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My Little Reminder

Posted by walkinginthelight Mar 13, 2010

Yesterday after my daughter finished a.m.  kindergarten, I loaded up her little bike in the back of my car,  and we drove to my favorite training spot, the wonderful South Trail (not to be confused with the non-existent and ever elusive North Trail).  I love this trail because it is marked every 1/2 mile, and has benches every so often to rest. And its a very scenic trail.

My daughter was excited to be going with me! She recently brought home this flyer from school, and it was an "exercise log". For every 30 minutes of exercise the children do, they can mark off a square. When she has all 50 squares marked off, she can turn it in to the  teacher, who mails it to the program sponsor, which happens to be an outdoor water park! Any child who submits the completed form, gets a free pass to the water park for this summer! This is a Win / Win ! Now she wants to exercise every day, and is a little reminder for me!  "I need to exercise today Mommy! Could we go ride our bikes? YOU BET! So, now we have our daily bike rides together, and I love the quality time we are having (and the fact she is getting outdoors, and away from the television set!) And we started doing other activities as well. Silly as it may be, I am exercising like a 5 year old!!. We've been roller skating, we've been skipping, we've kicked a soccer ball around. We've even hula-hooped! Yes, I can actually fit in that thing! Although the old hips don't move like they used to! I used to be a champ at that thing, and could make it go round and round forever. Great was my embarrassment the first time I tried it again, and it dropped right to the ground! After a few try's, I got my groove back ( a little....)


So yesterday after school, I took my 5 year old with me to the South trail. I did a walk/jog while she rode her bike a little ahead of me. I wasn't sure if she could do the whole loop actually. It was 2.4 miles. She was fine for the first mile, then we sat on the bench to rest. Then we made it a little further, before another rest. Had to stop to walk her bike up the big hill. Then finally  finished the loop. She was so proud of herself. "Was that 30 minutes mommy? "Can I color in another square?" YEP!  It was actually a little over 30 minutes. I had brought a timer with me, and started/stopped when she was riding, or resting to make sure she was actually riding for the full 30 minutes She loves exercising now, and  I love having "my little reminder" at my side.And I also know that when I take her to the water park this summer to celebrate her victory that  I will look much better in my bathing suit!

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Ok, I've got to be honest. I am still recovering from yesterday's fiasco. Getting on an unmarked " trail" that led me to the middle of nowhere, with out a coat, with out water, with out a cell phone. Pure stupidity on my part. And it was downright dangerous. What was I thinking!!! I guess I thought since I had done so great on the South Trail, I was ready  to take on the world!

I am still sore. I ache all over. I even skipped out on my Zumba dance class today. I needed to recover both physically AND MENTALLY!  Somebody/ Anybody-  please  re-iterate to me how ignorant that was for me to even THINK of doing something like that. Seriously. I am ready for your verbal bashings. I need it so that this really sinks in how stupid that was yesterday. See original post "search for the north trail" if you have no idea what I am talking about.

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So yesterday the weather was fairly nice (about 48) and I decided to go to this new park area that was supposed to have a 2.4 mile south loop, and a 1.4 mile north loop. I figured, if I could do them both, it would give me a pretty good idea of what my time will be in the 3.7 (6K) on 4/18. I was so excited to be in this new area and try out these new trails!

I parked the car, looked at the map that was posted at the beginning of the south loop trail, stretched out for a few, and was off!

It was fabulous! I LOVED the south loop.

I started with a 5 minute walk, then jogged for 15 minutes, then a 4 minute walk, then jogged the final 8 minutes til I crossed the finish line. So, a 2.4 in 32 minutes. I was very happy.

And the trail was really pretty, so lots to look at as I was training. Nice ponds, some soccer fields, pretty wild grass fields , a wetland area and a natural prairie restoration area.There were several other people out on the trail. A happy "hello" was said every time you encountered someone.  And the best part,  all along the way, there were mile markers. Well, actually  ever 1/2 mile. So I could tell how much I had gone, and how much further I still had left.

When I finished, I stopped back at my car, and  logged the time  and distance on a sheet of paper,. I was really warm by now, so I shed some layers, left the heavy jacket behind, the cell phone, the water bottle, etc. Then I  checked the trail map again, and went across the street to what I assumed was the north loop. Although I did find it odd that nothing was marked like it had been on the south loop. But it would only make sense that the South loop was on the south side of the road, and the north loop would be on the north side of the road. Right?

