Monday, September 29, 2008


“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca the Younger

As Ironman fast approaches, so does the close of my first year of triathlon. I’ve covered a lot of miles over the past year. To be exact —sort of: 220,000 yards swimming; 2,300 miles biking; and nearly 400 miles running. Not a lot by Ironman standards, but for an old couch potato, not bad for the first year.
One year ago I couldn’t swim a lick. I may have run 5 miles the year before and maybe biked about 800 miles in that same year.

Over this past year I have discovered a lot about myself: what I’m made of; how tough I thought I was, but wasn’t; and how indomitable the human spirit can be. I learned that I will NOT remain calm if I see a shark while swimming, a marathon is much harder mentally than physically, that I can be surrounded by a thousand other people in the ocean during a race and still feel utterly alone, and I discovered how much I really rely on my knees and how you can’t get by with only one good one (I’m recovering from yet another knee-popping incident).

But as my first year comes to a close I don’t see it as an ending but rather as a beginning. A beginning of a new chapter in the life of a couch potato. A chance to show that this year wasn’t a fluke. That I will continue to train, to work through all the injuries and maybe even get this old knee fixed at last. That I will try to face some of my fears (swimming with sharks and a thousand crazy people all at the same time and be relaxed or at least not think about dying) and maybe even accomplish a few PRs along the way.

We’ll just have to see how this story writes itself. Hopefully, it’ll be a great one filled with action, adventure and a little mystery. And like a well-written story, I hope this new beginning will have a fantastic opening line. Something along the lines of “It was a dark and stormy night, but no injuries were in sight ...”

And speaking of great openings, here are some of my favorite opening lines from some great authors: Warning: It’ll make you want to read their books ...

“We don’t get much snow, and we hardly ever murder one another. Suicide is more our style...” Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone

“If I could tell you one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head.” The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall

“I joined the baboon troop during my twenty-first year. I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla.” A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” The Holy Bible by God


debbie said...


Karen said...

I'm so proud of you and how far you have come. I have seen a huge change in you this past year and I hope you do get your knee fixed. It's so hard to see you unable to run and bike when I know how bad you want to.
Love you.


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