217 in 2017!

This is me, finishing a snowy, slow 4K run on Christmas Day, my 217th work out in 2017.


Sam and I have written several times about the “217 in 2017” workout challenge.  We were both part of a facebook group that was aiming to do 217 workouts in 2017.  Throughout the year, we’ve pondered “what counts?

For me, I count, any episode of moving my body that wouldn’t be a normal part of my everyday life –– a 6 hour 100 km bike ride and a 15 minute, 2.5 km run each count as one episode.  The point, as I explained to my 11 year old niece, is to “go play outside as many days as possible.”  (Well, a good chunk of mine were spinning classes and gym workouts, but playing outside IS a goal).

At the beginning of December, I missed a week of working out because I was sick.  But then I doubled down with a mini running streak (5 days in a row), and one day I doubled up a run and a yoga class (2 episodes).  Like a lot of people in the group, I high tailed it for the finish line, and it was only this goal that got me out into the amazing snowy woods on Christmas Day, when I was full of too much bacon and ham and in charge of the dinner.

I wrote last week about why I like counting things, but right this moment, what feels the best about this is making a commitment in a busy, middle-aged life to put movement into as many days as possible.  Doing this 217 in 2017 thing, I noticed how my sense of accomplishment has changed.  I used to care about my running pace — and now, I care about being unbroken enough at nearly 53 to keep running.

My 217th workout was a short run between turkey bastings on Christmas Day.  I was at a cottage with my family that Susan kindly gave me the use of for a few days.  My brother-in-law, who is an intense mountain biker and does Half Ironmans and still thinks of me as the kind of runner I was 15 years ago, really wanted to run with me.  I laughed and said sure, we can run together, but you are going to be totally annoyed at how slowly I run now — you’re just going to say fuuuuuuuuck over and over when I stop every 600 m and plod up the snowy hills.  I didn’t feel apologetic or competitive — this is just a fact of how I run now.  In the end, we left together, and he lapped me for an extra kilometre.  We were both satisfied.  He conceded the 8 cm of fresh snow and icy roads had slowed him down too.

More than anything, I care about having the drive to integrate movement into my life. The 217 workouts group is a good way to keep myself accountable to that.

Sam hit her 217 on Boxing Day.  I asked her what it felt like for her to finish her goal, especially since she’s been struggling with knee problems that seriously limit her movements.  She said:

“I did it too! Love the group for the simplicity of counting what for you, at a time, counts as a workout. Love the variety of things people count. And I especially love the end of year push to make it. And we did, despite your illness and my knee, we did. See you in 2018!”

The guy who hosts our facebook group, Jason, also hit his 217 on Christmas Day.  I loved how we encouraged each other in the last two weeks to stay active.  I asked him what he did for #217 and how he felt:

Walking the Las Vegas strip might not be the first thing you that pops into your head when you think “working out”. But it was the workout I was most anticipating and most excited to complete in 2017. It’s exactly the kind of activity that the 217 Workouts in 2017 challenge is all about. I was excited because I could exercise with my Mom. We only get to see each other a few times a year and she has a knee replacement. Everyone knows it’s good to move well, move more, and more often. Yet as the owner of Fitness for People in a Hurry, the biggest obstacle I see a lot of people encounter when it comes to exercising is the way we have conceptualized working out. We have really built up workouts to only count if they are herculean feats of strength and endurance. I can’t tell you how many time I have heard someone say “I need to get in better shape before I can work out.” With the challenge, I wanted to deflate our conception of a workout and hopefully get people moving more. I’m really proud of the 217 workouts in 2017 FaceBook group because I think we have done just that. Even if you did half of the workouts in 2017, that’s still 108 times you got your body moving. There are no losers here. I hope that more people join us for 218 workouts in 2018.”

Happy new year everyone!

10 thoughts on “217 in 2017!

  1. I love the idea of the dude in charge of the challenge walking the Strip with his mom for #217. Awesome! I am also like the people he describes: despite my best efforts, I often think of “only ‘real’ exercise” as “working out”. WTF? How can my attitude still be so normative? “Real” exercise is as exclusionary as a building with no access ramps or wheelchair-height elevator buttons. “Real” exercise is as exclusionary as a family that won’t welcome a queer partner to a festive dinner. Walking with mom, for whom walking is a full-on fitness achievement – that is awesome. I will take that with me into 2018!

Comments are closed.