In Start at the Very Beginning, I mentioned that I made three New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve already talked about the first, which is this blogging project.  I thought I’d take some time this week to talk about #2: Completing a sprint distance triathlon this summer. 

Now, I’m pretty sure that all my current readers already know me, and so you know that I’m not exactly slim and athletic.  I have said many times over the past 10 years (ever since my first triathlon, which was shorter than a sprint) that I never needed to run again.  I love being in the pool or scuba diving in the ocean, but I’m not a lap swimmer.  And the last time I rode a bike was when I was 5 weeks pregnant with my (almost) 2 year old.  I don’t even own a bike anymore.  So a triathlon might not seem like the easiest way to start getting in shape. 

Enter Sporty Best Friend.  She resists me calling her my coach or my trainer, but I would not have attempted this without her encouragement and belief that I was up to the challenge.

We started with running, since that’s the one I knew would cause me the most trouble.  I got some new running shoes to aid in my training.  Sporty Best Friend put together a running training schedule for me and on weekdays is my running partner.   We started my running program in the second week of January, and I’ve completed every assigned run on schedule.  I’ve actually surprised myself with the dedication I’m feeling for this challenge.  I am determined not to let myself down.  At first, I thought I was determined not to let my friend down, but it turns out that she was only the catalyst.  Now that I’m going, I don’t want to stop.  I even had a moment during a solo run when I thought, “I’m beginning to understand why some people love this!”  Okay, who are you and what have you done with the real Beth? 

 Swimming is my second weakest (or second strongest?) of the three sports.  I LOVE being in the water – I’ve been swimming since I was a little girl.  But I’m not all that comfortable with the front crawl, which is the stroke usually employed during a triathlon.  I don’t think the breast stroke (which I can do for a long time without getting tired) would be well received in a crowded triathlon swim.  So I signed up to be a student at our local college, and am taking a swimming class with Sporty Best Friend.  It started this week, and on the first day, I was really nervous.  What if I couldn’t keep up?  What if the coach took one look at me and told me to get a grip on reality?  But it wasn’t like that at all (of course).   The coach posts a workout assignment, and you either do it or you don’t – I can even choose to not receive a grade, just a pass/fail determination.  The pool is huge, and we all just work on our swimming and ask for feedback when he’s close by.  I’ve learned a lot already just from watching other swimmers, asking questions, and practicing on my own.  And it’s only been one week (two classes per week). 

Cycling is the least of my worries. I know I can complete the cycling portion of the event.  The challenge will be getting my cycling muscles back in shape so I don’t have to walk my bike up hills and can avoid a super-bruised backside by the end of the day.  For now, I’ll be training in the gym on a stationary bike, but at some point I’m going to need to get an actual bike and start riding outside.  I can’t wait – I really enjoy riding, but I’m a little worried about when I’m going to fit it in.  One thing at a time – I’m just getting used to the swimming. 

So, over the next few months, I’ll be increasing my training in all three sports.  This is the first time in my life that exercise has been a part of my daily life – a priority, not just an after-thought.  And it feels good. 

Now, I’d better get out for my run.  The dog is getting restless.

On the Kindle: The Recipe club: A tale of food and friendship by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

Okay, Foodies.  Pay attention.  This is a great book.  I downloaded it onto my Kindle and read it in less than a week.  Granted, it’s not a long book.  But it really grabbed me.  It’s a coming-of-age tale about two best friends.  They share a love of cooking, and send recipes back and forth with their letters over the years.  They survive many trials of their friendship only to have a major falling-out, breaking ties for many years.  The story is about their attempts, as middle-aged women, to rekindle a friendship over email, alternating with providing the back story via the letters and recipes they sent to each other as children and teenagers.  This book is chock full of recipes that I can’t wait to try. 

Since that didn’t take long to read, I started another book right away: Silent Thunder by Iris and Roy Johansen. This one is in hard cover – a completely different experience from reading on the Kindle.  I have to say, it’s a little heavy to carry in my purse. 

This is a story of a “brilliant marine architect”, Hannah Bryson, who is hired to draw up schematics and assess the safety of a Russian submarine that has been purchased by a marine museum.  It turns out that the submarine holds some pretty valuable secrets.  There are Russian bad guys who are willing to go to any length to get them, and they think Hannah might have the information they need.  Hannah, fighting for her life and desperate for answers, gets caught up in the violence and politics surrounding the submarine’s secrets and will stop at nothing to figure it out.  So far, it’s a gripping read. 

Happy reading!