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Jan Walker’s Long Run Across America – Part 2

In part one, I introduced you to Jan Walker, whose dream was to run across America. We learned about her journey to fitness after 50. In this post, I’ll report on how at age 57, Jan made her dream come true.

#running, #ultra running

Jan Logs Her Dream

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Charities, Children's Tumor Foundation, Fitness After 50, Fitness Over 50, Fitter After 50, FItter Over 50, Ironman, Over 50 Athletes, Senior Athletes, Triathlon

Ironman Part Deux – New Roadblocks

In my last post, I wrote about my plan to complete my second Ironman triathlon to celebrate turning 60. That’s a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run in one day. Three weeks before the race, I was trained and ready. And in the time it takes to make a single step, the plan unraveled and new roadblocks emerged.

A Misstep on the Way to Ironman Part Deux

Three weeks before Ironman North Carolina, I started early one Saturday morning to get in my last 18 mile run. The first 4 miles would be solo in the dark. I managed to fall twice on those four miles! Lordy! Luckily, I was still able to finish my run.

After the Falls

After the Falls

I had a little road rash and a little pain in my ribs. My friend Faraz, a very talented chiropractor, was at the run and worked a few minutes to get things back in order. I figured in a day or two, I’d be in good shape.

It All Goes Downhill

The next day, I start feeling congested. Maybe just fall allergies?

A week later, my road rash looks like I have a flesh eating bacteria.

And 10 days later, my “allergies” are a raging cold and it hurts to take a breath. My ribs hurt more now than after the falls.

Can this be real?! Less than 10 days to my race, and I can’t breath without pain?sick-or-dying

Once our evacuees from Hurricane Mathew and their two dogs left our house, I went to get the rib checked out. It appeared to be a muscle strain exacerbated by coughing. A little graston and taping, and I was home with my NyQuil.

NyQuil and Recovery

My training plan now consisted of two elements: knock myself out each evening with NyQuil and sleep late, get in some training and repeat.nuquil

A week before the race, I could finally see improvement. Four days from the race. the congestion is gone, I can untape my ribs and go for a swim! Woohoo!

I may not be 100% for race time, but I’m sure I’ll be good enough to race! Yippee!

A New Roadblock

Less than six hours after I posted about Ironman Part Deux, I learned about a new roadblock.roadblocks-everywhere

Ironman announced that due to flooding in eastern North Carolina from Hurricane Mathew, the bike portion of Ironman North Carolina was being reduced from 112 miles to 50. Less than half. Less than the half ironman I completed in May.

My great Ironman Part Deux would now be 78.6 miles rather than 140.6.


While I am disappointed, there is no doubt that the needs of the people of North Carolina affected by the storm far outweighs any race! My heart goes out to those who lost so much in Hurricane Mathew.

A Choice?

Within hours of getting this heartbreaking news, I learned that as part of my charity team, I have another option. I can transfer to Ironman Florida on November 5.


Why? First and foremost, it is a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I am not a strong swimmer. I barely make the race cutoffs. Add in a rough ocean, and my bare margin can easily become a “DNF” (did not finish.) I’ve sat on that very beach and watched the waves pummel swimmers stronger than me.

Second, the weather is very unpredictable. It can be unbelievably hot and humid, cold and rainy and everything in between. And of course, there is the ever-present wind.

The Pros and Cons

For Ironman North Carolina:

Ironman North Carolina 2016

Ironman North Carolina 2016

  • You race the race you are given. As in life, we make plans, prepare and aim our ship. But you play the cards you are given.
  • I’ve connected to the racers. Most of them are strangers. But over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten to know them and their reasons for racing via social media. There is a connection from all those shared training days, goals and aspirations.
  • I’m tired of the emotional up and down. One minute I think I have broken ribs and will be unable to race, the next I feel fine, the next the race changes. Stop! I want to get off!
  • Ironman Florida is a “crap shoot” for me. Rough waters, and my day may very well be over before it starts. And since I’d be racing, who knows what else might befall Ironman Florida before race day!

For Ironman Florida:

  • It represents the chance, if only a chance, to finish 140.6 miles this year. I’ve finished 70.3 this year. Another 78.6 doesn’t add much.ironman-florida

What Did I Choose?

I’ll let you know soon enough! Sometime before Saturday morning!

Whatever I choose, I know I am lucky. I have the ability to train for races like an ironman. The joy and satisfaction I get from training is well beyond race day. I’ve made friends who share the good and bad with me. They are on my side and I am on theirs. I’ve learned about myself and others. Finish or not, race long or short, I’ll be thankful!

Ironman for Good

In either Ironman North Carolina or Ironman Florida, I’ll be participating to benefit The Children’s Tumor Foundation.

1 in every 3000 children are affected by neurofibromatosis (NF). NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain. NF is under-recognized and underdiagnosed yet affects more people than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease combined.  The Children’s Tumor Foundation funds critical research to find treatments for NF.

You can help in the fight against NF by making a donation.

Canine Assistants, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Charities, Chris4Life, Cross Country Cycling Tour, Fitness After 50, Fitness Over 50, Fitter After 50, FItter Over 50, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National MS Society, Over 50 Athletes, Ride For Good, Senior Connections Atlanta, Team Type1D, Travel

The End of My Atlantic Coast Cycling Journey

Within a week, I will finish my 2,500 Atlantic Coast Cycling tour and Cycling for Good. Over the next week, in lieu of my “regular” schedule, I’ll remind you of the people who inspired my ride – both before and during my adventure. So hang in there – lots of posts to come, and without predictable internet, they may come in spurts!

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Challenged Athletes Foundation, Fitness Over 50, Ironman, Marathons, Ride For Good

A. Powell – Challenged Athlete Fighting Back

Welcome to week six of my 2,500 mile bike ride I’m calling Cycling for Good. This week I’m riding in honor of Andrew Powell and his fight to recover from devastating injuries and to return to running and triathlon.  Learn about AP and the Challenged Athlete Foundation. And you’ll have a chance to make a difference, too.

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