Learning to Walk

When we first got Zip he hated to go on walks.   It gave me pause because I picked my little terrier because of their energy level and my desire for another walking partner.  I have blogged previously about his lack of outdoor experience and it turned out that this was part of the problem.   He really did not know how to walk.   When he walked his legs went every which way.   They did not move in conjunction with one another. He spent untold amounts of energy in forward momentum.

He has now learned how to walk.   He has found his rhythm.  Now he begs to go on multiple walks each day.   I have found my walk partner.

He wants to know why we have stopped.

He wants to know why we have stopped.

New Shoes


As I train for this year’s races I am forced to deal with the idea that my shoes are on the downward side of being serviceable for another year of races and distance walking.   Shoes if you wear them to walk around for a day of shopping only wear out when they burst at the seams and fall apart.   If you use your shoes for fitness then there is a definite time when they no longer provide the kind of support and protection you need from your shoes.   It all depends on what you do for fitness, the time you spend the the shoes, your feet and yes even your body (how you stand, your gait, and even your weight).

There are lots of guidelines when to replace your shoes, but if you use them for serious running or walking you know when they start to loose their effectiveness and it is time to replacement.    That is the easy part.    The hard part is fining a new pair of shoes.    In the runner’s world the running shoe is constantly evolving and their are hundreds if not thousands of models out there.  I can’t imagine how you pick a new shoe if your model has been discontinued.

If you are a serious distance walker it is much harder as there are not many shoes made specifically for walking.    Walking is significantly different body motion than running and the shoes are just as different.   Putting on running shoes and walking a half marathon doesn’t really work.   I have had many sports fitness stores convince me otherwise and I have sent many perfectly good running shoes to Goodwill after blisters and other foot problems training wearing those shoes.   I have learned my lesson and restrict my purchases now to shoes designed for just distance/fitness walking.    So I am back to my favorite maker of walking shoes and weighing out current model one looks best to plunk my hard-earned cash down on.   It is time to start breaking in a new pair of walking shoes.   My feet are telling me to retire my current pair.

New Treadmill-Yeah!

I happy to report that I found a replacement for my treadmill.   I had been watching Craig’s List since my last one lost its mind.   I got my last one for under $50, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to get one this time for such a deal.   Saturday I got lucky, and found one that I felt was discounted enough from the original price, and the amount they were asking was something I could live with.

It is now home and I am happy to report that on those days when I can drag myself out into the wind and cold I now have a treadmill to fill in for my daily fitness requirement.  It is quieter than the last one and the numbers on the electronic panel are large enough I can see my progress without glasses.      No more excuses.

Within My Power

DCA_BrushSet_Scrapbooking_GreatestWealthI have always been a plus-sized girl who has been fairly active.   This summer I seriously fell off the regular active lifestyle and exercise wagon and have gotten just nasty out of shape.  Even worse I am having trouble getting back into any routine of activity.   I am doing lots of occasional good activities but none of those day in, day out good health habits that I had in place.   I know that those active lifestyle habits have helped me keep my other health indicator numbers (BP, glucose, lipids) in the very good range, except for the scale.

At this moment I am really looking at myself and asking what changed, why now.   If you don’t figure out why or how you got there ultimately you will be right back there.   I have some ideas, but not sure that any one of them is the sole cause.  Folks can share with me how they did, or what this book, doctor, tv show or internet article says to do, but ultimately it is me and only me who can make a difference.

In the meantime I have made one achievable goal, and a few other things that I would like to change to work on.  My goal is SMART;  Specific, Measurable,Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  I am working hard at keeping the goal.   I lived it through the holidays (it was likely an easier goal because it is an activity goal not a food goal).  As soon as I have done so for four weeks straight I will mark it up to life style change an make another another and another until I find good habits once again as natural as breathing.   Hopefully I will soon identify why I made this rotten change in my lifestyle and correct it, so I don’t end up back here again.

I want to get back living an active  lifestyle. I am not waiting until tomorrow, next week or new years.     If  mess up, I begin again immediately time is ticking.    I am working at achieving my goal.   I know it is within my grasp and only I can make it possible. I am not saying it is going to be easy, but it is within my power.

Exercise for my Heart

I have struggled with my weight almost my entire life.  I have lost and gained weight over and over.   I haven’t lost  just a few pounds but 50, 60, even 75 pounds on every diet and program possible.  I feel I am a master looser, but I can not figure out how to keep weight off.   I know the key is exercise  I just haven’t figured out what kind or how much.

