I’m thinking about training for a marathon. Not a running one, though. A walking one. Is it still considered a marathon if you walk? Maybe not. A walkathon, then.

Training for a walk. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? However, I’ve had shin splits. Very, very painful. Not wanting to experience that ever again. Training will strengthen my feet, ankles, knees, thighs and, yes, my shins, so I can avoid more splinters.

Really, my focus is on a great way to get in some exercise, raise some funds and expand my pathetic t-shirt collection. I only have four out of the next 10 weekends free, so I’m looking walks and other adventures taking place starting around mid-May.

The 2010 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is June 12 here in Raleigh. Breast cancer is not in my immediate family, but I have some cousins who are affected.  However, the two biggest risk factors are being a woman and living longer, so I’m definitely not in the clear.

It’s only 5k, which Google says is 3.1 miles. I can walk three miles now with not a whole lot of effort, so I’ll definitely add that fund-raiser to my June schedule.

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My sister, who’s seven years older than I, has multiple sclerosis. Years ago I participated in a walk or two for MS.  I’d like to do so again. Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town for the Raleigh walk April 24. There are walks in nearby cities in May that I could add to my schedule, like the 5-mile walk in May 15 in Fayetteville, which is only 45 minutes down the road.

The Carolinas chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a “challenge walk” – 50 miles over three days. It starts June 4. I think I could do one day of maybe 15 miles by June, but I’m not sure I’d be able to feel my legs the next morning. And June in the Carolinas is no joke: The heat will be well into the 90s, if not higher. I can’t see myself completing Day 1 without a struggle and/or heat stroke.

Maybe next year.

There’s an Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte this October. They walk up to 26 miles one day, 13 miles the next. Right now, I can’t get my brain around walking 26 miles in one day, but you know what? October is my favorite month of the year, and absolutely beautiful here in N.C. And since it’s seven months away, maybe this 39-mile, two-day walk is what I should start training for.

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Maybe I can put together a small “Less Leslie” team for the Charlotte walk. From what little I’ve just read about it, we wouldn’t have to walk the whole 39 miles – though I’d like to at least try. To while away the hours, maybe we can share books on tape/DVD. (I’ll bring the thrillers.)

Hmmm. This is starting to sound kinda fun …

If you’ve ever participated in a walk-a-thon, I’d like to hear about your experiences, and am definitely interested in your advice. And if you’re planning on participating in any walks in and around the Carolinas – even D.C. or Virginia (love that area!) or Ohio – let me know.

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I might just come join ya.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 now, and we don't know where the hell she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.