So, figuring I did the 2.4 in 32 minutes, I could certainly knock out another 1.4 in the same time or less, allowing me plenty of time to get my 5 year old picked up from kindergarten.  So , off I set!

I was "power walking" on the trail, and it began up a hill, then past some soccer fields, then took me past some corn fields, hmmm... I thought.... this should be curving back at some point soon. Still, I pressed on. Huh, don't see any homes in sight. Don't see any people. No bikes, no dogs. Where exactly is this trail taking me? Up a big hill, winding around, now down the hill. Ok, this is getting kinda scary.I checked my watch. I've been walking for 30 minutes already. Shouldn't I been done? But I've been going north this whole time! OH NO! I'm starting to panic. I will never make it back to my car in time to get Eloise from school. Now I'm getting cold because I had left my jacket in the car. I couldn't call the school to let them know I was going to be late, I left my phone in the car. Fear is setting in. Where am I? Ok, calm down. I am coming up to some kind of building.  There are two buildings down there at the bottom of this hill.  What are they? Oh my gosh, it is an  Animal Control Building, and the other one is a Water Treatment Plant! I am definitely NOT on the 1.4 mile "north trail". I don't know where I am, ok, I see a subdivision off in the distance. Maybe the trail goes through that housing area, loops around and brings me back to my original starting place. NOPE!  All of a sudden, the trail ended. Just stopped!  Just like that!  Boom- DONE!. It ended in the parking lot between the two buildings.  Boy this is a stupid trail. I hate this trail. I will never take this trail again. Ever. I am now standing just a few feet from a  two lane road ( which fortunately had guard rails) and some train tracks. Ok, get your bearings.

Then a train came by. A train. OK. What route does that train take? THINK. THINK! OK. Got it!  I know where I am now.WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WAY OVER HERE? I AM NO WHERE NEAR MY CAR! Ok, calm down.  I just need to head East, and I can pick up this one road and go south, and I can get back to my car. This was a very scary moment. I was jogging again at this point, knowing I was pressed for time. I was going to be down to the wire to pick up my daughter. The "Panic Mode" kicked in. Although I was so sore and tired I had been out for over an hour and a half, it seemed like  I had the adrenaline to be able to keep pushing, knowing I had to get back! It was nerve racking to say the least, to have to be running along side of the road. But I finally made it to my car, and drove like a bat of of you-know-where  to my daughter's school. My fingers were frozen, my face was sweaty and  purple (from running). My heart was still  racing. Everything ached. My ankles, my calves, my thighs, even my rear. So much for this nice little 1.4 mile "North loop". I hated that "trail" or whatever the heck that was. Maybe it had been part of a bike path at one time, who knows. But it is the "trail that leads to no where!" now.

OK, I am at the school. Yes! Eloise was still there!,  The teacher looked a little irked like "Don't you realize I need to each lunch, lady?"  or  "The afternoon class is probably already on their way! " "Can you please pick your kid up on time ??!"  I didn't bother explaining to her that I had been foolish enough to go out running  alone, on an unmarked, unfamiliar trail, with no jacket, no water, no phone. I was just glad to be back home, with my daughter safe in tow. Several safety lessons learned that day!!!  (And I still never found the north loop!)

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Posted by walkinginthelight Mar 8, 2010

I am so excited! I am down 6 pounds in two weeks! Lots of yogurt and string  cheese, and staying on the training program. I am really pushing!  So I am going to reward myself with a pedicure! I got a gift certificate to a salon  that I had been saving since Christmas, and this seems like the perfect time to use it!


Training is going GREAT! It has made such a big difference for me when I got outside, and off the treadmill in my basement. Seriously, that has made all the difference. Just being outside make me feel motivated and MORE ALIVE!   It helps that my 5 year old can keep me company, she is like a work-out buddy to some extent.  Over the weekend, I went on a long walk on the bike path, while my daughter Eloise joined along side of me on her bike. I was hoping she would make it for the whole 30 minutes, and she did!


And today, instead of driving her to school in the car, like I do each and every morning, WE WALKED!  It was 13 minutes (one way).  I was walking briskly, and she skipped merrily at my side. She seemed so happy!  It was awesome! And all the little things you notice when you are out walking. "Look Mommy! Look at the little bird in the tree!"  "Do you think maybe he will find the bird feeder at our house?"  and "Look Mom! There's Jack and Audrey! Lets catch up with them!


