Since 2012 I have been walking the Greenway in Cleveland, Tennessee. It starts about .6 miles from where I live and runs for 4.2 miles. By 2015 I was taking a walk for about a mile on the Greenway and returning a couple times a week. At that time I figured doing about 10 miles a week would help keep me healthy. That was just the beginning.
Occasionally I would go to Cooke’s, a local grocery store, which made the Greenway part of the trip almost 2 miles making my total round trip about 5 miles. That was a lot, but things continued to improve.
In 2016 I started to do more of the Greenway and set a goal of doing the whole thing at a 4MPH rate, which would be 2 hours and 6 minutes. My first attempt on November 6 was close at 2:08:04. The trip out was at 4MPH, but the return was long. It proved to me that I could do it, and I started to wonder if I could do one way under an hour.
On January 3, 2017 I did 2:02:58 for the round trip which beat the 4MPH goal, plus did 59:21 on the way out, cutting 2:37 off my previous best time and making my hour goal. I was pleased. However, I was only taking the hike about once a month.
The next goal was to do both ways under an hour and on April 30 that was done. When I got to the half way point I looked at the time, saw it was 59 minutes and something then pressed the wrong button clearing the time. However, both the way out and the way back were under an hour.
Since I made my goal, I was unsure what to do further and languished a bit. As summer started and the humidity rose, it seemed unlikely that I would do much. It became noticeable that my energy level remained strong for the entire trip, so I started to consider going longer. The goal was set to end the summer by walking a marathon distance. Doing the Greenway 3 times (25.2 miles) plus the walk to the Greenway would give me 26.4 miles, a bit more than needed. But the heat remained an issue.
During the summer I would also take a 6 mile hike to the local farmer’s market with about half of the trip on the Greenway. On September 9th I decided to walk the full Greenway out and return an alternate route via the farmer’s market, a total of 10 miles. My time out was 57:08, cutting 2:13 off my best time. Now I had to consider what to do next as I was approaching 4.5MPH.
So the research was done and calculations were made to see what a world record race walker pace would be and its about 9MPH, a bit more than I was doing. As a healthy 61-year-old, I don’t think I will get anywhere near that, but I can get a lot closer than I am. So my goal now is to end 2017 doing either one-way or the round trip at 5MPH, or 50:24. I am less than 7 minutes away and my confidence is high.
The ridiculous goal would be 6MPH or 42 minutes. This may be possible for me, but I don’t consider it likely. For reference 7MPH is 36 minutes, 8MPH is 31:30, and 9MPH is 28 minutes. Don’t count on those for me.
Then came September 17th and the unexpected happened. I did a round trip starting at 7am but my leg was hurting for the first couple miles so the time out was slow. However, things calmed and the return trip was my best ever at 59:11. Then a couple hours later I arranged to meet a friend at the far end of the Greenway and walk back with him. We did that, had some all important smoothies and conversation, then made the return trip together. So he walked a round trip and I did three for the day, a total of 29 miles. While it was not a single event marathon, it did exceed the distance for the day so I call it a pseudo-marathon. My goal for the summer, was essentially reached. Now I am back to fast times and my 5MPH goal.