Tag Archives: Charity Miles

#forty5ksby40 is on the path to being doubled

On my 39th birthday last year, I officially began my goal of running or walking forty measured 5k distances by the time my 40th birthday rolled around. I hit the mark in May of this year. Go me!

A woman in a neon tank top and turquoise sunglasses holds up four fingers indicating a 40th 5k distance run. Text is via the CharityMiles app; 3.3 miles run to benefit Habitat for Humanity, sponsored by Blueprint Fit.

I completed my fortieth 5k seven months into my challenge (taking into account winter, my busy season at a desk job, injuries and illness). Next up: doubling my goal by October.

I have approximately two months from early August 2018 to double my goal. I have 24 more 5ks to complete an even 80. If I complete a workout every 2 to 3 days, I’ll hit the goal exactly. If my body doesn’t give me more trouble, if the weather cooperates, if I find time between work and life, I can accomplish it. And if I don’t hit the mark, well, that stinks, but I will have tried.

The heat and humidity this summer have affected my breathing, and any increase in breathing difficulty decreases my speed and stamina. It’s been hard for me to complete some of my runs, and a few have been truncated to shorter training runs that I obviously didn’t count toward my total. Luckily, my feet haven’t been giving me too much trouble, any knee pain has gone away quickly, and my stretching regimen has kept me from having many sore muscles and injuries. It could all go to hell tomorrow, but for now, I’m doing fine.

Heat has really been a barrier to my athletic activity this summer, so to try to take my mind off my depressingly slow times, I’ve experimented with interval training while on training runs, but mostly I’ve just been trying to complete my distance and not die. Additionally, I’ve been listening to the Charity Miles podcast The Extra Mile on my last couple of runs, and I come away inspired and entertained, often laughing at the personalities that Gene Gurkoff interviews on the podcast.

A note about the photo: You see my picture is emblazoned with text and logos, and that’s just par for the course for me lately as part of my favorite altruistic fitness tracking site. I’ve been using the Charity Miles app now for nearly 5 years. I logged a whopping 12.95 miles in 2013. As of this morning, I’ve logged 1,628 total miles for them, both running and walking, and even just walking indoors during the course of a normal work day. I used it one holiday season when I was working retail as a departmental lead and going 8-12 miles per day around my store; I logged a third of my miles that year alone! Charity Miles is not only a good distance tracker, it’s also a way to generate corporate sponsorship money for a list of charitable causes that range from the ASPCA to Soles 4 Souls to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but I’m a big fan and use the app whenever I know I’m going to be walking any distance. I even use it to log for MS Society at my main workplace. I turn it on when I walk to the other end of our block to retrieve the mail from the locked mailbox and then walk the circumference of the nearby park to stretch my legs a little.

If you’re on Instagram and want to follow along with my trek toward doubling my #forty5ksby40 goal and turning it into #eighty5ksby40, you can find me @treadmillofsisyphus.


No Substitute For Self-Care

There’s no way to fool yourself into not being broken down, injured, or tired. Sure, you can give yourself all the pep talks you want, but when you feel like you’re walking on pins and needles, when you’re so tired you can’t even get off the couch, when you have small shooting pains in familiar places, it’s time to take a step back and rest. Rest, damn it. This is your only body, and sometimes, the reset button is broken, so you have to take the cooldown instead to let everything recharge, even if it’s not going to go back to where you want it to be.

Recapping my summer: I progressed well through 6 weeks of New Rules of Lifting for Women. The program calls for a barbell and some gym equipment, but since I don’t have access to much of anything but barbells and bodyweight, I did what I could with the materials I had on hand, and I put out a request on social media to borrow weights. I misplaced my 10-pound dumbbells and had only 2- and 5-pound weights to dink around with. A friend had 15-pound weights and 25-pound weights she let me borrow, but no 10. Another friend let me have her single 10-pound weight. And since this is the summer of being broke, I did what I had to: I tied my 5-pound weights together with a shoelace and lifted for a while with that. GOOD ENOUGH.

