “hipster” shorts that are coming out this year and said “Lord have mercy; I am glad I came to try all of this one-there is no way I can fit into what size I wore last season.” And this woman says to me “I KNOW you can fit into a medium.” Um no; no, I can’t. I am sure she has NO IDEA that upset me..but it did. And right then and there I felt not worthy, large Marge and immediately lost site of how far I HAVE come.

    You are worthy; it is easy to feel not worthy when you have struggled with your weight, etc.-as I have too.

    As I sat in an RRCA Coaching Certification course last fall the “teacher” started talking about minute/mile paces…started at his 6:30 pace and ventured up. He gets to talking about a 11-12 minute/mile pace and he says “listen, my KIDS and I can walk to the ice cream shop down the street at this pace.” I wanted to get out of my auditorium chair and kick his a$$. Listen here, jacka$$, I, yes ME, run an 11 minute mile, and you are not going to tell me I am not a runner.

    The beautiful thing about triathlon or any endurance event is I see a different boom coming along (where you don’t have to be a damn elitist!!) and you are the epitome of that; ANYONE has the power to change themselves and if triathlon is that and you can help just ONE person do that??? Everyone wins. i personally, thank you for all that you do, post, say, and inspire.

    You can have a pity party, for about 24 hours, then suck it up, buttercup. Get out there and swim, bike or run-‘MOM’!


    Becky E.

  • Missie

    January 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Great blog post… Truth… Here it goes. You are fat. You are fatter than others and thinner than others also. I am fat. I could lose some weight as most of us can. I love Oreos and dessert. Ain’t no shame. We all find justifications.

    You are slow. You are slower than others and faster than others too. I am slower than MANY and all that matters is we go out there and get it done.

    You went back to the class and he was surprised by your partnership, however he meant it, that’s how u took it. Ok!! Ur damn right he is surprised because not everyone who is sponsored is perfect looking! U have a partnership because you inspire because you are human because u are real. No matter how many times you step back you always step ahead after. It is that drive that reminds you that you are human. It reminds US we r all human. So thanks. I’m in a rut after achieving major running milestones and I needed this today as I’m sick on the couch continuing my pity party.

    You are a woman. You have feelings, emotions, hormones… Hell fat girl suck it up and remember you are a Triathlete and you Meredith Atwood are an Ironman! 😉

  • Kim Collier

    January 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I have felt this way in the past…a lot….because I was never really good enough to win… I finally got over that and now just appreciate the sport for the accomplishment of it and how my continued participation in the sport inspires others. You INSPIRE ! That’s WINNING! That’s a true athlete….when your love and drive…inspires others to achieve what you have. Your MORE than good enough…Your Fabulous 😉

  • Laurie

    January 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Honesty and being true to yourself, not to mention sharing this with others, is invaluable. You are an inspiration to so many and have no doubt motivated others to begin and continue their own journey. We all have our insecurities. Most just cover them up, but your courage to be authentic is amazing! Thanks for your post and keep on living, writing and triing!!!!

  • Summer

    January 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Meredith, I completely get it. Completely! I found you through the Another Mother Runner podcast. I’m a big girl. I started running at 235 pounds because I a.) was disgusted with myself and b.) needed something I could feel proud of. I had another kid in the middle if my running journey, and I’m at my smallest in, oh, I don’t know, 20 years? I ran a freakin’ full marathon back in November, but because I’m neither fast nor thin, I feel like an imposter. I totally get how you feel. I do have to say that podcast you did with Sarah and Dimity really boosted my confidence and gave me the umph I needed to sign up for that marathon. Thanks for keeping it real. You believe in me and I’ll believe in you.

  • Jan

    January 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I think everyone has moments/days/weeks of feeling insecure and not good enough. Your true strength is overcoming them and getting back to the true you. I’ve had about 6 weeks of not feeling great about myself and sabotaging myself with bad eating and not working out. I’m finally ready to get over myself and get back to feeling wonderful about what I can do. I hope that you get back that wonderful feeling of believing in yourself soon.

  • Kathy

    January 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Great post! I definitely have felt this way before. I’m never the fastest runner at a race, so I’m always concerned I’m not ‘really a runner’ even though I’ve completed two full marathons and half a dozen halfs. (I also feel this way in the weight room, which is why I rarely go in there, even though I reallllly want to lol!!) I think we all go through those ups and downs in thought. You ARE an athlete. An Ironman? WOW! Take some time, do something good for yourself and regroup. Sometimes all we need is to step back for it to all come into perspective.

