Training For A ‘Thon

On my bucket list (the list of things I want to do before I die) is walking across America.  I think I’ve mentioned that.  That’s why this whole blog was created!  But I’ve got a lot of other things on that blog that I want to do, and several of those items are related to physical accomplishments.  And we’re not talking garden-variety types of accomplishments like me wanting ascend to the peak of Mt. Hood or Mt. St. Helens (not to denigrate climbing the mountain peaks, since those are big accomplishments, too, especially since I can’t do them yet, but I think I could do them with not too much more training, if I wanted to).  Climbing the mountains are on my list, too, but the feat I want to talk about today is of an even more challenging nature.  Challenging enough for me to think that climbing one of our local mountain peaks would be kind of garden variety in comparison.

This particular bucket list item I’m referring to requires months of  training, if you’ve never done one before.  Rather like my walk across America does (which in itself is a physically extreme sort of goal).  That feat, challenge, task–whatever you want to call it–is to do a full on ironman triathalon.  Yep.  You read that right.  An Ironman.

Call me nuts, but the desire to run one has been on the back of my mind since at least 2005.  Why?  Inspiration struck me in the form of a 75 year old nun named Madonna Buder, who not only raced, but completed the race an hour before the cut-off time.   She is still running triathalons, and wants to run another Ironman in 2012.  As an octogenarian, she would be competing as the oldest person–man or woman–to EVER race in an Ironman competition.  My word.

After reading that, what kind of excuse do I have to not do it?  I mean, I can’t say I’m fat or out of shape.  If an 80+ year old woman can do it, why can’t I?  I just need to train.

I got to doing the mental math, and knowing how long it takes me to swim a mile, to bike ride and to wog (my super slow walk/jog), I could actually complete the course in about the same time as the good sister, if I was able to work on my endurance level enough to actually do it.  That’s without turning me into some kind of super fast person that I’m not.  I’m the slow and steady type like the tortoise, not fast like the hare.

One I realized that this could be possible for me to race as a person who I consider to be in no way shape or form an athlete, it boggled my mind.  I could be a non-athlete and still compete in a triathalon.  I always thought the super tricky fast athletic-ey types were the only ones who could do it.  I thought you had to have the legs of a gazelle or something.


So.  While I’ve been walking, in the back of my mind, I’ve been secretly plotting to work toward my bucket list goal of participating in a triathalon.  Before I can do an actual triathalon, though, I think walking a marathon might be a good goal.  But that’s kind of a big goal to have so soon, so I think I’ll opt for a little smaller one.

I’m going to work on doing some half-marathons this month and next.  I think two a month is a good goal.  I’m already walking over 10 miles a couple few times a week now.  I don’t think that is pushing it too much.  That, and I’m curious to see in the next month or so of going to the gym, just how far I’ll be with my fitness level.  As it is, I’ve been going just shy of a month, and I feel 300% better than I did at the beginning of last month.

After I do that, I’ll figure out how quickly I think I can bring in an actual marathon goal.  After all, next year, when I’m walking America, I’ll likely be walking that distance a LOT as I settle into my walking routine.

To be clear, at this point I’m still walking.  I’m not planning on jogging anytime soon.  I’m still to heavy for the stress on my joints.  Maybe by end of summer I can see if my weight has dropped enough and my joints have strengthened enough, but I’m not in a huge hurry for that.

But I think it would be fun to come back from my walking tour of the country, do a little more cross-training and then in 2014 compete in my first triathalon.

In the meantime, I’m scoping out half-marathons to walk.  I found this great link.  According to it, the Helvetia Half Marathon is this weekend.  I don’t have $65 to spend on the entry fee, so I’m going to make my own way walking my own course and do it on my own for kicks.  The Helvetia Half Marathon allows 4 hours to complete the course, but it is more for runners, I think.  I figured it out; I would have to walk approximately 3.275 miles each hour in order to finish it in that time.  I can’t maintain that kind of a pace for more than a half an hour or so.  A much more comfortable pace for me is 2.75-3 mph.  So, I’m going to give myself five hours to complete it, instead.  I plan to start at 8 am, since that’s when the half marathon kicks off.

Those of you who live here in Portland, Oregon, if you want to meet me at the Lucky Lab on Hawthorne Blvd. at 1:00pm for moral support afterwards, that would be great fun!  Oh, and I’ll likely need a ride home.  My feet will be tired…


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