My New Secret Weapon

I am more than happy to remind anyone who cares to listen that when triathlon season ended a few months ago, I finally—after three years of trying—beat my younger sister in the last race of the year. She immediately proclaimed that she would never lose to me again. Her basement is now adorned with a brand-new treadmill as well as a stationary trainer for her racing bicycle.

I’m taking a different route this winter. Despite temperatures now dipping into the high teens and low 20s here in New Jersey each day, I’m still out jogging three or four times a week with my pooch, Blue. We run at least three miles every time we go out. I figure if I can keep in that condition until the snow thaws this spring, I’ll be poised to compete the same as (or better than) I did in the last race.

On days when I’m not out running, I’m walking around my house in my new five-toe shoes. Yes, they are freaky looking. Yes, they feel bizarre on my feet. But they are specifically designed to be worn during the triathlon’s swim as well as during the jog from there to the transition area—meaning I won’t have to stop, dry off my feet, and put on real sneakers after the swim. That right there should save me a good 45 to 60 seconds in the next race. It’s an enormous amount of time, given that last autumn’s victory was by about three minutes. And I will gain all of that time for about $100 at the local sport-shoe store.

So, as my sister rampages with visions of victory in her basement, I’m waddling around my den looking a bit like an amphibian. I think I’m okay with it. I’d rather look silly winning than stylish losing.

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