Ah, the Benefit of Jet Lag

It’s less than a week now until the 2010 Delaware Diamondman Triathlon. This was my first-ever triathlon last year, and it’s the longest-distance triathlon I’ve entered this year. As an added twist, I’ll be competing this year not only against my sister, but also, for the first time, against my husband.

I felt ready last weekend, when my training times had me on pace to complete the triathlon a solid 15 minutes faster than last year. I also felt good while training this past week off the coast of Corsica, where I was on a story assignment aboard a yacht. Bless the captain’s heart, he anchored the boat a little more than a quarter-mile off a beach so that I could swim back and forth against the current and chop—while everyone else indulged in cocktails and sunbathing.

My preparation these next few days will include getting over my six-hour jet lag, but not entirely. I figure that if I can continue feeling fresh and awake at 4 a.m. until this weekend, I’ll have a real advantage over my sister and husband at the 5:30 a.m. registration. They are faster than I am, but they are also used to sleeping past sunrise.

As with so many things in life, I’m taking my advantages where I can find them!

A Couple of New Videos

I created these videos for upload this week on my website CharterWave. Each is a two-minute look at a luxury yacht charter experience, based on magazine assignments that I did in Fiji and Nova Scotia.

If you’re into island culture, you’ll like the Fiji video. Golfers: Skip right to the Nova Scotia video.

Need a Mental Getaway?

I’m here to help! The September issue of Yachting magazine is on newsstands now, and two of my three articles in the issue will take you to exotic destinations aboard luxury charter yachts.

First is my feature about the 112-foot Alloy motoryacht VvS1, which I spent a few days aboard in Fiji’s Mamanuca and Yasawa archipelagos. This feature opens with me sucking air through a purple snorkel while trying to keep up with a pair of 10-foot manta rays.

Second is my feature about the 65-foot Privilege sailing catamaran Matau, which I spent a few days aboard in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as on Grenada. This feature includes my trek through a tropical rain forest to a freshwater swimming hole beneath a spectacular waterfall.

After 10 years in marine journalism, I still can’t believe I get paid to do this stuff.

$18.95 vs. $58.02

I just received a notice that two first-edition copies of my book Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Charter Vacations, have been posted for sale at Amazon.com. The asking prices are $39.26 and $58.02.

This is fascinating, seeing as how the current edition is easy enough to find on its Amazon home page for the list price of $18.95 (which Amazon actually discounts to $14.21, and then offers to ship for free).

Apparently, at least two people out there in the world believe the first edition is a collector’s item worthy of a 200- to 300-percent up-charge. Maybe I should offer the $9.99 Kindle edition at a Christie’s auction!

Intra-Marital Competition

My husband completed his first triathlon yesterday. It was a sprint-distance event with a quarter-mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride, and a 2-mile run. He did well, too, finishing in the top third of the field. The pooches and I were of course there to cheer him across the finish line.

Yesterday was the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of training, which my husband began after I completed my first triathlon in September 2009. When we were waiting for the results of my event to be announced, he got a glimmer in his eye that told me he’d never be on the sidelines again. He wanted into the mix, badly.

And so the two of us will enter next month’s Delaware Diamondman event as “veterans” of the sport, going head-to-head in a race for bragging rights at the Thanksgiving dinner table. And yes, the intra-marital trash talk has already begun. My husband, still on an adrenaline high from yesterday’s race, says he’ll be at the finish line waiting to cheer for me next month. Meanwhile, I’m combing his online stats for weaknesses that I can exploit. He’s slow on the swim, which is my best leg of most races. I wonder if I can catch him in the water and rattle him.

Hey, there are worse things we could be doing with our middle-age years. On days when we used to sit around watching TV, we now go out for a 10- or 20-mile bike ride. I’ll probably get my butt kicked next month—my husband is far bigger, faster, and stronger—but at least my butt will be nicely conditioned. And that’s good for a marriage, too.

Lulu’s Rescue … to the Rescue!

Lulu’s Rescue, the nonprofit group that rescued my new puppy Blue from the gas chamber in a North Carolina animal control facility, is having a fund-raising event next week. I volunteered my time to create the following promotional video. It will not only be played at the event, but also will help the Rescue promote its efforts and seek donations online.

Lulu's Rescue 2010

A Book I Can’t Wait to Read

It’s no secret that I’m a dog lover. I’m sure you saw me crying into my keyboard when I wrote about the death of my 15-year-old beagle mix in April, and I’m sure you can see me smiling at the keys this summer every time I write about my new puppy. All of my dogs have been rescues, for which I have a particular soft spot. I think it’s absolutely precious to enjoy a rich, lifelong bond with a dog that another person thought it was okay to treat like garbage.

Thus, I’m terribly excited to tell you about the forthcoming book by my friend Jim Gorant. Jim is an editor at Sports Illustrated, which caused a bit of a stir last year when its cover featured the dogs of NFL quarterback Michael Vick. Vick had been arrested on charges of operating a dog fighting ring, primarily using pit bulls. The magazine quoted an executive of the ASPCA as saying something I’ve learned to be all too true with my rescued 5-year-old pit mix, Stella: “A pit bull is like a Porsche. It’s a finely tuned, highly muscled athlete. And just like you wouldn’t give a Porsche to a 16-year-old, you don’t want just anyone to own a pit bull. It should be someone who has experience with dogs and is willing to spend the time, because with training and proper socialization you will get the most out of them as pets.”

Many of Vick’s dogs–which received nearly a million dollarsĀ  in “restitution” by way of a court order against Vick–have been rehabilitated from their days as forced fighters. Some are now beloved family pets, and others do therapy work with children and cancer patients. They’re proof of what I have learned to be true with my own rescues: If you offer patience, understanding, and love, most dogs–even those that have suffered abuse–will become your best friends for life.

The stories of these rescued Michael Vick dogs are told in Jim’s book “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption.” It will be released for sale on September 16, but you can pre-order now via Amazon.com.

Jim is a great writer, and I’m sure this book will bring a smile to the face of every dog lover who reads it. I’m ordering my copy today.