Saturday, July 15, 2017

7 x 7

I am training for Avon39 – The Walk to End Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara this year. This is the seventh walk in as many cities. My first walk was Houston in 2011. The Avon Foundation hosts seven walks in seven cities across the U.S. So, in many ways this walk completes an item on my bucket list: to walk in each host city.

In order to participate, each walker must commit to raising a minimum of $1,800. I have managed to accomplish this, and more, each year due to the generous donations of family, friends, classmates, co-workers, and even complete strangers.

In addition to raising money, walkers are encouraged to train. The walk is 39.3 miles over two days. The first day is 26.2 miles (a marathon). The second day is the remaining 13.1 miles. Each year I have committed to walking 13.1 miles each day for a total of 26.2 miles or a marathon.

Reebok® is an official sponsor of the Avon Walk. They publish a training schedule for us to follow, should we so choose. It’s a wonderful guide, but it is not something I have ever followed. Based on the training options, I am considered an “intermediate” fitness level:

  • You currently walk (or do other sustained activity) for 30 minutes or more
  • You can run/walk a 5k distance
  • You exercise regularly 3-4 times per week

The truth is that if I were to follow one of their training schedules, I would have to select the “beginner” level. In looking at the training schedule, it really is all about endurance. Each week you increase your total mileage for the week. I’ve been walking one mile a day for a couple of months now. Recently, I decided to try to increase my weekly total by adding a mile to at least three days a week. I started with 9 training miles per week. Two weeks ago I managed (almost) 11 training miles.

I’ll be honest. While I do try to walk a mile each day, some weeks it just doesn’t happen. Due to obligations that take me away from my daily routine I do not always try to find a way to walk that mile. Conferences are a perfect example. While hotels do have a fitness room, I find that I never pack my sneakers or a t-shirt. My excuse is lack of room in my suitcase. Other times I’m busy with commitments and I don’t build in the time to take that walk.

What I have found is that consistently walking, even a few days a week, has built up my endurance. I find that if I sit too long at my desk I want to get up and move; take a short walk around my building or home. I also find that it is easier to walk that first mile, and the second one is kind of fun. I have a teammate who does her training walks on the weekends. She has been trying to increase her pace. Recently she shared that this week’s training walk “didn’t even hurt.”

And that is the result I am striving for. To walk more each week so that 13.1 miles per day is feasible.

If you would like to support my fundraising efforts, consider a $49 tax-deductible donation ($7 x 7 years).

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Thinking of Maureen

My friend Maureen is an amazing woman. Over the past several months she has publicly shared her journey toward better health through nutrition and exercise. Specifically, she has posted her daily steps as she worked toward 10,000 per day. A feat that I find unobtainable.
Over a year ago I bought a FitBit®. My intention was that by having this gadget I would walk more; move and maybe get some exercise. The little device has shamed me into nothing. All I’ve learned over the past year plus is that 2,100 steps is a mile for me. Some days I walk a lot. Other days not so much. Weekends are the worst. I hardly walk at all.
You see, I’m supposed to be training for the Avon Walk. With the knowledge I have from this clip-on tool, and Maureen’s encouragement, I started intentionally walking during my lunch break. I work on a beautiful campus that has many different paths and opportunities for walking. I haven’t walked every day, but the days that I do I complete a mile. I also live on a beautiful street and have mapped out two, one-mile loops so that if I’m conscientious, I walk a mile before work.
In my neighborhood
Maureen and I grew up in the same small town in Connecticut. She was ahead of me in school, but our lives and our families have been intertwined for decades. A few years ago we reconnected through social media. Since then we have gotten together in person a few times. And we’ve become close friends. Maureen and I have a lot in common. Maybe it’s that small town upbringing. Maybe it’s God’s purposefulness in giving me a confidant and inspiration. Whatever it is, she is someone I can turn to. Because of her, I am on my way to 10,000 steps a day.
(Last week, I walked an additional nine miles. That’s nine miles more than usual. That’s nine miles toward training for a marathon).

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.