Monday, August 8, started day 1 of the LAPS Challenge. The LAPS challenge is our company’s employee walking competition; who can get the most steps in a day. Each team of nine people is competing to win a half day off and the top individual winner gets a gift card for Dick’s Sporting Goods as well. People are parking in the farthest spots in the lot at work, braving the 4 flights of stairs to our suite, and getting out of their chairs to add more steps in the day (all the while maintaining a very productive work day).

To celebrate the first day of the challenge, I ventured to the mall to speed walk for 20 minutes during my lunch break. While I was only expecting a good power walk, my mall walk did more for me than just add steps to my pedometer. It was just the refresher that I needed and gave me more motivation to achieve my goals for my ultimate wellness plan.

I turned on Pandora Internet Radio to hear one of my favorite songs, 4 Minutes by Madonna.  My steps got faster, my adrenaline started pumping.  I felt like breaking out into a dance right in Macy’sI fear what might have happened had I launched into the song “… you’ve only got 4 minutes to save the world”, well, need I say more?  My physical activity turned into a great mental escape, and I soon found myself daydreaming.  I was suddenly the non- professional, never been formally trained, dancing queen that I have been known to be. In my mind I was choreographing the next stage show for someone, and it looked just as good as J-Lo’s or Paula Abdul’s work. I was window shopping and found my first new fall outfit that is SO cute. I was happy that Auntie Anne’s pretzels and the cookie place had nothing on me today.  I didn’t care that people were looking at me in my casual business attire as I weaved in and out and around them. I didn’t care that people saw me in not-so fancy walking shoes with headphones in, walking to the beat of my own drum. The small, cranky, crying children did not concern me, for today they were not mine.  At 5’1 and ¾ inches tall I felt larger than life. For those 20 minutes, I only cared about my energy and the places my steps were taking me. I did what many Olympic athletes do: visualized myself at the fitness level I want to be. Rather than worry about what it would take to get me there, I imagined myself already being there; firm, fit and ten pounds lighter. Therefore, my 20 minute walk turned me into a smaller, stronger, non-junk food eating, cute clothes wearing healthy woman. This experience gave me some newfound motivation.

I returned to work in a great mood- I felt refreshed and had a new focus that would allow me to work more intently. This all resulted from my simple desire to be active in the LAPS competition and see where it could take me. If I continue to challenge myself and put in even small efforts, I know where it can take me in a day, and it’s not just into a pair of skinny jeans. Taking time for me can be the break in the day that gives me the “re-group and rally” that I need at times.  Even if I can’t save the world in 4  minutes, I know I can save me 20 minutes at a time… Find what it takes to save you.