Move-A-Mile Challenge

Recently I challenged a friend at the office to see which one of us could more often walk or run at least one mile each day until the end of the month. Ideally I would like to think I would do it every single day, but we have each put up $5 as a challenge to see who will walk/run more regularly. The only two rules are that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, and you can’t bank miles from one day to the next. This means that even if you do 10 miles in one day, it only counts as a single mile for our purposes.

Why the Challenge?

Both of us were more active 2 years ago than we are now. We were both running regularly and she had gone through an amazing weight-loss transformation (as I had done almost 10 years before). At the time of our transformations we were motivated to keep going by the sheer knowledge of where we had come from.

TreadmillBut, for myself, as I have been in one place for a while, I have fallen into a routine. Unfortunately, I haven’t made exercise a strong part of that routine. I’ve gotten bored with running on the same rural roads day after day. It is wonderful that I don’t have to deal with much traffic where I live. I may only get passed by 2 cars on a normal 4 mile run. But, that is part of the boredom that has crept into my running. Running on a treadmill is as exciting as running in my rural community. Plus, the treadmill space can be environmentally controlled.

Battle for Right Thinking

When I proposed this challenge to my coworker, she immediately saw the benefit of encouraging one another. We both need it. She wants to get back to running again as I do.

In the course of our initial conversation she made a comment that reflected a battle I have with my own thinking. She was a bit discouraged because she knows she can’t just jump back into running again since she has been off for so long. She has gained some weight that causes undue strain and pain in her knees.

My friend lamented that if she could only walk she would have to walk 2 hours every day to get the same benefits she used to get from running. I had to stop her quickly from that type of thinking. “All or nothing” thinking like that can be so discouraging. Sure, 2 hours of walking would be better than sitting on the couch. But so would 20 minutes of walking. I agree that 20 minutes of walking isn’t as beneficial as 2 hours of running or walking. But, if you aren’t doing anything now, then 20 minutes is a great start.

Daily Motivation

I had a crazy schedule for a couple of days that resulted in about 5 hours of sleep over a 36 hour period. Unfortunately those 5 hours were pieced together from 4 different sleep sessions. Yeah, not a healthy schedule.

My daily walk for this particular day came right in the middle of that 36 hour period. I texted my friend and asked if she had already done her mile for the day. She gave an excuse as to why she couldn’t do her walk that may have gotten some sympathy from me if this was just the first or second time in the last week she had missed. I am not sure she even went out one time during the previous week.

I certainly don’t think you should abuse your body with lack of sleep and choose to walk instead; but, I had already slept as long as I could right in the middle of the day and I was awake anyway. So walking helped put me in a mood to catch another 2 hours of sleep later in the evening.

Challenge to Encourage, Not Discourage

I intended this to be a motivating challenge. It certainly has been for me. But I am afraid that if I’m not careful I can demotivate my friend.

I don’t know if this will get me back into being as active as I was, but it is certainly a start in the right direction.

winter-storm-advisoryWe are under a severe weather alert for our area of East Tennessee. We could get several inches of snow this week. Certainly nothing like the north eastern United States has gotten over the last couple of weeks. But, this is our first potential bad weather for the year.

The main problem is that we haven’t been to all the local stores and raided them of the essential supplies. Today is the day after Valentine’s Day and I know all the candy is on sale for half price. We haven’t made it to Walmart to stock up on these needed supplies.

If East Tennessee is anything like Florida where I lived for several years, then as soon as the advisory started hitting everyone’s weather apps on their phones they rushed out and bought all the milk and bread the stores had on the shelves. Likely they forgot the important complementary items to the milk and bread such as peanut butter. But as long as they leave the candy alone until I get a chance to buy my six-month supply, then I am OK with that. November 1 is when we buy the next 6 month’s worth of candy to round out our year.

[It is nice to know that there is a Red Cross Shelter in Columbus, OH in case we need immediate help. “Pile into the van kids. We are going to drive 6 hours through a winter storm to go to the closest Red Cross shelter for help!”]

