So remember that L.L. Bean backpack that was brand new last October?
Yeah, it looks like this now.
Faded, just like my will to live.
This is what happens when I take it out walking for four hours a day (and occasionally haul around $12 worth of broccoli for several miles).
I’m pretty rough on backpacks.
So due to the OH GOD IT HURTS unseasonably cold weather we’ve been getting this month, I’ve had to transition (at least temporarily) to my winter walking clothes.
This made me realize that I’ve never told you what I wear on my walks based on the season.
I’m sure you don’t actually care, but I’mma talk about it anyway. Because this is my blog and I suck and thus this blog should suck accordingly.
- Short-sleeve shirt
- Pants (stretchy, breathable, has a butt pocket for iPod)
- (Plus underwear, bra, shoes)
- Same as summer, except add a light jacket
- Short-sleeve shirt
- Pants (thick, not breathable, fuzzy warm)
- Tights (extra protection from cold)
- Headphones (to protect my ears from the cold)
- Gloves (I dual-wield those cheap $2 gloves because I’m pathetic)
- Winter coat (I swear this thing is made of the same stuff that protects the space shuttle during re-entry. It’s such a good coat and it only cost like $5 because I got it at Goodwill)
- (Plus underwear, bra, shoes)
HEYOOOOOOOOOO so I hit the 15,000 mile mark today. More specifically (because who the hell knows if anyone remembers what I’ve posted in the past), I’ve now walked 15,000 miles since I moved to Calgary in September 2014.
- Number of walks: 1,242
- Total mileage: 15,003.38
- Total steps: 32,508,966
- Total time: 221705.16 minutes (or 3,695.09 hours, or 153.96 days)
- Total calories burned: 1,027,018
- Average speed: 4.01 MPH
That’s a lot of walking, yo.
Distance by Year
Distance by Month
Distance by Day of Week
Distance for each walk, color-coded by the year
Snazzy! I hope to add on to this quite a bit.
Heyo, so as you all probably know by now (if you pay even the slightest bit of attention to my rambling (wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t)), I like to walk. I like to walk for relatively long distances, which takes me quite a bit of time.
A while ago, I was thinking that there’s probably a name for that type of exercise—doing something relatively “mild” but doing it for a long time.
Turns out there is: LISS cardio.
“LISS” stands for “Low Intensity, Steady State.” Basically, you do an activity that raises your heart rate to about 60% of your max heart rate and then continuing to do that activity for at least 45 minutes.
(I do it for about 240 minutes, but I’m bad at moderation.)
It’s kind of the opposite of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), during which you hit 90% of your max heart rate during short intervals, then take short “break” intervals in between. I used to do HIIT when I first started working out at UBC. I’d get on the elliptical machine, go at a moderate pace with little resistance, and then crank up the resistance for a minute and a half every three minutes. This worked really well for 30-minute workouts, but I don’t think a 30-minute workout could make me feel worked out anymore, no matter what I did during the time. I need to be exercising for a long period of time to feel like I’m getting anything from it.
But yeah! LISS is great. My resting heart rate is in the 40 BPMs most of the time (my Garmin says my resting average is 47, but I don’t have my Garmin on all the time) and I feel like I have really good cardiovascular endurance. My heart rate still shoots up when I go up hills and stuff (~130-140 BPM), but very quickly comes back down to normal.
I’d say it’s the LISS.
So today is my first day wearing my new Garmin Forerunner 35 as opposed to my Fitbit, which is slowly falling apart.
The Garmin has GPS (which my Fitbit does not), so I can finally get an accurate assessment of my walking distance.
Let’s give ‘er a roll and see how she does.
Edit: OH MY GOD THIS GIVES YOU SO MUCH COOL INFORMATION.
In GPS mode, it gives you a map of your activity.
It also gives you a plot of your pace. I always wondered how consistent my pace was on a 15-mile walk. Turns out it’s pretty damn consistent.
Heart rate! It was all over the place here. To be fair, though, my route was relatively up and down and had a decent number of stops at lights.
This is freaking awesome. I love it.
I started walking in Calgary on September 8, 2014. I just tallied up all my mileage (counting today’s) and realized that I’m just 138.57 miles away from hitting a total of 15,000 miles walked in Calgary. Pretty snazzy!