  • Jenna Rowland

    January 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I have been admiring your strength, courage and candor from my home office in Denver, CO for a little over a year now. I relate to you as an athlete more than the other women I see running and biking and swimming. I have completed four half marathons with my fifth scheduled for this May. Yet I don’t consider myself a runner. I look in the mirror and see the “oh honey, good for you” girl. You know…the fat one that “real” runners look at and think that thought. Yep. That’s me. At least that’s how I feel about me. Might change my name to O’Honey.

    I wake up every morning and do what I do for me and not to impress other people. I cry before every race because I manage to get my toes to the starting line and finish without walking, keep a full time job that requires me to travel to random places in this country, raise an almost-two-year old, keep my marriage happy and healthy and my house (mostly) clean. After six (soon to be seven) knee surgeries, anyone who wants to judge me should run a mile in my shoes first. I dare them.

    I want to believe that the Dude at the gym was shocked that someone from his every day gym spin class was awesome enough to have a sponsor and that his reaction would have been the same if it was the skinny girl who fit the stereotype. He may be kick ass at spinning, but can he also swim a 5k and run a marathon in the same day? I’ll bet not.

    You are good enough. I believe you are great.

  • Courtney @The TriGirl Chronicles

    January 24, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    This was well timed. I literally JUST fixed my face after having a complete meltdown to my husband about hating myself, my weight, not being good enough. All of it. I try so hard to be nice to myself, but then I buy a new pair of jeans that don’t fit and I spiral back out of control. And I was just thinking this morning about how I’ve done a bunch of triathlons but I don’t feel like a triathlete. It’s so frustrating and I’m trying so hard to mentally get myself back down to earth, but I feel so lost sometimes. Thank you for being so real and honest. It’s refreshing to read that other people face the same demons.

  • Meg

    January 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    This is a great post! I had some of the same thoughts when I was in the pool last week with my Masters team. I am a strong swimmer (sloooow runner), and getting stronger, but the little voice in my head is always saying “you don’t deserve to be in the fast lane.” When a man is swimming more slowly than I am, I don’t pass him for fear of hurting his ego. I actually limit myself and harm my own workout to save a man’s feelings. Why do we sell ourselves short?!

  • Kelley Peters

    January 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    So, like other commenters I am so in tears. Sobbing! This! THIS!

    It doesn’t just apply yo triathlons, but all things in life where ppl feel like outsiders. Truth is, I think the majority if ppl feel like you do. If everyone was on the inside, well, life would be different.

    I have never done a triathlon. I just finished my 3rd 5k in November. I always felt I was just “not an athletic person .” Some of that feeling came from inside me, and some from others. But the problem was I let it prevent me from what I wanted to do.

    And this feeling has spread to other parts of my life. It is indeed an illness as you say. I think I can’t do xyz, I’m not an xyz person, and I move along.

    Guess what, there is no such thing! As anything! I have to keep telling myself this.

    But you have done something truly heroic- you feel this way and you still kept GOING. True courage is action in the face of fear, not the absence of fear itself.

    Amazing. Amazing.

    Thank you for this good cry and this reminder. Keep going Kelley, I will tell myself. Think these horrible feelings and just keep going. Eventually you’ll get to the finish line and it won’t matter how I secure you felt but that you did it.

    Thank you.

  • Sarah

    January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Sweet baby jesus, do I ever get it. Progressed from ‘can’t put my face in the water’ newbie to Ironman CdA, and somehow let that little voice talk me out of finishing with 6 miles to go. Yup. What the eff is it about not being good enough that keeps us from just taking the world by storm?

    You are doing amazing things, keep building yourself up and keep being honest. That’s what makes you real. And chances are, those boys, they’re more worried about their power output than anything else.

  • Heather

    January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I understand. I teared up the other night when a group of people I have been on a few rides were planning a 50-mile trip at a 15-16mph pace (I wasn’t invited). I *just* rode 30 miles for the first time last week… at a 13.5mph pace (with 1600 feet of climbing). I’m not there yet, and it made me angry with myself for not being there. But mostly I was angry for beating myself up for it at all. I never exercised, and I mean never – marching band was my exercise – until February of 2013. At 38-years-old, with an almost 3yo, a 7 mo, an umbilical hernia and diastasis recti – I decided to start walking to train for a mud run. Then walking turned into running-ish. Then I bought a bike in September. A sprint triathlon in October. And I haven’t stopped yet. Why was I comparing myself to these people? My tri is *mine.* I haven’t had a full nights rest in almost five years, I eat standing up while feeding kids, my short runs involve me pushing a double Bob and screaming “stop putting your foot in your sisters face!” I should be proud of anything I accomplish.

    If only I could believe that every time I say it, and not just 1/8 of the time, eh?

