31| Kathy Gilmour, the triathlete behind ‘Diary of a Fathlete’: “You have to do it one step at a freaking time.”

TW: abuse, dieting, weight

Kathy Gilmour is an amateur triathlete who has been competing in the Athena category (and often finishing on the podium) since 2011 and the voice behind the blog “Diary of a Fathlete.” She has paddled around Key West three times, run both a 10k and a Half Marathon (in which she accidentally ran close to 16 miles), and competed in the Havana Triathlon.

She’s been on the Base performance team since 2014 and her blog has been featured on Active.com. She has paddled all over the world, seeking adventure like numerous zip line tours, a 400-ft. gorge jump in Africa, and skydiving. If all of that isn’t bold enough, she also does stand up comedy.

Connect with Kathy
Website: www.thegilmourgirl.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathygilmourgirl
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-aNTkN2jlvvXlzNf8cDXKQ

In this episode, we talked about… 

  • How Kathy’s fear of failure impacts her race experiences 
  • The pervasiveness of fatphobia 
  • Why it’s so important to have a few “anchors” in your fitness routine
  • The pressure to “glow up” during the pandemic 
  • The intimidation of starting from scratch after a long break from training 
  • Tracking our habits 
  • Stand up comedy—how she started and her process for writing jokes
  • Parallels between stand up and triathlon races
  • What a successful race would look like 
  • Her feelings on the Athena triathlon category 
  • How she ended up adding six miles to a half marathon


You’re not too big to do anything at all. Literally, nothing, nothing at all.

When I went skydiving, I was almost too big to kind of get in the plane and squat down and all that stuff. So, I worked with a friend of mine that’s a yoga instructor and got my flexibility in check. And then I spoke to the skydive company and we made it so it was just me and one other person in the plane.

That’s basically my life motto—acknowledging that it’s not probably the smartest thing, but I’m certainly not going to miss out on an opportunity to have fun.

I spend the swim almost hoping for some sort of shark attack or something.

I’m always looking for a reason to not finish the race.

I don’t go all out because I think I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do it.

It’s a fear of failing basically. Or—we touched on this a little bit in our previous conversations—people’s expectations and perceptions of me as an athlete because I’m a bigger person.

[Fatphobia] is the last acceptable prejudice to have. 

I’m also physically fit. You don’t see that I am, but I am. 

That’s another misconception. “Oh, fat people just don’t know what to do.” You kidding me? We are probably more well-versed in how to lose weight than almost anybody on the planet.

It’s funny, like the last couple of years, I’d be like, “Oh my God, I’m so fat, I’ve never been bigger in my entire life. Oh God, I gotta do something about this. I can’t even walk or run or ride my bike. ‘Cause I’m just so big.” But when I actually looked at the numbers, I’m not actually much bigger than I was when I was doing seven triathlons a year. My mindset has changed with that because I was training and racing, I just thought of myself as strong and powerful and then the weight will happen, you know? But now I flipped it. I become that person. I never wanted to become where I’m like, “Oh, I can’t do anything.” That’s not who I am. That’s not my brand. 

There’s fight or flight response. Mine is curl up in a ball. 

It’s important to have a minimum and have it be small, so that when you do get tired and you’re feeling a little run down, it’s not overwhelming that you can just do that. 

The starting line. Now I’m at the point, although we shall see when I do my next race, where I’m excited to race, I love race day. It’s the training that gets me. I’m sort of opposite from quite a few people. A lot of people love the training and hate the race.

I freaking love race day. Love it, love it, love it. Little bit of nerves, but not really. And that’s the same thing with comedy. I mean, I’m comfortable on stage on the microphone and don’t really get nervous anymore.

I love the finish line.

I love that race finish and it’s the same thing with comedy. Like when you know you had a good set and you got tons of laughs. You get that euphoria.

Right now, just finishing would be hugely successful, Actually, right now, getting to a start line would be hugely successful.

I love me a trophy.

I want there to be a stacked Athena category. I want to race against people that look like me and see where I stack up.

You can do whatever you want, so just freaking do it.

We get so involved with the Instagram moments. The Instagram moment is you crossing that finish line and holding up your metal. Well, what got you there? You have to do it one step at a freaking time.

Base Performance Team 
Streaks app
Elise Cranny’s episode
Running Fat Chef (aka Latoya Shauntay Snell)
Gorge by Kara Whitely
Mirna Valerio (aka The Mirnavator)
Running with the Mind of Meditation

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