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taking the Hillsboro Fitness Challenge

One reporter's attempt at healthier living

Editor’s note: This the first of several columns by Hillsboro Tribune reporter Travis Loose as he takes the 10-week Hillsboro Fitness Challenge. Follow along on his journey, or better yet, get up and exercise alongside him.

While lacing up my Brooks running shoes Sunday, I realized the last time I’d worn them was about one year before when I ceremoniously drank Pabst Blue Ribbon from the right sneaker.

That probably deserves an explanation.

Back then, I was still a student at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, and there were no limits to how far I’d go for a good story.

The article was about a group called the Eugene Hash House Harriers, which I wrote for the UO’s Ethos Magazine. At its most basic level, the group drinks beer and runs around as part of a game called hares and hounds.

On Jan. 10, however, there was no beer in my shoe, and there were no games being played.

There was only Dawn Sahnow — the Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center personal trainer who was going to prepare me for the Hillsboro Fitness Challenge — and my very fragile ego.

I used to be fit. Quite fit, in fact. But now, after years of school and comfortably settling into a sedentary lifestyle, I’ve gotten a bit squishy. Drinking beer from shoes probably hasn’t helped either.

But there I was, weighing in and setting goals for the next 10 weeks to create and sustain a better, healthier me by completing five separate but related challenges. Travis Loose

I’m joined by 79 other Hillsboro residents who are also taking the challenges, along with several Hillsboro Parks & Recreation employees.

“People are very enthusiastic,” Parks & Recreation Supervisor Brooke Ives told me the other day. After the New Year, Ives said she sees at least 10 new people per class held at SHARC.

“January always brings in new members,” she said — at least for a little while.

The first challenge was to “log three days of nutrition.” Essentially, I had to write down everything I ate. That was revealing and kind of sad, to be honest. Especially the day I ate at Jack in the Box. No one wants to admit that to a personal trainer — or write down the caloric information associated with it.

And as I rested on my elbows and toes in a plank position for Sahnow’s evaluation, my body shuddering and spiting me for all the fast food and shoe beer I’d partaken over the years, I realized this challenge was going to be for real. Like, a for-real challenge that would go beyond just one story.

So over the next 10 weeks, I’ll occasionally share my experiences and bodily changes as I attempt to regain the years I’ve likely lost through bad eating choices, no exercise and too much sitting around.

It’s not too late for anyone else willing to join, either. The cutoff for Hillsboro residents who still want to get in on the challenge is Jan. 18.

For more information, visit hillsboro-oregon.gov/parksrec or call Ives at 503-681-5384.