Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On The Benefits of Hiking

This is a follow up to a piece I wrote almost ten years ago.

A lot of times, I find myself telling people, "I used to be a runner."  But no, that's not true. I'm still a runner. I run. But I've slowed down. Two kids and a husband who works a lot will do that to a person. So I don't run as fast, or as often, but I've found a new way to get active: hiking with my kids.

I joined a group here in Richmond called Hike It Baby. It's a national group that was started just 3 years ago in Seattle, and has grown exponentially! Their mission is just to get parents and kids of all ages outdoors and active. Perfect! I go on about a hike a week with them, and am now a Hike Lead, training to be a Branch Lead. I've met some really neat people through my HIB group, and have explored trails that I had no idea existed. My favorite so far is Larus Park, a little-known trail in Chesterfield. Some of our hikes are stroller friendly, while others require me to tote both of my children in baby carriers. Still other hikes encourage the little kids to lead, mean we don't cover many miles, but we make lots of discoveries!

So, what does this have to do with the way I became a runner? A simple 30 day challenge, that's what. When I started running (I called it jogging back then), I set out to cover 25 miles over the course of 30 days, as a competition with myself and with my friend Eric. When I finished I bought myself a really cool light up frisbee. And I felt amazing with myself for doing it. So I did it again the next month. And the next. Until I didn't need to set mileage goals anymore, because j was signing up to run actual races! Starting with that 25 mile challenge, I became a runner.

And now, ten years, two kids, and lots of miles later, I'm embarking on a different sort of challenge. This one is called the Hike it Baby 30, and it's a fundraiser for my totally awesome hiking group. The goal is to cover 30 miles in 30 days. Those miles need to be outdoors, and with your kids. Don't have kids of your own? Borrow some! Take your nieces and nephews, or kids you nanny, or your grandkids! Just get kids outside and active, and help bring up a generation of young people who are motivated to stay healthy and protect our planet. Sign up for HIB 30!

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