Like many of us, Mary Beth has heard the advice for years. “Just start walking.” Her own physician said that very thing as she recovered from an unexpected illness last summer. But Mary Beth differs from many others who have heard that instruction; she actually did it.
Living in Plum during the pandemic afforded her the perfect place to launch her fitness journey – Boyce Park. “I couldn’t walk very far at first and I stayed on the flat surfaces. I set little goals; the first couple of months I’d watch people going up Indian Hill and wondered, ‘How the heck am I going to get up that hill?’”
But she persisted, setting a goal of walking three to four days a week, and increasing her distance in increments over time. “I’d set little goals and go in stages. I’d watch people going up the hill and think, ‘They must be fitness people.’ It took me a long time, but I did it!” And as a special celebration, she conquered Indian Hill on her birthday!
Despite the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter, Mary Beth kept her resolve. One year later, she had lost 25 pounds. “I’ve never been able to stick to a wellness regime. Ever. I started seeing results I’d never seen before. I can’t explain it but it was truly one of the only joys of this pandemic year.”
“I am so blessed that Boyce Park was there. At times that was all we had with everything else closed. It was a treasure.”
The Allegheny County Parks Foundation was equally fortunate when Mary Beth made a generous donation of $250 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her journey - $10 for each pound. She designated that her gift be used in Boyce Park. Some of the projects supported by past donations to Boyce Park include the Indian Hill and Celebration Meadows, native tree plantings and an ecological study that prioritizes future projects.
Working her communications job remotely afforded Mary Beth the opportunity to take the quick drive to Boyce on her lunch hour. “Each season I saw something different; deer, bunnies, birds, the changing colors of trees. I saw a guy who walks and plays the flute! I’d never been able to do this with my schedule, but working remotely, I’d run up there at noon.” Now that she’s back in the office, Mary Beth is committed to continuing her journey while savoring the victories she earned along the way.
“When I went back to the doctor he said, ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight!’ I went down a couple of pant sizes! I did it for my health and the pandemic forced me to really prioritize my life.”
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