Tag: Fitness

Life is a “Marathon” Not a “Race”

Little did I know when I booked a trip home to Baltimore about six weeks ago that the day I would be leaving was also the day of the 17th Annual Baltimore Running Festival.  Staying in a downtown hotel right in the center of the festivities was going to make it impossible to get out of town without leaving the hotel a lot earlier than originally planned.

So in spirit of “if you can’t beat ’em – join ’em” I left the hotel early and walked, rolling suitcase and all, among the crowds gathered to watch the runners as they began their trek.  I couldn’t help but think of it all in the context of what this means for the runners and for those of us watching and cheering from the sidelines.

The goal of the marathon is to get to the finish line.  Of course, for the elite runners – like Jordon Tropf who won the Baltimore marathon – their goal is to finish first.  He did so in a total time of 2:28:06.  For the majority of runners, the goal is the challenge.  “I can do this” is the mantra they hear replayed in their heads from the moment they start to train until they cross the finish line.  Whether you are the first person to finish in under 3 hours or the last person who finishes in 8 hours – it is a huge sense of achievement.

Whether you are 15, 25, 52 or 80 years old, whether you are fit or disabled, whether you do the 5k, the half marathon or the full marathon – the goal is the same – to push yourself and accomplish the task at hand.  We are inspired by the participants in the hand cranked bikes or those pushing disabled children or friends in wheelchairs.

Those of us watching and cheering from the sidelines or at home while watching on TV play a very important role in providing support and encouragement to those in the marathon.  How many times might a runner have given up but for the encouragement of friends and strangers along the way.

We should look at our lives as a marathon.  Set a goal and work towards achieving that goal.  Don’t look at the finish line as some place that is so far away we will never get there.  Put one foot in front of the other, train, practice and keep moving forward – you can do this!  We can do this!!  We can encourage others to cross their own finish lines whether it is getting that high school degree, going to college, getting a job or just making it through another day when facing incredibly difficult challenges.  It is not always a race in the sense of a run or walk but could be just working towards our own goal – sometimes a more difficult marathon of sorts for many of us.  Look around you and find the people whose day-to-day marathon you can cheer on, someone you could lift up and help across their finish line.  Look to those who are lifting you up and helping you achieve your own goals and cross your own finish line.  It may be difficult but it is so worth it!

                    

I can’t stop moving – loving my fitness device!

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Riding my bicycle through the streets of Baltimore.

My Confession

Now, I have a confession to make. I am not often at home in the afternoon but one afternoon about two weeks ago, I was and I caught a little bit of the Dr. Oz show. The topic was the use of fitness devices and the current obsession people have with them. Yes, I am one of those people. I will admit to being totally obsessed with my fitness device!

I know there are others out there like me. I will admit that I don’t sleep wearing it every night because my sleep patterns are pretty good and, if truth be told, I would be waking up during the night more because in my subconscious I would still feel the need to check it every hour to see how I am doing. That kind of defeats the purpose when you are supposed to be measuring your sleep patterns. Night time aside, it is rarely not in my arm.

Change your goal whenever you are ready.

For those of you not yet been bitten by this bug, here’s what happens once you start. I find that it makes you compete with yourself.  For those of us who are competitive (and you know who you are), we used to just worry about competing with others in fitness programs. But with whichever device you find that it is not about what someone else is doing but can I do better today than I did yesterday?  If I can do 10,000 steps easily, should I increase my goal to 11,000, 15,000, whatever! Or, I didn’t make my goals yesterday so I need to challenge myself to make up for it today and then some.

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Speed-walking laps at the gym!

Are these devices really accurate?

Some people argue about the accuracy of these devices. Were those 10k steps really 10,000 or just 9,300? Did I really climb 25 flights of steps or was it only 20? After all, I was counting each step as I walked or each stair that I climbed and the numbers didn’t match!  I really don’t care. In the long run, I allow for a certain variance. I upped my goals to account for any potential shortfalls in accuracy. But it’s all good – it still makes me move each and every day.  I get up each day, put on my device and move as much as I can during the day.  Throughout the day, I sync my device and wait in eager anticipation as if I am waiting to open gifts on Christmas Eve while it calculates my efforts up to that point in the day.  If I see I am not there yet, then there is more to do.  There are some evenings when I am a little short of my goals so I pace the room while watching TV, reading a book, run up and down the steps – anything to get those last precious steps in and reach my goals!  I know – obsessed!

Recently I spent the day in NYC looking at the beautiful Christmas decorations and shopping a little but mostly walking.  At the end of the day when I arrived back at Penn Station to take the train home, I had over racked up over 17,000 steps and day was not over! I was so excited!  By the time I went to bed later that evening, I had added another 1,000 steps!  See what I mean! It makes fitness addictive.

My husband humors me. He doesn’t wear a fitness device but he encourages me by asking “How many steps did you do today?”  However, when we are out together walking or shopping or on vacation, he will now check in with me to see how many steps we have taken.  So while he won’t wear one, he likes to share mine when we are out walking together.  He’s feeling it – oh, yeah!

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Ready to hit the slopes in Innsbruck, Austria.

Which don’t always need a device to get up and move.

It can be an inexpensive pedometer you can get at the drug store. You can do whatever is good for you whether it is a marathon or just a walk down your own street. If your ability to walk long distances is limited, walk a short distance or exercise from a chair. My mom has limitations on her ability to walk and usually uses a cane or a walker but that does not stop her. Where she lives there are long hallways and she takes her walker or her cane and does her laps – maybe one, maybe two, taking her time and being very careful – down to one end and back at least once or twice a day.  In the gym where I work out there is a sign on the wall of the indoor track that says a 12 minute mile is the same as a six minute mile. I would go even further and say however long it takes for you get around the 1/10 of a mile track is still a lap around the same track.  Just let the joggers or fast walkers pass by you on the right and keep walking – it is all good.

What does it take to get you moving?  Anything that gives us an incentive to move is a good thing!  Me, I will just continue to compete with myself and my fitness device for as long as I can. The way I see it, neither of us loses!