Saturday, May 4, 2013

Channeling a Little Bit of Forrest Gump

Mama always did tell me I should get some exercise... so I am approaching 110 days in a row of walking or biking at least 30 minutes. Any time I walk, it's at least 2 miles, and that's most of the days. Biking days are 6-8 miles.

Thankfully, the pains I was experiencing around days 1-59 have subsided. It seems like day 60 began a time when there was not much pain in my leg, butt, back, foot, etc. Sure, I'm still a little stiff when I first get up after sleeping or sitting, but I shake that off pretty quickly now, and I don't have to stop mid-walk and stretch out my pains. For that, I am grateful.

I seem to have reached that zone where I get the endorphin rush. Ie. by the end of each day, if I haven't walked, I have the urge to walk. I need to walk. I want to walk. I like to walk. Unlike running, I don't dread walking. Sure, I run a "little" while walking, but within 50 feet I am reminded that running is not something I could do every day. At least not yet. So to a great degree, my walking "habit" is a success.  I also think the consecutive day pattern I'm in is wise.  Walking 6 out of 7 days, or 45 out of 50 days, for example, is just to tempting a "compromise" for me to make.  So I don't skip.  I walk.

The only downsides I am seeing with walking are (a) finding time and (b) boredom.  And I think I've done well to address both those matters. I have generally planned each day with my walk in mind. Somehow each day, I make sure I can get away for 30-40 minutes to walk. This often involves walking when I otherwise would have been "waiting" such as at soccer practice or tutoring. This has not cut into my reading time, normally enjoyed during those long waits, because I have downloaded  audio books to enjoy while walking. Additionally, I've registered for free online US History courses through Hillsdale College, which can be delivered via audio. So, mentally, my walks are fulfilling.
Visually, I've aimed for variety. I try to walk a different course every day. If I had to walk a track or the same route each day, I would have quit by now. I also take advantage of being in new places and finding walking time while there. Also, while walking, I've seen all sorts of things to which I would not have normally paid attention.

I've had some close calls on getting my walk done each day. Weather has been a mild obstacle, but I see the cold, wind, rain, ice, sleet, and snow I've endured as challenges to overcome, not excuses. I think the hardest walk I did was at Windy Hill Beach in driving rain and sand and 30+ MPH wind. I needed goggles that day! I have to say, this has been the coldest Spring I can remember. I hope it translates into being a mild summer. Frankly, if anything does me in, I predict it will be the hot humid NC summer.

A recent wintertime business trip to Chicago presented scheduling difficulties, both with my flight in and out, as well as after work, and before business meals. Despite walking in as much as 6" of snow, and a fall on the ice, I did log walks or workouts every one of those days.

Other than the satisfaction of recording each walk or ride with the "mapmywalk/ride" GPS app, I have enjoyed other benefits. I honestly feel better. I don't get tired when walking stairs, or doing other routine physical activities. I think I also have a better mental attitude. Additionally, for the times when Lori has walked with me, we've enjoyed having some time together to talk without interruption. She does really good to keep up with me being that her stride is not as long as mine.

The benefit I was expecting to experience in abundance is weight loss. Unfortunately, until a few weeks ago, I had not lost much at all. I attribute this to my snacking to make up for the additional hunger I am feeling from burning some calories each day. I've made some course corrections on my diet such as eating high protein Greek yogurt as a snack, instead of junk food. I also have resumed the use of Alli, and have doubled up the strength for major meals. Those actions seem to have kick started the weight loss. I am now down about 10 pounds.

Walk, Blain, walk.

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