Lacie Lyons (Consumer Participant)

This was the most stressful week I have endured in a very long time. My children started school today, like thousands and thousands of others. However, my eldest was starting middle school with challenges. My stress level was through the roof. I don’t think I could put it into words even if I had to.

I so badly wanted my blog entries to always be upbeat, about accomplishing great things and fantastic progress.  This week, if I were to write that, it would be a lie…. this week was far from great, and suffered many falls. I decided I should share this week anyway, because, in reality, we all have rough patches, and sometimes, it really helps to know that someone else has been there too.

I haven’t gone to my weekly weigh-in… that’s tomorrow, but I know the news… It will say I have gained several pounds. They are not water retention, that time of the month, my clothes, or the scales being off. They will be honest pounds, gained because in trying to cope with something I did not know the outcome of and could not control, I tried to control something else… my feelings… I ate, not large 3 and 4 helpings, but continuously…. I will face the weigh in, and instead of beating myself up, which never helps, I will give myself what I really need… a hug… and remember that I have survived the stress and will be stronger for it.

I also found ways to avoid my training, doing only half of my walks scheduled. Claiming I was too busy… making excuses… My long 20km walk was supposed to be Saturday, however, somehow I made myself too busy, arranging get togethers with friends to keep myself occupied all day.  While at a friend’s house Saturday evening, I was explaining how I was going to go for my 20km Sunday morning, at 7am, out at Killarney Lake, doing 8 loops of the 2.5km loop.  Amanda expressed how much she would enjoy going with me, but couldn’t make it that early.

Fates decided that I really needed to get out and do my long… I slept through my alarm Sunday morning, and at 9:30am woke to a text from my friend, asking how my walk was going…. I was honest and told her I didn’t go, I was still in bed. Before I knew it, she had told me to come get her, and 20 minutes later I was out the door.  Amanda came with me for my walk, talking, laughing, distracting me. It was longer than she was accustomed to, but because we were doing a loop, she was able to sit out and chill on the beach for the 3rd loop while I kept going.  My strength this week didn’t come from my self-talk… it came from a friend who saw my need.

Amanda and I have shared this walking connection for a couple of years, many times we have drug the other out for a walk when they just weren’t up to it. There are no words to describe the connection friends have who share the bond of laces. They are the friends who not only share your joys and sorrows, laugh and cry with you, but they CARE about you, your mental health in a way that is very different from your coffee friends or your sewing-circle friends.  Thank your lace-buddies, and reach out to others who may need a new lace-buddy. One of the most rewarding friendships you will ever have.

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“Walkingspree is Not a Competition”

Rene’ Brown (CNO Participant)

Walk challenges are venues for you to achieve personal goals and monitor your own step count while allowing you to see how other members rank. Or at least that what my supervisor said this morning.

 But in my mind as well as others – Oh yes it is!

 The proof is in the pudding…

 One associate called me last week to proudly announce that she was number one on the board for the first time in her Walkingspree history. Although she’s come along way and has increased her steps on a regular basis and is noticing improvements in strength, stamina, and even in her stride length – I hated to burst her bubble by telling her that she was among the first to transfer data for the day and the people who had already transferred their data (some of our top CPL walkers), only did so to upload steps from previous days and not necessarily the day at hand. She finally accepted my observation but reluctantly thought of excuses for why the top walkers did not make their usual high rank for the day. So that my friend could bask in the glow of ranking first for the day (if only for a little while longer) I did not load my step count as mine had already surpassed hers.

 I left work Friday knowing that another one of my walk partners planned to partner with another associate and walk more than a 26.2 mile marathon distance on Saturday. No – they were not participating in a marathon – they were walking the distance for steps, exercise and competition too…to catch up too or maintain the higher ranking spots on the list.

 Knowing good and well that it was impossible for me to walk a marathon distance this entire weekend, let alone walk 26.2 on one day of this weekend, I had to try my absolute best to get as many steps as I could with what I had to work with. Okay – so now…I’m in competition with myself and my own personal best.

 Saturday was a bear! Lord knows I avoided the magical, mystical method of getting my 10K step count for the day – also called cheating…but I must admit that I felt some kinda way after I cleaned the house. I mean I really cleaned the house – vacuumed all the drapes and corners in the ceiling where I could see that cobwebs had formed, and the vents – my goodness – where did all the dust come from? I had to do the floors – wash and vacuum them, vacuum the stairs and wood trimmings, do some laundry (not even all of it – just some), clean both bathrooms including giving the shower walls a good scrubbing, change the linens, and dusted the furniture, in the meantime and in between time – I made breakfast and lunch for the grands and by 3:30 PM all I got was a measly 1,504 steps before we left the house to go to the block party.

