The Lake-to-Lake Half-Marathon is coming up soon – almost a month to the day now. It’s got me thinking about what I’ll do once the walk is over.
I’ve invested a lot of time and energy in my walking training, in most cases to the detriment of other things. I haven’t been swimming, cycling, or kayaking because most of my free time is taken up with walking. I’ve had to sleep more on some days because the walking makes me more tired than usual. My daily schedule is organized around my walk, and sometimes that’s all I can do in a day.
So when I think about life after the half-marathon walk, I think of all those the things I’ve put aside that I’d like to do again. Swimming. Cycling. Kayaking.
But I also think of what I’ve gained through all this walking, things that I don’t want to lose. Like the ability to walk 16 km without getting too tired. The mental space to think about writing ideas. The exercise that my body needs and has been without for far too long.
Somehow I have to craft a daily life that includes a variety of exercise while still allowing me to do other things I enjoy, like gardening, fabric art, and writing.
I’m already thinking about what that might look like, and how I can incorporate my family into my activities as well. I enjoy when my husband comes walking with me, but it would be nice if he could come more often, and if we could also go cycling and/or kayaking together. It would also be nice to get the dogs out on more walks. We have been largely exercising them in the yard because so many people take their dogs off-leash in areas where they’re supposed to be on-leash, and we don’t want to run into problem dogs like our neighbour has (twice now).
I think that life after the half-marathon looks like a multicoloured patchwork of different kinds of exercise plus time for pursuits of the mind. A more integrated lifestyle that balances mind and body, and also makes for some family fun.
Next year I’d like to do the full marathon walk, but that’s something to start thinking about in the spring! I just have to make sure I maintain my fitness levels so that I’m ready to take on the training schedule starting on June 1st. Luckily my husband got me a copy of John Stanton’s (of Running Room fame) book about walking, and it includes not only the training schedule I’m following for the half-marathon, plus a schedule for the full marathon, but also a schedule for maintaining walking fitness in between events. So I have something to help guide me should I choose to use it.
Since I’ve managed to do things during training that I never thought I’d be able to do (like 6 x 400 m hill repeats), I’m ready to take on other things I might not have done recently, like following a swimming training plan, but also doing things just for fun – like kayaking. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned – that if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing. I’ve also learned that I need quiet time to hear the stories I have stored up inside my head. And that I can do anything I put my mind to (fingers crossed, given that I haven’t done the half-marathon yet!) – within my limitations of course.
It makes me think of Barbara Kingsolver’s admonition to her daughters: “You can do hard things.” Yes, I can – so here’s to doing hard things!