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Finishing the 2013 year strong with the final 7 in the Jackpot year

December 4, 2013

I’ve been quiet for a while and I bet you thought that meant that I was lying on my couch working on adding more weight. Quite the contrary! OK there was a little bit of that, but mostly I was busy coming up with my final 7 event to close out the Jackpot year.

What Jackpot you ask? As a reminder, this year was shaping up to be the year of sevens. I had completed the Ocean’s 7 becoming the first American to complete the challenge while setting a new overall record for the North Channel. I completed my 7th – 8.2 miles Pennock Island Race in Ketchikan Alaska. That left one more 7 event to give me three 7s for a jackpot year – 777. Some may argue that the first two 7’s may have been enough for the year especially when you consider I also did a double crossing of the Columbia Bar aka “The Graveyard”, set a new women’s record for the 12.7 mile Anacapa Swim between Anacapa Island and California (Side Note: I just realized that I never sent you all this update. SURPRISE!), and I’ve been nominated as World Open Water Swimming Association’s Woman Swimmer of the Year (vote here: https://www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com/2013-wowsa-award-nominees-vote-here/. Voting is open until the end of December.)

Geez, even writing that and I’m beginning to question why I need another 7. I know the answer though. It’s because I’m a Type A overachiever that likes to round things out. Yes I’m the person that goes on a walk and sets a goal to get to “that” light post and then I have to touch the chosen light post or the walk doesn’t count. I think that I may be becoming a little OCD about the rules of open water swimming and the touching the start and end points. 

Anyways, back to the last 7 of the year. It took quite a bit of thought, but I finally came up with it. It is a 7 week ladder for the last 7 weeks of the year. The plan is to do a distance of at least 7 miles of an activity for the week. Each week I would add another activity retaining the activity from the week prior. This means at the end of the 7 weeks I will be doing 7 different activities at 7 miles minimum each for a total of 49 miles. I went a little overboard on making sure that my last 7 for the Jackpot year had a lot of extra 7s in it for good measure. See what I mean about overachieving. The challenge for me would be to find 7 activities that I could do, as really I only know how to swim and land sports are pretty dangerous propositions for me. It took some work but here is what the challenge looks like.

Jackpot 7 week challenge

Week 1 – walking (7 miles total)

  • This week proved relatively easy as my friend let me tag along on walking the dogs. I do have to say though I was pretty sore after 7 miles total for the week and was walking with a limp for a few days.

Week 2 – walking, biking/spinning (7 miles of each for total of 14 miles)

  • Walking got a little easier. I still went with my friend so she really was walking her dogs and me. I thought this was funny as I could only see her Facebook post “Walking the dogs and Michelle again today…had to slow down for Michelle. Took dogs out later for another session as it was too short.”
  • Biking/Spinning – This required me to sit on a bike. I don’t know if you all have tried this, but if you aren’t used to sitting on a spin bike or regular bike there are parts that will hurt for a while. My friend told me that this eventually just becomes normal and you don’t mind so much. I’m not thinking that this is a ringing endorsement for biking. One would think I had enough padding back there, but I guess not. I’m wondering if there is a lazy boy version of the bike seat. Thankfully 7 miles of biking/spinning took less time than the walking.

Week 3 – walking, biking/spinning, elliptical (7 miles of each for a total of 21 miles)

  • Walking. Still doing it. It has actually turned into a great outing for me and friends. We talk, we walk, I ask to go slower, and we do.
  • Biking/Spinning – Hit a trail called the Springwater Corridor for some outside experience. The keester is still sore and my Google search has yet to turn up a lazy boy bike seat. I’m waiting for the time that my rear doesn’t hurt. Add to that and my legs are burning now too. Must keep going…
  • Elliptical – This one almost proved to be my undoing this week. I just couldn’t bring myself to get to the gym with the sun shining outside. Plus I don’t love the elliptical machine. I crammed in all 7 miles in one day. Not great planning but I’m still on track.

Week 4 – walking, biking/spinning, elliptical, rowing (7 miles of each for a total of 28 miles)

  • This is where I am to date. I accosted a woman at the gym to teach me rowing a few weeks ago. I saw her on the machine numerous times and she really looked to know what she was doing. Man was I right, a Harvard rower. She kindly taught me the basics and now rowing is into the mix.

Week 5 – walking, biking/spinning, elliptical, rowing, swimming (7 miles of each for a total of 35 miles)

Week 6 – walking, biking/spinning, elliptical, rowing, swimming, kayaking (7 miles of each for a total of 42 miles)

Week 7 – walking, biking/spinning, elliptical, rowing, swimming, kayaking and… (7 miles of each for a total of 49 miles)

  • As I laid out week 6 I realized that I was running out of activities that I remotely thought I could do and that could be measured in miles. As I raised this with others they suggested the following activities:
    • Stairs – my reply “Yuck” – can you imagine walking 7 miles of stairs?  Yeah, I can’t either and I don’t think it is going to happen here.
    • Throwing a medicine ball around the track – This was my trainers idea and I still sort of think that this would not be fun. 
    • The “Viper” machine at the gym – This machine is where you pull a rope semi-simulating rope climbing. Again a trainer recommendation, that was until he had me try it for all of a minute and I my arms almost fell off. Plus from the calculation I would have to do this until I was at retirement age before I got 7 miles. I’m only kidding a little bit. Ultimately we weren’t sure if this would cause shoulder issues, so we nixed it.
    • Swinging on a swing set – This was my idea because frankly I don’t think we do enough swinging on a swing set. Problem came when measuring the arch traveled and then equating that into miles. I don’t think my math skills for that calculation survived past 5th grade.
    • Hoola Hooping – Same math issues as Swinging on a swing set.
    • Jump roping around the track – Viable but not sure about my jump roping skills anymore.
    • Ice Skating – Um, not sure that my ankles could take the pressure.
    • Roller Skating – Um, not sure that I know how to stop without falling over.
    • Cross country skiing – No gear. Shush I know I could rent some.
    • Down hill skiing – this seemed like cheating in the challenge as I would just be having what I’ve heard is a “Garage sale” on the mountain and then I’d really be back in the walking category. 
    • Hiking – too close to walking activity

Since I’m only on week 4 I feel that I still have time to figure out the last activity for week 7. I’m leaning heavily towards roller skating because like swinging on a swing set I just don’t think we get enough of it when we become “adults.” I mean how cool would it be to have an adult roller rink party!

That’s it. The final 7 in the Jackpot. And it is a doozy of a 7. Week 3 already almost proved my undoing, but I found the time and got through it. I’m also hoping that in this 7 weeks that my body will be in enough shock from so many land sports that it will drop 7 pounds. Time will tell.

One Response to “Finishing the 2013 year strong with the final 7 in the Jackpot year”

  1. Gary Campen says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Just checking in to see where you are on your sevens. . . Perhaps mid week six, right? How is it going? Oh boy, big week coming up around the corner.
    Good luck!

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