 What’s wrong? Is my pedometer not set correctly? My house is small – I admit it – IT’S SMALL!, but come on…1,504 for all of that work. I would have made out better if I put the pedometer on my wrist! Hey, that’s a thought! Wait! Walkingspree does have a section for “non Walking Activities”, but let’s face it – it’s nothing like seeing your physical work on that handy little gadget – now is it? I know it’s not a competition (yeah right), but Walkingspree does not compare “Non-Walking Activity” with other member’s “Non-Walking Activity” numbers – now does it? Nope – only actual foot steps are compared and listed according to rank. I knew my friend – according to her predictions was already back at home with at least 26 miles under her belt for one day’s walk and I only had this stupid little nothing of 1,504 steps to show for all my sweat and hard work!

 At the block party, I tried to make up for it by taking my grands for a walk around the neighborhood, then I danced like crazy and tried to get the children to dance with me, but Ra was too busy running around playing tag and football with the other little boys. Hey…he did offer to wear if for me before…NAW – nothing about that says – RIGHT!

I finally felt good enough to wrap it up for the night when the pedometer read 10,159.

Still, after coming home and getting them bathed and ready for bed I only had 7,204 steps when I lay down with them to read their bed time stories. Before allowing myself to drift off into a deep coma like sleep – I got up and went down stairs and put in a dance video. Keeping a watchful eye on the little doohickey, – I finally felt good enough to wrap it up for the night when the pedometer read 10,159. There was no way that I could compete with the marathoner in terms of step count today nonetheless I was happy with my “by any means necessary” accomplishment.

 Sunday was a wash – I only got 7,051, but – PAH! I didn’t care. I was okay with those numbers after Saturday’s step struggle, and attending church half the day on Sunday. It felt like it was all I could do just to go “blue.” (Blue is the Walking Spree color code for stepping between 7 and 9,999 K)  My poor grands were left to fend for themselves in the play department as I drifted in and out of conscientiousness on the sofa. So – Sunday was a wash – but Monday – glorious Monday! With no kids, no work schedules, no block parties, cook outs plans or other Labor Day festivities, and no house work – I clocked 20,336. I still didn’t compete with my marathon walker and I did not beat my personal best, but in terms of competing with someone else who was as of Friday - close to my personal rank…I’m more than good with it!

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50 by 50

Jennifer Carruth, IEEE Participant

Hi Walkers! Jennifer here saying hello again from beautiful Southern California. In my introduction bio last week I mentioned that I had a big audacious goal I like to call “50 by 50”: to lose fifty pounds by the time I turn fifty in October of this year. I hope to hit that goal at my Weight Watchers meeting in the next few weeks. I have a lot of plans to help meet that goal and the next: 100 pounds here I come!

This past weekend was a challenge. I spent Friday evening through Sunday morning at a hotel with a group of ladies for an annual get together. We love to eat, drink and be merry, so I had to plan ahead and be very conscious of what I ate and how many steps I took. I couldn’t let this fun weekend derail my plans! My trusty Walkingspree pedometer was there to remind me to stay active. Luckily, we stayed in a lovely hotel with a pool and a gym. I am not quite ready to make a public appearance in a swimsuit – so hitting the gym at least once was the plan. I jumped on the treadmill Saturday morning and walked two miles before breakfast. It felt great and I was almost half way to my 10,000 step goal for the day. After breakfast we headed for the mall for some shopping therapy and I made up the rest of the steps there: ending the day with 13,188 steps. So far it was a guilt free weekend!

I have made a pact with myself that when I do have something out of the norm that I do it thoughtfully and with no guilt. By doing that it permits me to enjoy without beating myself up afterwards.

With my steps for Saturday out of the way I just had to keep an eye on the food. I had decided to keep the snacking in the hospitality room to a minimum. I must admit that I ate 5 M & Ms and they were fantastic! I have made a pact with myself that when I do have something out of the norm that I do it thoughtfully and with no guilt. By doing that it permits me to enjoy without beating myself up afterwards. When we went to the restaurant for dinner I opted for the salmon and shrimp grilled dry and two sides of steamed broccoli no oil. Most restaurants will grant these requests without blinking an eye if you just ask. This was difficult for me when I started making the requests. I have found that there is never any problem getting things the way that I ask for them. All in all the weekend went great. I left the mall with clothes in a size that I haven’t seen in years and that was a real boost!

