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Finding Fitness and Walking My Butt Off

Physical fitness really does come along once step at a time.  It’s true. The first mile or so is often a torturous test of determination and die-hard perseverance, but the path nearly always improves from there.

Last week, I posted this on my Facebook page:

The first mile is always the hardest ...
 then everything suddenly changes.
Energy + Endurance + Endorphins = Enthusiasm

Maybe you know the feeling.

Two recent suggestions jump-started this sojourn for me.

This pair of suggestions was somehow serendipitous.

I’ve been feeling like something of a slug lately. Sure, I work with horses almost daily, but a chronic and progressive medical condition has all but sidelined me from mounted activities. An extra-hot summer has exacerbated my symptoms, keeping me out of the saddle more than in it on far too many days.
I enlisted my fashionable and fitness-savvy teenager to accompany me to the mall, where we visited a real athletic footwear store for measuring and appropriate shoe selection. Sure, we live in factory outlet land, but I was pretty sure a significant footwear investment would keep me faithful to the cause.

I’ve already logged dozens of miles in those spiffy running shoes.

At this point, my running shoes have cost me about $1 a mile, but that cost is going down each day. And they haven’t produced a single blister. Thank you, Nike!

I even purchased a pedometer (see ad below) to measure my steps. More than once, I’ve retraced my steps around a block or two, just to make it to the next mile mark.

Mostly, I walk, rather than running.

I have a doctor’s note for that. Balance and vertigo issues often keep me from running straight and steady, especially on bumpy or uneven terrain. Even at the walk, my toes tend to turn numb around the two-mile mark. Running can be tricky and treacherous for me. At such times, I walk.

Besides, if I can walk pleasurably for an hour or more, instead of running for a fraction of that time and hating it, that’s certainly worth something to me.

Even at the walk, I’m lapping my neighbors.

I clip along at a pretty brisk pace. Over the weekend, I passed a few jogging neighbors. And I surely sprinted past those who never laced on their sneakers at all.

Sometimes I even strap on wrist weights (see ad below), just to up the effort level and maybe burn off a few more pesky pounds.

Today, I begin the third week in the eight-week Presidential Challenge. I currently hold second place in our group for total fitness points, although I honestly have no idea what that’s worth. I'm not even sure who's in first, as if it mattered.

However, if I meet the general requirements of exertion for six out of the eight weeks, I am supposed to receive some sort of certificate or patch. I’m not even sure.

I’ve already logged two weeks’ worth – or 40% of the challenge. Here’s my bar chart.

But the challenge makes it almost fun.

Here are a few bonuses I’ve discovered on my road to fitness.

  • My jeans fit better.
  • My diet has improved. A cursory study of calorie-burning rates has made me aware of how many miles I must cover to make up for every munch. (Who knew a handful of wheat crackers had 140 calories? Burning that nifty nosh can take about an hour of moderate walking. Is it worth it?)
  • I’m training my neighbors’ dogs to stop barking at me. Their friendly fire continues, but we’re making some progress.
  • My nature photography collection is growing, as I snap pretty sights with my cell phone.
  • I’ve met a few fine folks in the area, who greet me daily, putting the proverbial extra spring in my step.

Now, if I could only see a numerical drop when I step on the scale each morning.

Black Nikes – Fair Use Photo
Presidential Fitness Promotional Graphics – Fair Use

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Welcome, September and 85 Month-Long Holidays

September is here, along with back-to-school days. Summer vacations have come to a close, but holidays still beckon folks with many special interests, hobbies, and personal pursuits. In fact, September has at least 85 holidays that last all month long.
Who's in the mood for 30 days of celebrating this month?

85 month-long September holidays

Take a peek at these plentiful celebrations, which last all through the ninth month of the year. 

September holidays focus on beauty, careers, ecology, emergency preparedness, etiquette, food, health, parenting, pets, reading, recreation, safety, schools, television, and much more.

  1. Animal Remembrance Month
  2. Arthritis Month
  3. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Month
  4. Baby Safety Month
  5. Backpack Safety America Month
  6. Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month
  7. Better Breakfast Month
  8. Biscuit Month
  9. Blueberry Popsicle Month
  10. Cable TV Month
  11. California Wine Month
  12. Campus Safety Awareness Month
  13. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  14. Childhood Injury Prevention Month
  15. Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
  16. Children's Good Manners Month
  17. Cholesterol Education Month
  18. Coastal Cleanup Month
  19. College Savings Month
  20. Coupon Month
  21. Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
  22. Classical Music Month
  23. Disaster Preparedness Month
  24. DNA, Geonomics and Stem Cell Education Month
  25. Emergency Preparedness Month
  26. Ethnic Foods Month
  27. Fall Hat Month
  28. Food Allergy Awareness Month
  29. Food Safety Education Month
  30. Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month
  31. Go Wild During California Wild Rice Month
  32. Grandparents Month
  33. Great American Low-Cholesterol, Low-Fat Pizza Bake Month
  34. Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
  35. Happy Cat Month
  36. Head Lice Prevention Month
  37. Healthy Aging Month
  38. Hispanic Heritage Month  (through October 15th)
  39. Home Furnishings Month
  40. Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month  (through October 5th)
  41. Latino Nutrition Month  (through October 15th)
  42. Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month
  43. Library Card Sign-Up Month
  44. Literacy Month
  45. Marriage Health Month
  46. Mold Awareness Month
  47. Mushroom Month
  48. National Chicken Month
  49. National Courtesy Month
  50. National Honey Month
  51. National Piano Month
  52. National Rice Month
  53. National School Success Month
  54. National Sewing Month
  55. Newborn Screening Awareness Month
  56. One-on-One Month
  57. Organic Harvest Month
  58. Osteopathic Medicine Month
  59. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
  60. Papaya Month
  61. Pediculosis Prevention Month
  62. People Skills Month
  63. Pink Flamingo Month
  64. Potato Month
  65. Preparedness Month
  66. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
  67. Read-a-New-Book Month
  68. Recovery Month
  69. Save the Tiger Month
  70. Sea Cadet Month
  71. Self-Awareness Month
  72. Self-Improvement Month
  73. Senior Pet Health Care Month
  74. Shameless Promotion Month
  75. Sickle Cell Month
  76. Skin Care Awareness Month
  77. Sports and Home Eye Health and Safety Month
  78. Square Dancing Month
  79. Strategic Thinking Month
  80. Subliminal Communications Month
  81. Update Your Resume Month
  82. Whole Grains Month
  83. Women of Achievement Month
  84. Women's Friendship Month
  85. Yoga Awareness Month

Welcome, September!

How many of these 85 month-long September holidays will you celebrate?
Bulldog with Party Hat by Bird33OU
Public Domain – Wikipedia Commons Photos

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Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter. You are also invited to join this writer's fan page, as well as the Chicago Etiquette Examiner, Madison Holidays Examiner, Equestrian Examiner and Madison Equestrian Examiner on Facebook.

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