EDITOR'S NOTE: Irvine resident, mother and Angels blogger Ellen Bell decided it was high time she join the fitness/exercise trend. (Well, not really, she says something about clothes not fitting as they should.) So she decided to train for and compete in Saturday's ITRYathlon. She kept a journal of her triumphs and travails and also wrote about what she's learned along the way. To read her entire blog, go to

It seemed like a crazy idea. Enter the iTRYathlon on July 28 - this Saturday - a modified endurance race supporting the Irvine Public School Foundation. It starts and ends at Northwood High School, and is sponsored by Destination Irvine and produced by Renegade Racing.

All I have to do is run for three miles, bike another nine miles and then finish with a 200 meter swim. It all sounds great except for three little things: I don't run, I don't bike and I don't swim.

I am not an athlete. I drive when I could walk, I use the elevator when I could take the stairs and I avoid sweating at all costs. In fact, I am the only person I know who nearly failed P.E. in high school. For me, entering a triathlon is about as unimaginable as walking on the moon.

I've gone through my adult life with the best of intentions. I approach diets and exercise plans like a fickle teenager: blushing with giggly passion at the beginning but soon abandoning all interest when the going gets tough. I've left a trail of abandoned gym equipment and club memberships in my wake. Health and fitness always seem to be at the bottom of my To-Do List; that elusive task saved for "when I have time."

At 48, the game has changed. Like it or not, I'm losing the battle with gravity. Clothes don't fit like they should. Body parts ache. Energy is low and even a few flights of stairs leave me winded. This is not acceptable.

I know that the only way to stay active at the end of my life is to set a solid foundation now. Even as I stare down the Big 5-0, it's not too late for a change.

I wrote about my experiences during this 12 week, micro-burst of training. Like any good journey, the destination is less important than the lessons learned along the way.

April 27: 92 Days until iTRYathlon

The only way to accomplish something big is to start small. After a week of using the elliptical trainer at home, I decided that I was ready to put my new running shoes to the test and hit the road.

I planned on running a short spurt of maybe 50 feet, no big deal, and I took a step. And then there was pain; immediate and sudden pain on the inside of my right ankle. How can this be? I didn't twist my foot or land awkwardly. I just attempted to run the tiniest of distances and my first step resulted in pain.

I stopped after about 10 measly seconds, and had my first visit with Discouragement.

"You can't even run for 10 seconds without pain? How are you ever going to go for 3 miles?" hissed the voice in my head.

I limped home, worrying that I may have to stop before I ever get started.

May 3: 86 Days until iTRYathlon