09/07/2009 at 07:00 PM EDT
and a friend were recently discussing what would be on her "bucket list," a list of things to do before she dies.
So what's on it? "I want to learn to play a couple of songs on the guitar. I want to learn a few of those fancy dances from one of those Dancing with the Stars
teachers. And I want to run a triathlon," the Desperate Housewives
star tells PEOPLE.
The timing was perfect for Hatcher, when her show's parent company Disney asked her to lead a team in this year's Nautica Malibu Triathlon on Sept. 13. In addition to checking off an activity from her bucket list, 44-year-old Hatcher is also raising money to benefit the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
For a month, she has stepped up her training, she says. And although she feels like a kid when she rides her bike to work three to four times a week, and has been known to swim with the whales, she says running is the hardest part of the triathlon.
"It's the least fun for me," she says about the four-mile run that comes at the end of the event. "By that point, I'm really tired, so the whole time I'm thinking, 'I'm not going to make it.'"
But Hatcher says participating was not about getting a great time or winning.
"I'm just out to do it and I did it," she says. "I did surprise myself that I'm in better shape than I thought I was."
Anyone interested in donating to her cause can go to Teamhatcher.org