Not just about walking or books

I could also call myself a Peripatetic Marathoner – according to the American Heritage College Dictionary, ‘peripatetic’ means ‘walking about from place to place; traveling on foot.’ And that’s what I do.
I am a walker. I walk because it eases my anxiety and stress and brings to me a semblance of peace. Of course, I have always walked, ever since I was a toddler, and throughout my life I’ve often walked to release pent up energy and dissipate worries. But about 5 years ago, I was going through an especially turbulent period in my life. The ONLY way I could deal with this time of turmoil was to get outside and walk fast. Very fast. So fast, that people who saw me remarked on my speed and form. A coworker suggested I enter a local race. Amazed, I replied that only runners entered races and I definitely was not a runner. But I was reassured that many races welcomed walkers as long as they could finish within the specified time for the race. I began to think seriously about entering a race.
I’m a librarian so naturally I found and read a great book about walking in races (Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Half-Marathon Training: Get Ready to Run or Walk a 5K, 10K, or Half-Marathon by Heather Hedrick). My first race was a half-marathon (no 5 or 10 k races for me) in a small town about 10 miles from my home. I finished in just under 3 hours and was exhilarated with both the effort and the result. There were even a few runners who finished behind me. My husband met me at the finish line, grinning proudly, but my smile was even broader. I was so pleased that I started talking excitedly about how I wanted to do more races and wondering which ones I could try next. My husband just looked at me, amazed, and said with a cautious note in his voice, “Now, don’t get carried away.” Little did he know how ‘carried away’ I would actually become. Since that fall day 5 years ago, I have completed numerous half marathons and 64 full marathons and 8 ultramarathons. I discovered that my true love was distance walking so I set up several goals for myself.
First, I wanted to complete a marathon in 10 different states. This feat would allow me to join the 50 States Club and the 50 States and DC Club, both dedicated to supporting marathoners who wanted to complete a marathon in all 50 states plus DC. I also wanted to do several marathons within a short period of time, say 3 in 15 days (or 3 weekends back to back to back) so I could join the club known as Marathon Maniacs. Of course, my ultimate goal was to do a marathon in all 50 states and DC, and I have now completed 47 states to date (with just Kansas, Delaware, and Alaska left to go). And I decided upon a new goal as well – to complete at least 100 marathons/ultramarathons so I could also join the 100 Marathon Club. For 2011, I have another goal – to do a 50 mile race and a timed 24 hour race, with an ultimate goal of reaching 100 miles.
This is to be a record of my journey through the marathon and ultramarathon experience.
I had always written some cursory notes about each of my races in my handy notebook sized calendar, but I began to run out of space, so I hope that this blog will serve as a handy substitute.
I also hope to encourage other walkers to become inspired, as I was, to enter races, especially the longer distances, because it is so much fun! I am in my 60’s, and I think older adults like myself would find this the perfect exercise.

2 thoughts on “Not just about walking or books

  1. So you started in 2005 and are retired I assume and must be 66 now? I love reading your blogs. You are amazing and shocking and inspiring. I cant get enough of your stories. What healthy amazing goals and feats you have accomplished. I am sooooooo jealous. I too hope to do even a fraction of what you have done. I did my first half in September and am addicted. You give me hope to do a full marathon someday! Please keep blogging! Kelly

  2. Hi Kelly – I am so glad you are enjoying my blog posts. Yes, I retired 2 years ago this month and will turn 67 soon. I started by walking a half marathon, my first ever race, and I too became addicted. It took about a year before I became brave enough to aim for a full marathon but I was so glad I did. I am positive that you can do the same.

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