January 2015 Photo-A-Day

I plan to make a photo a day timelapse video for the year. Here are the photos from January. Didn’t get one every day, but I took a few extra on some days and ended up with 27 pictures.

2014 Reading Summary: Fiction

I am not much of a fiction reader. In fact, I was surprised to find out that I read 4 fiction books this year. Then I remembered the reading challenge we have at our library each year. Two of the fiction books I read this year were for the library contest. The other two were more research type books for me. I had read about Will Eisner’s book, Comics and Sequential Art, and wanted to know more about him. I was not impressed with his subject matter, but he did a good job with communicating through pictures and text. One thing about his work that I was impressed with was his use of text as pictures.


Genesis Force is a book from the Star Trek universe.

Understanding ComicsGoing Postal was clever and weird. The book was mostly good. It seemed that the author did a good job of not using profanity (which seems to bother me much more when I read it than when I hear it) in the first part of the book. He got around profanity by making up his own humorous words that conveyed a strong emotion but didn’t mean anything. But towards the end of the book he let it all out. Because of this, I’m not interested in reading another book by him.

I hate that participating in the library reading contest requires reading fiction. But I got a nice coffee mug out of it. :-)

The Last Knight by Eisner was a retelling of Don Quixote.

The Contract With God (also by Eisner) was not worth flipping through. Because of the content I can’t recommend it in any way. And, furthermore, I am never interested in looking at another Eisner book. I did read Comics and Sequential Art later in the year. I should have just stuck with the two excellent Scott McCloud books about visual communication (Understanding Comics and Making Comics). He said everything Eisner said in a much more understandable and less offensive way. I did a review of the book Making Comics a few years ago.

2014 Reading Summary: Biographies

I probably won’t do a detailed review of many of the books I read last year, but I did want to at least list them in some way. This is the first in a series of 6 or 8 posts about the different categories of books I read.

In my book summary I said that I read 3 books in the Biography category. Here they are in the order that I read them.


The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con. This book by Amy Reading is about J. Frank Norfleet who was swindled by a con man in 1919 in a stock market scam. Not learning his lesson the first time, he got taken again. But, then he wised up and spent the next few years hunting down the gang that had taken his money. He did this by learning how the con worked and conning other con men to give him the information he needed to get his money back and put the perpetrators in jail.

Though I like biographies, I really like ones that teach about the business the protagonist is involved with. In this case it was about con artists and the police and detective work that went into catching the criminals. I really enjoyed the book and was glad to serendipitously run across it at the library new book shelf (which is where many of the books I read come from).

If you want to know a bit more about this story, there was an NPR story about it. The host interviewed author Amy Reading.

My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Bart Yasso. As expected, this book was well written. The reason I expected this is Mr. Yasso works for Runner’s World magazine. Even if he didn’t know how to write, Runner’s World has a great team of editors.

This book is a chronicle of his running life up to this point. He has run over 1000 races and competed on all seven continents of the world. Like many people who take up running as an adult, he was prompted to better his life and health due to poor choices made as a younger person. Running changed his life and has given him a purpose and a job for the last few decades.

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker. I have read another book by Mitnick, The Art of Deception, which was about how social engineering works and how he used it to his advantage to hack into many companies. This newer book, Ghost in the Wires, is more about his exploits of escaping the authorities during the manhunt for him.

I am not necessarily a fan of Mitnick or his choice of occupation, but like the book about the con artist ring from 100 years ago, I love learning the tricks of the trade. Mitnick is a con artist extraordinaire.

Mitnick did the majority of his illegal hacking in the days before the Internet and Windows computers as we know them. Much of what he does is social engineering where he convinces people to give him sensitive information by posing as a friendly co-worker. However, today, instead of doing this for illegal purposes, he is paid by the companies he is hacking into for the purpose of testing their internal security protocols.

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