Candace Karu

Working Out on the Road - To Vegas, Baby!


Vermont to Las Vegas Virtual Challenge

How did I ever get this lucky? My job description as Cabot's Consumer Lifestyle Commentator requires that I explore and promote my passions: good food, wellness, and a healthy lifestyle. Whether I'm writing about fitness after 50, Tweeting nutritious recipes into the Twitterverse, or speaking to women's groups about relationships, my work connects me to people and ideas that I embrace with enthusiasm and commitment.

My most recent project has been on the Vermont to Las Vegas Virtual Challenge, sponsored by Cabot, Concept2 Rowing and Vermont Vacation. The V2V Challenge invites active people over 50 to log hours of walking, running, rowing, and biking on a virtual trek from Vermont to Fabulous Las Vegas. Activity is measured only by time; on this trip an hour of rowing counts the same as an hour of walking. Participants accumulate time and are rewarded with virtual poker chips along the way. The more hours they log and chips they accumulate, the better their chances are to win prizes awarded throughout the journey. The Challenge ends on September 1, 2009 and a winner, chosen at random, will be flown to Las Vegas to attend the  AARP Vegas @50+ National Event & Expo on October 22-24, 2009.

This virtual challenge was a new endeavor for Cabot, but, now, over five weeks into the trip, the idea has taken hold and the Challengers are, well, running away with it.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. Although exercise is a fixture in my life, I know that it is something many people, especially people over 50, struggle to fit into their own routines. The V2V has shown me, and the rest of the world, how passionate the Boomer athlete can be. Almost 1000 participants are making their way across the country and having a blast in the process.

The V2V message board is alive with support and encouragement, tales of triumph and adversity, and the easy camaraderie that develops naturally among athletes on a quest. Early in the Challenge, PJ - we know each other only by our message board names - became the unofficial Cheezer Challenge Cheerleader. "Cheezer" is the name PJ came up with to identify Cabot cheese-loving geezers and it stuck. We've answered each others questions, offered support and advice, and helped create music playlists to speed us on our way.

The V2V Challenge has reminded me of a couple of essential truths about exercise and fitness. The first is that having a goal can be an amazingly effective way to stay motivated. Since I started the Challenge, I've not missed a day of working out. I want to get to Vegas and it's a mighty long trip. Second, having a posse to keep you going is about the best training aid there is. My V2V peeps - PJ, duncliffen, anorder, rottix, yukonbon, losdragos, fabbymj, and so many others - have made this trip memorable and fun, fun, fun. In fact, we're having such a good time that the Challenge is going to continue. We'll be headed back to Vermont in the fall!

Having a goal and friends who share it - now that is a prescription for fitness motivation.

Viva Las Vegas, Cheezers!