After we got to the school and I saw her walk in safely, rather than just heading home, I continued on the path, and kept walking for another 30 minutes! All around the ponds, all over the bike trails. WOW, Exhilirating!

This may be a new daily routine for me! It's a great way to get the training done first thing in the morning, and still have the whole rest of the day ahead of me! I'm pysched!

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Incentive needed!

Posted by walkinginthelight Mar 5, 2010

Ok, so I am borrowing this idea from my 5 year old, who is in her first year of girl scouts. I'm sure you have all been hit up at some point in your life to purchase girl scout cookies.How can you say no to the thin mints or the tag-a longs??  Well my daughter Eloise came home from her scout meeting a few weeks ago, all fired up to get out and SELL SELL SELL!  You see, the troop had set a goal, that if EACH girl sold at least 120 boxes of cookies, then the whole troop was going to get this big pizza party. Well everyone wanted to sell the 120 boxes, because if the troop didn't get the party and it was because of YOU, everyone would be mad. And no one wanted to be "that kid" that made the troop not get the party.

BUT, in addition to the goal that the troop had, each girl was asked to set her OWN personal goal, and was given a list of "prizes" that they earned, as they reached the next cookie sale level. For example, sell at least 12 boxes, get a patch. Sell 50 boxes, get a bandana. Sell 100 boxes, get this statue of a panda. Sell 125 boxes, get a t-shirt. Sell 150 boxes, get a stuffed panda bear, sell 200 boxes, get a t-shirt for the stuffed panda, that matches the one that you earned!  And it went on and on, all the way up to 1000+ boxes, where you could get digital cameras and even an i-pod!. So, the more you sold, the more rewards you got. You had the pressure of meeting your own personal goals, and also the troops. Bottom line= work hard, get rewards!


So, I thought, why not try to incorporate this into the "getting active" program that I am embarking on. Ok, so I don't have a "troop", but I have a "team". Maybe there is something we can do if we all meet our challenges? I realize we all live in different states, so maybe we need to get creative here. Maybe everyone email me a picture of themselves at the finish line of their race, and I photoshop them , and put all  of us together in one " Team photo"  that everyone can get framed?? Ok, open to suggestions here.....


Alright,  but what about my personal goals and rewards. The idea is to make sure the goal is achievable, and the reward appropriate. (no, I don't want a pizza party, a  patch or even  a stuffed animal!)


Here is what I came up with, breaking the 8 week training program into four 2-week segments.

Finish the first two weeks, never skipping  a training  day, never forgetting to fill out the log, never forgetting to blog, encourage my team mates, and  lose at least 1-2  pounds. Reward= go get a pedicure! (cause my feet gotta be getting sore, right?)

Finish the second two weeks, (same requirements about not missing a day, etc), lose at least an additional 2  pounds. Reward= Get a massage! ( by now, my whole body would enjoy this, not just the feet!)

Finish the third two weeks, (same requirements as above), lose at least another 2 pounds. Reward = I'm thinking a new pair of jeans! You never know,  I might be down by 10 pounds by now, and getting a pair of jeans in a smaller size would be AWESOME!

Finish the final two weeks of the 8 week program- are you kidding me? The reward is that I am going to cross that finish line, with a big smile on my face. AND I think we get a T-SHIRT along with our entry!

And to top it all off, when I reach my final goal for my weight loss, I'm going to buy myself a BATHING SUIT!!!!!!! Can you believe it!!

So, I challenge you all to join me, keep pushing yourself, set goals, and reward yourself for meeting and exceeding them. YOU CAN DO IT!! 


p.s. in case you were wondering, my daughter was tied with the troop leaders daughter as the TOP SELLER  for cookies, the troop exceeded their goal, and they get the pizza party! Lots of happy 5 years olds!

707 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: training, weight, walking, who_wants_to_get_active, whowantstogetactive

Today was glorious! It was a balmy 36 degrees here in Chicago, the sun was shining, and I decided I was not going to work out in my dark dreary basement today. I said "hasta la vista" to my treadmill and the same  four walls I had been staring at for the last few weeks,  and headed to the great out doors. Most of the sidewalks and bike paths in my neighborhood have not been shoveled yet, but at least the street were plowed, for the most part.  I sure wish I had seen Coach Jenny's  video about dressing approriately for cold weather l BEFORE I headed out. I was WAY OVERDRESSED! I had on a t-shirt, a thick hooded sweatshirt, my heavy winter ski coat, complete with winter hat and gloves. I was SO HOT after about 5 minutes, and had no where to toss the extra layers, so I just unzipped my jacket a little bit, and then stuffed my gloves in my pocket.