Expect an obnoxious mileage-related blog once I reach 15,000. Fair warning.
Is that a strange thing to say? I noticed it today when getting ready to go for a walk. Pic (ignore the fatness):
It looks like I lean forward over my feet when I stand, almost like I’m anticipating forward motion. Maybe that’s just all the walking that’s done that to my stance, but it still looks weird.
I might also have weird-shaped legs—big quads and big calves, which gives that strange bendy shape to them in the mirror.
I have nothing else to blog about today, so you get this nonsense. Sorry.
It would be much appreciated if your officers could be a little more pedestrian-aware.
Story: I was walking down the highway towards the intersection by those new “Identity” apartment student-housing thingies. A police car was sitting in the parting lot of the apartments and, in no particular hurry whatsoever, started to pull away from the curb and approach the intersection.
I pushed the little “walk” button and—COMPLETELY LEGALLY—entered the crosswalk in front of the approaching police car. Once I was about 1/3 of the way through the crosswalk, the car reached the crosswalk itself. I expected the car to slow to a stop, as I had made eye contact with the driver as I was crossing.
However, they did NOT stop and I had to very quickly move out of the way of the front of the car before it finally gradually stopped IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSSWALK to wait for its green light. The officer showed no sign of knowing that that she was about three inches from hitting me with the front of their car, nor did she seem to care once I shot her a dirty look after getting to the other side of the street.
Again: I was making eye contact with the driver as I crossed. I was LEGALLY crossing. she did not have her police lights on to indicate that she was in any sort of hurry. Once she pulled out of the intersection, she was not in a hurry to get anywhere. She just apparently felt like trying to run me over.
What the fuck.
I should have gotten the license plate number. That is 100% unacceptable.
I hate everyone.
So check it:
This is the first time I’ve hit a 4.50 MPH average since I got hurt last year. This was obviously not at the end of my walk (since it’s not above 15 miles, haha) and it dropped a little bit after I stopped at Goodwill to find awesome pants, but still.
Holy crap, I love this little article. Turns out I’m not the only one who’s insane about walking.
(To the Tune of “Our House”)
You should treat them like a street
Act like you’re a car with feet
Try to walk on the right side
‘Cause when you don’t, I die inside
So I decided to plot my cumulative walking mileage for 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017* to see if I tend to gain mileage at about the same rate despite the different yearly totals.
Man, look at that total difference at the end of the year for 2013 vs. 2017. I hit 2013’s total mileage on April 8th in 2017.
Lawl, you can see July 2017.
Anyway. The gains look relatively similar across all years I suppose, huh?
*I’m not including my 2014 mileage because I can only find the data from the months I was in Calgary, not the whole year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, BUTT-MONGERS!
So it has become my tradition that on the first day of the new year, I dedicate my blog post to reviewing the previous year’s walking mileage. And this one is particularly special to me, because I was able to set a new personal record for the number of miles walked in a year—a personal record that surpassed my previous personal record by more than 1,300 miles.
So let’s do it! Here are my walking stats for January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
- Total number of walks: 314
- Total mileage: 5,100
- Total number of steps: 11,130,160
- Total calories burned: 367,250
- Total walking time (minutes): 71,361.10 [that’s about 49.56 days]
- Average speed (mph) per walk: 4.26
5,100 miles is approximately the (great circle) distance between Kyoto, Japan and Seattle, WA, or between Athens, Greece, and Cape Town, South Africa.
That’s a serious distance, yo. That’s across the Pacific Ocean.
My goal was to walk 5,000 miles last year, and I managed to surpass that by 100 miles. That’s pretty cool.
I mean, this goal took some serious commitment. It might not seem like it was that big of a deal, but it really did take a lot of time, energy, pain, and persistence.
I walked 15+ miles in temperatures as low as -18 ℉ and as high as 96 ℉ (and shorter distances in temperatures as low as -29 ℉). I walked during serious wind. Serious snow. Serious rain. I walked when there were air quality warnings out because of the smoke during the summer. I walked when I really didn’t feel like it and would have much preferred staying home and being a lazy fart. I turned my feet into angry, gross callouses. Nearly every part of my body was in pain at some point or another due to all the walking. I was getting up at 4 AM to go on those longer 30-mile walks in the summer. Anyone who knows me knows that 4 AM is a bed time, not a “get up” time. I walked a maximum of 50 miles in one day in July. There were a good number of days where I spent more time walking than I did sleeping.