  • Carie vercelli

    January 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Oh my. Sometimes I am in awe and shock how much your words resonate with me. I don’t want them to, I wish they wouldn’t, but the fact is your words are also mine. I struggle with feeling much emotion, but once in a while things can shock me into feeling, and this post did. I would prefer to post a typical sarcastic comment, but I would be hiding how this really made me feel if I did. I am in no way the “athlete” you are ( haha, I bet you laugh), but I have done triathlons and lots of half marathons ect ect and have worked so hard to better myself, and I have! I lost weight, got fit, started races and felt invincible! And then the horror of what eventually happens did. I somehow let myself gain quite a bit of weight back. I am not even sure how it happened or why, but it did. The difference this time for me was I did not let it ruin all of my progress with my fitness and races. I refused to allow myself to quit, normally I would give up everything, all my 2 years of hard work. It was too important to me. It has been really really hard for me though. I feel like everyone looks at me and judges as I am doing each race. I feel like I could die when I see the race photos, I barely can make myself go when I see my former clothes to race in look awful on me and show off my now emerging rolls. I no longer want to run or race, but there is a part of me that can’t give up, if I do then I am so afraid of what will happen if I do. It is so hard that how I look determines 100% how I feel about myself. All I want, is to do what I love and to feel like it is enough, and to not care what anyone else thinks, and let it effect me. I simply can’t. It overwhelms me down to my core, and all I wanna do is hide. It effects so much of my life, and I just want to feel free of the shame & guilt & hate I feel for myself. All I want is to enjoy what I do and to train towards my next goal and to do it for myself no matter how I look. I don’t know how to get past feeling this way. I do not have experience in anything but sabatoge and giving up. At least I am still training, but it is not the same feeling for me. How I feel about how I look ruins it all for me. I’m sure you weren’t looking for such a long comment, and would’ve preferred a funny snappy comment you have come to expect and love from me, but this post touched my heart and I really felt like just letting you know how it effected me and what it meant to me! I finished my Az rock n roll half last weekend and have the Phoenix marathon coming in a month and my true love is still triathlons! My goal is still to finish a half Ironman. Thank you for your honest & raw words. Your favorite Stalker from Always sunny Arizona, Carie

  • Elise

    January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    So I’m about 120 pounds and wear a size small, but I’ve never even put on a triathlon jersey. You’ve accomplished so much through triathlon, and I read your blog as inspiration for my own athletic hopes and dreams.

    Today, I’m just a runner. Someday I hope to do triathlon, and I will always look to you for guidance because you’ve done it all. I’m training for my first half marathon, and I wonder how I could train for this event while simultaneously swimming and biking. I don’t even own a bike!

    I know you hear about/think about/work at body acceptance all the time (and probably don’t want to hear any more on the subject, especially from someone who is thin-privileged), but I hope you come to a point where you are able to be proud of all that your body is able to do, despite what you consider to be its shortcomings. You are an Iron(wo)man! That is a most incredible feat for any human, and something I cannot even fathom. And your wonderful, strong, powerful, beautiful body got you there. Don’t ever forget that!

  • becky b.

    January 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Hey lady, I can say I knew you back ye ol’ Savannah days – waaaaay before Ironman Meredith! And let me say it’s been such an honour to eavesdrop on your tri journey. You are *so strong* – and part of that strength comes from acknowledging vulnerable moments in your life like these.

    You’re a hero in the eyes of so many, including me. Much love, my girl!

  • Jacky

    January 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Been there. Done that… As I get older I just can’t care less about other people’s comments/thoughts but I know how it feels. As a matter of fact, I went to spin class just yesterday and I was the fattest most unfit one in the class… that was like a slap on the face. Went to bodypump today and was the fattest until 2 other ladies came in, LOL. But know what? We all have to start somewhere and we do what we can, however we can with whatever we have and I think that’s simply awesome! Hang in there, raise your head up high and keep going, you’re amazing!

    • Swim Bike Mom

      January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you ALL for such amazing nice words… and yes, TTT, a potato. Endurance goodness. Get thee a potato in your jersey, and all things will fall into place. Although in light of this post… maybe not. 🙂

  • Tina

    January 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I love reading your blog! I’m not a triathlete but am a runner and just finished my second marathon 2 weeks ago. Looked at my race photos and hated every one because I’m about 20 lbs heavier than when I did my first one (even though I was in a totally adorable Minnie Mouse costume at the Disney marathon!). Made me feel not good enough. I feel you.
    Please keep writing about this stuff!
    And you are good enough! You’re an ironman for goodness sakes!!

  • Angie

    January 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I have 2 thoughts on this subject
    1st – I have felt this same way since joining the sport of triathlon. I am slow and overweight relative to most others in the sport. I was at a spinning class this week and actually spent time looking around the room and thinking about the fact that I was the fatest person in the room. But I was there and I did the workout I needed to do for myself..and that is what I love about triathlon. Because of the wave starts and different age groups, it isn’t apparent how fast or slow anyone is during the race…I’m there racing aginst time not others. And whether the elites like it or not, I am doing the same race they are.

