This past year has wrought a lot of change in my life. Last September, I had just read about Hike it Baby and joined the group, but considered myself too much of a novice to participate in a 30-mile Challenge. Growing up, I had been an outdoor kid. However, I found that life as an adult was sedentary and lived indoors. My kids changed all that. I knew that staying sane would mean getting outside and often.
My very first HiB30 Challenge was November 2015. I wasn’t even sure if I was capable of walking 30 miles; let alone adding two children into the mix. Graham had just turned 2 and Warren was barely 4 months. I didn’t care how I acquired the miles. We strolled a lot. I avoided having to tandem carry. We walked to the grocery store or library. I conned my child into his snowsuit for outdoor play. Approximately a quarter of our hikes were kid-led. Graham walked about 7 of the 30 miles. I was ridiculously proud of him. I was also hooked.
January and April led to a shift in my way of looking at the Challenge. For the January challenge, we focused on minutes outside. Snow play was the order of this challenge. Graham and Warren were both increasing their desire to move independently, and I wanted to encourage that. We played outside a lot and ended up only acquiring 12 miles.
April was similar with the exception that our mileage dramatically increased. We topped out the month with 27 miles. What made me happiest, however, was seeing how much more Graham had wanted to walk. He walked 16 miles that challenge. The miles that I was most proud of were the ones he had conquered for himself. By April, I was no longer focused on stroller walks or avoiding tandem carrying the boys. The majority of our hikes were kid-led or on the trail. I recruited family and friends to hike with us if I thought I would need help. I was more confident, both in my children and in my abilities.
As September challenge kicks into gear I’m focusing more on tailoring the Challenge to each kid. Graham, now 3, is becoming a powerhouse walker. We just hiked a segment of the Ice Age Trail with our Hike it Baby family and he walked all but a smidgen of the 3 miles. Warren, at a year, is also walking part of this Challenge; Graham and I will be adjusting our pace for some of our walks. This means that our mileage will probably drop, but even if we don’t make 30, these two little dudes will be empowered to get out there.
I really think that as parents we balance our needs and our children’s needs in order to make sure that everyone has enough. As my kids have grown I’ve taken the HiB30 Challenge and focused on what works best for each of them. I know that if I need to acquire miles for my own health and wellness, I can do that while encouraging their health as well. Each challenge that I’ve participated in has been different, difficult and exhilarating in its own way. Find a way to make this one your own.