Where to begin? One step at a time–Exercise

In 1998 I was miserable, I was over 200 pounds, I was depressed, I was on 6+ prescription medications, and I knew I needed to do something.

I began walking with a friend. We would walk up to 6 miles at a time, once we got our bodies acclimated to the movement.  This was the very beginning of my journey to better health and increased energy.

Today, I am much smaller than I was back then, but more importantly – I am off the all prescription meds, I don’t fight with depression any longer, and I know what to do to keep my energy levels up and my health in tip top shape!

I begin by walking.  I have shared my walking stories here before.  How I got started with the 60-mile walks and the amazing things I have learned.

Today, I realized I have walked over 3,300 miles JUST for these 5 events alone. Through training and the actual events, I’ve logged some serious miles.   I am now developing some classes to begin teaching others how to improve their health and increase their energy levels through walking.

Walk4Health Logo

Beginning April 1, 2014, I will be offering training classes to assist those looking to improve their health and increase their energy levels!  (Even drop some inches around the waistline, if you choose!)

For more information on the SGK 3-day 60-mile walks, visit their website: http://the3day.org

For additional information on how I train for a 60-mile you can find those articles here: http://tinyurl.com/n2fs9tz

For information on location & other details of these walks, contact me.

Make it a GREAT day!

Training for a pain free 60-mile (hydration)

This is probably one of the biggest issues in a 3-day.  The volunteers at the event do a VERY good job of being sure we are pushed to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, PEE! 

However, when we are training on our own, or before we get to the event, it can be very easy to “forget” how much WATER we have consumed. 

I emphasize WATER because sodas, coffee, teas (I’m not referring to caffeine free herbal teas here), and booze are counter productive in this instance. 

I train in SW Florida year round.  August is one of my bigger training months and it is also one of the hottest, so hydration becomes very important.  I must make sure that I am not setting myself up for failure in the days leading up to a big training walk. 

I, personally, strive to drink at least 75 ounces of water a day, on non-training day.  This keeps things “moving” throughout my body and prevents dehydration and other things.  I also pay close attention to my body while I am walking for any signs that I may need extra hydration.

Signs my body gives me to tell me I am moving toward dehydration:

  • Sausage Fingers – my fingers swell and my wedding band looks tight
  • Tight or Cramping muscles – this is the sign that I need to stretch A LOT, and something more than water is needed to get me back on track
  • Thirsty – once you feel thirsty, you have already begun the dehydration cycle
  • Light headed, dizzy (more so than normal Smile ) – time to sit down and cool off and drink, drink, drink


I carry 1.5 liters of water with me when training.  I know that should get me 6-8 miles into my walk and that I will need a refill at that point.  I plan my training walks to give me that option, specifically.

On a daily basis I carry my 16 ounce Tervis tumbler and fill it about 4 times per day with hydrating drinks. (water, fruit infused water, herbal teas)  I also know that if I choose to drink coffee, I will need to add more water to my daily total.

I stay away from “bottled” water.  The tap is more strictly regulated and enforced, there is less BPA and other plastic leachates in it, and I don’t have to pay to have it shipped anywhere.  I do use a filtration pitcher at home to give me more peace of mind and to pull out additional toxins.  Choose a brand you trust.


I don’t mean the clear liquid that comes in the gallon jug and burns on the way down. I avoid drinks of that nature.  I AM talking about REHYDRATION – electrolyte replacement beverages.

I don’t personally drink, or recommend, the mainstream beverages on the market.  If you ask my 6 yr old, the rule is, “if it come’s in blue, we don’t drink it.” 

Here’s what I look for in a replacement beverage:

  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial flavors OR sweeteners
  • No caffeine
  • Evidence based science

I have a friend’s blog that explains what to look for in an electrolyte replacement beverage, she is much more knowledgeable than I am, I just know it works for me.  My choice of mix is Performance, it is rated as one of the top options on this blog as well

My next blog will be, “Don’t Poison Yourself”  hmmm…

For more information, follow me here, or contact me.  Until then, Happy walking!

All By Myself… (or am I)

2013 will be the final year for the Tampa Bay 60-mile walk. It will be my fifth walk, and the final Tampa Bay event.

With a recent health scare – I’m fine, it just shook me up, and a friend unable to join me for this one as a crew member, I have decided to walk it “alone”. 

Final 3-Day Cover

At first, I didn’t want to walk it alone, then I realized something.  I’ve trained alone for 4 other walks.  Hours on the sidewalks of my community and surrounding neighborhoods, through parking garages, through University buildings (looking for a potty – LOL), over bridges, and through shopping centers.  So, alone can be good.  Time to reflect and create… and text and update FB statuses…thank you Smart phones.

My next thought was the 2008 Tampa Bay event, where I met a fabulous bunch of ladies and they walked with me for the entire event.

Then, I begin thinking of the John Steigenberger’s, the Dylan Bouterse’s, and all the others who are there year after year that I have become friends with by walking along side, talking with, and communicating with them on Facebook and such.



(The smiley faces on these packs are a sign that we are part of a Facebook community. A way to show we are NOT alone.)

Oh, don’t forget all the friends and family who pray me through the event.  And all the friends who support me by donating to the cause to allow me to be eligible to walk this event.

