14,741,053 Steps Ago…

14,732,406 steps ago was June 21st, 2013. That’s the day I wore my Fitbit activity tracker for the first time. All those steps add up to a distance of over 8,295 miles or an average of 7.5 miles per day.

The three years prior to 2013 I was busy prepping a house to sell. Selling that house. Building a new house and then moving in and settling in to the new house. I gained weight, stopped exercising and by June of 2013 I was taking two blood pressure medications and weighed about 245 pounds. I knew something had to be done and putting on my Fitbit Flex was the start.

It began by just walking. On most days I walked at least five miles. Once I worked my way up to walking 60-90 minutes each session I started thinking if I can walk six or seven miles surely I can run one mile.

So that’s what I did, I went out on my usual walk but somewhere along the way I would start running and run for approximately one mile. I was very slow and yet I still felt like I was going to die. But I stuck with it. One mile became two miles then two miles became 5K. By December I could run 10K. Barely! But I could do it and I ran in my first 10K race in about twenty years. My finish time was around and hour and fifteen minutes but I finished and I felt like that was quite an accomplishment.

Since then I’ve ran in quite a few 10K races, a few 5K races and in April of this year I ran in a half marathon. Since June of 2013 I’ve lost about 30 pounds and no longer take any blood pressure meds. My resting heart rate is well below 60 beats per minute. I still would like to lose about twenty more pounds. Not sure if I’ll ever get there but I’m working on it. My running progress is slow and steady. I’m getting faster and running further. This too is a work in progress.

I’m about six weeks away from the 60th birthday and feel better then ever. Let me tell you something. If I can make this kind of progress so can you. It just takes a little discipline, dedication and a whole lot of determination. And patience! You have to be patient.

Take it one day at a time. Take it slow and continue to make steady progress. I see it all the time and on occasion I’ve been guilty of it myself. Trying to push your progress too quickly will only result in burnout or worse yet injury. The key for me is to go out with a duration of activity in mind. Let speed and distance take care of themselves. Somedays are better than others. My mile splits can vary more than two minute per mile from one day to the next. I just accept it. Three years and I’m injury free. Yes, I’ve had a few aches and pains but nothing serious. Nothing that stopped me from continuing on. For me, by just going out for a specific duration has taken a lot of pressure off. If my goal is a 45 minutes and I run at least 45 minutes then it’s a successful workout.

Who knows where I’ll be by this time next year but that’s part of the adventure. I know if I stay determined I will make progress. I’m not special. If I can do it–so can you.

Peachtree Road Race Training: Weeks 3-5

Sorry I haven’t posted anything about my training for the Peachtree Road Race. The main reason why I stopped posting is because I stopped training specifically for that race.

I’ve decided to concentrate on improving my running form and technique. You may recall from a previous post I’m trying to include some of the principles of ChiRunning. Surprisingly, I was already using quite a bit of the form and technique of ChiRunning but I didn’t know it. There are some things I’m working on improving: breathing, pelvic rotation and forward lean from the ankles.

From my days of learning to play stringed instruments I learned to become faster you have to practice slower. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound right. When you’re learning new techniques you have to practice slow so you can develop the feel of the technique and to allow your muscle memory to respond without thinking. And I certainly have slowed down. Of course, it’s June in Georgia so the heat and humidity are a part of the slow down but not completely.

This will be my last post about preparation for the Peachtree Road Race and you probably will not hear another thing until I’ve finished the race. I plan to continue my technique work through the months of June and July and then reevaluate where I’m at and go from there. Until then the adventure awaits.

 

Hump Day Goal Day Results

 

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28 out of 37 reached their daily goal and got their star. Not a bad week at all. Almost the best week ever. Still hoping for a week when everyone gets their star. I know several people had other things going on that kept them from getting to their goal. “Michael f” had a new baby born and “Neelie” was celebrating her birthday. I’m pretty confident they will both get their stars next week.

The lineup for the Hump Day Goal Day changes week-to-week. I do have a method to my madness in making the initial selections. After that, it just depends on how many and how fast everyone accepts their invitation. As one group fills I move anyone who didn’t accept to a different group. I do try to keep certain groups of people together though. The group in the upper right is almost all regulars that I keep together and this group gets all stars pretty frequently.

I’ve got a great group of friends on Fitbit. I try to keep them motivated and that works both ways. In fact, they are a much bigger motivator for me than I can be for any of them. I hope this post motivates you to start your own “Hump Day Goal Day” challenge next week. Not if, but when I can get all four groups full of stars I’ll post it here. Keep steppin’!

