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.
FItter Over 50
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
THERE IS ONE IRONMAN RACE I SAID I’D NEVER DO. YOU GUESSED IT. IRONMAN FLORIDA.
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:
- 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.
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.
Ever feel you are too old, too slow, or not athletic enough to take on a fitness challenge? Meet this week’s over 50 athlete of the week, Terrie Wurzbacher, 66. She felt all of those things. Despite these insecurities, two weeks ago, she became the oldest female runner to complete the Volunteer State 500k (314 miles) Road Race. Read her story.
I have to be honest. I lack discipline. I’ve never been good at doing the day to day things I’m supposed to. Cleaning up my room as a kid. Filling out expense reports as an adult. But I’ve always thrived on learning something new or taking on a new project. Let’s face it – I LOVE a challenge! I never gave that much thought until recently. Read about the benefits and ask yourself – what’s on your challenge list?
No journey of 2,500 miles could be completed without encountering some challenges. You might think 2,500 miles was challenge enough, but it is inevitable that there will be more. You can read about some of the challenges we faced below. Stay tuned for a post about my favorite aspect of the tour – the people!
Many people have asked about my most memorable moments from my Atlantic coast cycling tour. It is surprising how easily the days run together and how hard it is, in retrospect, to distinguish one day from another. But now that the journey is finished, I can reflect on the major patterns that I experienced and what makes the journey so memorable.
Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about some of those reflections. This post is about the beauty I experienced. Up next, read about the “Biking Bubble.”