Monthly Archives: January 2016

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain on the roof.  Having lived my entire life in the Pacific Northwest, I’m used to waking up to the sound of rain.  I snuggled deeper into my blankets, letting the sound lull me in my cocoon.  It was lovely – until I realized I needed to get out and put in my four miles.  Four miles in the rain.  Four miles in the dark.

One of the benefits (if you can call it that) of having this 1200-mile goal for the year is I don’t want to miss a day.  I don’t want to fall behind in my mileage.  If I wasn’t participating in this 1200-mile challenge, I probably would have settled back in to bed and listened to the rain.  Or, I might have been really ambitious – I might have actually gotten out of bed to sit snuggled by the window with my coffee while watching the rain come down.  But, no, I didn’t do either of those.  Instead, I got up, put on my rain clothes and headed out the door into the predawn darkness.

It wasn’t just wet; I soon realized it was colder than I had expected.  I hadn’t brought gloves and my hands were soon wet and frigid.  I was wearing a baseball cap to keep the rain off my face, but it was raining too hard for that to be very effective.  I wasn’t sure if the moisture dripping off my nose was rain or snot.

The trail I walk on is a well used trail, but I didn’t meet any other walkers or runners this morning in the dark and with the rain coming down hard.  I did see four other people standing outside, in the dark, in the rain, but they weren’t out for exercise.  Each of them was outside for a cigarette break!  Really??  I had to pull my butt out of bed to force myself outside for reasons of health and fitness and here these folks were standing outside, in the rain, to smoke a cigarette?  Unbelievable!

I normally do an out and back and then head out again for a shorter out and back to get in my four miles.  Like a horse that heads back to the barn too quickly, I knew I couldn’t tempt myself with a return to the house until the full four miles was done, so I had to plan my route to take me far enough away to make it less likely I’d cut the walk short.  As I walked, I thought about what I’d write for this blog and the blog became a motivator.  After all, it wouldn’t do to write about walking four miles in the rain if I didn’t actually finish the four miles.

According to the nursery rhyme, it’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring.  Not for me!  My version:  It’s raining, it’s pouring, my mileage is soaring.

10 in the Bank

As of yesterday morning, I have ten reserve miles built up for my 1200-mile challenge.  Actually, it’s almost eleven miles, but that doesn’t sound as good for a title.  My plan for reaching the 1200-miles this year is to walk or run four miles a day, six days a week.  While I haven’t yet taken a skip day, there have been days when I’ve done a little less than four miles.  However, because I have had a few days when I’ve gone longer and since I haven’t taken a skip day, my mileage has stayed on track and now I have a nice, ten-mile reserve.

It’s a little like dealing with finances.  I now have a little money in the bank.  Do I spend a little bit here and a little bit there, letting it whittle down to nothing or, perhaps even going into debt?  Or do I save my money for a big expenditure – a vacation perhaps?  I’m actually feeling a little miserly about it.  If I don’t spend any of my saved miles and I continue to put in extra miles, I’ll continue to grow my reserve.  I may become the running/walking version of Scrooge McDuck.

Someday Stretch

In addition to the big monthly “somedays” I’d hoped I would also tackle some smaller “somedays” along this journey.  I’ve realized I have taken on a smaller “someday” without really realizing it – I have restarted a regular stretching routine.

I used to stretch daily after my morning workout, but with our move last year and the need to get into a new routine, I simply stopped stretching regularly and, boy, does my 57-year-old body feel it!  My workouts have become primarily walking and running outside instead of inside on a treadmill.  When I arrive home from my exercise time, there are dogs to unleash, shoes and coats to shed, and the thought of heading somewhere to stretch just doesn’t cross my mind.  I kept trying to figure out how to get stretching back into my daily routine and then it happened gradually without really planning right after my morning meditation session.  At first I stretched my arms into the air after my 10-minute gong went off, then I added a child’s pose.  Within days I was doing a pretty decent stretching routine and my body feels better.

Yesterday in the paper (yes, I still read a daily newspaper of the paper variety) I noticed an ad for someone who provides instruction on resistance stretching.  I bought a book on resistance stretching, but wasn’t able to do much on my own.  Was this a new ad or did I see the ad yesterday because the idea of stretching is fresh on my mind?  I don’t know, but I will stretch my comfort level this week and call the instructor to see about making an appointment.  My year of “somedays” means not putting stuff like this off.  Maybe that is settling in as a new reality.


