So, for anyone who doesn’t know, the Out of the Darkness Overnight is a 16- to 18-mile walk that takes place overnight; it is an endurance event (to raise money for research and programs to prevent suicide and help survivors).
I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve done a 2.5-mile MS Walk (National Multiple Sclerosis Society). I’ve done Relay for Life, which was overnight but had a track I could walk as many or as few times as I wanted; I spent much of the night not walking. Never before have I walked for hours and hours on end. The most I’ve walked at once is 5 miles.
The idea of walking all night scares me. I wouldn’t have signed up, if I’d really thought about it beforehand. To be honest, I’m kind of glad I was impulsive.
This is a nice kick in the pants to make the lifestyle changes I need to be healthier – both physically and mentally. Thinking about what I’ll need to do to prepare for this event has helped me realize: When I said I was “walking to save my own life” yesterday, I meant it literally. It’s gotten to the point where my idea of “physical activity” is walking to class, and “eating vegetables” is putting tomato sauce on my pasta. I’ve developed a habit of having Pop Tarts for dinner because I can grab them from a vending machine before class. (They’re probably the most hunger-satisfying, not-absolutely-horrible-for-you option in said machine.) Last night my “dietary success” was having nachos after class – because the menu listed calorie counts and the alternative I was considering had twice as many! It’s not that I don’t know how to live a healthier lifestyle. I need motivation.
Starting today, I have 16 weeks to prepare. 16 weeks to go from eating Pop Tarts and getting out of breath from a brisk walk across campus, to being capable of walking 16 to 18 miles in one night.
… somehow …
Today I am starting small. I am learning to become more aware of when my body needs water. Too often I let it go until my mouth is unbearably dry, just because I’m too lazy to get up and refill my glass! That will not do at all. So, my primary focus for this week will be on (re-)learning to keep water near me at all times and drink it frequently, before I feel thirsty.
I’ve also been meaning to start planning my meals ahead of time. I keep putting it off because I find the process very tedious, but I’ve seen how well it works for other people and how poorly not planning has (not) been working for me.
My primary reason for wanting to do this is to make life easier on days when I need to eat away from home. If I have healthy food with me, it will save me the stress of trying to make remotely-healthy choices that aren’t too expensive – while hungry. Of course, in addition to planning my meals, I’ll need to make preparing them ahead of time a priority. Half the reason why “eating vegetables” means putting tomato sauce on pasta is because that’s a very easy, mindless thing I can do when I’m too hungry and distracted to cook properly.
Finally, it seems stupid to put off any kind of physical-activity-related preparation until next week. This is the part I find hardest to embrace, so I’ll start really small: my legs have been screaming at me to stretch them! I’ll start doing the stretches in the Overnight: Stretching Guide at least once per day. Perhaps I can also get up the guts to look at their Training Program (PDF), which includes a 15-week option.
Why am I craving pizza bites?