A fresh start

Five months ago, if you had told me I would commit to walking a million steps this summer, I would have had you committed – period.

On January 2, this former Times sports reporter was the shape of the main object in many of the sports he used to cover – round, but just without as much bounce.

I was 225 pounds, my waist was 44 inches and I did not like the person I had become, physically or otherwise.

Fast forward to today – because you can. I couldn’t fast forward, not if I was going to fix myself.

With the amazing guidance of another former (and he would tell you better looking) Times sports scribe, Mitch Calvert, I chipped away at my excessive frame, slowly trimmed and then eliminated the bad eating habits and learned that working out regularly isn’t something to avoid or fear, but something to embrace.

It was hard to put down the fast food and pick up the barbells – some days, exceptionally hard.

But to quote Jimmy Dugan, the cantankerous baseball manager played brilliantly by Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own”: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it The hard is what makes it great.”

By sticking with it thanks to the support of so many inspirational family members and friends and simply having the desire to be better than who I was, I head towards this weekend feeling better than I have in ages.

I’m down over 40 pounds and eight inches around the waist from where I started. More importantly, while I’ve shrank on the outside, I’ve grown on the inside. I’ve figured out that there’s a better way to treat people, myself included.

That also includes people less fortunate than me, which is why I’m so excited about Saturday’s official launch of the step counting portion of my summer-long fundraising project, Step Forward.

There have been so many people I’ve witnessed do their part to help others during these unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it’s my turn.

I’m honoured to get the opportunity to help out the United Native Friendship Centre Food Bank, Rainy River District Victim Services and the Riverside Foundation for Health Care-Chemotherapy Unit in the months to come.

I’ll be tracking my step counts, posting them daily on my Facebook page (where you can both donate to that month’s cause and post any good vibes and good music choices for me to listen to on my walks) and aiming to hit at least 12,000 steps every day.

When I do it for the next three months straight (when-not if), I’ll officially pass the one million step mark later in August.

That wouldn’t have seemed ambitious on Jan. 2 – it would have seemed insane. But now I know it’s something I can do and, to help others who can’t help themselves, it’s something I most certainly want to do.

I’ll be providing weekly updates here with how things are going, experiences I’ve had along my walking routes and maybe even a picture or two of what I see in my travels.

So grab your water bottle and come along for the journey.

One to a million. Let’s get this started.