    2nd -I’m trying to get my thoughts into words so bear with me. Meredith, if you weren’t who you are inside and out, most of us would not be following your blog. You are real, you are human, you are one of the “ordinary” triathletes. Book Title – Triathlon for the Every Woman. Not Triathlon for the elite. I will never be elite. I need a role model to follow that doesn’t make me feel inferior. You do that for all of us. You are working/sponsored/parterning with All3 b/c you are the “Every Woman”…not just another elite triathlete. Keep that in mind and know that you have the Swim Bike Army that is right behind you and together we will turn the sport of triathlon into an anybody sport.

  • Sheila Kolesar

    January 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Just had me a little cry.

    Yep the words we think about ourselves. The tones in another’s voice they we think we hear…

    I have yet to start triathlon training, but I will. I am overweight by a LOT, and I am slow (did a half marathon at 4 mph last summer) .

    Thank you for your honesty, it helps those of us back here, who have yet to accomplish what you have done know that it’s ok to be.

  • Jeramie

    January 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I cried some when I read this. Do we ever feel good enough? Do we ever feel enough at all?
    You are one of my personal heroes! Not just for everything you’ve accomplished (which is in and of itself amazing) but also because even with everything you have to do, you are still so kind and supportive to those of us that dare to be better!
    You, my friend are amazing!

  • Billie

    January 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this! Thank you so very much. You are amazing! I find myself doubting myself, criticising myself, and thinking thoughts of unworthiness. I sometimes breakdown and cry. We do amazing things, yet we doubt our abilities at times. Thank you for this post, I can’t put into words how it makes me realize I’m not alone in my struggles. Hang in there!

  • Eileen

    January 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing such raw emotions. I attended my “2nd ever” spin class last night. I was so pissed at the instructor for assuming and expecting us all to work at the exact same difficulty. He actually came around and checked the displays on our bikes and even after I told him it was my first time in his class he didn’t seem to care. I spent the entire 55 minutes crafting my feedback card about how much of a bully he was. It was that, and the fact that a person I knew was 2 bikes down, that kept me from leaving early! My hatred of the teacher didn’t eclipse my need to not look like a quitter. After the class, several people explained to me how he’s harmless and just likes to “encourage” people. I went from being royally pissed to feeling so much better from some kind words from people who knew I was upset/annoyed. I was stunned that I could go from a 50 yo that does crossfit, runs, and has started working towards a Tri could crumble into having a lump in my throat (near tears that turned to rage, lol) as easily as that.

    I hope the words here can lift you like the ones spoken to me last night did.

  • Angie Flynn

    January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Damn Meredith, your post hit so very close to home that I have tears in my eyes. It really doesn’t matter how much we accomplish in life, does it? Those old feeling of self-doubt and worthlessness, just reach up and grab us at the most interesting moments. I can’t count the number of times.

    I sit in awe of you and all you have accomplished. I look at the mountain that lies on the horizon before me that is training for an Ironman and I see your smiling face in the picture at the finish line of IM-CDA and I smile, because I know I can do it and I have your blog to come to when I feel like I can’t… or won’t… or shouldn’t…

    You have an army of peeps out here who love you for your honesty. We love you because you are a real woman. We love you precisely because you DON’T weight 120# and wear a XS tri short – hell, we can find a skinny tri-chick anywhere. We love you because you keep it real and share the good, the bad, and the ugly with us, so we’re not quite as surprised when we come up against the same crap.

    And dude was probably so jealous of your relationship with all3sports that he couldn’t see straight. Maybe if he were a nicer person he would attract a cool sponsor too.

    Head up! You ROCK!!

  • Christy

    January 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I feel like this everytime I toe the start line. I am fluffy (ok, fat) and slow (read glacial). I know that when I go to local races I am more than likely to be last (thank you sick mom with the stroller on MLK day for taking that one for me). I don’t even Tri, I just run (read shuffle/waddle). I get it. I fake to world that it doesn’t matter to me but it’s a lie. You are not alone, if we all stick together we will rule the world- then we can ban those hideous mirrors and lights at the gym (I don’t need to relive swimsuit season at the department store dressing room each time I workout).

  • Bridget

    January 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Oh gosh, not sure how to say what I want to without sounding like an ass. But oh well, here goes. Read this post, as I tend to do these days, and just want to say that though, yes, you are airing some scary insecurities here, the fact of your airing them, even acknowledging them to YOURSELF, much less all of us out here in the blogoverse, is why folks look to you for so much: courage, backbone, kick-ass self-evaluation, taking the measure of yourself and moving forward anyway, etc. Here’s the ass part: I’m about the weight & size you talk about here – but (& I know you already know this) that doesn’t change the self talk demon. Maybe some of it’s a little different, but a lot of it’s the same. So it’s YOU I look to for inspiration, grit, determination, good feeling and the desire to do this triathlon thing work, family, kids, money be damned. Yay you! And thanks for all of this. Thanks so so so much.