I got home early on Sunday and went shopping again with my lovely mom. When that was over, I still had a lot of steps that needed to be taken, so I headed over to my cousin Carla’s house and we headed off. We walked and talked and by the time we were done we had logged over 5 1/2 miles! Total steps for Sunday were 18,781 and mission accomplished for the weekend : )

I am really excited that the company that I work for, the IEEE in the Computer Society California office, has a new Walkingspree challenge starting up tomorrow. The IEEE was named one of the 2011 Best Places to Work in New Jersey so we will celebrate by doing a virtual walk from Fire Island, strolling along the coast to Long Beach and then will head into New York City for a little shopping (smaller clothes please!). Finally, we will head over the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island, before we head to the IEEE New Jersey office. I love that the company that I work for cares enough to continue this program!

I am also really excited this week because I signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® walk to be held in San Diego in November. Feet don’t fail me now! I am sure I will mention this again in the coming weeks as it really sinks in that I will be walking 60 miles in three short days!

Thanks for reading and KEEP MOVING : )

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Meet Jennifer, Walkingspree blogger

Jennifer will be joining the panel of Walkingspree bloggers each week for a Wednesday post.

Jennifer Carruth, IEEE Participant

Hi Walkers! My name is Jennifer Carruth. I live in beautiful Southern California where almost every day is nice enough to take a walk outside. I am proud to be the mom of two beautiful adult daughters. I am not very proud to say that before starting Walkingspree I was overweight and very out of shape – I could barely take 2000 steps in a day, and it felt like torture!

I started on the Walkingspree program in May 2010 when my employer, the IEEE, gave us the opportunity to join as part of a wellness program. Those 2000 steps have increased, and my goal is now to take 10,000 steps every day. I don’t always make it, but most days I do, and most is ok with me.

I kept walking for a year and increased my daily steps gradually. In March 2011 I decided to step it up to the next level and really get healthy. I am not too shy to say that I needed to lose 100 pounds – so I set my first big audacious goal at “50 by 50”: fifty pounds by the time I turn fifty in October of this year. To reach that goal, in March 2011 I added Weight Watchers at work. I have the pleasure of going to a weekly meeting in my office with a group of beautiful and dedicated women and an awesome leader. I am excited to say that I am already three pounds away from reaching “50 by 50”. I feel so much better already!

In the weeks to come I want to share with you how I have made it so far. I’ll tell you how I participated in my first official 5K walk on the Fourth of July. Since then I have done another 5K and have another two scheduled during the next month. I am even going to start mixing in some jogging soon!

I will tell you about how I got past that 2000 step a day trudge with a truly inspiring walking buddy who kept me moving when all I wanted to do was stay on my seat and eat.

My life has changed forever, and it started with taking the first step with Walkingspree last year.

Writing something that others will read is something I have never done before, so this is going to be a really new experience for me. I guess this is the year for trying new things! I hope that you will stick with me and give me some feedback over the next weeks. Thanks for reading and KEEP MOVING : )

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Meet Lacie, Walkingspree blogger

Lacie will be joining the panel of Walkingspree bloggers each week for a Wednesday post.

Lacie Lyons (Consumer Participant)

My given name is Lacie Lyons, though 11 years ago my name changed… to Mom! So chose which you prefer.

A busy self-employed single mom of two “tweens” and volunteer, I use my sense of humor to keep it all in check.

My children will tell people that I am just a kid, always playing, that all people are kids, just some people forget how to play. Playing with my kids has been such a great reward for me in recent years, learning to ice skate last year, learning to hula hoop with them this year, because when my eldest was born I was unable to even climb two flights of stairs. Realizing I wasn’t able to play with my son, I set on a journey to change my life!

Working to lose 120lbs, and being someone who is an all or nothing kinda gal, I decided I wanted to train to walk a marathon!!

Even though I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis earlier this year I have kept at it, my stubbornness showing, and am 16 weeks away from participating in the Honolulu Marathon in December (hey, who could say no to Hawaii in December?)

My pedometer is there with me every step of the way (oh yes, pun intended). In the beginning I was forgetting to put my pedometer on in the morning, and since I often walk first thing before even a coffee, the pedometer got left on the dresser. No more!! I put it on and it stays on, even at night, so its there to catch my first stumbly steps out the door in the morning.

The pedometer has become such a focal point in the family that my sons asked for their own so that they can compete with me… wow, they get a lot of steps at recess and lunch break at school while I am sitting in my office!

Join me on my journey, laugh with me, learn from my stumbles and let’s see how many steps I can get in Hawaii! (I estimate 72,000 for marathon day)

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