Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: Triathlon for the Every Woman by Meredith Atwood

I just finished reading the much anticipated book, Triathlon for the Every Woman, by Swim Bike Mom, Meredith Atwood. I've been following Meredith's journey via her blog since January 2011 when we both became featured bloggers at TriCrowd, so to be honest, I felt like I "knew" Meredith. Although I was certainly looking forward to reading the book, I did not think there was much more she could tell me that I didn't already know - about her story or about the sport.

How wrong I was.

One chapter in, and I wanted to email her, and YELL in all CAPS, MEREDITH, I GET IT! I see how you HAD to write this book, how you HAD to tell your story. In her blog, we get snippits of what brought her to the sport, but this book gives a more complete back story that shows how triathlon was a form of salvation in so many ways for Meredith -- as rescue from the long-present Fat Stranger. She writes with courageous honesty, seasoned with humor and perspective, so that it's not just about her, but about each of us. I see my own story in hers, just with a different character.

Triathlon for the Every Woman is an open invitation to multisport that explains how it can be done by the busiest and most frazzled of moms. If you've ever wished you could do a triathlon, but have come up with a 1000 reasons why you can't, you'll be signing up for one before you've finished the book. Meredith shares the experiences of getting up the sometimes steep swim/bike/run learning curves so that when you encounter the inevitable challenges and frustrations, you'll at least know you are not alone. And you'll think about this book and laugh!

Although the book is targeted to beginners, I picked up a number of tips along the way. Meredith invited experts to contribute material on each of the sports and related subjects like nutrition and life balance, and the result is information-rich with practical advice that is not watered down.

I've read a LOT of books about triathlon (a LOT) but I can say that Triathlon for the Every Woman is unique, fills an important niche, and is a great read for well....every woman....and also for any man who finds himself attached to a current or budding female triathlete! She explains a lot about us (and the 'Queen', lol) and I found myself nodding in agreement at her plights and inner thoughts. Meredith's tremendous gifts for writing, while evident on her blog, are truly showcased in this fun-to-read 440 page book that I could hardly put down and finished within a day and a half. 

While Meredith's Fat Stranger has the leading role in her book, mine would be the Imposter. I never quite fit the mold in most of the things that I've done -- as a student, an engineer, or even now as a mom. Triathlon for the Every Woman explains why I, and so many others, have found some salvation in the sport, and how it has a place for everyone - the Fat Strangers, the Imposters, and whatever Other might taunt you.

The book is a really a motivating, enjoyable, enlightening, and humorous read. I highly recommend it!