As my meditation practice (December’s “someday”) continues, I’ve been researching different types of meditation to come up with what works best for me.  Last week I discovered several guided meditations available through a service I’m subscribed to.  I’ve been using them intermittently with my mindfulness practice.  I like the idea of sometimes being guided instead of having to rein in my thoughts myself.

This morning, I clicked on a “loving-kindness” meditation and – wow!  In this meditation style you basically select a few phrases or wishes which you first direct at yourself and then at others:  someone you love, someone who is neutral, someone with whom there is discord, and, finally, the entire world.  The list of phrases from this morning’s guided meditation was extensive, but the list can be whatever you choose:  may I be healthy, may I be strong, may I feel peace, may I feel joyful, may I be free of mental suffering, etc.

This type of meditation appeals to me as a way to bring positive energy into myself and then send it out to others.  It feels like a form of prayer directed to the universe instead of a deity.  This might be a little too woo-woo for some, but I thoroughly enjoyed my meditation session this morning and I’m filled with excitement to pursue the idea of loving-kindness throughout my day.  Maybe if you’re standing in line in front of me at the grocery store today you’ll feel a little shot of peace and joy run through your heart and wonder where that came from.

Buddha said, “Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds – shine!”  I find it interesting that I found so much joy (perhaps found my inner self) in this meditation practice that is actually reaching out to others.  So, if you feel that little shot today, it might just be me shining.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Running Minus One

I’m not Facebook friends with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, but it was pointed out to me that a couple of days ago he posted his New Year’s physical challenge to run 365 miles this year.  He’s calling it A Year of Running and states that it’s a mile a day.  My first reaction was…Wimp!  My second thought – he must be taking a rest day since there are 366 days in 2016.

Zuckerberg already has more than 87,000 people signed up to join him in tackling this goal.  That’s great!  Many of those folks are probably already runners, but I’m sure many of them are couch potatoes who are inspired by a goal that sounds doable.  I hope that the true couch potatoes aren’t turned off by the running goal.  I’d like it better if it was a running or walking goal.  That’s not the point, though.  It is a goal and, for many people, it will be a challenge.  I do wonder how much of a challenge it really is for a guy like Zuckerberg, who is probably already a runner.  I may be wrong on that, but he looks like a runner.  Maybe he just has good genes and this goal really is a challenge for him.

Actually, I think I need to take off my Snide Hat and acknowledge that it’s good anytime a person takes on a physical challenge whether it’s training for a marathon or getting out of bed to use the bathroom after a medical event.  I applaud Mark Zuckerberg for putting his goal out there and, because he reaches millions of people, for encouraging others to join him in setting a physical goal.

Now I’m out the door to do my mile (x4).

Have Challenge, Will Walk

Today is four days into my 1200-mile challenge and I’ve walked/run over sixteen miles, staying on pace with my plan of four miles/day, six days/week.  The temperature where I live has been very cold, dipping down into the negatives early in the mornings.  There is a lot of snow on my walking trail along with some icy spots, so this is not exactly power walking, but it is definitely a workout – my legs feel the effort!

I have to admit I would probably have bagged the idea of walking four miles on January 1st and 2nd if it hadn’t been for the formality of signing up for this challenge with Oregon Road Runners Club.  It would have been easy to simply sit inside looking out at the beautiful white winter wonderland and put off a workout until “someday” when the conditions were better.  However, knowing I’ve signed up for this challenge and my mileage will be posted on the ORRC website and with the companionship and support of my husband and two visiting friends, I got out there and walked…and walked…and walked.

My husband put together an Excel spreadsheet for me to track my mileage.  Seeing the numbers for the first three days along with the miles left to go and the projected mileage at my current pace was encouraging.  Yesterday, it was much easier to get out the door.  Today, it wasn’t even a question.  I’m on my way!

In with the New

Out with the old; in with the new.  Except the old, in terms of my 366 Somedays journey, is writing and meditation, neither of which is going “out”.  I’m ready for the new “new”, though!  Today begins my 1200 Challenge:  running/walking 1200 miles this year.  That averages out to four miles per day, six days per week.  Having been sick last month – yes, December is now considered “last month” – I slacked off on my regular exercise schedule.  I normally run and/or walk daily, but the outings for the last month have been infrequent at best and for a couple of weeks were not at all.

I’ve wanted to take on a physical challenge “someday”.  Someday is now and I’m ready for the new challenge and excited to get started.

Whether we want them or not, the new year will bring new challenges.

Whether we seize them or not, the new year will bring new opportunities.

–Michael Josephson

Post-script:  I wrote this early this morning, but didn’t get it posted.  Since then I did a 4.8 mile walk.  Day 1 done.