<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Friday, January 23, 2004
The Plan

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.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:09 PM


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