Like, I get it. Some people need that “bare minimum” number to strive for due to whatever circumstances they’re dealing with. But should we really be lowering the bar from the “standard” 10,000 daily steps? People are way too inactive as is. I think anything we can do to encourage more activity is great, even if it means sticking with a somewhat arbitrary value that’s a bit higher than what some research is showing as the bare minimum to get health benefits.
Sorry, I just saw this article today and my mind immediately contrasted it with the “vigorous exercise” article a while back, even though walking and vigorous exercise are different things.
Press X to Doubt
So Garmin has these little online challenge thingies that you can do through its app where you’re competing with other people for things like highest monthly step count, most monthly running miles, most miles cycled in a given amount of time, etc. Every once and a while I get in a challenge where someone gets accused of cheating and faking their data.
This week, that someone was me.
So a few things.
1) It should go without saying, but I do not fake my data. Anyone who knows me knows that my walking/running/steps are legit. I’m just putting that out there.
2) There are almost definitely people who fake their data in one way or another. It’s inevitable on something like this (even though the only real “reward” you get from winning these challenges is bragging rights I guess?). However, everyone else I’ve ever seen accused of cheating does not share their individual activities – only their totals (miles, steps, whatev). I share my activities. You can see every walk and run I log and you can even look at the map and see exactly where I went. That would be hard to fake unless I was giving someone else my Garmin and having them do the miles for me.
3) The amount of effort that would be required to fake this data is just not worth it, especially for as long as I’ve had my Garmin (fall 2018 I think?). It’s probably less effort to just do the actual steps, honestly.
I mean, I guess I could be flattered by the fact that people think I’m faking the amount of steps I’m taking, but it’s more annoying than anything.
WALK, FORREST, WALK!
So remember back on June 1st when I made that running total dynamic bar thing that compared how my yearly mileage totals accumulated for each year I’ve lived in Calgary? (This thing?)
Well, I updated it to include 2020 now.
I didn’t even really consider trying to beat 2017’s mileage until about half way through the year. Then it was a push to make it happen – which it did at the very start of November.
Happy New Year!
As always, January 1st is dedicated to reviewing last year’s walking mileage. So let’s get to it! But before we do, a quick disclaimer: I am including my running mileage in all of these totals, too, but I’m just going to refer to everything as walking mileage because it’s easier.
Here are my walking stats for January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
Total number of walks: 347
Total mileage: 5,160
Total number of steps: 11,687,919
Total calories burned: 355,903
Total walking time (minutes): 78,727.87 [that’s about 54.67 days]
Average speed (mph) per walk: 3.80
5,160 miles is approximately the great circle distance between Juneau, AK and Barcelona, Spain or between Naples, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa.
And for anyone who’s keeping track (probably no one), yes, this is a new yearly mileage record. I beat 2017’s record of 5,100 by 60 miles, which isn’t a fantastic jump in distance or anything, but it is a new record.
SUCK IT, DOUBTERS
I just surpassed 5,000 walking miles for the year, and I did it one day sooner than I did in 2007, the last (and only) time I hit 5,000 walking miles.
So for everyone who didn’t think I could do it again, take THAT!
I’m also going to likely beat 2007’s total mileage of 5,100, too.
Hey NERDS, so up until this point, I’ve walked 4,585.06 miles. At this same time in 2017 (my record walking year), I’d walked 4,573.77 miles. So that means (unless I royally screw up) I’m on pace to beat 2017’s distance of 5,100 miles.
(I live for this crap, sorry.)
Around the World in 2,206 Days
Today, I hit a huge walking milestone: since my first walk in Calgary on September 8, 2014, I have now walked a total of 24,901.46 miles. That is equivalent to the circumference of the earth at the equator!
As always, here are some stats:
- Total number of walks: 1,938
- Total steps: 56,171,859
- Total time spent walking: 383,048.87 minutes, or 6,384.15 hours, or 266.00 days
- Average walking distance (when averaged across the 1,938 walks): 12.849 miles
- Average walking distance (if I had spaced out the distance over every single day): 11.29 miles
So that’s pretty cool, eh?
Boxplot of walk distances by year:
Boxplot of walk distances by month:
Boxplot of walk distances by day of the week:
(As if anyone cares)
Let’s start another trip around the world tomorrow!
ALRIGHT BITCHES, let’s do a little math.
