Tag Archives: walking

1200 Miles — Woo-Hoo?

milesYesterday I crossed the finish line of my January “Someday”: running and/or walking 1200 workout miles during the calendar year.  I put in miles on the treadmill last winter and early spring and again late this fall when the weather turned bad.  I put in miles in snow, rain, and heat.  I put in miles in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, Portland, Seattle, The Redwoods, Las Vegas, the Oregon and Washington Coasts, Los Angeles, New York, Rome, Cortona, and Venice.  My monthly mileage has been right around 100 miles except for October when we were in Italy much of the month.  I quietly finished yesterday with three miles on the treadmill before dawn and then a three mile walk on our snowy paths.  There was no finisher’s metal, no finish line crowds; in fact, my husband is the only one who knows right now that I made it to my goal.

So where’s the woo-hoo? Surprisingly, I feel a little ambivalent about completing this year-long quest.  I did it.  I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I’m taking away from the experience the excitement and enthusiasm I expected.  The reality is, I did this as a physical challenge, but my physical condition is worse than when I started.  I weigh more and my flexibility and strength have declined due to decreased stretching and weight lifting as I’ve dedicated more of my workout time to running and walking.  I’m actually relieved to be done so I can go back to a more rounded workout routine.  I’ll still be on the treadmill or the paths almost daily, but without the need to maintain a 4-mile per day average, six days a week and I’ll also be able to add in more varied workout activities.  So, woo-hoo for me!  I completed my goal.  Maybe sometimes an achieved “Someday” isn’t all we expect it to be.  Maybe it’s true you can’t do it all and a commitment to one thing means you can’t do something else.  As time goes on, I think I will be more proud and more gratified of doing something healthful not many people have matched.  For now I am going to take the best of this – the motivation to be healthy – and apply it to 2017 and the rest of my life!

Wish vs. Do

Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you’re prepared to do.

–Percy Cerutty
A view from my afternoon walk

Yesterday I walked – twice.  I also made cards.  I ended the day feeling relaxed and peaceful (even with the political storm swirling around).  I walk or run in the morning almost everyday, but yesterday I went longer than normal and, later, when the beautiful November afternoon beckoned, I didn’t look at my extensive To-Do list; I went outside.  Before my afternoon walk, I spent a few hours working on greeting cards I wanted to send out.  A couple of hours slipped by as I experimented with my cutting machine, selected papers, found quotes, glued and taped, but they were restorative hours that were thoroughly enjoyable.

During the twelve months of this 366 Somedays, I will have tried twelve activities I’ve always thought I wanted in my life.  I’ve discovered some of these activities simply don’t call to my heart as I thought they would – speaking Italian, for example.  Sure, I’d love to speak Italian, but not enough to put in the time to learn it.  Unfortunately, the same may be true for learning to play drums.  I’m not ready to cross that one off my list, but I’m getting close.

Yesterday, as I practiced a little self-care, I realized I really love walking and running, especially when I do them outdoors.  I also really love making cards and playing with paper.  It dawned on me that a benefit of this 366 Somedays process is I’m homing in on activities I truly love and am prepared to pursue as well as discovering which activities are simply wishful and probably need to fall by the wayside.  I want to spend my time pursuing those activities that leave me with the relaxed, peaceful feeling I experienced last night.  That feeling shouldn’t be reserved for days when I have made a concerted effort at self-care.  That feeling should be the norm and getting there requires letting some activities go in order to focus on others.

1,000 Miles

My January “Someday” was the physical challenge of walking or running 1,200 miles this calendar year.  This challenge is part of the Oregon Road Runners Club’s 1,200 Mile Challenge.  This is the “Someday” at which I’ve been most successful and I’m excited to announce that last week, on the last day of October, I went over the 1,000-mile mark, right on schedule.  I worked hard before October to put in extra miles knowing October’s travel would make it difficult to accumulate miles at my normal rate.  Extra banked miles plus a few runs in Italy and I made my mini-goal of staying on target throughout a month with very low mileage.

