Monday, June 15, 2009

Weight and assumptions

The weekend was a bit of a sh*tter, though my grumpy mood was as much the cause of the problems as the result of them! So I’m not going to go there, and instead I’ll relay a brief conversation from Thursday evening.

A brief backstory: I transferred offices in March 2009, but still work for the same firm. The last time I met a lot of the people here was in June 2005 when I was 23, running my best half-marathon times and weighing a fair bit less than I do now (somewhere between 5 and 7 kilos, probably). More backstory- people in Auckland are much shallower, on the whole, than people in Wellington. The boys in my team commonly comment on the relative attractiveness of girls in the team, and they have exacting size standards!

The context: Walking to the pub with one of those colleagues, chatting about swine flu.

Me: Young fit people often do have not-so-hot immune systems, because they tend to work themselves just a bit too hard.

Colleague: When you were doing marathons and stuff did you find that?

Me: Well, when I first started out, I would crash every time I stopped going hard. I could push it so far, but once I stopped moving, it’d all catch up with me. Wait a sec, when I was doing marathons?

Colleague: It seemed like in the old days you were always on the front page of [internal newsletter], running across the finish line….

Me: Yup.. Like in December… when I did my half ironman?

It sort of petered out around there, but I had the clear impression that he’d assumed my endurance exploits were a long time in the past. I found it interesting. It’s been awhile since I felt as if the people in my everyday life were making assumptions based on my appearance (obviously those toned, super fast ironladies in swim squad, and at every race I do are judging me non-stop…) In Wellington, my poor, long-suffering colleagues were treated to excruciatingly detailed training tales almost daily, and no-one would have dared assume that I was less dedicated to my fitness and endurance than I was previously. I wanted to say “You know, dude, I still train at least 7 to 9 hours a week. I go for long bike rides- why, last week I spent 8 hours on my bikes plural over the course of the weekend. I climb the freakin Waitakeres. I run hills. I swim with a squad. I finish half ironmans. Don’t assume I sit on my behind eating candy all day because I’m a bit heavier than I was WHEN I WAS TWENTY THREE.”


Andrew is getting fit said...

Wow! What a plonker. :)

I am personally in awe of your exploits!

rauparaha said...

I dunno, I'm not sure why you're so bothered. Think about the timeline:

See someone weighing X kgs, running marathons, training hard.

See them a few years later weighing ~10% more and you're asked to guess how hard they're training. The probability that they're training less is definitely above 50%.

He may have made a social faux pas by saying it out loud, but it makes complete sense to form those beliefs. Are you not just feeling aggrieved that you work with such shallow people who objectify women and value them based on their looks? [I don't know how I made that sound like a bad thing!?]

Britt said...

I get this. Today, I was at a party where someone had mentioned I had done a half ironman last weekend, and I got the head to toe scan and then a "oh really?" as if I was not nearly fit enough to be in endurance sports.
I'm not a big girl, but I'm not a stick either (as evidenced by the lovely pictures of me on my bike where you can see my belly in all it's pink spandex covered glory!) I definitely hate the assumption that I'm not fit enough to compete. I am, I have, thank you very much!

Ahem. Apparently this touches a nerve :) You keep on rockin girl - ignore the rest of them! :)

SUB6 said...

I'm too scared to even start to unpack this little conversation BUT like Andrew I am in awe of your exploits - nearly 10 hours on the bike last week is impressive!!!

Phillip said...

Frankly, they are dicks. They think very attractive people are fat. When they are not.

But yes, this is an Auckland thing generally - the women are skinnier and the men conditioned to expect the women to be skinnier.

Rachel Harris said...

Rest assured Kate, that the sorts of people who make comments like that normally have NO idea, and furthermore, they probably never will. The people you probably relate to best will acknowledge and appreciate all you've achieved (and continue to achieve!). :-)

Aaron said...

Andrew and Mike have it right. The swimming times times you post make me feel very average indeed :)

JenC said...

People are so rude! I don't know what a plonker is, but if it fits, I'll second that!

Anonymous said...

I get that HEAPS! That is part of the reason why I didn't want to do my Personal Training Certificate, even though I've really wanted to for ages. I was scared people would judge and ridicule me. But, at the end of the day, stick insect athletes make the not so stick insect athletes feel uncomfortable at times - soooo, I am going to be a non stick insect trainer for the non stick insect athletes! Make sense?

Kepp it up anyway - bugger them.

Be Fabulous Instead!

Tri Saint said...

Don't be to harsh on them Aucklander's. Most of them are imports from other parts of the country / world & don't actually have an identity.

Just don't let them get ya down. Thin doesn't always mean fit, & vise versa.

Keep training hard. We all know what it takes. Some people just have no idea.

Elina said...

I think he was just clueless. I honestly doubt the guy meant anything by his statement. He knew you from the past and was referring to what you did in the past. I say keep doing what you do :)