I’ve volunteered at the Bellingham Traverse for the past 11 years, twice in Oly and I’m now on the RecNW board so I’ve been pretty close to the event since the start and now it’s time to race!
What you are about to read here will require you to stop for a moment and think about what I’m doing, it’s pretty unorthodox and you will want to roll your eyes or offer advice, or just back slowly away from the crazy guy.
So, here’s my plan: enter all four Traverse events – Winthrop, Oly, North Bend and Bellingham – run them solo and do absolutely no training.
Yup. No training.
In a nutshell, I’ve been athletic my entire life. I’ve been blessed by some pretty darn good genes – thanks Mom! When I was young I ran everywhere, fastest kid on every team, didn’t quit – ever!, low 14’s in cross country just because I could, Marine Corps boot camp was pretty easy physically and I got perfect scores on every phys fitness tests, started MTB racing in my early 30’s (why not?) ending up top 50 for experts nationally, and so on.
I have had too many coaches to remember. I’ve trained for everything I ever entered. I know how my body reacts to the gym, the bike or whatever.
However, what I don’t know is what it’s like to be a regular guy who wants to get fit and decides to enter something physically challenging, right off the couch.
Since I quit racing 8 years ago I’ve basically done nothing. No gym, no bike, no exercise I didn’t get from work in my contracting business. So, I’d say I’m pretty close to ‘normal’ when it comes to fitness. I get winded on a flight of stairs, my cholesterol should be better, I need to lose 20 pounds of fat – you know, ‘normal’.
“Normal”, that’s my starting point. It’s gonna hurt.
For all of you who think it’s nuts, it kinda is but I am preparing. As should any newbie. Preparation in this case is ensuring I have the proper gear, support, etc., no person should go blindly into this kind of thing. So, yes, I am preparing.
More importantly, tho, is finding and knowing my limits, listening to my body when I get out on the course @ Winthrop. I do not want to be “hurt”, I want to be “successful”.
What I want to do is use this forum to add periodic updates to how it goes and how it went. I am not trying to inspire so much as share.
I hope that these blog posts help describe what it’s like to participate so folks who are curious and don’t quite know if it’s for them can get the full scoop from a ‘normal’ guy who hasn’t exercised at all in almost a decade.
Here goes nothin’
Chinook name – The Commish
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.