I have 200 miles to go, but I’m feeling pretty good about putting this “Someday” to rest before December 31st.  Then what?  I’m thinking another “Someday” will be to learn to swim adequately enough to be able to complete a mini-triathlon.  Right now, though, I need to go pick up my knitting needles and work on this month’s “Someday”.

Rockin’ On

Picture1I’m still plugging away on my January “Someday”: running and walking 1200 miles this calendar year.  My routine has changed throughout the year with the changing seasons and circumstances.  In the early months I did quite a few miles on the treadmill as I waited for dawn to arrive so I could finish my daily miles outside with my dogs.  I live in a resort town, so during the summer months I’ve tried to be out the door no later than 6:00 in order to avoid the crowds of vacationers running, walking, and biking on our trails.

Whether I’m on the treadmill or outside, one of the pieces of my routine that doesn’t change is my running.  I consider myself a runner, but I do enjoy walking, as well.  However, when I run, I do not run continuously.  As the well known running coach Jeff Galloway recommends, I run with walk breaks – a form of interval training.  A problem has arisen for me, though, in how I refer to my workouts.  I am an extremely honest person and I feel uncomfortable saying, “I went for a 3-mile run this morning,” when I actually took walk breaks in that run.  Lately, I’ve been using the cumbersome term, “run-walk” as in, “I ran-walked 3-miles this morning.”  As I was motoring along during my 3-mile run-walk this morning, I was pondering this issue when a lightening idea struck.  From now on, I will combine the two words and I will RALK!  When you say the word “ralk” it sounds like “rock”.  I’m feeling pretty good saying this out loud:  I ralked 3 miles this morning!”

Skip Day

When I began the 1200-mile challenge in January, my plan was to average 4 miles per day, 6 days per week with Sunday being a rest day.  Throughout all of January and February and through almost half of March, I didn’t take that Sunday rest day.  My reserve mileage increased and the extra Sunday miles allowed for lighter-mile days now and then.

Even though working out every day had not been part of my “someday” plans, I was beginning to think I might keep up the pace and do 366 exercise days in a row.  Then, Tuesday happened.  Tuesday was my travel day back home from spending two weeks with my daughter, son-in-law, and my newborn grandson.  I had planned to hit the trail that morning, but then there were two hours of blissful baby-holding.  I went to a late breakfast with my mother-in-law wearing my workout clothes, thinking I would head out the door as soon as I returned from breakfast, but then breakfast ran long as we chatted and caught up.  I drove home (four hours) still wearing my workout clothes.  I thought I’d head out for a walk as soon as I arrived home in the very late afternoon, but then my daughter and her boyfriend, who were spending part of their spring break at our house, were waiting and hoping for dinner out before they left the next morning.  End result?  I took a skip day!  Do I regret it?  Not a bit!  I spent time with my two-week old grandson, I enjoyed conversation with my mother-in-law, and I had a lovely time with my daughter and her boyfriend.  I would regret skipping time with family, but I can easily make up the four miles lost on my exercise skip day.

A New Sense of Calm

I was humming a tune
Photo credit: Me

This week I’ve noticed a foreign sense of calm within myself.  Once I realized it, I looked back to see if I could pinpoint when it began.  I can’t pinpoint a date, but I do know it’s been building for the last few weeks.  I say it’s foreign because my mind is usually racing, my nerves tied up with plans and worry, and something else – perhaps a heightened negative sense of some sort.  Now, my mind is still functioning, but it feels like it’s gently flowing, not racing.  My nerves?  I think of nerves as stress – again, flowing, not stressful.  And the “something else” is now this overall sense of calm.

I wonder if this is simply a matter of aging.  I’ve read that people tend to feel happier as they get older.  Is this new sense of calm simply me getting older?  As I read the research on this phenomenon, I really don’t think it applies to me right now.  One of the reasons people tend to get happier as they age is because they lower their expectations and accept their achievements.  Here I am, in the midst of my 366 Somedays tackling new goals every month, so I haven’t really lowered my expectations and accepted my past achievements as all inclusive.