 

 

Hump Day Goal Day

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Every Wednesday for about the past sixteen months I start a Hump Day Goal Day challenge with my Fitbit app. This challenge has become pretty popular with my friends on Fitbit. In today’s challenge I have 37 people participating! For those that may not be familiar with the best fitness tracker app out there (my opinion of course), you can participate in five challenges at a time with a maximum of ten participants in each. The challenges consist of “Weekend Warrior”, “Daily Showdown”, “Workweek Hustle” and “Goal Day”.

My favorite is Goal Day because everyone who participates has a chance to win. Your objective in the Goal Day challenge is to reach the daily step goal you’ve set for yourself. Typically, this is 10,000 steps in a day but you can change this higher or lower. My daily step goal is 11,000 steps. The way I look at it is if I get my 11,000 steps then I’ve given 110 percent! On Goal Day, once you’ve reached your step goal a star appears beside your name. I try to get as many of the four groups of challengers to all get their star. Some weeks are better than others but I do have quite a few people who regularly get their star.

My group of Fitbit friends is always changing and didn’t get up to his size overnight. Honestly, I have more than the 37 you see here. For quite a few months I could count my Fitbit friends on one hand. Once Fitbit added the challenges my group of friends started growing. I have Fitbit friends in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Lousiana, Indiana, Virginia, Canada, England and probably a few other places that I haven’t learned about yet. Some have come and gone and a few have come back again. Occasionally, life gets busy and I’m a little late getting out my Hump Day challenge invites out and it never fails I will get several messages during the day asking me if I’m going to have a Hump Day challenge. I’m grateful so many people look forward to this challenge. The social aspect of the Fitbit app is one of its many strong points.

Everyone tries hard to make it to their step goals and when someone appears to be faltering others in the Group will send out an encouraging message to cheer them on. One thing that does disappoint me a bit is sometimes someone isn’t going to make their step goal and they quit the challenge. It’s nothing to be ashamed of when it happens. There is more to life than walking or running to reach your step goal. Everyone wants to see a star by their name but if you tried your best that’s all that matters. Don’t quit. Just be happy you tried and then come back next week even more determined to reach your goal. I’m hoping all 37 challengers make it to their goal and we see all stars when it’s finished. But it we don’t there is always next week.

If you’re a Fitbit user my challenge to you is to start your own Hump Day Goal Day Challenge. It doesn’t have to have ten people participating. You and one other person is just fine. Once your challenge is finished, take a screenshot of your results and post the results on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #humpday #goalday #fitbit #goals #teamwork Let’s try to make this viral. If you don’t have a Fitbit maybe you should consider getting one so you can share in the fun?

At the time of this writing I see four stars. Only 33 more to go! I’ll post the results on Thursday. Happy Hump Day!

#GlobalRunningDay


Today is Global Running Day. If you haven’t already pledged to run today you can by visiting http://globalrunningday.org. This photo is from Monday actually. On most weekdays I start my run at 4:30 a.m. and it’s still dark when I finish so taking a photo then doesn’t really work. Today I ran an easy 4.1 miles. Starting to get the hang of nose breathing but if I let myself think about anything else I drift back to breathing through my mouth. Hold habits die hard I guess. Ok, have you got your run on yet today? If not, get to it!

Workout Playlist of the Month: June 2016

This month I’ve put together another pop/dance mix.

This Is What You Came For (feat. Rihanna) – Calvin Harris (124 BPM)
Disturbia – Rihanna (125 BPM)
Spice Up Your Life – Spice Girls (124 BPM)
Domino – Jessie J (127 BPM)
I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas (128 BPM)
Somebody Loves You – Betty Who (123 BPM)
The Life – Fifth Harmony (104 BPM)
Drag Me Down [Big Payno x AFTERHRS Remix] – One Direction (138 BPM)
Secrets (Jump Smokers Remix) – Mary Lambert (125 BPM)
G.U.Y. (KDrew Remix) – Lady Gaga (126 BPM)
Break the Rules (TiĆ«sto Remix) – Charli XCX (128 BPM)
Judas (R3HAB Remix) – Lady Gaga (128 BPM)
CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! – Justin Timberlake (113 BPM)

To learn an easy way to create a workout mix check out my blog post, “Easy Way to Create Your Own Music Mixes Using the Cross DJ App“.