Back when I first agreed to walk I knew I would need to train. While I had been exercising some as part of my recovery, I really was not in shape to run a marathon, let alone walk a marathon and a half over two days. So I put myself on a training plan and I did the best I could. I committed to walking a full marathon over two days; 13.1 miles each day. My walking partner and I were the caboose, but we did it. We walked the first half of our marathon on Saturday. Until you experience it, you cannot know the thrill of making it to the 13 mile marker.
Last year the Team walked in Washington, D.C. Again, I knew I’d need to train. Training was a bit easier. There was a sense of “been there, done that” so I did not feel anxious about the weekend or the physical requirements. Again, I committed to a full marathon knowing that I was in better shape in 2012 than I had been in 2011. However, I did not want to commit to 39.3 miles and fall short. I mentally prepared myself with the idea of 13.1 miles on Saturday, and if I felt good at the midway mark I’d keep going until I knew I needed to stop.
The Washington, D.C. walk was physically more challenging. There were hills. But ultimately I did not feel that the hills were all that bad. However, I did stop at the 13 mile marker knowing that I would have to do it again on Sunday and I wanted to be able to climb those hills.
So now I’m facing San Francisco in less than nine months. In December, as we looked toward the New Year with resolutions (and long winter months) I decided to set a goal for the month of January. Not a New Year’s resolution. Just a January goal. The goal was to walk one mile a day six days a week. (Monday through Saturday). It meant getting up a little bit earlier every day in order to have time to visit my treadmill before starting my day.
I am told that it takes 30 days to form a new habit. (I’ve also heard 21 days and three months). Well, my body is now used to the new routine. I am waking up on my own before the alarm most mornings. On days when I can sleep in I’m usually up by 6:30 a.m. I guess that habit has been formed.
I started December 31. Today is January 31 and so far I’ve stuck to my routine. I just have to walk tomorrow and Saturday to make it five full weeks. And that’s the hard part. Not the walking, though some days I’m stiff. It’s the mental discipline. It is so easy for me to try to talk myself out of walking. I’m running late. I’m sore. I’ll do two miles tomorrow. When I start down that mental path I admonish those thoughts and tell myself “Just a mile. That’s all. Just a mile. If you want to walk two miles tomorrow, that’s ok. But that’s tomorrow. Today it’s a mile.” And believe me, some mornings that mile is longer than others. However, as of today, from January 1 – January 31, I have walked 30 miles. (32 miles if I count December 31st).
Now it’s time to set February’s goal.