Fit Friday Challenge


Recently I was issued a challenge through FB to walk, jog or run 200 miles. Yes, you read that correctly. Two hundred miles. So, I decided to do what I so often do when faced with an overwhelming task, I ignored it. I looked at the challenge and saw 200 miles and moved right on to the next post. Ignoring it wasn’t even that hard.

I should point out that the challenge was issued by someone who is very active and already runs half marathons and leads a fitness group. The thoughts (read that as excuses) running through my head were:

Excuse #1 “That’s great for her, but it’s not something I could ever do.” I mean, I am more of a crocheting, movie watching, book reading kinda girl. (Notice that all of my favorite activities have a nice comfy chair or sofa involved.) I am not now nor have I ever been anybody’s idea of an athlete.

Excuse #2 “I’m way too tired after work to complete all my house work much less walking, jogging or running.” I mean wouldn’t folding laundry be a better use of my time?

On the other hand, my weight is at an all time high…so maybe I should look into it again. So I pulled up the post and actually read more than just the title. According to the rules I have 3 full months or 92 days to complete the 200 miles.  So… maybe this is doable. Maybe. But then I realize in order to accept the Challenge, I have to join the group on Facebook AND I have to post my progress on FB.

Excuse #3 is probably the scariest of them all, “If I start and don’t finish then everyone will know I’m a failure.” That one alone nearly stopped me in my tracks. I am, after all much better at starting projects than I am at finishing them and I have a multitude of unfinished projects to prove it.

Then I noticed that you can invite friends. Since misery loves company, I invited a handful of friends and family, thinking if I’m doing this with others, I stand a slightly higher chance of completing the challenge.  I got a positive response from a couple of people, who seem enthusiastic to join the challenge and I get a little more excited.

When my husband returns from his 8 mile bike ride, I pitch the idea to him, half hoping he will think I’m crazy. Unfortunately, this time he doesn’t think so. Instead he volunteers to walk with me. Starting now.

At this point with calculator in hand, I do some quick math. 200 /92 = 2.1739 or approx. 2.18 miles per day. Coincidentally, I live near a short road and the distance down my driveway to the end of the road and back just happens to be 2.2 miles.

After the first 2.2 miles, my face resembles a strawberry, and I am huffing and puffing. Every day since then has gotten easier. Yesterday hubby and I had the day off and we walked 3 miles in the morning on unfamiliar and hilly terrain. More huffing and puffing going uphill!

Several times I wanted to turn back but hubby insisted we could go farther. In fact, my husband thought we should try to walk the extra 2.6 miles which would give us 20 miles. Now it was my turn to think he was crazy. We just finished our 3 miles by coming up “Heartbreak Hill” which ended in huffing, puffing, and panting. Remember what I said about every day getting easier? Let me just say that every day on level ground has been easier, but the hills are a different story.

Still later in the day, we walked 2.7 miles by adding to our usual route. That gave us an 8 day total of 20.1 miles! Woo hoo! At this point we have the first 10% done. Ok, now I am cautiously optimistic about my chances of finishing.

What have I learned so far?
Start small- 2.2 miles is only 1.1% of 200 miles. At first it hardly seems worth it. I mean saying I finished 2.2 miles with only 197.8 more miles to go isn’t super encouraging. Still it’s 2.2 miles more than I’ve walked in the last several months. And 2.2 miles a day slowly starts to add up. Hitting the 20 mile mark is exciting.

Seek Support- I couldn’t or maybe I wouldn’t do this alone. Maybe that’s just me…but I suspect that most of us would prefer not to start a challenge alone. Find someone to go the distance with you, preferably someone who is not afraid to push you outside of your comfort zone and encourage you all at once. Maybe, just maybe you can become the encourager for someone else. My husband has been with me to both stretch and encourage me.

Be realistic- For us, walking 7 days a week was an unrealistic goal. Six days a week is more realistic, still we started small knowing that even if we couldn’t do the 6 days a week, whether we walked 20…45..or even 75days, it was more walked in the past. I found a perfect shirt to wear that says “Progress NOT Perfection.” While it’s great to have the goal of 200 miles, the ultimate goal is to make progress toward becoming more active.
No, I haven’t yet reached my goal of 200 miles, but I am making progress.

Maybe you are more of a runner than a walker, or maybe yoga or dancing suits you better.  I challenge you to choose any form of physical activity and create your own fitness challenge.  No matter how big your challenge remember: Start Small, Seek Support and Be Realistic.

What will your Fit Friday Challenge be?

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