Sunday, January 25, 2009


When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to read me a story about a kitten that persevered until she got what she wanted. I don’t remember what that was, but the storybook had several gray and white kittens pictured on the cover playing with a basket of blue yarn. I’ve always associated the word “persevere” with those kittens. In life or triathlons, perseverance is an appropriate concept for me. But the visual image of frolicking kittens can also remind me to have fun in whatever I do. Dog lovers (and new parents) would disagree, of course, but I think there’s nothing much cuter than kittens. I want that image to focus my energy on enjoying the endeavor, as I keep going until I finish.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally, Clean Closets

For months I’ve been trying to clean out my closets. Two years ago, when my sister moved from MD to NC, I agreed to store some of her belongings. Several minivan loads later, my extra bedroom had become the “JJ Memorial Storeroom.” Since I had been storing several large boxes for my daughter, as well as a few small items for a friend, in that room, I had to move those things into other closets in my house so nobody’s stuff would get confused. And since I tend to save odd items on the chance that someday they might prove useful, there wasn’t much available space. I kept putting things in wherever they fit, though, and figured “someday” I’d sort it all out.

By Labor Day 2008, both my sister and my daughter had reclaimed their stuff, and the only excuse I had for the sorry state of my closets was that I had triathlons to do, so cleaning would have to wait. I did squeeze in straightening up a small closet now and then, but my two largest – and most cluttered – closets remained to be done. As the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s – passed by with no extra time for cleaning, I was determined I’d spend my 4-day Lee-Jackson-King weekend on the task.

As I surveyed the mess of my bedroom closet on Friday, I considered that running a marathon in sub-zero weather might be a better activity. But there was no race on my schedule – just heaps of clothing, pillows, and empty gift boxes in varying sizes. Several hours later, I’d filled a bag for Goodwill and my drawers were neatly arranged. Figuring I needed a break from closet drudgery on Saturday, I went to indoor cycling and then a swim at the JCC. I also had other plans on Sunday, so that left Monday for the final closet.

Fortified by an extra cup of coffee, I grabbed the curtain rods that always fall out when that closet door is opened before they hit me in the head. Facing me was a hodgepodge of things put there six years ago when I moved in and accumulated since. I methodically examined every box or plastic bag I took off the shelves. Sometimes I was surprised to see I still had an item, sometimes I wondered why I’d kept it, and sometimes I was impressed I could lift the box. I only got sidetracked once – reading the newsletters I edited for a Tidewater sports car club many years ago. Then it was back to filling more bags for Goodwill, recycling, and trash. By noon, I could say “Mission Accomplished.” Well, almost – I have years of family photos and personal papers to sort through, but at least they are all in the same filing cabinet now. That project is for another day. It’s time to concentrate on triathlons again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Getting Back in the Saddle

The recent holidays took a bigger than usual chunk out of my fitness routine. Because I was occupied with seasonal activities like shopping and then was out of town, I missed several cycling and strength-training sessions. And while my visits with family and friends were wonderful, I apparently caught some kind of “bug” on the way home from Texas – maybe it was “spa-withdrawal”! Anyway, for much of last week, I felt “blah” – not bad enough to be officially sick, but not good, either. When I climbed on my bike this morning at 7 a.m., I hadn’t ridden in nearly two weeks. It was good to be back, even though I had to leave early to keep my quarterly date with the “Bug Man.” Having not had the energy to train at all earlier in the week made me appreciate each pedal stroke. Being reminded this way that good health is indeed a blessing helps me see that, although I’d like to be faster this year, what’s truly important is that I can continue to do it at all.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What About 2009?

Another year – another tri season. I’m very “que sera sera” about the events I might attempt or accomplish this year. Last year I was enthused about the goals I’d set. This year I have no goals. I’ll stay with the TG program, of course, but I’m not feeling compelled to commit to training for any particular race. (Training as a way of maintaining a certain level of fitness and a healthy lifestyle is an entirely different matter!) And since I’m trying to pay attention these days to what I’m spending my money on, I’m going to choose carefully the events I do.

I might do the Smithfield Sprint again because it’s a good “first of the season” triathlon. I’ll do one of the sprints on the Shady Grove course because that’s my benchmark event. As long as I can see some improvement in my performance there, I’ll keep tri-ing. The all-women’s sprint in August will probably be on my calendar, and the Patriot (sprint or olympic) could be a possibility.

I expect I’ll continue this blog. My biggest achievement of the year could be figuring out how to add some snazzy graphics!