  • miranda

    January 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Have you read The Four Agreements? I read these to myself often – when I feel the way you are feeling. Or any other way I know isn’t ideal

    The Four Agreements are:

    1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

    2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    3. Don’t Make Assumptions
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

    4. Always Do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

    You inspire others through #1,3,4 – better than most people. #2 can be the hardest – just remember that you get to choose how much others get under your skin. (I know you know this – we all know this, but it bears repeating).

    Hang in there and never ever listen to boys on bikes.

    • Laura

      January 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      THIS! The Four Agreements….so simple and difficult. One of the first communications my tri coach sent me was the Four Agreements. Two and a half years later and he references these statements often when he knows one of his athletes needs encouragement or perspective.

      Meredith, you clearly struck a nerve with this post. You touch and inspire so many of us who can relate to all the things you mentioned in this post and many other posts. I had never been an athlete growing up. Now I’m in my mid 30’s and I’m just starting my third tri season. I am still learning so much about myself as a human and an athlete…see I can call myself that now! I am training for my first IM and am terrified and excited and so many different things every day. I often times don’t feel like I belong or fit in since so many of the folks I train with are speedy. But I always pick myself up and KEEP MOVING FORWARD…in triathlon and in life. So with that, just like my Road ID says…always do your best! You can never go wrong.

  • Kristin

    January 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! I could have written this same post – except just “being a runner”!! Love, love your blog. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  • Martine

    January 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    WOW! You obviously hit home because so many of us responded to this one. I grew up the youngest with all older brothers…to say I learned to stick up for myself early is an understatement. I’ve always had the “I’ll show them!” Attitude until about 3 years ago. Both kids had serious medical issues, I had to quit work(- where my husband and I were both equals) and I quit doing anything for myself EXCEPT baking goodies…..and eating lots of them. So my food crutch began. Now that the kids are healthy – both are awesome triathletes – and I’ve gained a lot of weight, am out of shape and every time I get back on the workout train, I have a crummy injury that sidelines me for months. Now throw in I’ve gone back to work, and I’m working hard on just being able to be awake for my family! Lots of self doubt, can’t really talk to my spouse because he has willpower in abundance. Great athlete I can’t even work out at the gym with them because it just makes me feel even worse. Ugh! So wish I could have found another way to relax back then…. It’s much harder to deal with now in my late 40s.

  • Michele

    January 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I LOVE this post more than you can imagine!! Feeling sort of the same way lately – like just messy on the inside. I started doing Sprint Tri’s a few years ago – and always sort of had the same feeling, like ” I wasn’t a “real triathlete” – even when I got an email last year saying that I had qualified for an Olympic Tri. Qualified – like qualified!!
    Let me just say that YOU are not alone. We are all in this together, so, when we are are all feeling messy and “not enough”, we know that we are not alone.
    Congratulations on getting SPIN certified. I did it a year and a half ago after taking 5 years of classes and it’s amazing. So fun!! Make it your own and know that YOU are inspiring others!!! GO GIRL!

  • Lisa

    January 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    You have such a way with words! I agree we all have insecurities – but I think the spinning dude has way more then you- can you say jealous!!!

  • Stephanie

    January 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you for writing this. So brave and vulnerable. I wear the XS tri shorts but I feel the exact same things you feel. Even after finishing my first IM. We all feel these things. Most of us are not brave enough to talk about it though.


  • Nikki B

    January 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I have to fight that voice/doubt/my insecurities everytime I suit up…2 IM’s under my belt and I still don’t feel like I belong in the ‘Tri’ club. Thanks for putting you authentic self on ‘paper’!

  • Kerryn

    January 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks for posting this Meredith. I needed to know I’m not alone. I’m only just starting this tri journey but have been running for a couple of years now. I have a core group of friends who are awesome and I thank god for them but it doesn’t stop me from feeling out of place sometimes. They’re fast, I’m not. They’re slim and toned, I’m not. I find myself too often trying to justify myself. The look on peoples faces when I say I run. I often end up mumbling something like “I’m not fast” like it’s some kind of apology. You are an encouragement and inspiration to me. Thank you for your honesty and transparency. YOU ROCK !

  • Holly

    January 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Thank. You.

    You are one strong lady and far from alone in having these thoughts.

    I’ve built a pretty tidy home life and even have a few half marathons under my belt. Yet, I have these same thoughts pop in my head every now and then. We’ll more often than not. Good gosh I know I am my own worst enemy.

