Switching it up with Allen’s dog (and birthday wishes to Gus!)

December 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

In mid October, I was introduced to Allen and his dog through an app called Map My Walk.  I don’t know Allen personally (or his dog) but somehow we became “friends” on this app.  As usual I was struggling but I had decided to redownload the Map My Walk  app to my phone.  This was the first app I ever used. It was where I logged all my walks from the beginning.  Maybe I thought just having it on my phone again would somehow inspire me.  It didn’t.  I continued to not walk.  I continued to not move.  And I continued to struggle.

But one thing did change.  Suddenly I found myself getting notifications when people who weren’t stuck in a rut did things.  But this was the notification I kept getting that stood out to me….

“Allen walked the dog 0.4 miles”  and then a few hours later  “Allen walked the dog 0.71 miles”

It wasn’t the people running 5 or 10 miles that were getting my attention.  They’re a dime a dozen on that app.  But this guy—he was different.

There he was repeatedly walking that dog a half mile or so every few hours.  And it made me feel—-GUILTY

I mean the people running 5 and 10 miles—-that was out of my league given my current fitness level that had fallen off the wagon.  But a dog walking a half mile a few times a day—that was certainly within my realm of possibility. So what’s my excuse?

I began to develop this ongoing one sided conversation regarding Allen and his dog.  Before long I was blogging about it and discussing it with my kids.  It became an inside joke.  Every time my kids heard the “ding” go off on my phone they’d ask without even looking up from their homework….”Allen walk the dog again?”

I have Allen to thank for getting me moving.  Due to inspiring me with his small steps, I started moving again.  You can read the posts inspired by Allen and his dog in these posts:

Map My Walk and a 5 Day Streak

5 Day Streak Day Two—and Allen’s Dog strikes again!

5 Day Streak Day Three and Four

My Super Simple Plan for Regaining Control


I’d like to say that all this kept me on track and yet somehow it didn’t.  There for awhile Allen and his dog (whose name I later found out is Gus) continued to inspire me with their daily small steps.  But after a month or so of this, I somehow fell off the wagon again.   I got bored.  It became routine.  And there I was once again finding it hard to remain motivated.

For the past two months I’ve once again found myself faltering.  I try to get up and do the routine things I know work…the same things I’ve done for the past 3 years that work….but for some reason I just get bored.  I get tired.  Not physically but mentally.  What’s wrong with me, I think??! Why can’t I ever just stick to something!

I continued to get my notifications from Allen and his dog.  But by this time, I was used to it.  Even the kids were.  We’d hear the ding but it was no longer registering.  Every now and then the kids would say, “Was it Allen and his dog?” but more often than not it had just faded into the background.  Becoming a part of the norm.  Not new anymore.  Not different.  Not standing out.  Just life once again.   Me back on the couch and Allen continuing to walk Gus.  At least HE’S consistent I’d think.  At least he’s always the same.  I may not be willing to get with the program but at least I know Allen and Gus will be doing their half mile on a regular basis.  One thing I know for sure.  Every day like clockwork Allen and Gus will walk the same distance around the same times.  And that will never vary.

And then yesterday something happened.  Something I never could have anticipated.   After months of getting notifications from Allen and his dog Gus (who by the way is a pit bull did I mention?)….I got the notification I never expected to see.

And it was THIS

photo 2.PNG



Allen did…YOGA???

I mean there I was laying in the bed just waking up and suddenly I get this notification.  I knew what it was before even looking.   Allen and Gus are predictable.   But with one eye peering out from the comforter I still checked.  And it was the last thing I ever expected to see.

I was totally confused.  This isn’t the Allen I know!

(I mean let’s clarify—I don’t know Allen at all really-—except from being “friends” on Map My Walk.  But what I do know about Allen is this.  He’s consistent.  He does the same thing every day.  Him and Gus, the pit bull.  They walk small distances.  Sometimes Allen runs on his own.  But in general this is what they do. And they don’t vary the routine.  I know what to expect from Allen.  So much so that I don’t even have to LOOK at the notification when I get the ding.  I already know what it will be.