My goal this year, is to “Power Through” each day’s mileage. Get to Home base camp as soon as possible and cheer all the others on as they cross that daily finish line.  To talk to people, hear their stories, and learn what I can. And let them know they too are NOT ALONE.

When I had my scare a couple of weeks ago, I realized, even though I am still a huge proponent of Attention to Prevention, even though we can prevent 50+% of the top 4 degenerative diseases… there will still be a need for a cure.  And I want to protect future generations from the trauma my mother endured, and the fear I felt two weeks ago.


Now to focus on 70 days of training and to increase the discipline in my nutrition to allow me to recover, mostly, pain free.

If you would like to donate toward my event, you can do so here: http://the3day.org/goto/TessBrennan

This disease does not discriminate, neither does Susan G Komen.  Their efforts have been of great assistance to my mother and my sister.  Thank you, Susan G Komen.

Take a walk, and kick it up a notch.

Last night, in our Feel Good Fast support group meeting, one of our community brought in this article that she had found in the Fort Myers News Press on Tuesday, March 26th.

It was really, very interesting in that Camille and I used to walk several times a week, usually about 6 miles, and I pushed a stroller at the time. (We’ve since fallen away from this habit since our schedules don’t match and are currently working to schedule more time together.) 

Camille’s comment was that, during all that time we were walking, we didn’t see a dramatic change in our appearance while we were walking what seemed to be a significant distance.  Here is the explanation.

Walking News Article

This article discusses remembering FIT while walking. 

  1. Frequency – while we only need about 30 minutes of walking or exercising a day we need to be at 55-90 percent of our maximum heart rate during that time to get the best workout.
  2. Intensity – your speed, (compared to others) isn’t the issue, Intensity here is an individual pace set by your heart rate and ability.
  3. Time – in the beginning, you may find your self winded early on with only the capacity to move for 15 minutes, and that is OK! Keep at it and your 15 minutes will get easier and you will realize the progress you are making and be ready to add 5 more minutes.

Its about challenging yourself, and improving and increasing your personal stamina, one step at a time!     Happy walking!


Here is a perfect example of a gentleman, pushing himself and doing what he can.  You may not be able to walk a marathon or even a 5K, but starting somewhere and sticking to it can make a big difference.

Photo Blog of Guided Walk through Bonita Bay

Thank you to my friend, Chris Griffith of Life in Bonita Springs  for suggesting this location for walking.

Bonita Bay Walking Trail Map

We arrived at 9 AM and parked at the Bay Presbyterian Church which put us right at the sidewalk entrance to the community.

Trails were clearly marked, beautiful, easy to walk, and full of friendly people.  I enjoyed the beginner’s walk trail at 1.6 miles in length. (The Yellow Trail)

I will definitely be back to try the other paths for our intermediate and advanced walks.  If you would like to be kept in the loop for our future walking events, follow us at our Feel Good Fast Facebook page where we keep our events posted and updated.

For more information on Simple Steps to Feel Good Fast, contact me.  We have something for everyone!

What you wear CAN make a difference. Sparkle Skirts

Comfort when walking or working out is very important. If you aren’t comfortable you can spend more time worrying and thinking about how your clothes fit (or don’t) than on muscle control and technique.

I do A LOT of walking, on purpose.  Smile  I have walked in a lot of different attire, including tutus, and other inappropriate clothing for working out.

I understand the discomfort of shorts riding up between my legs, wedgies, pulling them up repeatedly so they would not fall off, and just being annoyed by the fit.

Healthy Knees

Attractive, yes. Functional, not so much – annoyed for 60 miles in a tutu…


Again, cute, however… these skirts lasted only 20 miles.


Comfortable, functional, useful, AWESOME.  This is one of my Sparkle Skirts.  I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE this skirt. 

A friend of mine recently asked me about my Sparkle Skirt. I didn’t realize how much I liked it until I started telling her about it.  Here is how the conversation went.


It appears I was having some issues typing, but you get the gist.

I highly recommend these American made gems.  Functionality, appearance, comfort all A+++.

I am also excited at the spread of sizing.  0-3X and on occasion they will accept special orders for 4X.  Everyone deserves the right to look good, feel good, and be comfortable when working to improve their health and Feel Good Fast. 

Thank you, Sparkle Skirts!  And I do wish I could wear them to work! That would give me good reason to walk the 2 miles rather than drive them!!!

If you would like information on local walking events or healthy support groups, contact me!

This last photo is an inspiration to me.


Just for the fun of it.  These two men, wore these skirts, 60 miles at a time for 14 60-mile walks in 2012!  They are living by example!  They were fascinating to talk with.  Walking for a wife.

(No, these men are not wearing sparkle skirts.)

Where do you like to walk?

We are four weeks into the new year.  Better health and continued healthy living, as well as sharing it with others is my continued resolution for 2013.  In doing such, I am looking for new places to walk with my friends and family.


My goal is to compile a list of all the places to walk in the SW Florida area so when you are ready to try something new, you can click here and find somewhere new to try.

Contact me, here or on Facebook at Feel Good Fast and let me know where your favorite place to take a stroll or an aggressive walk and why you like that location and I will add it to our database!

Thank you!  Make it a GREAT Weekend.

PS: you can join us with the Feel Good Fast Walking team at the Moving Toward a Cure for Brain Tumors walk at Lakes Park tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM! Just Look around me.  I’ll be there in a black sparkle skirt and a couple of Team Mates.