How I Went From Couch Potato to Walking Spud in One Month's Time
Walking Through God's Magnificent Rustic Palette
Calabash Cousin Hubs to This One
- My Goals for 2013
Whether or not you're one for making new year's resolutions, stay open and available to the possibilities and adventures of a purpose-driven life.
- Hauoli Makahiki Hou! Day One of My Goals for 2013
Transition from the old year into the infant one is for most a happy event. With the goals in mind that he made a month ago, this writer wants to be sure to get off to at least a walking start.
Trippin' While Walking
It's the 31st of January, and I've just returned from a 4-mile walk.
For the first thirty days of a year that's still dressed in the swaddling clothes of gray skies that have threatened--as well as delivered faithfully on the promise--either rain, hail, sleet, snow, or various combinations of same, I have had to ask myself, Do I really want to go out in THAT weather today?
And today, wouldn't you know it, was absolutely gorgeous and sunny.
Sure, a few cumulus clouds huddled over the Blue Mountains, easily reminiscent to this incorrigible dreamer of the Seahawks offense hoping with all their collective and exhausted might that one more...just one more...desperate Hail Mary pass from quarterback Russell Wilson could land in the arms of a teal, steel blue, and white-uniformed receiver in the Falcons-defended goal...
The Seattle team lost, but in losing, they gained newfound respect in the eyes of previously biased sportswriters and tens of thousands of football fans watching the divisional playoff game.
That was almost three weeks ago, but it is one of many things I continue to trip about. Losing myself to fantasy helps me to avoid looking at my watch. Type A personality that I am, I need to just let things go as I walk...in a way that's 180 degrees different than the way I've let my body go over the last few years.
Like the gallant Seahawks, I'm losing, too.
- Losing my body at rest tends to stay at rest couch potato mentality.
- Losing my excuses for why I haven't made better choices.
- Losing my inhibitions about being seen in public doing what must really look foolish--a fat old man exercising.
- Losing my will to give up before I've even tried.
- Losing all thoughts of pain--the blisters, the gasping for oxygen as I jog up a hill or dash for fifty yards, the sense of despair as I realize that a goal of walking a thousand miles this year might have been a bit much to chew.
And, like the Seattle pigskin warriors, I'm gaining tons of respect--self-respect, which, all things considered, is the most significant and motivating and enduring kind one could have.
Are You a Walker, Texas Ranger?
Are you engaged in a walking program this year?
Walk On Over to HubPages
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I still crave caffeine. That's a given. And I was smart enough not to include abstention from coffee as one of my goals for the year. I definitely knew better.
Invariably, then, I have a cup of java before I go on my walk. At my age, it stands to reason that I also empty what seems to be an ever-shrinking bladder before I head out the door.
Sure, more than anything, it's a psychological crutch. But I've also heard or read somewhere (or maybe it's wishful thinking) that coffee, contrary to traditional belief, can actually be good for the heart. Don't know what our friend and fellow hubber in India, Rajan Jolly, might say about this, but in any event, and to the chagrin of my wife, I'm going to fuel whatever jets I have left in my body with this mahogany elixir. All the while rationalizing that it's good for me.
I don't walk every day, but I do my best to quickly stroll five days a week. And I never walk less than an hour. Crunching the numbers, I know that to get to the thousand mile mark in one year, I have to average a little over 83 miles a month or 21 miles a week. Viewed in that light, the goal seems a bit easier to attain. So I determined from day one that if I had the gumption to go for a walk, then I was not going to stop until at least an hour had elapsed.
I also learned early on that I was walking at a 3-1/2 miles per hour pace, or roughly a mile every 17 minutes. Given my sedentary lifestyle--sitting for hours in front of my laptop each day conducting eBay business, writing and answering email messages, and working on HubPages material, I mentally accepted the notion that I would struggle at first.
While my mind was somewhat accepting of that fact, my body was ferociously rebellious.
Okay...it was whiny!
The first day was really difficult. My breathing was extremely labored. When I had to negotiate this one hill on the second half (and thus the return trip) of my walking route, my body was bent over like one of the fly tying scud hooks I sell on eBay. It was like all the breath had been vacuumed out of my lungs, and my torso was thus being absorbed into an invisible black hole.
My feet hurt. My back ached. My legs felt like rubber, pained rubber. My chest was collapsing in on itself. Don't know exactly what that means, but I think I captured the imagery that will help you imagine what I looked like.
And, if that wasn't cruel enough, I masochistically reminded myself, Yeah, and this is only the first day. OMG!
My friend, Karen Hellier, often inquires if I think about hubs as I walk. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do...and on that first day, I couldn't help but recall one of my hubs. It was the one about the Spider-Man bobblehead, the one that included in its title the very words that reverberated in my coconut head, What am I? Stupid?
But in the words of one of my favorite people, Forrest Gump, Stupid is as Stupid does. And, boy, was I ever getting it done!
The second day was even worse. Why? Because, unlike the first day, I now had to contend with aches and pains. I was miserable. But I reminded myself, it's as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Psychologically, I discovered that if I changed up my route each day, I wouldn't get bored. Finding new things to look at was enough of a distraction to keep me from obsessing on the pain and discomfort.
The third day was amazingly so much better. I actually felt rejuvenated. In hindsight, it probably was because I had been so exhausted the night before that I slept like a log.
Another phenomenon was taking place. About halfway through my daily walk, I was beginning to feel less stiff and a bit more enthused about what I was doing. From my experience as a long distance runner in the longer distant past, I realized that Mr. Caffeine's second cousin, twice removed and hopefully back home for good, had returned. Good old Mr. Endorphins! Well, whaddaya know? Kinda like having a packed Seahawks I-formation backfield with both fullback Michael Robinson and tailback Marshawn Lynch behind quarterback Russell Wilson.
Yeah, I'm trippin'. But that's exactly what happens when caffeine and endorphins have a family reunion.
My Walking Program for 2013
% of Days Walked
% Towards Goal
Weight on 01/01/13
Weight on 02/01/13
% of Weight Loss
First Month's Summary
Okay, then, just for fun, let's take a look at the bottom line numbers. The chart to the right indicates modest progress towards meeting my goals. Given the fact that I was sitting on my butt for years prior to attempting a comeback in the area of physical fitness, I am pleased and proud of myself for what I've accomplished in the first month.
But what's even more important is the fact that I've gotten off the proverbial couch and taken the first steps, both literally and figuratively. That in itself was a huge lifestyle behavioral modification.
What about the unquantifiable and intrinsic values? Peace of mind. Satisfaction of accomplishment. Increased motivation. Enhanced self esteem. More energy. Greater stamina. Stimulated mental capacity. Panoramic creativity (aka the ability to envision future hubs whenever and wherever I walk).
Above all, sentimental satisfaction. Before my daughter left for her student mission stint in Cambodia, I made her a promise. I told her that I was going to engage in an exercise program and lose weight.
I'm happy to report that I'm a man of my word.
And if along the way, I can be a source of inspiration and encouragement for all of you who read this, that's just icing on the cake.
A cake I won't be indulging in, thank you!