    Focus on every victory. Some days it’s the following:

    – score, I didn’t trip over the laundry on my way to the bathroom in the morning.

    – score, I made it to my train. Well. 1/2 point. I made it to a train.

    – score, I remembered my garmin.

    Other days, I look at what I accomplish and say damn you are an awesome beast.

    Today, your victory is your blog. You made countless people say “me too!”

    Btw – you are an awesome beast. I do not have your kahunas gf.

  • Liz

    January 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Dear Sparklet – yes Meredith you were my SPARK!
    I fell into the SBR blog, okay, I actually tripped coming through the door but landed on my nose (I know this is something you can relate to) in the middle of SBR community and there you were giving me the confidence to pull myself off the floor, dust myself, say shit here I am, this is me, I’m fat, I don’t fit the jersey, the bathing suit or the look the part of a triathlete but I am gaining some confidence and my SBR community will help see me through this.
    Mindset….. you have taught me that – believe, keep moving forward.
    Your post hit very close to home and now I look at that as a good thing. A few months ago if something uncomfortable was to happen to me I would have turtled – not anymore. The Spark has been lit, I’m moving forward and for that I will never be able to repay you for lighting this wee fire within. Thank you Meredith <3

  • Beth

    January 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    If it helps, some of us “thin” triathletes who wear the XS tri shorts feel the same way, so it has nothing to do with the size or shape of the body, and everything to do with the heart. And you’ve got more of that in your little finger than many people have in their whole bodies. I’ve been doing triathlons for 7 years now and still consider myself a runner, not worthy enough to be a triathlete. I let myself get extremely intimidated by the people around me, which makes no logical sense. But this has nothing to do with logic.
    You are an inspiration to so many people, women and men. Don’t let the jerks in spinning class make you feel otherwise. They are probably intimidated — and jealous — that you have a pseudo-sponsorship and they don’t.
    That’s a lot of rambling, but in short, you are worthy. 🙂

  • cherylann

    January 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    OK- I can’t remember how I got here…(lost in links…) but as a person who could probably be your mom (I am 60) and has been doing tris since 1982 (probably before you were born)- let me just say this.

    Or maybe a few things.

    Do tris because you love to do them. No other reason. And no one even has to know about them.
    Before social media, no one except my family and people I knew from races, knew I competed in them-or even trained for them (those at work, etc. and I never talked about it with anyone unless they asked).
    I basically always trained by myself or a few others because that is me and how I feel comfortable training. I prefer it. It also affords me to not constantly compare myself to others. I swim, bike, run for the joy or it. How it makes me feel alive, awake and strong.
    Where I get my real sense of self is being a wife to a wonderful husband, a mom to a wonderful grown daughter and a speech pathologist who specializes working with children on the autism spectrum at the preschool level. None of these people could care less if I do tris and how I look or how I do in them.
    As you get older, hopefully, you will care less and less what others say/think about you. I remember being nine and not caring that the guy I “won” the rabbit from looked at me funny when I wanted to name it “Nature”. So I never cared when those around me called me “skinny” (it hurts as much as being thought of as fat…really it does.), obsessed with working out (it never interfered with career, child raising and relationships…don’t allow it to) and family member even asked when I was going to “stop doing this crazy nonsense”. I said never and probably will keep that promise to myself. Not for others-for me. Love yourself and what you are capable of. Serve others. Be part of a team that helps others (not a tri team unless you are raising money for a cause which can be really cool) and just do what you love, with love.
    Keep moving forward in all aspects of your life. It’s short and you have only one.

  • Ed

    January 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    You really hit home with this one. I have just changed coaches for my second Ironman partly because I didn’t feel like I “fit in” with my first coaches “real athletes”. I am not young, lean or fast, but I have done an Ironman and need to remind myself constantly of what I am capable of. Keep it up, it helps us all! 🙂

  • Leesa Wyzard

    January 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for being real. Thank you for letting us know you are like the rest of us and have good days and days where we wonder what the hell we were thinking we could finish this workout, let alone the next race we’re training for. You inspire me to keep moving forward and work at it one work out at a time. Chin up girl! We got your back!

  • Daryl

    January 25, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Cried as I read this, because have never had the courage to even “tri”. hope even a sprint is one day in my future. You have NO IDEA how many you inspire.

  • Jen

    January 25, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Thanks for sharing. I live in Colorado (started riding in Boulder…gasp) and also don’t always look like I should be a great cyclist. But two things: it doesn’t matter what they think only what you think and a lot of those really fit-looking men and women are not great athletes. They just have the genes. I am struggling with that now as I write about cycling and being active with this pregnancy. Frankly I look like I sit on the couch and do nothing but I think it is important to show that active and healthy comes In all shapes and sizes. It’s also nice to see that brands are recognizing, sponsoring and supporting everyday women. I think we do just as much if not more for their brand than athletes that don’t blog etc…

  • suzanne

    January 25, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Google the Cherokee tale of the two wolves inside each of us. The one that’s fed is the strongest. I appreciate your struggles and how you share them with us. Thank you.

