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I'm walking toward better health

May 4, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Exercising has never been high on my radar list.

That slowly started to change after I spent the month of November carrying around oxygen tanks after my second trip to the hospital in less than three years.

I should have learned the first time I went to the hospital, but I didn't.

I felt embarrassed going to basketball games or to practice with little oxygen tanks in my hand just because I didn't have a better lifestyle.

I didn't like having to worry about what my oxygen level was during a basketball game at Central Wyoming College or at work when writing sports stories.

I was relieved after a month when my doctor told me I didn't have to have oxygen with me any more.

That's when I started to hit the gym at Teton Athletic Club at least three our four times a week.

It was a big change for me.

I had never made going to the gym before a big issue, but there is no way I want to go back to the hospital.

I still have four oxygen tanks by my desk for a little reminder to me on what happened in November, and I have a couple of tanks in my house for the same reason.

Thanks to the encouragement from my co-workers, I'm still hitting the gym.

The easiest day to work out for me is Monday, my day off. That's when I walk at least three miles on the treadmill.

Other days I attend the gym are usually Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. If I go the first two days in the week, then my little reward on Wednesday is not hitting the gym.

The last month or so, I have even been walking on Sunday afternoons to get me away from watching sports all night.

If I really feel motivated, then I hit the treadmill on Saturday before I go to work in the afternoon.

A month ago, Ranger co-worker Emily Etheredge challenged me to be in a 5K walk (3.1 miles).

At first I thought that was impossible. I had never been a fan of people walking in races.

But I have never been afraid of a challenge, and the deal is on. My first 5K walk will be at the PAWS Fast and the Furriest event on Saturday, June, 9, in Riverton at the Central Wyoming College campus.

The walk is going to be a tough task for me.

I know that I need to pick up my pace at the gym because the day of the walk is getting closer.

The worst fear I have about the walk is being the last one to finish, or not having the strength to finish the 3.1-mile journey.

My goal is to finish the race in under an hour.

I have been doing three miles close to an hour and five minutes.

I want to average 20 minutes a mile.

That won't win any races, but that's a good pace for me.

The best thing about the challenge,is that it's a step in the right direction for a healthier lifestyle.

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