So I want to try to get another 5,000+ miles this year, because nobody thinks I can do it.
I shall do it.
2017 was the year of exactly 5,100 miles, so let’s compare this year’s pace with 2017’s pace to see what I’d need to do to get to at least 5,000 miles this year.
Through August 15, 2017, I had gone 3,298.9 miles in the year (I was also like a week out from that stupid knee/leg injury thing that slowed me down so much but DID NOT PREVENT ME FROM REACHING MY MILEAGE GOAL HOHOHOHOHOHO)
Through August 15, 2020, I’ve gone 3,164.2 miles in the year.
That means I’m behind pace by 134.7 miles. BUT, like I said, in 2017 I actually had gone 5,100 miles instead of just 5,000. So discounting those last 100 miles puts me only 34.7 miles behind pace.
HOKAY, so let’s just focus on this year, then. 5000 minus 3164.2 gives me another 1,835.8 miles that I’ve got to walk this year. There are 19 weeks (plus a few extra days) left in the year. That breaks down to about 96 miles a week (discounting those last few days), or an average of about 16.1 miles per day six days a week for the rest of the year.
Could I do that?
I absolutely could.
So if I did exactly 16 miles six days a week for the next 19 weeks, that would get me an additional 1,824, which would leave me with an additional 11.8 miles to do over those last few days of the year. Usually I have troubles getting my full six days per week at the end of the year due to travel, but HAHAHAHA THAT’S NOT HAPPENING THIS YEAR, so this should be an issue.
I could totally do it again, guys.
I’m going to do it again.
More Walking Nonsense
Guys, I am super close to a very big walking goal. Not my 5,000 miles this year (I’ve still got a ways to go for that!), but a walking goal I’ve had since I started working towards when I first moved up here. I suspect I’ll hit it within the next month and a half or so, so expect a big blog post about it then!
But for now…VAGUE GOAL POSTING IS VAGUE
THE OUCH OF THE TOES
Me: You know what would be a fun addition to daily 15-mile walks?
Toes: Don’t say it.
Me: Replacing some of the miles with 13-mile runs!
Yeah, they’re angry. I don’t blame them.
Haha, I love how every summer there are at least five blogs dedicated to how much I’ve brutalized my feet.
The Walking: Halfway Through the Year
What is UP, my nerdy turds?
Tomorrow is a “let’s start a brand new pair of Kinvaras” day, which means tonight I’ve downloaded all my walking data for the current set of shoes so that I can add it to the Excel file containing all my walking data since I moved to Calgary in 2014.
I feel like I’ve been more consistent than ever with my “15 miles a day” thing, so I was curious to see how this year compared, so far, with 2017 (my record walking year).
In 2017, I had walked a cumulative total of 2433.19 miles by June 30.
This year, I’ve walked a cumulative total of 2545.84 miles by June 30.
…I’m ahead of 2017’s pace? Not only that, but I’m more than halfway to a cumulative total of 5,000 miles by the middle of the year?
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
Well, now I need to try for it again. I need to try for another 5,000+ mile year. Not only would it be cool to have that total again, but it would be a good way to show everyone who has doubted my ability to repeat 2017’s walking distance that 2017 was not a fluke.
BRING IT ON!
I am notoriously hard on my walking clothes. As an example, here is my walking shirt that I’ve had for a few years:
Yes, those are holes. Yes, they go completely through the fabric. My hand is there for scale. The holes are at/near my lower back due to my backpack rubbing there for 15+ miles almost every day.
My summer walking pants are also really falling apart at the moment. This might be their last season if they can make it through. Then I’ll have to get new ones.
Super exciting, huh?
I Made a Doodad That Ended Up Being Much Less Interesting Than I Thought It Would Be But Whatever
So we all know I love walking, right? And stats. I love stats.
So I often like to put those two things together.
One thing I’ve been wanting to do is make one of those “racing totals” visuals where I see how quickly my mileage racks up for each year I’ve been walking up here in Calgary. I can do static visuals fine in something like R, but animated visuals are something that I’ve never really done on my own, so I’ve never been able to make such a visual.
However, I found an editable template of one on Flourish so I decided to give it a try.
The following visual shows my cumulative walking mileage for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 as the year progresses from January 1 to December 31. The year 2014 was excluded because I only moved to Calgary in September of 2014, and the year 2020 was excluded because we’re only in June.
