I think the reason behind my vehement dislike of celebrity gossip is that it seems to be there as an object lesson for what happens to you if you don't measure up, in some minuscule way, to some imaginary standard. If you really pay attention, though, you can see it as proof that you never can win the game they want you to play. The more beautiful and successful you are, the more that certain people will be watching you like a hawk for some sign of weakness. Better to accept that it's a losing game, and find something else to do.
I'm thinking of this again because I did a mini-triathlon today -- shorter distances than I've done before. This morning, my pre-race jitters were all focused on Feeling Not Good Enough: worrying that i look fat in my tri suit, worrying that people who knew me from races before would be remarking at how fat I'd gotten, worrying that I just wouldn't finish the race and would fail in some spectacularly embarrassing way. Mostly I wished I had trained more.
I got over my worries because you can't think while you race. You just have to do. Plus, everyone was excited, and I got caught up in that. Basically, I told my inner critic to shut up. Here are the distances, if you're interested: 250 meter pool swim, 8 mile bike on paved roads,
1.9 mile run. I finished in 1 hour, 1 minute, and 36 seconds. I did better than expected and actually think that I did better than anyone else would have expected too:
The swim part of the race was in a pool, so they couldn't start everyone at once. They grouped us in waves based on how fast we thought we could finish. I think I told them 8 minutes. This put me smack in the middle of the waves. Each of us was sharing a lane with another swimmer, and I think they also tried to guess, by looking at us, how fast we might be and have us share a lane with someone else of similar ability. He put me in a lane with another girl of similar size, probably figuring that we would be slow and wanting to group the slow women together. I know he didn't do it by our predicted times because he didn't call us by the right names. Interestingly, my partner was the very first one in our wave to finish the swim and I was the third -- finishing in less than 5 minutes. I passed her on the bike early on, and one man in my wave passed me. Another man from my wave passed me early on in the run, and she passed me again midway through it. I stayed on her tail and passed her in a final sprint to the finish. So the two women they may have written off as "Slow Fat Triathletes" finished third and fourth in the wave, beating two thinner women. It was fun to have her to race with. This was her first race and maybe we'll have a rematch in another race.
I really missed racing and wish I had more time to train. I am thinking very hard about ways to change things around so I have more time for fitness and more time for myself in general, even if it means giving up some other things. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to give my inner critic some time off.