Are you looking for a little motivation to stay active this winter?
Even if you’re not a Disney fan, I hope reading how I came up with my plan will inspire you to make a creative plan of your own.
Let’s make exercise part of our routine in a fun and extra-ordinary way; so we will look forward to gettin’ up and gettin’ movin’ every morning!
I have a neighbor/friend that is almost a decade and a half younger than me that is training for a marathon. A few weeks ago she popped in for a chat, all excited about going through her 60 day “Insanity” workout again. All her energy and motivational words about healthy eating and active living inspired me.
I told her I’d find a more “doable” fitness routine (for a “near middle-aged woman”) and join her. Shortly after starting we realized we were about to enter into the yummiest season of Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and Christmas pies and treats! With a verbal commitment to moderation and healthy choices (and WE WILL NOT BE LIARS!!!!), we decided we would persevere and hold each other accountable.
So far, so good. I’ve chosen to keep my fridge and cabinets stocked with a steady rotation of my healthy favorites. My meals/snacks are intentional treats of Greek yogurt, granola, raspberries, hummus, celery, bell peppers, jalapeños, avocados, black beans, limes, pepper-jack cheese, clementines, baby spinach, gala apples, almond butter, lima beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, bananas, and an occasional mango … I’m in heaven!
Now I’m on week three of a twelve week DVD workout schedule, and I can’t believe how great I feel! (more energetic, stronger, more flexible, motivated, excited!) I think the difference is the variety which balances cardio with strength and flexibility circuits.
And, I’ve already faced my fear/pride of running (and having to walk most of the up hill) with someone who can run circles around me. Once a week, I’m hitting the black top and dirt roads with my young “Insanity”/Marthon-training neighbor. Yay, me!!!!
But, one question has kept coming to mind:
WHY am I doing this?
What is my motivation?
- “to be healthy”, “challenging myself to stay active”, and “to feel good” are such vague goals…
- even to “honor the LORD with my temple” and “rededicate my body to Him” are excellent reasons but still abstract and difficult to measure…
My neighbor has her marathon as the prize to keep pushing herself toward.
What will be my attainable-yet-challenging goal?
Here’s my train of thought:
I batted around the idea of running a few more 5Ks throughout the next year, maybe a 10K, but how will that motivate me in the dead of winter? I even considered setting the goal of a half-marathon, until I drove 13.1 miles. That is REALLY far. — In light of that, the idea of running 26.2 miles is absolutely out of the question! It holds NO appeal to me. But with my trip to Disney earlier this year still fresh in my mind, the idea of the Disney Marathon, running through all the Disney parks, sounds so fun.
- Florida is flat. (I live in a land of mountains and every road home is uphill.)
- The parks are filled with wonderful, happy distractions: music, characters, familiar rides and buildings, landscaping, and decorations.
- I love Disney World.
Then, after looking at the Marathon routes on a map, it dawned on me; they run the majority of the Disney race on the miles and miles of roadway between the parks. (Having ridden the bus from the Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom’s Kidani Villas, I know that is further than I ever want to think about running or walking.)
The half-marathon, though still farther than I am genuinely interested in running, at least sounds possible but only runs to and through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (no beautiful paths through Animal Kingdom or the familiar streets of Hollywood Studios). But, could I really justify the cost of entry fees, flights, hotels, meals, etc. when there are several half-marathons within an hour drive from my house?
Here’s my brainstorming conclusion:
Right now, I am motivated by the thought of running through Disney parks; so… Saturday I ran through Typhoon Lagoon (24 minutes, 36 seconds) and today I ran through the Magic Kingdom (34 minutes, 32 seconds). How?
I run on my treadmill and watch one of the numerous walk-through tours posted on Youtube. Oh, how the quarter miles light-up and fly by for me!
(If you google-video: “Magic Kingdom (or other park) walk through”, you’ll find a wide variety of tours that take from 20 minutes to an hour; some at the park opening, mid-day, or late at night; during the summer as well as when decorated for Halloween or Christmas; and even tours during special events like the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.)
So, here’s my plan, to run these paths and see how many miles I can log, and maybe by the end of winter, try to run/walk all 4 parks in one day. I plan to keep mixing it up: running a late-night walk-through if I run in the evening, maybe running a “half-mouse-a-thon (just through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot) on a Saturday, maybe run through Blizzard Beach water park on a snowy afternoon, etc…
Besides the fact that I love Disney World. I have the added motivation that I’m heading back down to Florida mid-winter with my kids to meet up with my parents and one of my sisters; so though some many might find this boring, I am genuinely excited to run or walk everyday.
At the end of this winter, I would be quite pleased if I ran a 10K, 6.2 miles on my final “Mouse-a-thon”, but if I reach that goal, maybe I’ll push right on toward 13.1 (a half marathon). Then, if I get close, maybe I’ll even take on one of those nearby races in the Spring or Fall. (If I aim higher, I tend to go farther!) I’ll never know how far I can go until I try.
What about YOU?
What is your motivation?
Abstract or measureable, what is your “WHY“, your reason that keeps you pressing on and pushes you forward to do and best the best that you can do and be?
WHY are YOU doing what you’re doing?
And if you’re not doing anything, why not? Consider those who are handicapped yet pushing their wheelchair to compete in the Paralympics or those who are more out of shape than you that are slowly persevering to knock off their extra pounds, or folks with health issues that require them to have a restricted diet, or maybe consider those who are older than you who would love to have a younger body so that their physical activity had more options. If they are finding creative ways to stay active and motivated, what can you do to optimistically face your challenges?
If you live in the country, you have wide open roads and quiet wooded trails. If you live in the city you have sidewalks and paved paths, not to mention gyms and clubs to work out in. So, what’s your excuse?
What will be your attainable-yet-challenging goal?
What are you interested in? How could you creatively incorporate something you enjoy into your goal? What are you afraid of, and where is your pride getting in the way of taking on a new challenge? How can you overcome your obstacles in a unique way?
You only have one body. You only have one life here on this planet. Your body and your health affects your mood and your emotions, your perspective, your memory, and all these things either aid or hinder your spiritual life.
Indoor weather, winter and snow, can be an excuse to try something new! Let the holiday feasting and a new year approaching be a motivation to end this year well.
(As I write this there are 50 days until Dec 31st. Make up your own 50 Day Challenge. Set a goal and go for it! Start today!!!!)
“…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Love the LORD your God will all your STRENGTH!
Keep seeking Him first in everything!