Get it in where you can fit it in!


Rene’ Brown (CNO Participant)

Last week I blogged about Walkingspree not being a competition and some comments about the blog – written or oral – was that healthy competition is a good thing, setting goals are great, and setting destinations are fantastic to get more steps. Sure you’re right!

 Although I was fixated (not happily) on how I compared to other pedometer walkers and pretty much beat myself up for not clocking more steps, I realized at the end of the day that I didn’t do so badly. I only missed one day when I did not reach my 10,000 step goal. As a matter of fact the two lowest step count days were 7K and 10,201. And the four highest days ranked between 12,120 and 20,336. When I looked back I was pleased, but I still long to compete with the higher ranking walkers.

 My competitive edge caused me to increase my personal Walkingspree daily step count goal by an additional 2,000 steps – going from 10 to 12K, my aerobic steps goal from 5K to 6K and I added one more mile to my miles goal. Hey, I’m competitive, but realistic so setting a goal higher than this at this particular time would be setting myself up for disappointment and on those days when I do reach 20K – I’ll still be happily above my low level target.

 To reach the new goal, my motivational level will also need to increase not to mention a level of commitment, time management and prioritizing my day. But how do I do that?

 I try to start my day about an hour earlier and clock the newly added 2K steps before I even take my morning shower….Hush up…it takes me about 15 minutes just to get out of bed. Hopefully I’ll get up sooner than later despite the fact that day light savings time (fall back) is just around the corner and will mean walking in the dark of the morning. I’m thinking that I can’t miss a day because it will be hard as ever to get back on that early morning horse especially since winter is fast approaching.

 My afternoons are already consumed by long walks and I set destination points to fill up my lunch hour and I usually clock between 7K and 9K at that time. In addition, I take walk breaks to stretch my legs and get the blood circulating later in the afternoon and I participate at the gym at least four times a week. Lunch time Zumba is great! It usually yields between 6 and 7K- depending on how hard I “bum bum bum bum” it out!

 I have also incorporated ways to get those extra 2,000 steps in the evening…

 With my second gig, my days are pretty long – but instead of sitting in the car, or in the homes of my clients for their visits – I have been getting the kids to take walks with me. If at least one kid walks with me about five blocks up and five blocks back (there’s my extra mile). If daylight allows and there are no unforeseen circumstances I can get in up to four miles per work night.

 Since I don’t get home until late and well after dark even during the summer months, I get a lot of flack about walking alone at night, so on nights when I don’t take my clients out for walks, I could participate with the “On Demand” programs that have some really good workouts that will aid me in gaining more pedometer steps including but not limited to Latin, Hip Hop and Belly dance routines and range anywhere from 10 to 30 minute programs. Then again…there is that Michael Jackson Wii dance game.

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Ups and Downs

Jennifer Carruth, IEEE Participant

Hi Walkers! Now that I have hit my first 50 pound mark, I have to set my mind to the next half and how I can accomplish my final goal. My first step in the second half is to see my Doctor next week. Before starting to lose weight I had a full physical and I told her that I wanted to “lose some weight” – again. I had been saying this to her every time that I have seen her since the very first time about ten years ago. We would always discuss how to do it, how much I probably should lose, why it would be good for me…..and I never did it. She is great and encouraging and informative…and I liked to sit around and eat. I told her I had been walking with a pedometer for about a year and that I was still line dancing once a week and she encouraged me to step those up and I promised to do it – again.

About a week after I saw her I received my blood tests in the mail with her notes on them. For the first time my cholesterol was into the high zone. My weight was the highest it had ever been and I was finally ready to stop what I was doing and take my health seriously. This is when I added Weight Watchers and started increasing my daily step goal by 1000 steps a day each week until it is at 10,000 most days. Instead of focusing on being skinny, I decided to be healthy. That is finally the mindset that has made it possible for me to take the weight off and get active. I never told my Doctor that I got serious. I’m sure that when she sees me next week that she will be pleasantly, and hugely, surprised. I want to make sure that I am losing in a healthy way so I’m sure there will be another blood test. I hope to see that my cholesterol will have gone back down to where it has been in the past. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I haven’t really hit any plateaus yet – knock on wood. Now that I’m at the halfway mark I expect that I will see them – so I really have to step up my game.

Last week I talked about trying out a bike at the store for the first time in many years. I went back and bought that beautiful sky blue bike and I love it! My brother Bob is an avid bike rider so he took me out this past Saturday for a ride around. I was thinking we would go for a trial ride…you know…maybe five miles and enjoy the scenery. Nope, we hopped on the Coyote Creek trail by our house. This is a cement riverbed that runs 10 miles and ends (with a switch to another riverbed) at The Beach. I put that in capitals, because The Beach always sounds so far away by bike when he talks about riding that far most weekends. I usually just laugh and think he is kind of crazy.

He kept encouraging me that I could do it and that we wouldn’t go all the way to the beach. It felt so awesome to speed along with the wind in my face! Did I mention that the wind was against us the entire first half of this adventure? It was. So we kept talking about how great it would be on the way home with the wind at our back pushing us quickly on our way. Didn’t happen. We went about 6 miles according to the mileage meter on his bike before we turned around. I wanted to go further, but I had to be realistic that we would have to come back. All the way back. When we turned, so did the wind and it was now coming at us sideways. Not cool, not cool at all. And did I mention that we had to go down and under cross streets? Yay! Speeding down that little hill (after I stopped being afraid and keeping my breaks on all the way) was so much fun! Until I had to go back UP the gigantic hill to get back to the flat area. Weird how all the downs were little and the ups were gigantic…seriously…who designed this thing? Well, maybe it was just me and my out of shape lungs. About this time Bob mentioned frozen yogurt and would I be interested in some. Um, yeah! It was hard to recognize landmarks from the trail, so I was really surprised that we were almost back. We hopped off the trail a few streets from where we started and ended at a yogurt shop where I enjoyed some non fat frozen goodness.

Some of that may have sounded like I didn’t have fun or that it was too hard. I was having the time of my life! I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed bike riding. I had really forgotten how much I love being outside and doing something for my body! We ended up going 13.3 miles on that first ride. I was shocked when he told me the distance because I honestly did not think that I had that in me. I really want to make it all the way to The Beach and back soon. I think that I can do it. I know that I can do it! And my pedometer did work – 5000 steps for that trip. The only time that I didn’t pedal was on those awesome downhill trips under the streets.

And now that I think back I guess the ups were the same size as the downs. I just have to work on it for a while to get them to feel that way.

The weekend after this I will be doing my next 5K for the heart association. I am so happy that there are opportunities to volunteer and get some exercise at the same time! And I plan to add kayaking soon! That will be another first for me. I am starting to be more confident that when the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® walk comes in November that I will be ready for it!

Thanks for reading. Keep walking, biking, canoeing…whatever you like. But just KEEP MOVING : )

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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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