So what was I to think when I saw the following….

photo 1.PNG photo 2.PNG



I admit it really threw me for a loop.  I had to comment and I did.




So what do we have here Allen?? It appears we have a man who feels he is getting older and having a tough time making the run work.  So what does he do?



NO….he shakes it up.  Switches it up.  He finds something that works.

He does YOGA!

I don’t know Allen or his dog personally but I do know this.  They have made exercise a commitment.  They never seem to let anything hold them back.  They don’t care if other people are walking and running 10 miles.  They proudly log and post those half miles daily.  And when that isn’t working for them…they do yoga!!

It seems to me that they have something I need to have more of—-RESILIENCY

Someone who is resilient can bounce back from things.  Depression. Illness.  Obstacles.  Whatever it is—they bend with it.  They stretch.  They do whatever it takes to work with the situation and then keep going.

Today Allen and his dog did Yoga.  Who would have thought it??  But you know what this teaches me?  It teaches me that if getting up every day and walking is suddenly feeling boring to me and making me unmotivated then maybe I need to do something else for a day or two to shake it up.

Not quit.  Or give up.  Or accept defeat

But instead bend and stretch with the situation.   Do something different.  ANYTHING different.  But don’t quit.

Bounce back.  And be resilient.  So that’s what I want.  I want their BOUNCE.  Their ability to never give up and always bounce back.

I can’t believe I could have learned so much from a man and his dog on an app.  Neither of whom I’ve ever met.  But who both keep finding me when I need them the most.


PS.  In the interest of not feeling like a stalker to some poor guy and his dog on Map My Walk, I messaged Allen for permission to use snapshots of what he had posted with the picture of his adorable dog, Gus.  He told me that it would be an honor for him and Gus.  He then said it was Gus’s birthday TODAY!  And for Gus having a blog written about him would be the ultimate birthday present.  3 years ago today according to Allen—Gus adopted HIM! That’s the way he sees it 🙂 They found each other.  He also told me that yes….Gus does yoga too.  As Allen stretches, Gus pounces and does his best to keep involved.  Happy Birthday GUS!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Eileen December 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

This. is. HYSTERICAL!!!!

Happy Birthday, Gus!


Eileen December 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

And, it’s also truly inspirational!


Linda December 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Wow. Good for you for reading ‘between’ the lines !
Love it. The whole story !


Barb December 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

WOW! Very inspiring!


Sandi December 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Gus is so cute! I’m not good at mixing it up with exercise. The weather has been bad here and it’s making it hard to get outside so I really need to find some indoor options.
Dogs are awesome motivators. I have a German shepherd and she is always so happy to go for a walk/run. When I’m not feeling it I look down at her trotting along with a huge smile on her face and her tongue hanging out and I’m so glad we’re out there.
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Lori December 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Exercise bores me to death! I start thinking about how it really isn’t burning that many calories or how my big toe is starting to hurt, or how I really should be using this time to dust, or something else equally silly.

So, I started listening to books. (Our library has free ones to download.) I only allow myself to listen when I am working out. I have found mysteries and intrigue work best. It distracts me enough that I don’t have thoughts of stopping before time is up. Even better, I’ve continued on to get to the end of a chapter or find out how something gets resolved.

It has been my best motivator, maybe it can help you too.
Lori recently posted..Guaranteed Rapid Weight Loss!My Profile


Eileen December 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

That’s brilliant, Lori! I’m totally stealing that idea.


Mrs Abella December 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm

I have not enjoyed exercise long–to me it was always boring, hard, laborious, torture, you name it.

Then the weight started coming off!!

Back in the summer and early fall, I couldn’t walk more than 2 blocks without being ready to quit. It hurt. My body cried uncle. I say 2 blocks, as that’s how far it is to the city park/swimming pool and the kids want to go there constantly during the hot months. 2 whole stinking blocks. I’m ashamed to say I DROVE those blocks most of the summer since my big behind couldn’t walk it.

Then I started walking with the beagle. He puts it in 4 wheel drive and can pull along a 400 plus pound woman. He knows no enemies. And he makes a lot of stops to sniff and pee. So we’d go walking short distances, and work up. Then, he got hurt, a neck injury probably from pulling too hard–it’s a beagle thing. So, I had to resort to something else, and got to dvd’s.