I brought a timer with me, so I could keep track of my training time. I decided I would try to incorporate a little bit of jogging to the training.  The program I tried was a 30 minute segment, which consisted of a 7 minute jog, a 3 minute walk, another 7 minute jog, and a 3 minute walk, and a final 7 minute jog and 3 minute walk. I was so excited that I was able to complete the program! So all together, its like I jogged for 21 minutes!!

After I got home, I took the car out, and re-traced my path to figure out my distance.  It was 2.3 miles! I logged into the site to use the tools to calculate my pace. It said it was a 13 minute mile! I was so excited! Yes,  I realize this is a pretty slow pace,  but for me personally, it is an accomplishment. Just a few weeks ago, I was a coach pototato. Today I was actually jogging!  I felt so good afterwards. I was really proud of myself. And I am looking forward to tomorrow. I hope the sun will be shining again, hoping to be outside again. What a difference it makes to be outside ! The fresh air, the slight chill. Something about it just improved my whole mood. I just felt healthier!

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Are you kidding me??

Posted by walkinginthelight Mar 2, 2010

I got on the scale this morning, and was so excited! From last week to this week, I was down 15 pounds! "Are you kidding me?" I thought, as I looked at the scale in utter amazement!. I stepped off, and stepped back on. Now I was down 30 pounds!! What the heck?? Then the realization set in.... Yes, it was kidding me. It didn't take long to figure out  that the battery needed to be replaced in my scale. What a bummer! After swapping out a new 9 volt for the old one, I  stepped on the scale one final time. The accurate weight loss from last week to this week was a mere one lonely pound. ONE! Thats it?? That stupid scale. Way to build up my hopes then just tear them to pieces! I wanted to throw that darn thing right out the window!

Not to be too discouraged, I remembered that "muscle weighs more than fat", so maybe I had built up a lot of muscle, and thats why it only showed a one pound loss. At least that the story I'm sticking with.

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Day 2- done early!

Posted by walkinginthelight Feb 23, 2010

Got up this a.m. at 5:30 to get my training in. Kids were all sleeping, the house was quiet. I laced up my shoes and got on the treadmill. I stretched before I started, which I had forgotten to do last night, and ended up waking up at 2:30 in the morning with a really bad leg cramp! Don't know if it was related or not, but thought it a good idea to stretch well before I started walking this a.m. Did the 5 minute warm up, and then a 20 minute walking program on my treadmill that proved to be very (too?) challenging. In two minute segments, the treadmill changes both pace and incline for 20 minutes. So at one point, I was walking at a 4.0 pace, at a 8% incline (the max incline is 10). So it was like walking up a very steep hill, very very fast. It was the longest two minutes of my life! I was relieved when it then dropped to a 6% incline for the next two minutes. But then back up for another 2!  This hill segment might have been a little to early for me to try. I think I was higher than a "7" for my exertion rate. By 12 minutes, I was breathing very heavily with sweat pouring off my forehead. But I did it. And I feel like I can enjoy my day knowing that I've exercised.


I will be glad when the weather improves. I live near Chicago, and we got another 4 inches of snow on yesterday, and as I look out the window as I am typing this, it is snowing again. I am looking forward to being able to get outside and do my training.

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I was very excited to check my email this morning and find my first message with the "day 1" training program, instead of "today is a rest day". Hurrah! The training program finally begins!

So the plan is to walk for 20 minutes , staying at an exertion rate of 7. I think I can do that! Coach Jenny posted a video this week reminding us to  begin and end with a 5 minute warm up and cool down. OK, so that means I need to find 30 minutes somewhere in the day to do this. Would you believe it is 9:30 at night, and I just found the time to exercise? That was not a good thing.


But today was a busy Monday for me....get the kids to school, meet with the guidance counselor, meet with the accountant, pay some bills, go to the bank and the post office,  hit up the grocery store, take the little one to ballet,speak with the guitar instructor, return a few phone calls,  make dinner, clean up the dinner mess, help the kids with homework, do a couple of loads of laundry, blah blah blah. So everyone is finally settled in for the night, and the house is quiet. Now I have the time to work out. Problem .... I was already exhausted and ready for bed. But I put on my running shoes and my very unattractive lycra pants, and headed to the basement and got on the treadmill. I did it. I accomplished my first day of training.