  • Maddison @MaddFitness

    January 25, 2014 at 2:30 am

    What an amazing post that I certainly needed. I’m a bigger tri girl bordering on the Athena category and definitely slower. I’m just starting at sprint distances and people tell me all the time oh well I could do that. I know they are thinking if you can do it, well I can. All my hard work seems to be nothing.

    I’m not as fast or fit as my runner or tri friends and it gets me down sometimes too. I had a miserable run today that was my slowest ever and I wanted to beat myself up for it. However after reading your post I feel better because I forgot that I still did seven miles. I did it in the snow and ice. And I did it when no one else was out there. They had all gone inside and there I was.

    Your blog and this post are inspiring. It helps me keep going and push harder to reach my goals.

  • Sara

    January 25, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Someday I want to take a poll at a race start line. I want to ask all the women in the field if they feel like this on that particular day or have recently. I wonder if there would be any who did not- even in the elite corral. We do this crazy stuff because we can and I think we always try for more because of much of what you have written. It is our blessing and our curse. You are simply awesome.

  • Cara Will

    January 25, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I won’t say any of those things to you because you are already saying them to yourself. All I want to say is thank you, Meredith. For this post and all the others.

  • Kelly

    January 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

    WOW!!! First time ever reading any of your blogs. I’m in tears. I’m sure most of us ” not so normal size” ladies feel this same way, but it is so awesome to hear it! I have a huge fear of even training with anyone because I feel like a fat pig in my bike shorts, swim suit and okay…anything tight. I have gotten down to not enjoying the ride because I feel like people are laughing as they pass me. I swim only early in the morning and I run with the dog, so if I stop I can somehow blame it on him:( I have done two “sprint” tri’s and really enjoyed them. My goal is a full tri. Having horrible self loathing going on at this point, but I know if I keep moving forward and listening to what is “real” I can do it! Thank You so much for sharing and I will keep on reading your blog. Thanks, for all of your inspiration.

  • Jessica Chatten-Brown

    January 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

    M: I. LOVE. YOUR. POSTS. In general. All of them. I search for them weekly, especially when I’m having the EXACT moments you speak of and need a kick in the pants to get out the door (like this morning for a god-early swim AND bike…oh, AND transition run…REALLY?!). All before the kids get going, our family day starts and there is so.much.other.stuff. to do. You have been so kind to direct me in finding a great coach (and, believe me, your coach is fantastic and funny and knowledgeable and PERFECT for me in a few months, if he’s still avail, that is ;), a sense of personal responsibility to make myself better than I currently am and you simply make my day/month/workout when I read that you, too, have the same struggles with family, marriage, exercise, and BELIEF. I feel so lucky to have you in my life and beyond-words fortunate to have you on this journey with me. THANK YOU for being you. The honest, open, this-is-how-I-am YOU. xoxo

  • Laurel

    January 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I don’t know you, but feel like I do because of your wonderful blog and book. I think you are just awesome!!!!!!!!!! Your post today made me cry. I am in the process of losing some weight I gained (ok a lot not just some) after FINALLLY being at my goal weight for a year and a half (after losing 100 lbs). I am pretty frustrated and don’t feel like a “real runner” any more. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing!!!!! You really spoke to me today that this is a journey –

  • Patty Glass

    January 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Yup..finished an Ironman in November….11 minutes to spare…IMPOSTER…I feel this way a lot..sometimes it causes me to do stupid things…like fad diets….sometimes I hate myself…I see my friends actually getting better, faster..etc..on the bike, the swim and the run….and I feel unworthy..Thank you for putting it into words…..Now i’m off to my first kettle bell class…hope I don’t hurt myself..Haha…tomorrow is another day….April starts another tri season…..I am trying not to sabotage myself and my races….thanks for putting it out there…thanks for being honest….thanks for being encouraging to all of us…

  • Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane

    January 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I love your blog and who you are for this reason. You are so genuine! I have felt this way many times and struggle with wanting to look a certain way because of blogging and the sports I love. You are so not alone. Just know that your accomplishments are real and not subject to what you look like. You are so mentally strong to continue to do these incredible races and training. ::Hugs:: Sending love your way and I hope you never stop doing what you love. P.S. When I won third place in my age group at my first triathlon (which was by the way inspired by you) I beat out so many girls that were much skinnier than me. It felt like such a triumph to know that I beat them despite being overweight. I beat them because I wanted it more. Sometimes having the heart will you carry you much further than physical strength alone.

