Love, Diets, and Freedom

Pulled from the archives of my life, the Love, Diets, and Freedom uses stories of childhood, wild trips, crazy loves, intentional communities, yogic sages, adult life in America, arduous training for a triathlon, a romantic vacation on an isolated island, a prom, and the task of raising two children after divorce to illustrate a philosophy and a way of living that promotes health, happiness, and meaning.

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A short excerpt from the chapter Triathlon.

I positioned myself near the back of my group because as a slow swimmer, I did not want anyone climbing over me or kicking me in the face as they cruised by.  Everyone was swimming freestyle.  I managed that for about a third of the way, but I just do not have the breathing skill to go farther so I resorted to the backstroke.  I was the only swimmer to do this, and it’s a good thing I do not embarrass easily because I definitely did not have a power look going.  My cousin told me later he was surprised they hadn’t sent out a lifeguard to check on me.  By my standards, I was having a decent swim, but when I raised my head to ascertain my position, only two people were behind me.  Everyone else was either already out of the water or quickly heading that way.

When I reached the end of the swim, I felt slightly dizzy and needed a moment to collect myself, so I stood bent in the water and breathed.  Someone asked if I was all right and if I needed a hand.  I did not answer, but it was the kind of charitable comment I did not need.  I preferred the image of an athlete in a grueling race, not that of an elder headed for a nursing home.  The transition out of the water was slow as I tried to catch my breath and put on biking gear.  Already I was so far behind, and my spirit was low enough that I figured, why hurry?

I looked at the racks, which had held four hundred bikes a short while ago.  Two were left.  An older woman whom I’d beaten out of the pool made a speedy transition and beat me to the start line for the bike leg. The cheering crowds had quieted.  It was slow and difficult to put on my bike gloves, as they were tight on my wet hands. I may have heard a cricket chirping as I grabbed my bike out of the rack.

Last out of four hundred, I walked my bike to the start line.  Mounting, I began to pedal. I’ve always loved to bike.  Now I was in my first race, but so far behind everyone that it didn’t feel like a race.  I have strong legs, and I began to push.  I passed a rider and my spirits lifted.

11 Responses to “Love, Diets, and Freedom”

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