What I learned about today: I need to make exercising a priority, and get it done as early in the day as possible. Exercising right before bed was not a good thing for me.

I nee to get a radio or ipod or some kind of music cranking to keep me motivated.

I need to drink water, but make sure not to over do it.  Right around 12 minutes, I had finished my water bottle and started to cramp up a little.

So tomorrow is another day, and another chance to improve upon my fitness strategies. But now.... a shower and off to bed. Tomorrow begins at 6 a.m.

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Cool Tools!

Posted by walkinginthelight Feb 9, 2010

OK, so I know we don't officially start training until 2/22, but I've been poking around with the site trying to learn my way around. I've  been reading my "walk it off " team mates blogs,  and was pleased to learn everything is working, and I am able to leave comments for everyone! I've even requested them as 'friends", I just have to figure out what that means exactly.

Today I used the "tools" on the training page, and was able to figure out my body mass and percentage of body fat. That was an eye opener! Hopefully those numbers will be going down. Way down. Soon.   Uh, real soon!  I also learned how to review the training pages, record my distance and pace, and make sure I'm staying hydrated.  I'm really impressed with these neat features!  Hopefully, this will be an efficient way to keep track of my training, and a great way to watch my progress. Getting really excited!

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What's that smell?

Posted by walkinginthelight Feb 5, 2010

OK, so I am really excited to start training with Jenny and getting ready for the 6K in Chicago!! I started exercising already, and feel pretty good! I am taking a Zumba dance class once a week, and it is a BLAST!  For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a dance class to Latin music, that combines lots of Latin dance steps, but also aerobic moves and what I would call "belly dancing moves" (Sorry, can't go further with that one....) but lets just say its an "all women" class for a reason.  Lots of hip movements, etc. Its a 45 minute class, and about 10  minutes in, I am sweating profusely, and needing to drink water and wipe my face with a towel. Its a GREAT class!


This past week however,  I noticed something. Someone around me smelled. Really smelled. Really bad!. Yuk, where was that coming from? I mean really, seriously now. Then I realized, oh my gosh.... IT WAS ME!!

OK, I had put my deodorant on  that morning about 6:30 a.m. It was only 10 a.m., surely it couldn't be me?? My deodorant said "24 HOUR PROTECTION", but apparently, it wasn't 24 hours IN A ROW! So needless to say, I am off to buy a descent brand of deodorant!! The buy one get one free wasn't such a hot deal after all. If anyone can suggest a great antiperspirant / deodorant that really lives up to its promises, please let me know!

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When I found out I had been selected  to be on one of the  "WHO WANTS TO GET ACTIVE"  teams,  I could hardly contain my excitement!  The first thing I did, after I stopped screaming " WOO HOO ! I GOT PICKED! I GOT PICKED!" was  to log  on to my  Facebook  page and share the news with friends!  I posted  it as my "status" that I was going to train for and participate in my first race, with the help of Coach Jenny and the team at  My excitement was just bubbling over! and I wanted everyone to know!

"OK , you can calm down now Mom" was the reaction from my two oldest kids (ages 14 and 13) . If you have kids that age, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Yes, they were happy for me, but thought I was behaving as a borderline lunatic with my over-abundance of jubilee, while simultaneously  becoming quite the embarrassment.  Several supportive facebook  friends posted  back that they were happy for me, and wished me the best of  luck.


WOW!  OK. I  GOT PICKED! What do I do now?

Provide the headshot, check. Ok, about the headshot. This was taken by my 5 year old. She took several pictures of  me,  and this was the best one. Yes,  I realize that I am slightly off center, but at least my head wasn't chopped off in this one.


Next, the bio. Well,  I'm a 43 year old married mom with three kids, one in high school, one in middle school, one in grade school. My kids are very active with sports, and over the years,  I've been a really good sideline cheerleader.  Now its my turn.   My personal goals?  My 2010 plan was to  get in shape, lose weight,  to run a 5k at some point during the year. Getting selected for one of the Active Teams was the final motivation that I needed.  I'm looking forward to reading  Jenny's training plan and getting  started.


Finally, write the into log. Done,  thats what this is! Not sure what I was supposed to write about, so hopefully this covered it! Now, I've got 8 weeks to prepare for the Run for Water race in Chicago. Check back often to see how I'm doing. Any words of encouragement or advice would be most appreciated!



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