On around November third or fourth, Spark and I decided to challenge ourselves with a walking goal. We wanted it to be challenging but not too hard. We chose 300 miles in three months thinking that between the two of us we would only have to walk about three miles most days. We have tried this type of thing before as a family and have never succeeded. Spark wanted to try again and so he and I decided to do it just the two of us. I think he thought it would be cool to do something just the two of us.
We started out and we half heartedly walked a few miles. One night a few days into our challenge he was talking with me and said "Do you really think we are going to get 300 miles done?" From the tone of his voice I knew right then and there that I needed to role model how to start and finish a goal. I told him we sure were and for incentive we could put a ticker on our blog.
He and I went to the computer and found a free ticker and he choose the grass and snail for the graphic to show our progress. When he chose the snail I thought I would feel like a snail trying to get all these miles walked so it was an appropriate icon. On the top of the ticker you could write what was being measured. I went to type in Spark and Mom walking by Feb. 1st. The 1st. didn't fit on the amount of space that they allowed for the heading. Good, I thought, it only says February so it could really take us to the end of February and we would still be in the boundaries of the now modified heading. I was looking for any loop hole at the time.
We set up the ticker and put in our miles. Our first entry, which was a couple of days worth of walking, was something like four miles. Our ticker said 4 miles done, 296 miles to go and we were already a good six days into our challenge. I saw us down by the tread mill the last week of February trying to get in 20 miles a day between the two of us so we would meet this goal.
Instead we decided to step our efforts up a notch. I started walking two miles a day even though I would have rather had my teeth cleaned than walk that extra mile every day. But then, even though I still hated that extra mile, I felt like I had really accomplished something when I was done. Pretty soon it wasn't so hard and felt like my legs weren't going to fall off at the end of two miles. November was very mild temperature wise and so most of my miles were done outside, Spark would walk half outside and half inside on the tread mill.
A couple of weeks ago I decided that two miles wasn't really challenging me anymore and bumped it up to three miles with Spark following suit. Around this time the weather took a turn right into the heart of winter so I am unable to walk outside anymore. I don't enjoy walking on the tread mill like I do walking outside so my goal is to get those miles done as quickly as possible. I started out at 3 mph but now I can comfortably walk 3.5 mph and get done in just a little over 50 minutes. Sometimes I walk it in three different sessions. I will look at the clock and think "In just 17 minutes I can have one of those miles done." This doesn't seem so daunting to me and I it seems easier for me to fit it in with everything else if I do it in one or two smaller time periods than taking almost a whole hour out of the day at one time to get it done.
The ticker has really been a great motivator for us. It is exciting to walk and then enter the amount into the computer and see our goal getting ever smaller. We are now at the half way mark, 150 miles, and we are a little bit ahead of schedule. At the rate we are going we should be done around the middle of January! We are already talking about what we will do then. A 5K run seems to be the next thing on Spark's mind. Dancer ran a few 5K's in the fall of 2008 and got some t-shirts. I think he thinks it would be pretty cool to be sprouting one of those t-shirts around town. I think it would pretty cool too.