  • Carla

    January 25, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for writing something so real and genuine. You are so inspirational! I have times when I feel like shit, and think I look like shit, so I skip spin class so I don’t have to sit next to a 120 lb woman. I love that you practice what you preach “keep moving forward”.

  • Kate Bertram

    January 25, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    “But sometimes I’m reminded (by myself, by things I perceive others say) that I don’t fit…or I am reminded just how far I have to go to be legit. (Legit? E.g., I need to weigh 120 pounds and wear an XS tri short. (I know that’s not a sign of legitness. I know. Bear with me.)”

    Thank you for this post, but especially the section quoted above. THIS IS ME!!! Your honesty inspires me when I think I can’t. I didn’t think I could manage 70.3, and I read your post about your first. It calmed me down and made me believe that I, too, could conquer 70.3. I saw you minutes before my 70.3 in Anderson, introduced myself, and received a HUGE hug. Then I knew I was ready and could do it. Your spirit ignites something in all of us.

    I finished my 70.3 and qualified for China. I told myself it was simply because there were so few people racing that day and that because of my body I wasn’t legit. I would be an embarrassment to Team USA.

    Normally, I am a super private person, but this post has me contemplating sharing me and my journey in a blog format. Maybe, just maybe I could help someone as you have helped me.

    Who knows?!! MANY THANKS!

  • Elizabeth

    January 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    As always, your struggles resonate. I wish you’d give yourself a break about your weight. I’m a thin person but still feel like a total fraud as a triathlete and I CRINGE every time I see a race photo with my saggy skin and aging face. Ugh… Have done all the distances except the full beast. I’m a terribly slow runner, and so full of feelings of inadequacy and anxiety that I can’t even enjoy the accomplishment of doing my first full marathon last weekend. I beat my expected time by a lot, didn’t hit a wall, a total success. So, Why can’t I feel the joy? The fear and self doubt just never seems to go away, even though I’ve been doing tris for 4 years now. I did the marathon in anticipation of signing up for Ironman, but all it did was show me that if i can’t get my nerves under control in the week before the event, I’ll never make a 140.6. I started this dang sport to show myself that I am ‘worthy’, to be proud of looking something scary in the face and doing it anyway, and initially, setting goals and meeting the many ‘firsts’ of tri was really gratifying. A nice, concrete opportunity to pat myself on the back and be grateful. Yet, there is something unsettling about meeting those goals since it didn’t squash the self-doubt, especially since now the only ‘first’ left is the 140.6. Needless to say, I can so understand why you still feel unsettled and inauthentic despite having done it all, including THE BIG ONE. I SO love the training with my friends, but I am just so sick and tired of the performance anxiety on race day. Of fighting panic in the water. I LOVE this sport, but then why do I stand waterside before the race and STILL have to fight the urge to scream and run away?? It can be exhausting.

    By the way, anybody who races who knows that you cannot judge a book by its cover. We all know there are some bigger but POWERFUL and fast people out there! We ALL know someone who doesn’t look the part of athlete yet can outswim/bike/run the majority of folks on any day. If you saw me, would you assume because I’m skinny I can run? I assure you, you’d be mistaken 🙂 I really honestly believe that you underestimate the internal dialogue of people- that man’s question in spin class may have been more about how does any person get a sponsorship rather than about how could YOU have a sponsorship. And if it wasn’t, then he himself is a gym-rat poseur…

    Anyway, thank you so much for your honesty. It does help to know that so many of us fight these demons, that there are good days and bad. It’ll take an SBM ARMY to find the key to turning around the negatives in some of our heads. Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Jo

    January 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    There is that moment where everything is very wrong and things continue to get worse. Sometimes you have to wake up the next morning before it is better and other time you have to wake up ten times before things improve. The important part of that is that you continue to wake up and hope for better things. Remember that there is good with bad in everything.
    “Never confuse a single failure with final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Hugs Jo:)

  • Katie

    January 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    While I don’t struggle with weight issues, I do struggle with acne, which is also physically obvious and makes me feel exactly the way you do about your weight (right down to the ups and downs of gaining clear skin and then having it all go to crap and the fun feelings that come with it). As odd as it sounds, acne makes me feel unworthy in much of my life. Hearing all this from you is helping me a lot with my skin issues.

  • Jennifer

    January 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Its like you crawled inside my mind before writing this post. It hit so close to home I cried reading it. I was just thinking this morning how I cant wait to complete my first sprint triathlon in May because the two pool swim super sprints I have completed don’t count in my head. I feel like a “poser” even considering myself a triathlete. Its sad. Because no one is judging me but me. Yet I do it everyday and it is so unhealthy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.


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