Thursday, March 20, 2014

Walking to Winnipeg

Depending on who you talk to, people will tell you that it is important to set goals, especially when it comes to fitness: how much weight, how much time, how often, how far, etc.  I tend not to do this because, for the most part, it isn't that big of a deal for me to get to the gym, hop on my bike, or go for a walk.  For me, the challenge is much more about what type of food and how much I eat.

Nevertheless, now that I am monitoring the distance that I walk each day with my Fitbit and look at the bar graphs detailing my data concerning steps taken, distance covered, calories burned, and active minutes, I have a very good idea on what would be a challenging but achievable goal.

At the end of March, it will have been three months that I have tracked how far I walk each day.  Last week, I passed the 500 mile mark, which means that by the end of the month, I will have walked about 1000 kilometres -- not too shabby at all.

Doing the math, if I maintain this rate, by the end of the year I will have walked approximately 4000 kilometres, which is the equivalent of walking from where I live, on the Quebec/Ontario border, crossing the entire province of Ontario, to arrive in my hometown of Winnipeg and back again.

Last summer, we drove from Gatineau to Winnipeg to attend my niece's wedding -- two very long days of driving just to get there.  As a result, no one in the family ever wants to do that it again.  Next time we'll fly.

So, when I tell my family that I'm walking to Winnipeg, they think I've flipped.  That's a hell of a long way.  Then, I tell them that I am going to walk, over the course of the year, the equivalent of walking the round trip one step at a time, day in day out, wherever I find myself.

They get it.  They can make the connection between the total distance covered on foot over 12 months and the hellish experience of driving across Ontario, the land of what seems to be endless rocks and trees and bogs and lakes.

I also tell them that along the way, I am not going to be stopping at Tim Hortons, MacDonalds, or anywhere for pizza.  No way.  Yogurt and berries for breakfast, salad for lunch, and either lean meat or fish with vegetables for supper.  No bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta.  Nothing with added sugar or refined flour.  Plenty of fruit, nuts, coffee, some dairy, and the occasional bar of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine.

Along the way, I am going to stop at a gym to work out twice a week, one workout lifting heavy weights, another doing high intensity intervals.

Finally, now that I am middle-aged, I'll be taking vitamin D, fish oil, and alpha lipoic acid to combat inflammation.

I like to imagine my efforts to reach my destination of being physically fit sets me out on a return voyage back to my home town -- back to a place and time where in fact I was slim and fit before leaving to seek my fortune.

I hope I can recapture that part of my past.

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