4 years ago I participated in my first Walk for Life walking challenge, sponsored by my work. I’m competitive, to say the least, so that first challenge I tried to walk my heinie off. I made just over 1 million steps and was proud. The second and third years, still being competitive, were not so good. I got into a “been there, done that” mindset, which eventually led me to justify why I could skip a day here and there, walk a little less (both distance wise AND speed wise). At the end of that 3rd walking challenge, I was less than eager to keep going.
So, I slowed down my walking to a few times a week, started sitting and watching television, and basically stopped exercising. And then, winter was upon us. Minnesota, in the winter, can be brutal. Running from the house to the car and then from the car to the door at work should become an olympic sport. But, unfortunately, the 20 yards distance doesn’t even get the heart to pitter-patter.
So after holiday potlucks, Christmas, and New Year’s, I made a conscious effort to exercise more. It started with finding a empty area at work (one half of the second floor), where I could walk for 30 minutes, at a quick pace (without bothering anyone), and most importantly, not suffer frostbite. I looked forward the first non-subzero day. I told myself that I was getting older, and that walking in negative temperatures was for the young (I’m only 46). I do have the proper clothing to wear, but I don’t warm up as fast as I used to.
And finally the day came, it was supposed to reach 35 degrees that day, I planned to walk outside! And I’ve been walking outside ever since. I walk at least 5 out of 7 days a week, for at least 30 minutes. Since May 4th, the start of my 4th Walking Challenge, I’ve been walking my usual 4am two-mile circuit (takes 30 minutes, because the dog must do his doodie) and I have added a four mile walk at lunch (which is taking about 60 minutes) I’m trying to get my walking times to 14 min/mile. At that point, I may start to add a little jog in, but I’m not rushing anything.
I’m enjoying the exercise more, I’m not competing with anyone but myself, and I’m trying to do it the right way and not burn myself out.
So, after 23 days, I’ve walked 295,000 steps and feel fantastic!