Diet & Weight Magazine

What I Accomplished (and Didn't) on My 100 Mile Walk

By Roserighter @roserighter
I've never been an athletic person. Even in elementary school I struggled to run or to do even one pushup. I assumed it was just how I was made and that I wasn't cut out for sports and the like.
Things changed approximately two years ago when I was chosen for a local weight loss contest. Throughout the 3 month experience, I become very strong and realized I was capable of much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I took it one step further and went on to compete for the state title in deadlifting and I beat the record two years in a row!
I felt amazing that I had lost some weight, gained a whole lot of strength and met the goals I had set for myself. The only problem is that I still hated cardio. I despised the treadmill and would only step on the elliptical for a warm-up. It was like torture for me and I couldn't wait to get it over with so I could get on with my weight lifting routine.
A Slow Start In the past few months I tired to run in an effort to lose more weight. Aside from being embarrassing (I'm still not at or near my goal weight), it was still very uncomfortable and I could only do it for 1-2 minutes at a time before I had to return to walking.
At the end of February I came across an online challenge to walk or jog 100 miles in March. The goal was to walk a 5K every day for the entire month. I knew it was a big goal to set for myself, but I also knew I had nothing to lose. I sent in my information and set out to increase my cardio.
My Month of Walking I had been told repeatedly that it takes a lot of cardio to lose weight. So as I started this challenge I had high hopes. I thought I could lose 10-20 pounds by increasing my cardio that much. I also assumed I would dread every minute of it, but I would get through it somehow because I was being held accountable.
The Downside of My Walk Firstly, I realize I set my goals way too high. I also didn't put any effort into changing my diet. Therefore, I didn't lose any weight the whole month. I didn't have any extra time to hit the gym for weight lifting, so I'm sure that my strength has decreased as well. I was hungrier on the days that I walked more. Some days were tougher than others. The time I spent on the treadmill left me with aching shins, blistered feet and sore quads.
The Upside of My Walk
Though I didn't lose weight during the 100 mile walk, I did reap other benefits from the experience:
  • I gained a new appreciation for nature. Once I realized how much easier it was on my body to walk outdoors than on the treadmill, I spend the majority of my time walking at nearby nature trails.
  • I also developed an interest in nature photography. While walking, I took pictures of birds, nesting swans, huge snapping turtles and more. It really makes me wish I had a high quality camera.
  • I bonded with my youngest son, as he accompanied me on a handful of my long walks and enjoyed talking my ear off, as much as he liked taking in the natural surroundings and hand-feeding the Chicadees.
  • My body went through some subtle changes. My calves got tighter and my butt got smaller. I also adjusted to the long walks and my body no longer hurt from doing it.
  • I set a goal and I reached it! That in itself was huge for me.
  • I was able to increase my cardio (and enjoy it) despite my previous dislike for it.
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone. Anyone who knows me would tell you I have a strong fear of wildlife. So much so that chipmunks scurrying past me just about sent me into a panic attack. Yet, I walked nature trails all month long. I saw a lot of wildlife and I handled it quite well. I even walked one 8-mile stretch through the woods one afternoon by myself. That is growth!

So while I didn't get the results I was hoping for by participating in this walking challenge, I got a lot more out of it that I never expected. I was determined to finish what I started, I stayed committed to the goal and I did it!

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