Let’s face it–between work, school, and all the other hectic things going on, it can be hard to commit to working out regularly. When I had free time, I’d just as soon read a book or watch a movie as exercise. So, a couple of years ago I found myself wandering around the Internet looking for new ways to motivate myself to commit to exercising. Through my wanderings, I stumbled across EowynChallenge.net. This website provides different challenges based on the journeys taken by the characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The distances were determined by Karen Wynn Fonstad, and published in her book, The Atlas of Middle Earth. I thought it was the coolest thing! I have to admit, I am a MAJOR Tolkien nerd: I have read all of the books several times, own every movie, and always see the movie at a midnight release. That made the EowynChallenge the perfect way for me to motivate myself to exercise, because I could measure my distance against the distances traveled in my favorite books! I even started listening to audiobooks while exercising, so I didn’t “lose” my reading time.
A few weeks after I started the first challenge of walking from Bag End to Rivendell, I realized that it would make a great library program because it merges exercising and literature. Last year, we held our first Fit for Fall challenge, with about 30 participants walking nearly 350 miles in just over 3 months. Our version has a few tweaks–we base the distance on time so that people who prefer other types of exercise (running, swimming, raking leaves even!) would easily know how to count their efforts. Participants who completed at least 75% of the challenge received a t-shirt, and those who completed the entire thing (100 hours of walking or equivalent exercise!) were entered to win tickets to see the movie. Once a month, a group of walkers gathered at the library and took a walk through Dover, which turned out to be a great way to enjoy the fall foliage while also making some progress towards completing the challenge.
This year, we are hosting Fit for Fall 2014: The Return Journey. Like last year, participants are challenged to complete 100 hours of walking or equivalent exercise. This year, those who complete the challenge will have “traveled” with Bilbo Baggins on his way home from Rivendell to Bag End. Also like last year, we are hosting monthly “walking parties.” We just enjoyed our second walk through Dover last Saturday, and we have two more walks this fall on November 15 and December 13 at 10 AM. Whether or not you are participating in the challenge, I hope you will come out and join us one Saturday for a nice walk through Dover followed by a light snack. Like I said, it’s a great way to get out, see the fall foliage, and enjoy some great conversation. Hope to see you soon!
-Kathryn, Adult Services