I really want to put this in perspective, because it was a lot of walking. If I had divided that 5,100 miles into daily walks, I would have had to walk 13.97 miles a day. Every single day. I obviously didn’t do that, but that’s what it breaks down to.
Same thing with the time commitment. I spent 49.56 days walking. That’s 49.56 24-hour periods. That’s a lot of time. 71,361.10 minutes is about 1,189.35 hours. Again, if I were to divide that equally across the 365 days of the year, that would be a time commitment of 3.26 hours a day. Every single day. That’s a big-ass time commitment. You can do a lot of things in 3.26 hours.
I’m sorry. I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging, because I don’t want to brag. This was just a really big deal for me. You don’t spend 49.56 days doing something if it’s not a big deal for you.
Here’s the mileage breakdown by month and by day of the week.
July was serious business.
One other thing I wanted to do: so as I’m sure you’re all aware because I won’t shut up about it, I mangled my quad (?) back in August while walking. I never went to the doctor because doctors are scary, so I actually don’t know what I did to it. But based on the amount of pain and how long it’s still taking to heal*, I’m just going to say that I tore the muscle.
But anyway, this really slowed down my walking speed (and still is, unfortunately). I was consistently around the 4.8, 4.9 MPH range in July and early August before I got hurt. I wanted to see how visible this injury was if I were to plot my MPH by walking date. So I did. Can you guess where the injury happened?
Haha, wow. That’s super obvious (and super depressing). The speed appears to be gradually increasing again, but it’s taking way longer than I’d like to do so. I really hope I’ll be able to get back to my 4.9 MPH pace.
Anyway. I promised Nate and my mom that I wouldn’t try to beat this record of 5,100 miles for 2018 (I’ll also be teaching two classes this first semester, one of which is going to take a lot of prep since I’ve never taught it before), so I doubt I’ll even get close to that mileage again.
But I’m proud of the 5,100. It’s nice to know that I can do it.
*The healing process probably would have been faster if I hadn’t taken two days off after the injury and then went right back to daily 15-mile walks, but that’s how I roll.
Good ol’ Palouse Mall.
It’s good to know that they’re still piling all of the snow from the plowed parking lot onto the one sidewalk that runs from the highway crosswalk to the Walmart.
OH WAIT THAT’S NOT GOOD AT ALL.
List of reasons why this pisses me off:
Come on. It’s the Palouse Mall. Even when Moscow’s running at capacity with all the students, I’ve never seen that parking lot completely full. There is no reason that this excess snow can’t just be shoveled into the parking spaces right in front of the sidewalk rather than onto the sidewalk itself.
It’s December. The students are currently gone. There are about 80 people* who live in Moscow right now. Even more reason why filling up a few parking spaces with snow is not going to be a huge issue.
People. Still. Walk. To. Walmart. I know walking is OMG SO HARD IN THE WINTER DURR HURR GET A CAR, but some people still rely on it for their main source of transportation. And there are really only two** ways to get to Walmart from Moscow: take the trail or take the sidewalk in front of the Palouse Mall. I walked on the trail today and it was an icy death trap. I tried to walk on the sidewalk in front of the Palouse Mall today, but it was covered in piles of snow. So neither of these options are great for walkers, especially when they have to carry bags of stuff back home from Walmart.
Also, if your solution to the above problem is “use public transportation,” I need to remind you again that this is Moscow. Public transportation is free, which is great, but it doesn’t run on the weekends. Or on holidays. Or past 5 PM. So that’s not always an option, my dudes.
It’s just…it’s like…don’t people think about these things? Are we really this car-centric?
*A slight underestimation. But you get my point.
**I guess you could go through the mall and bypass most of that sidewalk, but that’s a little out of the way if you’re in a hurry. Also, then you have to cross that parking lot, which is a death trap for pedestrians. Don’t even get me started on that.
Sorry, but I want to talk about this some more.
I’m not proud of a lot of things I’ve done in my life. I’ve “accomplished” “things,” but none of them have really meant all that much, either to me or to others or to anyone.
