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This Saturday I will do something I have never done before by participating in a six-kilometre “fun run” to raise money for fresh-water wells in arid African villages.

I quietly reached out to fewer than a dozen family and friends whom I figured would be sympathetic to the cause (and to me) and asked for modest contributions. They exceeded my humble goal, and now it’s on me to finish the route and make good on the commitment.

Me and running have an indifferent relationship – and you will note above I didn’t say I will be “running” the course, I said I would participate. I have no doubt my fitness level and cardio/respiratory capacity is more than sufficient for six kilometres – it’s my gimpy old knees that will likely require a run/walk/run/walk regime.

Back when I used to walk for fitness and stress management, I had a route of 6.25 kilometres that I could do in about 55 minutes. Most people don’t walk that fast. So, I know that I can finish the course on Saturday in less than an hour. It will be managing my ego to ensure I’m not the last person out there that will be the challenge while not grinding my joints into powder.

I share a house will a smart woman who says things like “who cares how long it takes?” and “why would you even consider running at all?” and “pour the wine.”

She has been supportive of most of my fitness journey over the last year and she almost always makes good sense on matters of my personal health. But I am going to do this anyway.

Five or six of us from ATC are participating. As I have said before, one of the greatest benefits of getting fitter is the people I’ve met along the way – and Maggie, Douglas, Allie, Darlene, Kim and Caroline are all better runners than me, and I’ll try not to hold them up.

A year ago I didn’t know any of them.

Next week I’ll post a photo or two from the event or the Trillium Heart Institute, whichever constitutes my finish line. Right now it looks like it will take place under sunny skies and a temperature of 4 degrees. I can cope with that.

A new adventure, and all for a good cause. Even better, it is not a timed run. So as someone at my house might say, no one cares where you finish. (Except me. I care.)

If you would like to sponsor me, you can click here and do that.

I’m constantly learning new stuff when it comes to training. I train with a group and I have a strong competitive streak in me, but I temper that by adjusting what the group is instructed to do vs. what I think I need to do.

For example, I have an enduring elbow injury that prevents me from doing some things and limits others, but I work around it and the trainers are great at helping me find other things to do when others are doing pullups. If I do a pullup, it feels like a blow torch is being pointed at my elbow.

With spring approaching my mind is on cycling and I’m trying to learn more about the science and mechanics of cycling power – watts generated, RPM rates, that sort of thing.

On Tuesday during our spin, five people generated more than 900 watts of energy in less than 50 minutes (I was about 700 watts). Two were north of 1,000. I’m told that’s an impressive number and given how wrung out I felt, I agree.

The way the spin bikes work, we adjust the tension on the bikes to replicate a climb up a hill or a straight-away. More tension = harder ride = more watts.

I didn’t do anything like this last winter and I didn’t get my road bike out last summer until July, so I am curious as to how much of a difference it will all make for me on the roads this summer, if any. I’m lighter, fitter, have spent three hours a week in the saddle for months, and … well, that’s enough.

I do, however, know that riding in the spin room and riding on the road are radically different things both in terms of energy/effort and fun.

The bike almost came out last weekend but lost to yard work. The next spike in temperatures could be the moment.

As of tomorrow, there will be two weeks left in the 81-day ATC challenge. Not that anyone is counting.

 

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