Pretty boring. More boring than I thought it’d be, actually. I thought 2017, 2018, and 2019 would at least skip around in largest total until, like, March or something. But nope. Only through January.
Haha, I like how 2019 was like, “I’m gonna catch you, 2017!” and then July happened.
(I only walked 2,523 miles in 2015 what the hell was wrong with me)
Yo, check out this website.
Basically, you find a challenge with a distance you want to complete, set a goal date, log your miles, and if you succeed in your goal, you get a shiny medal!
I wanna do one. ‘Cause we all know I like shiny things.
I’m going to try for the longest distance one (of course I am): The Route 66 Virtual Challenge. I want a pretty medal!
Edit: hahahaha I completely forgot I signed up for this. I logged a grand total of 30.9 miles and it’s May now. Oops. I wonder if they’ll let me do a mega-update?
Product review: Phoozy
So I want to do a little product review for you all today. As I’m sure you’re aware, ever since I started making walking a “serious business” sort of thing, I’ve used the iTreadmill app on my iPod to track my steps/mileage/calories burned/etc. I started doing so on an old iPod touch.
But due to years of use and several winters during which he was exposed to very cold temperatures for very long walks, his battery eventually crapped out to the point where even during the summer, he couldn’t last a full 15-mile walk. So a few years ago I upgraded to the next gen iPod Touch.
I’ve tried to be more protective of his battery, especially in the winter. During winter walks, I’ve kept him in a plastic baggie in my pocket and did my best to cup my glove around him to protect him from the cold and wind (I think the wind really zaps the battery life).
Over Christmas break, I decided to go on Amazon and see if there were any products designed specifically for insulating cellphones (and/or iPods) against cold weather. Turns out that most products of this sort are mainly designed to protect cellphones from too much heat/sun, but are also supposed to work in the cold.
I searched around for a bit before I found a reasonably-priced product that had a few good reviews discussing its performance in cold weather, so I decided to buy it.
It’s called Phoozy and it looks like this (iPod for scale):
And it really makes a difference. It’s been cold as all hell up here ever since I got back from Moscow, but with this little insulator, my iPod can make it all the way through a 15-mile walk without needing a recharge (I used to have to stop in the one heated public bathroom I pass on my walks to give my iPod a few minutes of charge in order to get it through a winter walk).
So that’s pretty freaking awesome. It’s too bad I wasn’t doing this from the start, but hopefully this will help preserve the battery life I have left.
YOOOOOOOOOOOO so I botched up my leg again.
Or rather, my ankle/heel?
I think I must have pulled/strained something down there while walking on the treadmill these past few days. I suspect I take much wider/longer strides on the treadmill than I do when I’m outside. Thus, since I’ve had to spend every freaking day this past week on the treadmill (due to the fact that the outside temp = death), I think I just messed it up through the repetitive unnatural stride.
So that’s great.
It’s not nearly as bad pain-wise as whatever I did to my leg/knee in 2017, but it definitely hurts. Now that I’m able to walk outside, maybe if I go slow(er) with my natural stride, it’ll just kind of self-correct and get back to normal on its own.
I’ve already been to the doctor once in the past year; my quota has been used up.
Edit: I got coolio prescription sunglasses now, though, so at least that’s snazzy. How do I look?
Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Let’s do the annual madness that is my review of last year’s walking stats.
Here they are for January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.
Total number of walks: 348
Total mileage: 4,836.81
Total number of steps: 11,813,295
Total calories burned: 304,776
Total walking time (minutes): 80,420.25 [that’s about 55.84 days]
Average speed (mph) per walk: 3.64
4,836.81 miles is approximately the great circle distance between Seattle, WA and London, England or between Constantine, Algeria and Cape Town, South Africa.
Let’s do as well (or better!) this year.
‘Twas the Night Before Finals
How quickly my sleeping schedule reverts back to “lol 4 AM is dinner time, 6 AM is bed time, 9:30 AM is time to get up” when it’s allowed to.
I must confess, though, that I’m already missing those early morning walks. I’m not missing getting up early, but I’m missing being out there in the dark when there’s no traffic on the streets and everything is dead quiet. It was enjoyable in a weird way.
I mean, I have to get up a little early tomorrow because the calc final starts at 3:30 PM and I want to give myself a good amount of “wiggle time” so that I’m not getting there at the last possible minute, but I won’t be getting up at 3:30 AM and leaving at 4.