But these 5,000 miles? I’m proud of it.
Listen. I am Captain Mediocrity when it comes to everything other than being 1) a stubborn bastard and 2) punishing my body because it’s a piece of trash. Walking 5,000 miles this year allowed me to combine both of these lovely talents.
While I will probably never see another year that was more ideal for achieving this goal than this one, there still were a lot of obstacles that tried their hardest to prevent said goal from being met. I had to stubbornly ignore or actively fight against these obstacles.
The main one was the weather. It was ridiculously cold at the beginning of this year (mainly in January and February). As in, “it’s dangerous to be outside for more than 10 minutes at a time” type of cold. There were a lot of painfully cold walks, one walk where I was sure I lost my toe inside my shoe due to frostbite, and a good number of days where I had to spend four hours on a treadmill to get my daily miles without dying in the cold.
Then the summer got ridiculously hot. “Ridiculously hot” for Calgary is like in the 80s, but when you’re walking 15 – 30 miles a day, that’s hot. I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go walking before the heat of the day set in and the sun hit its peak. 4:30 IN THE MORNING. THAT’S USUALLY WHEN I GO TO BED.
Not to mention the smoke from the wildfires. There were a decent number of days where I probably should not have been out walking for 4+ hours due to the air quality, but I did it anyway. Again: stubborn bastard + body punishment.
Another obstacle was time. A 15-mile walk takes me about 3.25 hours. A 30-mile walk takes me about 6.5 hours. That’s a big time commitment. I was able to do the 30-mile walks in July/early August when I wasn’t working, but the 15-mile walks were done year-round. And that time commitment doesn’t include “prep time” (getting dressed, taming my unruly monster of hair, putting on sunscreen or winter gear).
Seriously. Considering I walked 15 miles a day 6 days a week pretty consistently throughout the year, that’s a huge amount of my time spent on this goal. Even if you like doing something (and I love walking), reserving four hours for it every day is a big deal. It was like having 20-hour days most days in which to squeeze in everything else I had to do. Sleep was the thing that got sacrificed the most, I think.
A third obstacle? Physical limitations, I guess. During the first month of the near-daily 15-mile walks, my body was like OH GOD WHAT THE HELL, but then it got used to the extra work. It was fine for most of the year, too, but I noticed right around the beginning of November that it was really starting to affect me physically. I wasn’t tired per se, but I was getting pretty worn out. By that point, my body was like OKAY I GET IT YOU LIKE TO WALK CAN YOU PLEASE TONE IT DOWN NOW?
And then, of course, there was the injury. I’m not sure if this was actually caused by all the 30-mile walks in July/August or if it just happened to be one bad misstep that messed something up in there. Hell, I still don’t know exactly what I did to my leg because I hate going to the doctor, but I do know that it still hurts more than I was hoping it would this far out from the actual incident. My guess is that I tore a muscle. I’ve never had any sort of physical injury like this, so I have nothing against which to gauge its severity, but I can’t imagine a strain or a sprain or anything like that hurting as much and as long as this has. I just know it’s not my knee. And I am very grateful that it’s not my knee. But I didn’t let it stop me. I walked through a lot of pain right after I hurt it so that I wouldn’t get behind on my mileage. But I do want it to get better. I hate walking as slowly as I currently am and I really miss running. I suppose I could, you know, do the smart person thing and rest it once this year is over.
Anyway. Sorry. I don’t mean to brag or any of that kind of crap. I’m just glad I was able to make this goal. This goal has been the only thing that’s kept me going at some points in this year.
I did it, yo.
I hit 5,000 miles walked for the year.
I did it.
This goal has been work. This goal has been all-consuming, especially in the second half of the year when I really got serious about it. This goal has been very physically demanding at times. This goal led to an injury that I’m still freaking dealing with even though it happened back in August.
But it’s all been worth it. Because now I can say I’ve accomplished my goal. 5,000 miles in a year. How many people can say they’ve walked 5,000 miles in a year? It took me 356 days to do it…that’s an average of a little over 14 miles a day. Every day. That’s a lot.
Sorry for going on about this so long, but I usually fail at everything I try to do, so accomplishing this one goal, even though it is kinda stupid, means a lot to me.