I must admit I have hated exercise all my life.  No matter my size,  exercise sucked.  Exercise is like torture to  me.  I have tried it all from a to z: aerobics, ballet, running, weight training, yoga, walking, Pilates, and step training.   I have joined clubs, take classes, done videos at home, had personal trainers, worked with nutritionists and made commitments with friends.  Yet I am still here blogging about my struggle.   I have never made that lifetime connection with exercise.      I do it because it is good for me, not because I like it.  I have yet to experience that exercise high the people talk about.   No, I don’t feel better for having exercised.  Maybe if I wasn’t so large, I would experience all those things with exercise, but in the present I don’t period.

I have to believe what I am doing is making a difference, my blood pressure is low, my glucose is great, my bad blood lipids are normal, and my good cholesterol is very good.  In spite of this all keep thinking about how hard my heart is working.  All the extra pumping that it has to do to move blood around my body can’t be good for that heart of mine.  I need to keep exercising and searching for that combination that will work for me, physically and psychologically, because my heart deserves more.

My treadmill died after nearly 15 years, and I got a new one on Craig’s list.   I was at the thrift store and got a Nordic Track Skier for less than $20.  I pick big harry goals to keep me on the exercise routine.   I want a new better personal best.  I want to say I did 10,000 steps for so many days in a row.   I am always on the look out for a better combination and balance of exercises and routines. So in spite of hating exercise I keep getting back on that bucking horse.  I know some day I will find one that loves me and I love.

Personal Pace Setter

Harley my personal pace setter.

I am walking daily, training to do a half marathon at the end of July.   My training partner is my dog.   Many people exercise with their dog, killing two birds with one stone, both getting in a little exercise.    The special part  is that my dog isn’t your standard lab or other breed you commonly see running along owners.  My dog is a Cairn Terrier, a little 15 pound wonder dog.

My husband drops us off miles from home.  From the minute we get out  of the car to the minute we get home, my dog is the pace setter.   He doesn’t pull at the leash, but he lets me know that we got places to go and keeps it up.   Unlike most male dogs, he wastes no time marking, he hoofs it the whole time.   When I slow down on the hills he takes up running to let me know I can’t fall behind.

This is the first year training with this dog and I am not sure what is fair and realistic for him to walk nonstop.  I know he can hike all day, but then I take breaks.   I do know when I leave him behind I will miss the joy that his driving spirit gives me.

A Lasting Impression – Gym Class

I blame my undeniable loathing of exercise on my grade school gym glass.     Gym class, for those of you not old enough to remember, was  when you went to the gym  as a break from regular classroom.   In gym class was when you put on special “gym shoes” and did all sorts of activities with your classmates. Dodge ball, rope climbing, kick ball, red rover, wiffle ball and the president’s physical fitness challenge.

Gym class was a time when kids with athletic abilities became leaders.   The first kids to finish their sit ups or laps around the gym got to pick the teams.  Rewards for the talented, and I was already getting left behind.   I wasn’t a sit up champ, and my short legs never made me an early finisher in anything that involved running,

Of course these first finishers always picked other talented kids to be on their teams.  I think boys were always picked first as they had the advantage of having pants, while at that time girls were still required to wear skirts and dresses to school.  Then the tom boys were choose as they had skills, that the average girl did not.  Those picked last were the “rejects”  too little, too delicate, too girly, too uncoordinated, or wearing glasses….those percieved without athletic prowess. They wanted to win and did not see me as a contributor to that cause, so I was always one of the last kids picked.

This pattern of teaming up  and being chosen last quickly made a believer out of me.  I was a looser in gym.  I quickly came to dislike this time of activity.  I was repeatedly told by my classmates I did not have what it takes to be part of their winning ways.  Not with words or in cruel ways, but in that subtle way of exclusion by being one of the last choose.  Taken on a team because everyone had to be on a team, not because they wanted me. I never developed into a skilled kicker, dodger, climber or runner.   I spent more time sitting out than playing the games as I quickly became “out.”

In retrospect I think all of this contributed to my adult loathing of  exercise. I never became a believer in myself in athletic abilities.    I  never learned to enjoy the  feeling that a good walk, run or exercise session gives you.    I  never thought of myself as excelling in any kind of sport or having a personal athletic talent.  As an adult, I walk because it is good for me and do like to say I did a few miles today (the pride factor).   I do have to admit that I enjoy yoga once I get started, but getting started takes sheer mental determination to get me to start.   That whole idea of exercise to this day does not sound like fun.  Sort of sad that all these years later that I can’t shake that feeling of being that little girl in grade school who wasn’t quite good enough.