Walking to Rivendell

A few years ago (ok, maybe more like 6) I ran across an exercise program that fit really well into what I was doing at the time. I was at Baylor, and the music buildings on campus are on opposite ends, so I was doing a LOT of walking, plus walking around the 2.25 mile Bear Trail a few times a week as well. Somewhere in my internet wanderings, probably on a forum somewhere, I ran across the Walk to Rivendell.

Basically the idea is to walk (or run or bike or swim or whatever) and count your mileage or time, and track it alongside the Hobbits’ journey from Bag End to Rivendell. It’s based on Karen Wynn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle Earth, where she calculated the time, speed, and mileage of the entire trip from Hobbiton to Mount Doom, and back.

It’s a little bit like Zombies, Run! only without the zombies and game achievements and with Black Riders and second breakfasts.

The first time I did the walk, I got all the way to Rivendell (458 miles) plus about halfway from Rivendell to Lothlorien, before I started having joint pain flares and stopped being able to regularly walk 4-5 miles in one go.

While I still can’t walk 4-5 miles in one go, and I can’t walk 15 minute miles yet either, I figure even doing this 2 miles at a time is better than not doing anything. So I’ve decided to start the walk again, back from the beginning.

My Rheumatologist wants me to be more active, and swimming is just not feasible for me during the week anymore. (It takes approximately 2 hours for me to swim, and I have approximately 3 hours between when I get home and when I start getting ready for bed. Just not gonna work.) I can walk though, and I can do so wisely and listen to my joints and not do too much at once.

I figure I can pretty easily walk 1 mile on weeknights and 2.5-3 miles on weekends, so my goal is 8-10 miles a week. That’s a little ambitious (which is the point of a goal) but not, I don’t think, undoable. This weekend saw me averaging between 16 and 22 minutes per mile, depending on the day, so I’m not too far off my eventual goal speed either.

I’ve got a new pair of shoes, as my old tennis shoes were getting so thin you could see what color my socks were, and I’m hoping to avoid too much of the “change into a whole new outfit just to exercise” thing. Since I change into t-shirts and shorts after work, it’ll hopefully be easy to just saunter off for a quick walk before dinner. (What I’ll do when it’s no longer light until 8:30pm, I don’t know, but I’ll deal with that when I get to it.)

I posted about this on twitter earlier this weekend, and there were a few bites of interest, so I’ll make the same offer here.

If you want to walk (or do other exercise) with me, I’d love company on this journey. Generally they say to count 1 mile for every 20 minutes of exercise, if you don’t have another way to track mileage. (I track actual mileage with Runkeeper.) I’ve set up a spreadsheet though, with various milestones along the journey, and I’m happy to share that with anyone who wants to play along.

It’s admittedly not a short term kind of goal, but it’s a fun (and exceptionally nerdy) one. Right now I’m not looking to Rivendell as much as I am looking to Crickhollow, and then Bree, and then Weathertop.

One step, and one mile, at a time, right?

7 thoughts on “Walking to Rivendell

  1. Anna, I’d love to walk to Rivendell with you! I’ve been making a lot of plans about changes to my body and habits, and it’d be wonderful to have some external motivation to help me. Mind, I don’t promise to be as untiring as Bill the pony! I’m probably more like Fatty Lumpkin, who wants to go home to his oats…

  2. @Sophie: Yay! I’ll send you the spreadsheet when I get home from work! Can you read an open document (.ods) or should I convert to Excel?

    I’m no speed demon myself, but I think (as cliche as it is to say) its about the trip. And since we’re going on a trip to Rivendell, we can celebrate milestones with pictures from the movies/art from Tolkien and Howe and Lee.

  3. Sounds like fun.

    Then again, all adventures sound fun sitting in a comfy chair with a stout drink at your side.

    I know that I won’t be a speed deamon by any means, not after blowing my knee out last year. That said, I’d love to take a walk to Rivendell with you.

  4. I’m in! I have five more weeks before I can start though. I have to wear the boot after getting hardware removed from the formerly broken leg. And I’ll convert the stationary biking I am doing into miles so I don’t fall too far behind.

  5. Comment spam! If that’s allowed, for the whole biking thing. I’ll be able to make up some of the miles at work, once I’m cleared for full duty again. So if the bike is a no-go (sort of feels like cheating, nobody in LotR had bikes), I’ll catch up later.

  6. @Kyraine – biking is fine! You’ll either go a lot faster or you can give yourself 1 mile for every 20 minutes of moderate exercise.

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