Sunday, August 06, 2006

You see, I'm not that fast

Yesterday I was talking to someone who was a competitive swimmer in college. I mentioned that I do swim, and that "Actually, I do triathlons."

Shortly after that, I caught myself adding, "But you see, I'm not that fast."

I've noticed that any time I tell anyone about my running, biking, or swimming adventures that I add that caveat. And I don't ever dare say "I'm a triathlete". As if they might assume that I'm a world-ranked ironwoman when in fact I'm just someone who does sprint triathlons for fun and does okay at them. Okay of course meaning that I finish and I'm not dead last, though earlier this summer I did place third in my age group.

If I were a man, would I temper any mention of triathlons with self-deprecation?

Boys who do well in school attribute their success to being smart. Girls, on the other hand, attribute their success to luck. Is this an extension of the same mentality?

Why as women do we not give ourselves the credit we deserve?

9 comments:

orangina said...

Good post, Vegan Doc! I do the same thing... even when people say positive things about the fact that I DO triathlons, I downplay it. For the record, you rock! And you are pretty darn fast, too :) You've got the age-grouper hardware to prove it, too.

Danielle said...

Women have been conditioned to diminish their accomplishments and their intelligence. Women say "I'm sorry" for things that are not their fault, such as attempting to exit through the same door I enter, even though they couldn't possibly have known I'm there. Or they'll apologize to something they trip over. I'm training myself to say "Whoops" when something like that happens.

Anonymous said...

Nice to discover your blog! I am another vegan from Boston (well, Somerville). I moved here 3 years ago.

Best of luck with your transition to city life--myself, I lived in rural PA before moving here.

herself75 said...

OK the fact that you can actually do those any 1 of those events never mind all 3 in a row... even if you did come in dead last, you deserve a LOT of credit! I for one am impressed! but them I'm not very good at sinigin my own praises either.

KleoPatra said...

Oh that is so true, Vegan Doc... I hear what Danielle is saying big time as well. I have seen the self-deprecation go on as well as "sorry" for stuff that there is no need to say "sorry" for so often, and i have been "guilty" of such behaviours as well.

This is great food for thought!

Being proud of who you are is so important. Self-esteem issues run deep in so many people. Not just women either...

trac said...

I used to have that same worry about being last until I *WAS* last in a very small triathlon that attracted most of the local hardcore athletes. I tell the runners in my beginning runners group that if being last in a race is one of their worries, don't sweat it. The sun still comes up the next day. Sometimes you actually get an escort to the finish line (for me it was a golf cart with a race official and a friend who hopped on her bike after finishing :-)). You will always get lots of applause (even if some of the racers are beeping and hollering from their cars because they have finished, packed up and are heading out!). You are always ahead of the majority of Americans who never even attempt a tri. If after all that, they are still fretting about finishing dfl, I tell them I will sign up for the race with them :-) That is a sure fire guarantee they won't be last. LOL

Megan the Vegan said...

I do the exact same thing. I dont' even like to call my self an athlete or a runner, let alone a triathlete. I think the reason I do it is because I know that whomever I am talking to can do the exact same thing if they put their mind to it...I don't have any particularl talent at these sports, I just do them to keep in shape and have fun. It's funny...I don't mind calling myself a rock-climber, even though I spend less time clinbing than I do with the triathlon sports. But, it's cause I'm pretty good at climbing that I have no hesitation to call myself one. Strange...thanks for the food for thought.

Bolder said...

great post!

it's featured on raceAthlete.com today!!

Iron Pol said...

It took me much longer to refer to myself as a marathoner than it has to call myself a triathlete. Mostly because I'm not much of a runner. Actually, I really hate it. Marathons were an accident.

If you do just one race a year, you are, by definition, a triathlete. Being fast or slow is descriptive of HOW you race, not who you are.

And yes, men temper their successes with some of the same qualifiers. I'm a marathoner, but only a penguin. I've only done one triathlon to date, and finished dead last on that one. I'm still a triathlete. Just a slow one.