Let’s see how many more miles I can get by the end of the year.
TOMORROW I WILL HIT 5,000 MILES
(assuming I don’t, you know, die in my sleep tonight)
Remember back in July when I posted that picture of my wonky toenail? A reminder:
Well, today it finally fell off. Kinda.
I was walking earlier and felt something in my sock. This is not unusual; I’m always adopting little rock friends in my socks as I walk.
But when I got home and took off my shoes and socks, HEY LOOK, A TOENAIL!
The black toenail from the above picture just kind of held on to my toe while another better toenail grew beneath it. The black part is what finally fell off in my sock. Still have the good part, though.
(It’s super soft)
(Sorry, this is super gross)
I HAVE FEWER THAN 50 MILES TO WALK TO REACH MY GOAL OF 5,000 MILES
Today I’m going to give you my thoroughly subjective and only partially thought through ranking of different walking weather conditions.
Because that’s the kind of person I am.
When I’m walking, four main things I consider are 1) sky conditions, 2) active weather conditions (snow, rain, etc.), and 3) ground conditions, and, of course, 4) temperature. Obviously I won’t be touching on every conceivable combination of these things, ‘cause that would take forever and some things (like 90+ temps and snowy sidewalks) don’t even go together. So I’ll just do each of the four components on their own because that’s easiest.
SO HERE WE GO! Best to worst for each.
Clouds are ideal when walking. The sun doesn’t get in your eyes and there’s less skin damage going on compared to full sunlight.
Walking in fog is cool. The only downside is that this usually correlates with colder weather.
Sun is…okay. It’s much more enjoyable in winter when it’s cold outside, but in the summer it blows because you need sunscreen and it exacerbates the heat.
Dark (early morning or late night)
Lack of visibility isn’t great.
Murdering my lungs isn’t great.
Active Weather Conditions
Is the air dead outside? GREAT! Let’s go for a walk.
I actually really enjoy walking when it’s snowing its brains out outside. I think I mentioned this in a blog a week or so ago. It makes me feel like I’m trekking through the Antarctic.
Light snow is okay, too. Just not as fun.
I’ve never liked walking in the wind, no matter what temperature it is. If I’m walking into the wind, I think I change my stride a little bit, ‘cause it always hurts my leg more than it should.
Light Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul.
Heavy Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul, BUT I’m Antarctic Trekking™ so it makes me feel like a badass.
Luckily I haven’t walked in hail too many times, but it is a weather condition I’ve dealt with, so here it is.
The only reason this is as high on the list as it is is due to the fact that “heavy rain” for Calgary usually only happens in the hot summer and only for about 10 minutes at a time. Torrential downpour-style. It’s fun.
Heavy Rain + Wind
Light Rain + Wind
GOD, NO. You want to make me miserable? Make me walk all day in rain when it’s windy.
Depending on how wet the pavement is, my shoes have a tendency to give a little bit of a slip with my step, so that’s not too great.
I like plowing through loose snow, but only if it’s warm enough that my toes don’t freeze.
Packed snow is okay. I can usually go decently fast over it without the fear of slipping.
Packed Snow Over Ice
A little bit more dangerous, but usually the snow is “sticky” enough that the ice below is not an issue.
Slush is SO FRUSTRATING. I want to go fast through it but there’s zero traction and my feet are soaking wet by the time I’m done with my walk.
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON
Loose Snow Over Ice
“I can’t see the ice. Oh never mind, I FOUND IT WITH MY FACE”
60℉ – 70℉
This is pretty much the ideal walking temperature. Don’t need a jacket, but also don’t feel like I’m going to get heat stroke.
10℉ – 30℉
I like this temperature range because I know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature (orange jacket and tights under my winter pants).
I really don’t mind walking in the heat too much. I’m super gross after 15 miles in that kind of temp, but it’s actually quite satisfying.
0℉ – 10℉
I still know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature in this range, but I also worry more about my iPod surviving temps this low for 4+ hours.
40℉ – 50℉
Light jacket? Too cold! Heavy jacket? Too warm! NOTHING MAKES SENSE
I really worry about my iPod in these temps. I worry about my iPod more than I worry about my fingers/toes/nose getting frostbite, so you all know where my priorities are.