Review: Triathlon for the Everywoman

Since my last post, I’ve been fighting an upper respiratory infection, dealing with some gnarly allergies, and getting ready to move house (read: living in denial until my husband picked up the van yesterday).  I have, I am pleased to report, kept up with my triathlon training.  And as ever, it has kept me from coming apart at the seams.  Unfortunately, when the rest of life gets busy, the blogging often falls by the wayside — too bad, really, as I find it really enjoyable.  So this post has been languishing in the drafts folder for a little while longer than anticipated. . .

I like information.  Arguably, there’s too much of it about and it’s easy to drive yourself to distraction with it.  But for better or worse, the more information I have, the more secure I feel.  I came across the Swim Bike Mom website when I was looking for advice on triathlon gear for triathletes who have a little junk in the trunk.  I was hooked — and seriously impressed.  This woman has done a fair few triathlons, including several half-Ironman distances and a full one.  All while holding down a demanding full-time job and raising two small children.  A short while later, I bought the book and devoured it.

Triathlon for the Everywoman follows Meredith Atwood (Swim Bike Mom) on her journey from exhausted, stressed lawyer, mother and wife to triathlete.  Her tone is familiar and funny, but rather than follow the familiar trope of overweight, unathletic couch potato finds diet/exercise and turns into svelte size 6 and rides off into the sunset with many medals in tow, she chronicles her love affair with the sport of triathlon and trumpets her fervent belief that it is for everyone.  She blends anecdotes and race reports with advice from respected coaches and professionals, but she doesn’t gloss over the reality: triathlon isn’t always easy, but it can be life changing.

Atwood is up front about her struggles with weight and body image, her feelings of other-ness in the sea of minuscule ladies in lycra.  She writes candidly about the impact triathlon has had on her family, her injury setbacks and her low ebbs in motivation.  Her willingness to draw back the proverbial curtain makes her incredibly relatable — who hasn’t felt like they don’t belong at one point or another (lycra optional)?  By admitting the difficulty involved — training while exhausted, fitting workouts into a busy schedule, dealing with unsupportive comments (and developing mental toughness) — while simultaneously encouraging the reader in all triathlon and athletic-related endeavours, she has gained a massive following.

The first section of the book answers any questions a beginner triathlete might ask without condescending but also includes useful information for folks who already know a little about the sport.  I found the nutrition section especially helpful, though all of the first half deserves flagging for reference, in my opinion.  Atwood’s passion and enthusiasm are contagious.  In the second half of the book, she tells her inspiring story.  I challenge you to read this book and not end up considering longer distance events (I’m assuming if you’re committing to buying a book about triathlon, you’ve probably already entered a race).  For instance, after reading the book and the blog, I’ve now decided that I’d like to try an Olympic distance triathlon at least once before I turn 40 (this gives me loads of time, in case you were wondering — my previous goal was to finish a triathlon before I hit 40, but I got impatient).  I had previously found this idea daunting, as the furthest I have run is a little over 10K.  Call it the Swim Bike Mom effect.

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~ by slowrunner on May 25, 2014.

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