The urge to get healthy flashed in front of my eyes Saturday as I covered the start of the 3 Mountain Madness charity bike ride for our sister paper, The Pilot.
Now, there is little chance I’ll ever attempt to take on a 75- or 95-mile bike ride by pedaling the whole way, and even the 41-mile trek is quite a challenge I’m sure.
Those cyclists’ faces, or at least most of them, were smiling as they visited with one another and warmed up on the highway in front of Armfield Civic Center, beneficiary of the money raised by the ride. But I’m sure as the riders on the 75- and 95-mile rides faced head on the challenges of riding up Sauratown Mountain, Hanging Rock and Pilot Mountain all in one day, those smiles turned to determined (and at times tired) grimaces of pure effort.
There is no prize at the end of the ride for the fastest, or the slowest for that matter, but instead just the bragging rights and the personal reward that come from knowing they completed the course.
This week, as the Life Change Challenge (LCC) phase one and two groups at Armfield Civic Center end their eight-week challenges of getting healthier and losing weight, they too have rewards to look forward to — knowing that they are stronger, slimmer, faster, and healthier than they were before they started their journey.
The LCC program will be taking a break for the summer, but plans already are under way to continue the program in the fall as vacations and summer plans start tapering off.
And while I didn’t lose as much weight this phase as I did in phase one (emergency gall bladder surgery two weeks ago didn’t help matters), I have lost inches, and I can tell I’m stronger when I work out and lift weights and run. I have more stamina without having to stop and walk as often when I’m running.
I know my fellow boot campers also are doing well in their efforts to get healthier and lose weight, because it shows.
While I’m not certain I’ll ever have the drive to make a 41-mile bike ride, I know through continued efforts we all can do more now than we ever could before. And for those of you making efforts to get healthier at home, keep up your drive throughout the summer by going swimming, walking, playing ball with kids or grandkids, just anything simple to get you up and moving. You’ll feel better in the long run.
Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.