I entered the contest,maybe you could win!?

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Start the New Year off right with the #52HikeChallenge2019 !

How Forests Heal People

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How Forests Heal People from Nitin Das on Vimeo.

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Benefits Of Exercising In Nature (and why it’s better than at home workouts)

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I still do some at home workouts. But I really feel too strongly about getting out in nature and just moving. You can walk, hike, run, swim, etc… But the added benefits to getting outside and away from technology for a hot minute is well worth it. At home and gym workouts are awesome for changing up your routine, getting out of the rain and snow, or just meeting other people and that energy vibe you get from working out around other people. But stepping away from the TV, the computers and the tablets can change your entire mental outlook for the day. So get outside and take a walk!

It Glows Gold Once A Year

Mason Neck Park

“Mason Neck Park is located at 7301 High Point Road, Lorton VA 22079, just a stone’s throw away from Washington D.C.”

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Hiking In My Neighborhood

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First Landing State Park – Virginia Beach, Virginia

We love First Landing trails for hiking/walking and even trail runs. We love nature and the trails are easy to navigate. One of the trails lead to a beautiful hidden beach. First Landing it’s such a lovely place to be! There are tons of trails for hiking, biking and running. There is a trail center with maps, an informative museum,gifts, restrooms and a venue for special occasions. This is a great place for weddings, trail side or beach side. Where you can find me hiking the most.

 

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Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Beautiful wildlife refuge and great spots for photo ops! It’s really peaceful at Back Bay. Off season some areas are restricted though so check with the websites for more info!

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Northwest River Park – Chesapeake, Virginia

Pretty little park with paved walkways.

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Chesapeake Arboretum – Chesapeake, Virginia

Very shady canopy. Well maintained trails. Tucked away behind a shopping plaza of all things. Take bug spray!

 

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Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Norfolk, Virginia

Yes you have to pay for admission. But you are surrounded by beauty every step of the way. They have a snack bar and lots of places to sit if you get weary. Some areas are not shaded very well so it can get super hot in the middle of summer mid-afternoon. I love this place for a hike, even if it isn’t your normal “hike” type area.

 

 

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Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve – Portsmouth, Virginia

Heavy salt marsh environment. Beautiful trails  that wind through the surrounding forest and a big lake.

 

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Sandy Bottom Nature Park – Hampton, Virginia

456 acres of wilderness and wildlife, with 8.6 miles of loop trail surrounding a lake as well as a nature center with educational information. The trails are accessible year-round, are great for any skill level and dogs are welcome as well as long as they are on a leash. This is a beautiful hike!

 

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Newport News Park – Newport News, Virginia

Pretty view, isn’t it? This park offers 9 trails that cover approximately 30 miles, featuring a lake and plenty activities from bird watching to forested paths, fields of wildflowers, canoeing, as well as historical sites.  The trails are considered suitable for all skill levels and can be fairly popular on nice weekend days, so if you prefer seclusion, get there early. Dogs are also welcome as well but must be on a leash.

 

I was a 210 pound, 3-4 pack a day, chain smoking couch potato!

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I smoked, I ate garbage food, I had never even tried to run, ever. Not even when I was in school. I sat around all day with self loathing that just grew and grew. I was ashamed. How I looked, how I treated myself, my own self abuse with food. And even worse, my husband and I supported each other in the behaviors that were making us unhealthy. Neither of us would just say NO. We ate more, smoked more, sat more and moved less.
My husband quit smoking cold turkey.

I…
HAD TO STOP. The day I quit smoking, I still cheated. While wearing the patch, I SMOKED (A HUGE NO NO). I knew how horrible that was, how I was playing russian roulette with my life. So instead I decided to try e-cigarettes with low nicotine. I thought this would help me smoke less. Haha, right. I nearly poisoned myself. I took in more and more nicotine. I still remember my lips tasting like nicotine. It was still a DRUG, albeit a legal one, but still and addictive DRUG.

Finally, I got angry, angry at myself, angry at the world for even creating cigarettes. And I quit, cold turkey. The most difficult two weeks or so, ever in my life. And in retrospect, the proudest I have ever been of myslef. It was a turning point for both of us.
After I had quit smoking (7 years April 2017), I knew I could do ANYTHING! After tons of different “diets” and too much time worrying about an ideal image. I decided the only real solution to lose weight had nothing to do with diets, it was MY diet, my nutrition. I needed to change the way I looked at food. My entire relationship with food was abusive. I needed proper nutrition, not a DIEt!

I also needed to MOVE. I’d never been a runner. I walked a couple charity walks ages ago. And I just remembered sore feet, blisters, and huffing and puffing from smoking. Now that I was a non smoker I should get even my lungs back in shape and start moving more. I remember the first day out to “run” with my pretty new running shoes. In my mind, I was gonna fly! But instead I couldn’t even run 30 seconds before I was out of breath. My lungs were in bad shape.

So walk, and walk more, and walk faster and faster, one day you will run! And one day I will be a runner. I won’t lie, this is hard for me. I get no joy in running like most runners do. This was another challenge I would have to face. In 2013 I signed up for my first race. Walking the whole way, out of breath and sore. But I was so stinkin proud. Remembering where I came from to reach this point.

Jump ahead and I have walked 5k’s, 7k’s and an 8k. I am planning to one day do a 10k and a half marathon. No marathon in my future though. I love the shorter races. I get bored out there!

My training is now thanks to Jeff Galloway. I am doing a run/walk/run method. I will eventually run a whole 5k. But I have to trust the process and respect where I am in the process. So what that I can’t just go out and run? I am alive and I am still breathing and there are more miles to go. I do more every day and I will gain health every day.
I challenge you to get out there and walk, slog, jog, run, workout, hike. Toss out bad self abusive habits and form a new healthy YOU. Get out there and be alive in your life!

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
― Dean Karnazes