Before you can reach any destination, you first need to understand where you are.

Gound Zero. Point A.

I am so there.

I hate to run, my bike is a cute beach cruiser with a bell and a basket, and I don't know how to swim.

Does this sound like triathlete to you? Me neither.

But I'm willing to try.

So why am I doing all of this? Good question.

At 48, I would like to gain a sense of fitness that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I would like to improve my energy level with a new nutrional plan. I would like to exercise my heart and maintain a healthy blood pressure.  I would like to be able to wear a bathing suit in public.

Important stuff like that.  

If my goal is to improve my health, I thought I should start by seeing just exactly how healthy I am. I'd also like to make sure that my body is up to the task.

I met with my internist, Dr. Stephen Wikle of Irvine, for a routine physical.

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He checked the basics, like blood pressure and weight, and ordered a blood test just to make sure everything was in order.  

Probably not a bad idea, even if  I wasn't training for a race.  

Everything seemed to be just fine, and Dr Wikle gave me the green light to begin. 

 Ironically, I found out that Dr. Wikle is a long distance runner himself. His best advice?

"Start slow and listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or any pain, these are clues you shouldn't ignore."

He sent me on my way with his encouragement and an offer to help with any nagging pains that may arise.

My next stop was to The Running Lab in Orange, for an analysis of my feet.

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I had heard that finding the proper shoe could be the difference between race day success and injury-riddled failure. 

Brian, my sales associate and foot analyst, spent 20 minutes assessing my feet. First, he watched me walk across the room and stand on one leg. Then I made moving footprint impressions to see what part of my feet need support. 

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I suggest you have a pedicure before you go, because your feet will be the star of the show!

Finally, I found a pair of shoes with the proper structure to support my feet. Incidentally, Brian suggested That I wear shoes that were a size and a half bigger than my regular size, to allow my feet to expand while running.

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My new shoes!

I chose them because they make my feet feel supported and secure inside of them.

I chose them because they make me feel like I'm  walking on a cloud.  

I chose them because they are baby blue...my favorite color.

Since the food I put into my body will be as important as the shoes on my feet, I met with  my friend Dr. Larisa Gruer, Director of the European Institute for Natural Health.

She helped me comed up with a diet that would help me to build healthy muscle tissue while I train. 

"You want to vary your diet," she explained. "Like interval training, your body responds well to a variety of foods."

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Asian pears with almonds. Quinoa with pumpkin, greek yogurt drizzled with organic honey.

Fresh berries sprinkled with cinnamon, Chicken curry and roasted potatoes.

My stomach growled in anticipation.  

Before heading out to Trader Joe's to stock up on supplies, she suggested a collection of mineral supplements that will keep imflammation low while still boosting my immunities.

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When I left her office, my new shoes were putting an extra bounce in my step.

I felt fit and fine and hungry to begin.