365 Days of Commitment

The New Year has started and with it many people have set goals to achieve improved physical fitness.  I set a goal to make stretching a regular part of every day.  Here we are on Day 7 and I have already failed to achieve my goal.  Fifteen minutes of stretching isn’t all that demanding.  I should have been able to keep it up.  But I would forget or get too tired.  Maybe I should try for every other day.

Compared to the goals set by people like Robert Kraft and Steve Abraham, my goal was pretty lame.  Robert, a 64 year old from Miami, set a goal of running every day in 2015.  He is a bit worried about achieving that goal since he suffers from arthritis, spinal stenosis, and a degenerated disk.  But he has a track record in his favor – he has been running every day since 1974, usually around 8 miles a day.  Robert is a member of the US Running Streak Association that has 500 active streakers (3 years ago there were only 269!); the oldest is a 78 year old woman who has been streaking for over 34 years, the youngest, a 10 year old who has been streaking for over 1.5 years.  To qualify as a streaker, you have to run at least a mile a day for 365 consecutive days.  While Robert’s 40 year record is impressive, the current record is 50 years held by England’s Ron Hill.  I ran the Dopey Challenge last year – 4 days of running fun at DisneyWorld.  By the 4th day, I was ready to hang up my running shoes and turn off my Garmin.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to run every day for 50 years.

Then there is Steve, an Englishman with a goal of biking every day at least 200 miles.  He hopes to bike a total of 80,000 miles in 2015.  Steve wants to break the record set 74 years ago by Tommy Goodwin, another Englishman who biked every day for a year and covered 75,065 miles.  Tommy was no slouch.  He didn’t stop at the end of the year; he kept going for 500 days and biked 100,000 miles.  In his attempt to break the record, Steve will be riding a steel-framed Raleigh bike, equivalent to what Tommy used, not a light-weight modern bike.  If Steve succeeds, he will have covered a distance equivalent to cycling around the world three times.  I am rooting for him to break the record.

For those of us who can’t fathom 365 days of commitment, you can always join in the Penguin’s 100 Day Challenge.  John Bingham, a.k.a. the Penguin, has been doing this challenge each year for a few years now.  “The goal is to move INTENTIONALLY for 30 minutes  a day, every day, for 100 days.”   I completed one of his 100 Day Challenges a couple years ago.  It was interesting to see how much more active I became when I was more conscious of trying to ensure that I moved each day.  There were lots of ways to complete those 30 minutes too.  I walked stairs at work during lunch, did WiiFit games, and rode my exercise bike.

As for me, I am going to give daily stretching another try.  I noticed an improvement in my muscles the few days that I did stick with it.  I just have to be more committed this time.  Just think Gumby!

Here is a link to John Bingham’s blog with more information about the 100 Day Challenge.  If you are looking for a way to get moving, this challenge just may be the motivation you need.