I’m usually not one for New Years Resolutions, but last year, I decided to try to get into shape. We picked up an incredibly cheap and rickety elliptical machine a year or so ago, and now that it collected a thick layer of dust, I finally decided to use it. But in a really geeky way.
No doubt that one of the reasons I’ve grown wider and heavier is that much of my time over the past year has been dedicated to reading and even studying J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I started with the Hobbit, and then immediately I covered pretty well everything in the legendarium, including the Silmarillion, Children of Hurin and Unfinished Tales. I went through everything at least twice, and have even begun to delve into the History of Middle-earth series. Basically, I’m hooked.
What I was not hooked on, however, was exercising. I’d try to walk or do whatever it is one does on the elliptical machine, but never found myself motivated. The elliptical machine would keep track of the miles I ellipticaled, but I never really knew what to do with them. That is, until now.
Karen Wynn Fonstand, author of The Atlas of Middle-Earth figured out the exact distances Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship walked in Lord of the Rings – 1,779 miles. She even broke it down nearly mile-by-mile. It provides an interesting outline to the book itself.
With the help of Fonstand’s atlas, I set off from my imaginary Bag End, and at first, ellipticaled my way through the front gate, past the mill, over the hill, and down toward Buckleberry Ferry. I dodged the Black Riders of Laziness, and didn’t stop to eat Farmer Maggot’s Mushrooms of All the Food I Want in the World (and maybe even skip second breakfast). I soon left the Shire and cruised through Bree, past Weathertop, and to Rivendell.
I did aboutfive or so miles each day, and then wrote about what’s happening to Frodo and Sam (as it’s their path I’ll be following) along the way.
But then I was injured (not from this project) and had to take a few months off. Since then, I’ve cut back on everything, including the posts, which are now three times a week. I will definitely see this through, usually covering five miles with each post.
I’ll also be moving on to the Silmarillion, as well as other Tolkien-related projects through 2015. The focus of this blog has turned from an excuse to exercise to an in depth study of Tolkien’s legendarium. This is all very exciting!