I’m almost afraid to say it, but I think my new calm stems from the activities of my 366 Somedays.  I think my meditation practice, especially the loving kindness meditation, is having a positive effect on me.  I know daily exercise makes me feel good, but adding in the singing last week has changed my walks from exercise to a spiritual experience.  And yesterday I noticed that, when I’m not singing, I’m humming and humming also has therapeutic benefits.

I hoped the challenges of my 366 Somedays would bring satisfaction, but I wasn’t expecting calm.  This is another sign that stepping out and trying something new is good for us.  Now, if I could just whistle.  I read that whistling is also good for the body and mind.  Maybe learning to whistle should be one of my “somedays”.  No, let’s not push it!  I’ll meditate, I’ll sing a happy song, and I’ll hum a tune, but I don’t need to also whistle while I work.  Especially since, with all due respect to Lauren Bacall, there seems to be a lot more to it than “just put your lips together and blow.”

Singin’ in the Snow

I was surprised yesterday morning when I woke up and realized it was already after 6:30.  I’m normally up between 4:00 and 5:00, so 6:30 was sleeping in for me.  Since it was so late, I decided not to do my ten-minute meditation session right then.  I thought I’d do it later in the day, though I knew in my heart I probably wouldn’t.  A few hours later, out on my walk, I realized I had the opportunity to practice mindfulness, making it a walking meditation.  The area where I live is still covered in snow.  The trails are clear in places, but I’m still wearing my cleated shoe covers.  As I walked I paid attention to the sound my cleats make: click-click on the bare pavement, crack-crack on the ice, and crunch-crunch on the snow.  I listened to the sound of the slight wind in my ears and the greater sound of the wind in the trees.  I looked up into the trees, hoping for a porcupine, owl, eagle, or hawk sighting.  I eventually shifted my walking meditation to a loving kindness meditation.  Normally, I do my recitation in my head, but since I was trying something new, I said my phrases out loud.  It felt good to hear myself saying the words.  Then I started singing out loud.

SingingI saw this on a friend’s Facebook page yesterday morning so, as I walked and finished up my meditation, I thought I might as well give it a try.  I’m notorious for not knowing the lyrics to songs, so figuring out what to sing was a problem.  I can sing along to songs on the radio because I can just mumble-mumble through the words I don’t know.  Singing out loud without music and not knowing the words is a little harder.  I realized while I often have a song running through my head, it’s just a portion of the song.  I don’t know very many songs from beginning to end.  However, from somewhere deep inside my brain, I began singing some of the songs sung regularly when I was a Camp Fire Girl some forty years ago.  I sang Flicker of the Campfire and Kumbaya.  Let me tell you, singing Kumbaya while walking in the snowy silence…pretty profound.

Luckily there aren’t many people out on the trails this time of year and luckily my dogs love me enough not to mind my poor singing.  Like grandchildren, my dogs think my singing is wonderful.  And that’s a good thing – they might just be hearing more of it.

New Month, New “Someday”

The calendar has flipped over to a new month which means it’s time to add a new “someday” to my journey.  This month I’m going to begin learning Italian in earnest.  I’ve piddled around with language in the past, but it’s not something that comes easily to my brain.  I’ve tried for a week or so (much like dieting), but I’ve always given up.  I love Italy.  I love the pace and the beauty of Italy.  I love traveling in Italy.  I would love to speak Italian so I can communicate better when I am there and also to keep a piece of Italy with me.

Reviewing the last three months, writing, for my blogs and in my journal, is moving along smoothly; writing my book (November’s “someday”) is lagging.  However, I have been giving the book’s content a lot of thought and my writing is usually done in my brain before I even begin to put words to screen.  I am meditating regularly (December’s “someday”) and feel the practice has taken hold as part of my daily routine.  I am walking and/or running daily and I am ahead of plan on the 1200-mile annual challenge I started last month (118.76 miles to date).  Now, it’s time to add language lessons and practice.

To begin this month’s “someday”, I’ve downloaded an Italian language program to listen to in my car.  I’m in my car a lot, so that seems the most reasonable way to get started.  I also joined an online language program I’ll use to supplement the audio program.

I’ll keep you posted.  For now, ciao!

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.