You get buff.
The primary goal of the triathlon project was to distract myself from the book craziness. But a second and not insignificant goal was to get back in shape after having Genevieve.
I neither enjoy nor succeed at weight loss programs. In hopes of finally fitting back into my normal clothes, I briefly tried to make a social fitness app work for me last winter. Inputting my daily eating log was like pulling teeth. Once I started training for the triathlon - which for me meant exercising for about an hour six days a week - I stopped being distracted by the way I looked and became much more interested in my ever-increasing fitness level. What I could do - how far, how fast, how fun.
I remember the first day I noticed the change. I hadn't seen it, but I felt it. I put my hand on my cheek, and it felt different. I pressed my cheekbones with both palms and marveled - whose face is this?
It's not just my face. There are hard places that used to be soft, muscles that used to be hidden. My clothes fit - except the ones that are too big.
At a booksigning last month, a woman was surprised to learn that I was the one in the cover photograph. "Wow," she murmured. "You've slimmed down."
Bodies can be a source of profound pain, but they are also so wondrous - nerve endings and taste buds and fingertips and toes and shoulderblades and hips and hearts. And the things you can do with them! Like eating homemade ice cream, which I did tonight, and kayaking through downtown Chicago, which I'm doing on Friday.
I don't know what else to do but be grateful.