This week was a weird week.
I was stressed at work with looming deadlines and meetings on top of meetings. Of course I was still training and trying to get in my last big mileage week before I begin to taper. This weekend was jam packed too and we just had a ton of stuff going on. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel a few times. I wasn’t really feeling like myself all week. Even my husband pointed out that I wasn’t being the positive, optimistic person I normally am. Something was off. My attitude was different, I was super irritable and I was stuck in my own head. Suddenly I felt hesitant in my abilities. I was questioning everything I had done these past 23 weeks…
I can trace it all back to one minor, tiny (and stupid) thing that happened. [And I will preface everything by saying that I am NOT the type of person to get butt hurt over social media comments. I’ve seen fights go on in comments before and I’ve thought to myself that those people need to get a life.] With that being said I was really taken back by the comments I received after posting a question to my local triathlon club Facebook page this past week.
The image below was my question:
To my complete shock and surprise the majority of comments I received back from this question were rude. (And they were from my own “teammates“.) The comments crept into my head and made me question everything. I asked an innocent question and was shot down with judgemental questions and comments from people who were supposed to be there for me (since we belong in the same triathlon club). I had never even met many of them before. I would cringe when I got a notification because I didn’t want it to be another rude person commenting on it and talking down to me. Has anyone ever felt like this before? It’s a terrible feeling. Half of me wanted to delete my question, but half of me kept thinking “What is wrong with these people? What is so wrong with my question?!”
I will admit I couldn’t even fall asleep one night last week because my mind was buzzing with the negative comments and thoughts I received. I know I’m probably being overly sensitive here, but I’m a 26-year-old girl who has been working my butt off over the past 23 weeks to get to the starting line of a big race. I am a young triathlete who hasn’t been in the sport that long and I reached out seeking advice and insight from veteran athletes who know more than me — exactly what I was supposed to do. In return I was talked down to, called weak, sent pictures of water snakes, was called a newbie and told I needed to swim more and asked if I was going to drop out several times. Finally after a few days went by and I was feeling smaller and smaller, I went through and deleted the really negative comments. I’m not afraid of a little tough love when it’s needed, but this got out of control and it turned into a bashing fest. There were two nice and helpful comments though. These people told me what typically happens and gave me a few things to be concerned about – i.e. overheating, my body temperature skyrocketing, etc. Stuff that was actually helpful and it was the advice I was looking for. But for every nice and supportive comment came another idiot asking me if I was going to drop out and hinting that I must not be prepared enough. It was really disheartening.
I couldn’t believe that a sport and a group that is supposed to be positive and is supposed to be about conquering your fears and pushing yourself was doing just the opposite…shooting me down, instilling me with doubt and trying to scare me. (I still can’t even believe people were posting pictures of water snakes in the comments. Honestly — what on earth is wrong with those people?!)
I’ve been racing for three years now. I’ve done over a handful of sprint and Olympic distance races, but I have never completed a 70.3 race before. This is my longest distance to date. I’ve also never been to a race where a wet suit has been “illegal” either. I know nothing about how it works. I even mentioned it in my post last week that I was debating and thinking about what I’d do. I reached out seeking advice and guidance and just the opposite happened.
I’ve been looking back at my training log these past few months and have been telling myself that I am well-trained. And before last week and all those rude comments I really felt like it. I have worked really, really hard and have gotten out of my comfort zone. I’ve gone to group training, clinics and workshops. I’ve done everything right. I can’t and I won’t let rude people’s comments make me question my hard work. I’m mad at myself for spending 4 straight days questioning myself and my abilities. Even my husband got a little heated with me for being so down on myself “Why are you listening to internet trolls!? Why are you letting them win!?” He asked me one morning before I set out for a run and I was telling him how down on myself I had been feeling. “They say stuff like that because they want to look like bad ass’s, but really they are just insecure and feel better about themselves by putting people down. You know better than to listen to them.”
And I do. I do know better than to listen to them. I am just starting to feel better today about everything, although I received another notification last night for another comment basically saying that I should have swam more and hinting at the fact that I wasn’t ready if I’m concerned about not using a wet suit. Last time I checked most people liked using their wet suit and last time I checked it wasn’t public ridicule to ask what happens when something happens in a race. It’s called mentally preparing myself and expecting the unexpected. Shame on those people. This is such a stupid issue to even be concerned about and I wish I didn’t let it get to me. Life is bigger than asking a question about a stupid wet suit and being called weak. Again shame on those people and a little shame on me for letting it get to me.
To all those people hiding behind a keyboard and judging me and making me feel so small — I will prove you wrong and I will make sure I never make anyone else feel like that in this sport. Triathlon is a sport that teaches us to push ourselves, conquer our fears and get out of our comfort zone. I have done all of these things over the last 3 years and especially over the last 23 weeks. I’ll be damned if I let rude comments make me question my journey and get in my head. I know I let this get to my more than I should have, but I also know those people were out of line too. I never want to make someone else feel how I felt reading those comments. I’m not a triathlon rookie and I’ll probably never consider myself a triathlon veteran either, but I will never make someone feel so stupid and small when talking about the sport. I will raise everyone up and encourage the journey. I will be supportive when people don’t know what to expect and are reaching out for help. I will not let this stop me. It may have slowed me down this past week, but I refuse to let the negativity win. Negativity is like a poison. It effected how I felt about everything last week and I’m putting an end to it this week. I will get out there at my race and crush it — with or without a wet suit.
I have two more weeks of training and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I’m not going to dwell on negativity and question myself any longer. Despite the hurdle last week I manager 88 miles. It was a great week and included a 15-mile run and I felt strong during and afterwards. I am completely ready and I cannot wait for the big race.
T-minus 13 days!