With the decision to find a new owner for my beloved SPRAY, I grasped at something I could do that would not take me from home more than a few days.  More directly, I needed something that could easily include my mate. Living in the swampland provides a lot of opportunity for fishing, power boating, or rowing (kayaking). For leisure I have chosen rowing.

But just musing about in my little boat doesn’t give me the needed fitness. Muffin tops belong on muffins, not my waist. The serenity of rowing in silence within inches of the mangrove forest is only interrupted by the splashing of a pelican diving for its dinner. Some mornings a gator will cross my path. Out closer to the gulf on Indian Key, in the middle of winter, white pelicans seek refuge on the sandbar. Rowing alone is not enough to get me in the shape I want to be in.

With a bit of prodding by my mate and an internal dialogue screaming for motivation I succumbed to an oldy but goodie. Yipe, it is back to running. Or is it jogging? Or perhaps hobbling in my case. My mate encouraged me to join the YMCA for swimming, aerobic classes, and weight room gymnastics. Then, I whined about my need for a training buddy to my long time friend, Nancy. She immediately sent me just the motivation I needed.

Her daughter is an active triathlete. Via texting and e-mails Sarah agreed to be my coach. In fact, within ten minutes of our messaging I found myself agreeing to enter an event on my 68th birthday. So, here I sit with, thankfully, 8 months to prepare.

I have already started swimming lessons. I can swim. But, I want to feel really ready to compete. I don’t want to be last. I want to swim faster than ever before. I want to break down the arm movements, breathing, and kicking into their basic form. With a swim instructor I have the one to one attention I always enjoy. With two lessons already taken the improvement is noticeable.

Bicycling is another dimension. I know how to ride a two wheeler. I want to excel. I want to make myself and my bicycle go as fast as possible. I know I need to learn to corner and make efficient u-turns. So, for training I need to get in touch with a local group. Fortunately, a local gal who has thousands and thousands of bicycling experience is willing to have me join her on some closer to home excursions. Biking, like swimming is underway.

Now comes the running. Back in the 70s I ran BAREFOOT through the woods. That’s what us hippy chicks did. Actually, I was the only girl. Me, and a group of frisbee throwing long haired quasi students at the University of Central Florida and I would run miles through the woods between home and the school. On Saturday and Sunday we played ultimate frisbee for hours running up and down the makeshift soccer field (waaaaaayyyyyy before UCF had a football team). All that running was done barefoot. Who needed shoes? We were students of Carlos Castenado, a supposed guru who professed the need to run barefoot through the desert. The point is I was in my twenties. Now I am in my sixties; my late sixties some may say. So, it is with gratitude for my current healthy status that I embark on this tri-athletic endeavor with safety being first. Just as I put safety first on my beloved SPRAY each and every time I set sail, I shall treat my feet and knees as they deserve to be treated. To show them my appreciation I already ordered a brand new pair of Brooks’ Adrenaline running shoes. A good supportive bra for those heavy headlights I carry is also essential. While any t-short and shorts would do just fine I did splurg on 3 new pairs of capris and matching tops.

Like everything else learned, running efficiently without injury will take time. A little bit each day. Five out of seven days of intense workouts began yesterday. Two days of rest – one of which will include mild stretching, maybe a walk in the swamp, or a casual row. I will study proper body position. This will include how I move my leg – more forward than upward; where do I keep my arms? Should my hands be open or closed? How straight up or leaned forward should my torso be? How wide should my stride by? These and other questions need to be studied and practiced. Just as I am learning to play the piano, have learned to sail, and am learning to be a good mate, learning to run, is now on the agenda.

What does all this have to do with sailing? It keeps me from going insane til I sail again. I will sail again. . .