Sadly, my feet began hurting not terribly long after this. Contributing factors include taking on a role at my part-time job where I walk around the building quite a bit more, and the shabby shoes I’ve made work over the last several months are showing their fit issues, their age, and their quality at last, and the result was aching feet. As someone who let a broken foot go untreated years ago, I was not about to go down that road again and decided to take some time off from lifting. It was time for my rest week anyway, which I took advantage of quite gladly. Sadly for me, the rest week has turned into more than a month of not lifting weights.

However, there is a silver lining: my guts healed enough that I could run again, and it didn’t happen until I had been working on my core through NROLFW for those six weeks. Should I directly credit lifting weights with closing up the hole and helping me to be able to run again without abdominal pain? There is strong enough circumstantial evidence that I will take it on face value and call it good enough.

We had a temperate July, all things considered, to the point that I had to wear a light jacket to finish mowing the lawn on the fourth of July. This is usually a day of sweat, sunscreen, and humid warmth. It turned out to be a day I took the dogs for a nice cool walk in the mid-afternoon, and it was downright chilly in the afternoon shade. With all the great weather, plus a purchase of obnoxiously bright and wonderful new shoes (and some awesome free socks and new sports bras), I went for a lot of walks that sometimes turned out to be walk/run events.

I started tracking on four apps at once: Charity Miles, to donate to Feeding America; WoofTrax, to donate to my local animal shelter, Runkeeper; and MapMyRun. I have been getting inconsistent distance readings from one app to the next, so I like to multi-track to get a more accurate average. For instance, today, my apps disagreed by 0.3-0.4 miles. That’s a huge difference.

I’ve also been tracking small walks on the Charity Miles app in an effort to get a free t-shirt and support Team Red, White & Blue and the Wounded Warrior Project. The app is issuing more small challenges that scale up where participants can earn prizes from corporate sponsors for tracking a set number of days for particular charities. If nothing else, it’s a great daily reminder to work out, even if just a little bit.

My weight is still not in a place where I want it to be, and my stomach in particular is not where I want it to be – it’s making wearing some of my cute pants less possible, as some pairs cut into my gut in a way that they didn’t used to. I recently discovered that my favorite diet soda (I know, I shouldn’t be drinking any diet soda, I know! Jeez!) has concentrated orange juice as a main ingredient, and a diabetic woman who pointed this out to me said it messed with her sugar levels. She says this is the only diet soda she drinks that affects her; others that have plenty of caffeine do not affect her in the same way at all. While I’m not diabetic, and my doctor never diagnosed me as pre-diabetic, I have been watching my sugar for going on three years now, and Alzheimer’s and diabetes are in my genetic destiny, and I need to remember that even the diet “cheats” that I think are safe are only ok in moderation. I’m bad at moderation. So I’m going to cut back drastically and see how I can diversify my natural treats and go back to drinking diet tea and water instead. I’m discouraged, though. It feels like I’ve strayed from my original path, and it’s even harder to get back into good eating habits than it was to make them in the first place.

Finally, I am really getting old. I push mowed the lawn the other day. The yard is fairly large, and the grass was wet, so it was hard work, and it took me 3 hours to finish (I took plenty of breaks, too). I wound up with bruised palms, muscle soreness all over my body, a slightly aggravated ankle, pain in my left pointer finger from lifting the mower to scrape wet grass out from the inside so the blades would spin, and right wrist pain from turning the mower. And my feet hurt like hell the next day after I stood around at my retail job, then took the dogs for a walk. Even my magic new sneakers couldn’t save me from hurting myself.

Getting rest, making sure to eat before undertaking big physical efforts, resting body parts that hurt, and remembering I’m not as invincible as I think I am or want to be seem to be the only ways to age gracefully while maintaining some amateur level of fitness. But this is why I continue to work out: so that when I’m older, I’ll still be mobile enough to take my dogs for walks, to enjoy being out in nature, and to live independently as long as possible.