Hello, nerd bombs! To everyone’s shock, today will be a walking-related blog.
Why? Because counting today’s walk, I have walked a total of 20,000 miles since living in Calgary!
Here are some stats (as always, haha):
Total walks: 1,610
Total distance: 20,002.96 miles
Total steps: 44,913,637
Total time: 307,098.13 minutes (that’s 5,118.30 hours, or 213.26 days, or 0.584 years)
Total calories burned: 1,341,926.0
The median* distance per walk was 15.02 miles; median steps per walk was 33,055; median time per walk was 214.98 minutes (3.583 hours).
Here are boxplots of distance by year. Notice how my walking distances become dramatically more consistent as we move from 2014 to 2019.
*Medians are used instead of means, as all of the distributions of the above variables are highly skewed
Winter Walking: September Edition
It’s FREAKING SNOWING RIGHT NOW and I am NOT READY FOR THIS WEATHER.
It’s supposed to get worse over the weekend, too, so that’s great.
So in the spirit of “I need to pretend to look on the bright side of things unless I want to shoot myself in the face,” let’s list all the pros of winter walking.
- I use my on-ear headphones as a way to keep my ears warm, which means I get to listen to music when I walk (I don’t walk to music in the summer).
- I have to wear a coat, which helps hide my ugly body from the world.
- I don’t have to wear sunscreen (and thus don’t have to hose off in the bathroom once I get to campus).
- There are fewer people out on the sidewalks/river path due to coldness/bad weather.
- You burn slightly more calories in the cold than you do in other temperatures.
…I think that’s it.
So yeah. Things are supposed to improve by the end of the coming week, but it’s hard to see beyond the FREAKING SEPTEMBER SNOWSTORM right now.
THE LEG: TWO YEARS LATER
Today marks two years since I busted up my leg/quad/knee whatever walking to Pullman. At the one year mark last August, it was still giving me a decent amount of trouble. Twinging on and off and the like. I was still pretty scared to try running.
Now, though? I barely even think about it. I start my walk and head down the hill toward the river without that fear that I’ll somehow mess up my leg on the hill (going downhill had always been the most painful). I’ve spontaneously started to run (with my backpack on) on some of my walks, barely even worrying about the injury. I am seriously considering trying to get back into running enough to be able to do the Calgary Marathon next year. Like I’ve said, the cardiovascular endurance will probably not be the issue—the only issue might be the injury. But I’m feeling so confident in it now that I feel like I can finally stop using that as an excuse.
So that’s pretty awesome.
Hopefully I won’t hurt it again.
Hopefully I won’t hurt anything else.
So guess what? Today was the first time since I’ve gotten injured that I walked a mile in under 14 minutes.*
I actually walked two separate miles in under 14 minutes, so that’s even cooler.
I was so pumped, yo. I’m finally getting some speed back. It’s been almost two years. And now that I’ve got the Garmin, I know that that speed is legitimate and not just due to a miscalculation in my stride length.
*Last year I posted a shot of my speed being 4.50 MPH, but that was WRONG because it was based on an incorrect stride length. I think this time is really the first time I’ve done a sub-14 minute mile.
Also, I still think these out-of-order signs at North Hill Mall are (unintentionally?) hilarious.
Adventures in Calgary
Today Nate and I adventured to a new part of the city on our walk and I remembered that I’m really bad at re-applying sunscreen to the backs of my hands after I wash all the sunscreen off the fronts of my hands (‘cause I hate the way it feels).
That is comically horrible.
I have to teach on Monday, which means this weird-ass sunburn is going to show up over the projector. Awesome.
‘Sokay, it’ll tan out in a few days and then I’ll be left with a weird dark patch of skin on the back of my otherwise pale hand…which is…even more attractive…
But anyway, we did almost 18 miles and it was great. Walking in 70-degree weather in the sun is way better than walking in the cold, blowing snow (which is what we were doing last weekend, haha).
Check out that resting heart rate, yo.
And people say walking isn’t good cardio. It is if you walk fast enough and long enough.
(Yes, I know fitness tracker-based heart monitors aren’t the most accurate, but I suspect it’s accurate within a range. And I actually did calculate it the “manual” way (taking my pulse) a little bit after I took this picture (after my heart rate had calmed down a little; I’d just gone up the stairs) and it was 49, so.