May 29, 2009

Nova Scotia election candidates on the move!

Great news - Walkabout's election challenge has sparked interest across the province, resulting in a flurry of candidates signing on for their own informal walking challenge. For the rest of the campaign (and possibly beyond), they will wear Walkabout pedometers, track their steps online for a friendly competition, and hopefully spark conversations about the issues this brings to light, issues like infrastructure, health and healthcare costs, active transportation, gas prices, the environment, and community safety. Here's the news release, and here's the great part of the story as far as I'm concerned:
Politics is not a drive-by sport. These folks know that, if you want to really connect with people, you've got to do it on foot. I learned a similar lesson on a personal level when I gave up most driving for short distances - I got to know my neighbourhood a lot better, and I enjoy it a lot more. But more on that later....

In other news.... with the warmer weather, beautiful "street parties" are popping up all over the place, including in some extreme places - like Times Square, which is typically wall-to-wall cars. Check out these pictures of pedestrians reclaiming the street!

... and from the sounds of it, it may become permanent. What I would call a pedestriarchy.

Makes me want to get out my white paint can and claim my own street for a sunny stroll this weekend. Instead I will settle for some HRM Bike Week activities ( . Walkers bike and cyclists walk - streets which are friendly to cyclists are very much in the Walkabout spirit. It's true - walk and roll can save the world :)

May 22, 2009

Walking takes me... to the finish line

This was a big day. I sprint-walked-sprint-walked the course. It wouldn't have been possible without building up my endurance through the simple act of walking every day.
This was the Bluenose 10k. Now that I know that I can go further by breaking up my sprints with walking - and that, mind-blowingly, this can give me the same average speed as many of those hardy souls who jog the whole way - I'm game for more marathons, maybe even longer distances. And that just blows me away. I'm a walker, not a runner! But walking helped take me there.
Turns out there's whole communities of people who have already discovered this. Check out With proper preparation, you can walk a whole marathon. My entire worldview has shifted...

May 13, 2009

Olympics now and then

I was at a meeting in Richmond county and my colleagues and I were chatting about the Olympics.One of the group felt that the cost of training elite athletes was just not worth it; it was not beneficial enough for the general population to keep doing it year and year. Needless to say that began a lively discussion about Physical Activity and motivation! Some were pro , some were con. As I was making my way home again, I was musing on this very topic when I came around the bend to my family's kilometer. Now why does my family have a kilometer of our very own? Well, it is a most beautiful little spot of paradise on Route 4 including a beautiful little church and a road leading to Salmon River. We ran it, together, in the dark, with the gods of Olympus with us( or at least their flame).

Back in the day, during the 88 Olympics build up, a gasoline company offered the chance to run in the torch run to anyone who entered a contest. My youngest must have filled out a hundred entries. And because she was too young to go to the service station alone, her Dad filled out some too. Unfortunately for her, her name wasn't picked but her Dad's was. So it became a multi generation , neighbourhood event. Our elderly next door neighbour came along . Dad's kilometer was about an hour away from home, and on a cold,crisp night we waited by the side of the road for the torch to come along. As he was passed the torch, the organizers said to the girls "you can run along with your Dad for awhile". How exciting for a little girl and her sister. To touch the torch was a thrill. To run together was a thrill. And afterwards in the Hall in the local community, other families celebrated that same thrill . Pictures of everyone holding the Olympic flame were taken, hot chocolate was drunk, and stories told. Was it money wasted? I think not. Even today, as I drive that section of highway with an acquaintance , I always say " This is our kilometer"

And research does show that children who have active parents are more likely to remain active into adulthood. And if our daughter is an example, it's true!

May 6, 2009

Summer is coming

So is it really pre-summer or was that just a teaser last week?
We think it is really going to happen. So many firsts. The first slug crawling up the driveway, the first ladybug on the bikes, the first bonfire of the season, the first earwig. As you can see many of these firsts are not at all my favorites but... the best is watching the magnolia tree blossom. And you can just see it , bit by bit, all day as the blossoms slowly open up. I have to tell you the magnolia is a stunner. And I can sit in my old rocking chair and see it even when I am not outside. I consider this spot of ground a little bit of paradise ; but I am sure others have their own spots to think about.

And I can think of one.
Really I don't ever think that I'd like to live in the "big city" but I am a little jealous when I hear that the Halifax Public Gardens are going to open tomorrow. Check it out at I think it is one of my favorite gardens to walk about. If I lived in Halifax I'd be grabbing my sun screen, my hat,my lunch, and heading over to the gardens every noon hour to see what's in bloom, what's new with the ducks, and who is entertaining in the grandstand. But for those of you who live there, take a walk over for me and take a look around at the spectacular beauty that has withstood the storms of this century and last, the pressure from developers, and the wonderful planning of the designer! While I, at home in the country, will enjoy a scenic vista a little less grand but almost as satisfying. This week Number 3 has been picking flowers with wild abandon. Her mother chastised her and told her not to take any more flowers into the house. So when I went outside , every puddle and the birdbath had a lovely daffodil arranged nicely in it!

So take a walk to wherever your heart leads you and enjoy your surroundings!

May 5, 2009

The little engine that could (walk, run, play...)

The annual Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is just around the corner and I have signed up to run the half marathon. Now, 21 km is no joke. After completing this run, I will have three half marathons logged with my running sneakers. However, the training - mentally and physically - doesn't get any easier.

The way I see it, whether you're running 21km or walking 21 km, there's a certain amount of focus and commitment required. Not to mention, a whole lot of steps logged, water consumed and memories made. For the first time, I've kept a journal about my running experience. And while there's still two weeks to go, upon reflection, I've come to realize that the real learning isn't in the distance I've logged, but in the thoughts I've kept, the people I've seen and the places I've been.
I've witnessed pure, raw friendship that comes from a congratulatory high-five or hug after a long run. I have thought about why I'm running, and the negative demons that can haunt my steps. I've seen rain drops dance along the pavement and I've seen the sun glisten off citidal hill after a snowfall. I've even seen my running partner throw-up. Now that's dedication.

So, while I've logged many kilometers, and countless steps, the journey has also been emotional as well. This year, I will be running with my brother, and taking part in the kids run with my niece. So, while the training has been long, it's the journey (and destination) that's worth a thousand words.

I'm not sure how many of you are participating in this year's marathon weekend, but for all you runners and walkers, I wish you happiness and good luck! Whether you're running or walking the 5, 10, 21 or 42 km, there's distance to be covered and memories to be made. So relish in it.

Steps to ponder:
  • 10 days, 29 hours, 29 minutes until the marathon.

  • This year, if you're participating in the Blue Nose Marathon, you can also join a charity challenge team. I'm on the the Heart and Stroke Foundation team. If you're walking or running, you can join our team as well! Or you can pledge to support the team (shameless team promotion I know 8--)

  • There once was a little train engine with some very wise words: "I think I can. I think I can!"

  • Good luck!