I received an invitation the other day to Tobias Buckell's summer writing workshop
. "Oh, cool," I said, feeling pleased with myself. I haven't been involved in a writing workshop for almost three years, and this one looks like could be interesting. Of course, considering the distance I'd need to travel, I'd have to go to the week-long workshop, not the three-day one. I looked at the dates.
"Oh," I said. "Well, that's out." It goes until July 17th, see, and that just doesn't work for me. That conflicts with The Plan--a key element of The Plan, no less! And then I realized that I have only told one non-family person about the plan in its entirety, and a few more know bits and pieces. The Plan is important to me. The Plan is officially being unveiled.
See, we all know that I'm a fan of adventure racing, and for years now I've wanted to be in a race myself. We're not talking full-flown Eco-Challenge here (let's be realistic), but something
. There are many races that take place all over the world, and which vary in length from a few hours or an afternoon to the nine, ten, eleven day expedition races. There are many possibilities. However, entering is not really an option for the following reasons:
1. I have no money.
2. I have no team.
3. I am not exactly what you'd call "fit."
I can earn money. I can find teammates. But how on earth could I get anyone to have me on their team when I have the physical fitness of your average, computer-based undergrad? I sit in chairs all day. Does this sound like someone you'd want to have on your adventure racing team? I thought not. So physical fitness is task number one.
Last summer I learned to run. (My best lesson: when running, your feet should propel you forward
, not up. Seems simple enough, but just watch; many people out there go jogging like they're on a trampoline.) I even learned to enjoy running, something I once thought was never possible. And I thought of Phil
, who has been both encouraging and inspiring. Phil's been running short races of late, 5K and thereabouts. "Hmm," I said. "I could run 5K."
And so a mini-plan was born: I could run a short race! Woo! And happily I went off looking for races to be in this summer. While searching I stumbled across something far more interesting and convenient.
See, I have a cottage in a small town--hell, it's just a subdivision with trees--on Lake Huron. The closest real town, with stores and everything, is a place called Kincardine. (The name's supposedly Scottish, as were the people who first established the town, or so the story goes. I have some crazy Kincardine-related bagpipe stories to tell, but those will wait for another day.) And there, on a list of Ontario races, was a link to the Kincardine Women's Triathlon
Yes, I'm going to enter a triathlon. Running, swimming and biking--now we're talking! Once upon a time, I was quite a good swimmer, and I was best at distances (with the 1h 22m swim across a bay as my absolute peak of triumph). And once upon a time, I was able to ride a bike for more than five minutes without being tired. (Yes, bikes and I have had a few bad run-ins in the past, but I can and have been and will move past all that.)
Plus, as it's just a small triathlon, the distances aren't overwhelming: 300 meter swim, 10 km of biking and 2.5 km of running. Yes, I can do this.
But The Plan doesn't end there. If the triathlon is successful, I will move on to Phase 2: the 5Peaks Trail Running Series
. The places where they run these races are all quite close to where I live. The early races are out, of course, but the ones in August and September seem to be possibilities. These are trail races that vary in length between about 9 km and 12 km, so we're talking about a rather more significant distance. This will take quite a lot of work to get myself up to this level. But whenever I feel that this might be impossible, I remind myself: Oprah ran a marathon.
I am excited. Very, very excited. And last weekend I was also scared, because I hadn't done any real running in so very long. (See earlier entry for the cold weather/asthma attack connection.) So I ended up going with my father to a local community centre that has an indoor running track, where I ran for 2 km. (2K--woohoo! I am not hopeless!) And then I fiddled around with a rowing machine for a while, because my arms have the strength of wet noodles, and then spent a while on an exercise bike. It was the bike that did me in. It's going to take a bit to be able to bike 10 km, especially after swimming and before running. But I'll do it. And on Sunday I ran 0.75 miles on a treadmill that doesn't convert the distance into km (boo, hiss) before thinking, "Okay, that's enough for the first weekend."
So that, ladies and gentlemen, is my Plan. Wish me luck.