366 Days of Walks

Friday, 15th January 2021

Your morning anniversary.

No, not of my wedding (that’s at the end of May), but of 366 days (one leap year) of walking, without missing a single day. The last day I have a record of not having walked was Jan. 14, 2020, so I guess this is actually 367 days. Whatever.

Here are the numbers at the end of the year:

  • Total miles walked in morning walks: 2,608.79 miles, or 4,197.5 kilometers.
  • Monthly Average: 217.4 miles/month, or 349.8 kilometers/day
  • Daily Average: 7.11 miles/day, or 11.5 kilometers/day
  • Total steps: 6,634,207. Average per day: 18,077All walking throughout the day: 3237.9 miles, or 5209.8 kilometers
  • Monthly Average: 269.8 miles/month, or 434.1 kilometers/month
  • Daily Average: 8.82 miles/day, or 14.3 kilometers/day
  • Pairs of shoes: 4Longest walk: 11.5 miles, or 18.5 kilometers
  • Hottest temperature while walking: 90F/32.2CColdest temperature while walking: 25F/-4C
  • Number of hurricanes walked through: 2 (just the outer edges, don’t get all judgy)
  • Earliest start time: 4:45 am
  • Number of ditches walked in, to avoid getting too close to people: Too many to count.
  • People whose names I learned: Not sure, but it must be at least 30
  • Animals seen: So many bird species, can’t even count them all (but some big impressive ones, like various owls, bald eagles, ospreys, hawks, many varieties of herons, sandhill cranes, and so many more). Gators. Possums, raccoons, armadillos. An otter (ok, that was in our backyard the other day, but still). Various species of turtles. Snakes. Got attacked by a red-winged blackbird.

And so I’m going to break the streak, as of tomorrow. This is harder than it might seem – it’s very easy at this point to just keep doing what I’ve been doing and get up and walk. I’m not going to quit walking. But it seems to me that what drove this in the first place, which was the data provided by my Apple Watch, can easily become a burden. If I just keep going, then when I stop it’s going to seem like a failure, since I could have gone further. But if I stop now, at the point of reaching a goal (even if it is an arbitrary one – what’s special about a year, after all?), then it can be a success. It makes me wonder just how often things I thought were failures were just successes at something else.

I’ve taken pictures and told stories of the same path for the past year. They might by this point be getting tiresome. Even after a year, I’m seeing things I never saw before on this path. How is that possible? I don’t think I’m really that inattentive. I keep meeting people – met someone new today, Rob, who I’ve seen plenty of times but haven’t talked to. The pictures I’ve taken have been of things large and small, but the one thing I’ve never done is take a selfie – until today. Here are a few. They are not flattering, I assure you, but they are at least some evidence that I was on this trail.

I might wrap up this year-long adventure by picking out some images I’ve liked from the past year and posting them. We’ll see. For now, I just have to decide what to make of this new-found knowledge that I can do something every day for a year. Do I apply that to something more “productive”? The thing is, I can’t think of anything more productive than just walking, no podcasts or music or anything else, for hours at a time, on the same path. Sure, I could decide to write every day, or practice an instrument, or something else. All those seem too goal-directed, though.

And, I’ll never be in the league of some people I’ve seen on the trail, who put my distances to shame (there are ultra-marathoners around here, who do my distances just as warmup). I’ll never hold a candle to Mark Norris Lance, whose erging boggles my mind, or Tim Kenyon whose cycling distances are crazy, or so many others I know who just operate at a different level from mere mortals. There’s Jim, on my path, pushing 80 years old, who still marathons and walks further than me on a lot of days.

But the thing about walking is, it doesn’t have to be competitive. If you walk a particular distance, you aren’t necessarily doing better if you walk a little further the next day. That’s why I’m happy to see people out who can only manage a mile, or even less – that’s still quality movement, and better than doing nothing. There’s an elderly Indian couple out most mornings pushing a cart with their little fluffy dog in it. Good for them. There are people out there whose running form is so good it should be in a training video, and others whose form is so bad I wonder how they don’t injure themselves on the spot – but still, I’m glad they are all out there.

Right, enough of all that. Now I have to figure out how to sleep in. Anyone have any good advice on that? For some reason, my eyes pop open at 5 am and I’m ready to go.

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