I have always done better with a goal, a BIG goal. At age 40 I got through the coming-out process by discovering triathlons. Bike – Cycle – Run. I completed my first triathlon dead last of all participants. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the finish line to a cheering crowd and heard my name called to receive an award (I still have it). I had finished third in my age group of three. I had fun and learned a lot, like the need to get all event details instead of assuming the run portion is a 5k (3.2 miles) instead of 5 miles.
Participating in a triathlon fueled my interest in cycling. My 40s were spent on a bicycle, on long rides with Team Roadkill and by myself. My longest event ride was over two days from Houston to Austin in the MS 150. I had fun and learned to really, really pay attention to the weather and not assume a beautiful Texas spring day.
For my 50th birthday I completed my one and only marathon. I joined a training group that met at Runtex in Austin. I logged weekday miles on a treadmill and weekends with the Runtex group that included an experienced leader. I had fun traversing the city on foot and learned not to blindly trust a trainer. Being inexperienced I could have done nothing else and ended up barely finishing the marathon.
And now, retired at age 61, having spent the last year in training for the monumental task of moving to Mexico, I wasn’t exactly looking for a new goal. My body isn’t so keen on running or spending long hours on a bicycle. I love to walk and have dreamed of a trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. But nothing immediate, that is until this week.
Being a fan of the book, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge, I am aware that as one ages, it is even more important to participate in strenuous physical activity, preferably with a goal in mind. That’s why when I saw the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar, a race the length of Laguna Bacalar scheduled for May 1-3, 2014, my interest was piqued. I’ve already noticed the progress I have made with my kayaking since arriving in Bacalar six weeks ago. I go further every day with less effort. However, the idea of kayaking 46 miles over a two-day period seems daunting, outrageous, even insane. Which is exactly why I want to do it.
I have a sweet little kayak that is sleek and perfect for the race. Before leaving Austin, I invested in a carbon paddle which is lighter than aluminum, having already entertained the thought of a long paddle, perhaps with an overnight stay. Just maybe this half-brained scheme is attainable. At the least, I will have fun and learn stuff. No permanent damage done? Right?
S- Specific – Race (and I use that word lightly) the length of Laguna Bacalar
M- Measurable 46 miles over two days
A- Attainable – which remains to be seen
R- Reasonable – it is doable by others, young enough to be my grandchildren
T- Time framed – May 1-3, 2014
There’s plenty of time to train, so if you’re at all interested, please come join me. There will be a kayak film festival and a week of activities surrounding the event. At the very least, you can wave from the shore with your binoculars as I go whizzing by.