Leslie Sansone dvd’s came into my world, and at first I couldn’t huff and puff through the “low impact mile”. I thought she was mean and sadistic. Now, nearing 3 1/2 months into my journey, I make it through her 3 mile walks with little problem, and do up to 6 miles a day (mostly 3 tho) 6 days a week. I love the fast music and her encouragement, and if I bring the kids in, they bounce around with me and dance and have a ball. I don’t *want* to do it every day. I don’t *want* to do it before doing other things that need done. But if I don’t, if I don’t stay consistent, it’s easy to jump off the wagon and head back to ways that got me to over 400 pounds to start with. It’s not worth it. Nothing is worth going back up to 400, nothing is worth the horrible health and pain that was there before, and if it means hoofing it inside during the cold/wet/snow/ice, then so be it, and then in nice weather go outside and walk/jog/do yard work/whatver, then bring it on.

You’re not new to this, you’ve been at it for 3 years, you know what works–there has to be something new you’d enjoy. It sounds like you’re losing the battle in your mind, rather than in the body, and you need to conquer your mind and spirit before anything else. You can do it, you can meet your goal, it just takes consistency even in the boring times when it really isn’t fun to eat like you should or exercise like you should. The journey isn’t easy, many times it’s not fun, but with God all things are possible for those who believe in Him, right??
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Anneli December 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I’m sure Gus DOES do the yoga. My cat Tigger, stretches with my husband every night. It’s really funny. Somewhere out there there is an exercise dvd called the one minute workout. I think you’d like it.

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Wendy December 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm

What a great story!
Now I want some MapMyWalk friends, to inspire me, too! How’d you find them?
Wendy recently posted..About the booze.My Profile


Rhonda W December 17, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Your blog has motivated me to get up off my arse and go hit the treadmill for 45 min or so. I may even watch a show on my kindle while I’m at it. That makes walking on it a reward! I’m training myself like Pavlov. Woof!


Calleigh December 18, 2014 at 12:32 am

Happy Birthday Gus!
I love to hear stories like this. You were so clearly asking for a little motivation in your recent posts, and then you got the gentle shove you needed. The trick is to keep our eyes open for the help we have asked for and you did.
Keep going Holly.
Calleigh recently posted..Week 5 TrainingMy Profile


Calleigh December 18, 2014 at 1:12 am

I hope you don’t mind Holly, I couldn’t find a way to email you, but I mentioned you and this post in my blog post today. If you are unhappy with that please just let me know 🙂
Calleigh recently posted..Week 5 TrainingMy Profile


Cheryl December 18, 2014 at 2:55 am

Hi Holly, I always enjoy your writing but this is an especially heart warming post. I am struggling with getting more active so I’ve bought myself a FitBit. I’ll figure out how to use it over the Christmas break (teacher). I’m pretty sure that all it’s going to do is embarrass me until maybe mid-summer but I think I need to be aware of how little I’m actually doing and after five successful weeks tracking food on MyFitnessPal my inner geek will appreciate the data.


Amy December 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I just LOVE the Allen/Gus posts. SO great.

Yep, you gotta mix it up! I am still kind of loving walking and C25K but I have been hankering to start going to some of the classes offered at my gym – one of them being yoga. I also like Zumba and plan to start swimming in 2015.

You take inspiration anywhere you can get it, but when that stops working you just have to force yourself to do it as habit. Maybe you should get a dog who needs walking every day? 😉
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Jonita December 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Hey! Why haven’t you posted anything since Dec 17? I just found your website and I’m cheering for you! I am scheduled to have gastric sleeve surgery on jan 21 and I am going to start on Monday cutting out all my sugar to prepare for this surgery. Just hoping you are still out there motivating yourself and others to continue the battle. I need to lose 80-100 pounds and I love your blog! Come on back! I need motivation! Congratulations on all your success. You are the ultimate inspiration. I hope you had a nice vacation with your family, especially having your daughter home for the holidays.


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