Debbie Barry PEI
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Athlete of the Day

Debbie Barry from Prince Edward Island

You can do it! Moving your body is the best gift you can give yourself. You will always feel better once you get up and started moving.

Did you walk, jog or run this challenge?

I walked all of the kilometers for the challenge. Don’t ever tell yourself that you are “only” walking! Walking is moving your body, and the more you do it, the healthier you are, physically and mentally.

I started walking avidly in 2016 to deal with stress and anxiety. I was at a pretty low point with my mental health and I needed to make a change. I had just returned to work after being off work for eight weeks on stress leave. I knew that I would end up off work again if I didn’t make some changes. I couldn’t control the job, but I could control how I reacted to the stress. I started by walking around the block at the office every day at lunch.

Slowly, I added more and more distance to those lunchtime walks. Since that time, I have lost more than 100 pounds in body weight and significantly more stress and anxiety “weight”! I now walk events from 5 KM to half marathon distances. Before COVID lock-downs, I was leading walking clinics for people wanting to get into walking!

How often do you walk?

I walk almost every day. Prior to COVID, when I was working in an office, I walked with a lovely group of colleagues every day at lunch, no matter the weather! I would then do a longer distance, either Saturday or Sunday.

Now that I am working from home, some days it is a slow walk for a couple of kilometers with my husband who is just getting into walking. Other days, I meet some friends early in the morning and we go for nice brisk longer walks. On the weekends, I have been making a point of meeting up with friends for some hiking in one of PEI’s many gorgeous trails!

What was your greatest obstacle while aiming to reach 1000KM?

My greatest obstacle was the dip in my mental health when the whole world changed in March. I was really struggling with finding my way and missing my walking friends. I didn’t move a whole lot in March. I signed up for the 100 KM challenge in April, and I was out at dusk on the last day of the month trying to get those last few kilometers in.

How do you stay motivated and find the time to walk and run?

When I was down and struggling, I reached out to some friends and let them know I was struggling. They really encouraged me and checked in with me regularly to make sure I was getting out. I always feel so much better when I have gotten outside and enjoyed the fresh air while moving my body!

I am also very “bling” motivated! I enjoy a good accountability challenge and bonus points if I get a medal after I complete it. I signed up for multiple virtual events this year since missing the in-person events.

What advice would you give someone to stay focused on reaching 1000KM in 2020?

I would suggest that you make a goal, say it out loud, and write it down! Sharing that goal with someone you know will keep you accountable and support you in achieving it. Break down the goal into manageable chunks and celebrate each time you meet a milestone.

Debbie is well on her way to reaching 2020 KM this year! You can follow her progress here.

Great work Debbie and thank you for sharing a part of your story with us!

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9 thoughts on “Debbie Barry -Canadian Athlete”

  1. Like a fish, I too am attracted to shiny objects such as blings ha!!!! Seriously, I totally agree with you: Walking has really helped maintain my mental health during these difficult times !!!

  2. It has been inspiring to watch your journey both literally and figuratively. I wish I was there to be able to join in the walking. I am glad that you live in an area with such wonderful places to walk. Keep it up!
    Aunty Cindy

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