The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

All good things

A couple of streaks ended today.

First, the good one: after 221 days, I finally got to fly somewhere. That's the longest I've gone without traveling by air since 1980, or possibly earlier.

Second, the bad one: after 82 days, I finally missed 10,000 steps, owing to the above-mentioned flying. That's the longest stretch of 10k-plus days I've had since getting a Fitbit. (I would have made it, too, if it weren't for those meddling time zones.)

Finally, there is a crushing disappointment that I will share tomorrow morning. Well, maybe not crushing, but certainly disappointing. And temporary, it seems, but coinciding exactly with my trip here. So, boo.

Really taking a day off

Thursday, I hit a new PR for total steps over 7 days. Yesterday I said if I got 22,149 steps I'd hit 175,000 for the week, averaging 25,000 per day.

Sadly, I only got 18,327 yesterday. So I did hit a new PR for 7-day total, 171,122, but I fell almost 4,000 steps short of 175,000. Boo. My 7-day average was just 24,446.

Right now I'm waiting for my co-worker to sync up his steps from our Workweek Hustle step challenge. As of 10pm he had 104,720, and as of midnight I had 105,523. That's a lot of steps for a workweek. I'll be OK if he beats me in the challenge, but only just OK.

OK, enough PRs for now

In the 7 days through yesterday, I walked 169,083 steps, a new personal record (PR). That averages out to 24,154 per day.

On the one hand, I can set a new PR of 25,000 per day, or 175,000 for 7 days, by walking 22,149 steps today.

On the other hand, or if the shoe is on the other foot so to speak, my feet do not like this idea. Nor do my calves, quads, hams, or glutes.

On the third hand, if I don't hit that PR today, I won't have another shot at it without either walking 25k consistently for a week, or doing another pair of stupidly long walks within a 7-day period. Now, it's entirely possible I'll hit 50k in one day sometime this summer. But after all the walking I've done this week, I'm not that excited by the prospect.

So: any steps I get above 16,289 for today will set a 7-day PR, which is great. But I'm not going to take that in stride.

Also, yesterday bumped up into my top-5 days. Pretty soon they're all going to be over 35,000 steps:

My top-5 single-day step records are now:

2018 Jul 7 47,452
2016 Jun 16 40,748
2018 Jul 12 38,246
2016 Oct 23 36,105
2017 May 27 33,241

Fast walk from the dentist

My dentist is all the way up in Hubbard Woods, which turns out to be a 21.3 km walk from my house. I know that because I walked it this morning. In fairness, I did it in two roughly-equal parts with a stop in downtown Evanston for lunch.

But my total time for the walk, 3:12:36, over what was almost exactly a half-marathon, implies a legal finishing time for the Chicago Marathon (6:30 allowed for the 42.2 km course).

I'm in a step challenge with a co-worker who got 11,000 ahead of me yesterday. Let's see how he does with the 28,000 I've gotten so far today.

And, as predicted, I have already blown away my 7-day personal step record with 159,083 so far this afternoon.

New PR

On Saturday I predicted hitting a new PR for total steps in a 7-day period on Thursday. I actually hit it yesterday: 151,791. I wound up getting over 18,000 yesterday, 65,500 for the weekend.

And now, I am sore. But I have to give a shout-out to my new Keens, the best hiking shoes I've ever bought, and which I wore for the first time on Saturday's walk.

Many, many PRs

Back in June 2016, I walked 29 km in one go, and posted "I don't need to do this ever again."

You can see where this is going.

Here's what I did yesterday:

That distance, 32.2 km, is exactly 20 miles. I actually walked about 800 m farther than that because I accidentally paused my Fitbit for a few minutes. Also, the map's big red 32.16 km (which is just short of 20 miles) appears to be a rounding error as you can see from the official total at the top.

This time I walked up the North Branch trail, and I'm proud to say I walked the entire length of the Red Path, from Gompers Park in Chicago up to the Skokie Lagoons Trail in Glencoe. It's shadier, and leafier, and doesn't parallel a working railroad. I mean, you don't meet this guy on the Green Bay trail, for example:

The weather was nearly perfect: 25°C under crystal-clear skies. (I might have done better a few degrees cooler.)

And now for my personal records (PRs):

  • Farthest distance in one continuous walk: 32.2 km
  • Most steps in one continuous walk: 36,942
  • Longest continuous exercise (including biking): 5 hours, 15 minutes
  • Most steps in one day: 47,452
  • Farthest walked in one day: 41.09 km
  • Most active minutes in one day: 520

Depending on the weather, on Thursday I expect to hit another PR: most steps in a 7-day period. Currently that's 147,941 (set February 27th), but the 7 days ending yesterday totaled only 144,651.

My top-5 single-day step records are now:

2018 Jul 7 47,452
2016 Jun 16 40,748
2016 Oct 23 36,105
2017 May 27 33,241
2016 Sep 25 32,354

Also, not for nothing, I am kind of annoyed with myself that I didn't sucker any of my friends into a step challenge this weekend.

Three in a row

I set a few Fitbit personal records yesterday.

First: it was the first time I've gotten 20,000+ steps three days in a row. Second: it was the fourth-best stepping day since I got a Fitbit (see below). Third: my 7-day total, 147,941, completely blew away the old record of 135,785 set on April 18th last year.

Here are my top-5 stepping days:

2016 Jun 16 40,748
2016 Oct 23 36,105
2017 May 27 33,241
2018 Feb 27 32,747
2016 Sep 25 32,354


On the other hand, Chicago didn't set a weather record, and wasn't in any danger of doing so, despite what I said. I misread the chart: Chicago's record high for February 27th was 23.8°C set in 1975, not 16.7°C, which is the record high for February 28th—and we're in no danger of breaking that one, either. That said, it was, in fact, 16.7°C yesterday.

Today is the last day of meteorological winter, and a cold front is sneaking in from the north. Tomorrow promises to be everything yesterday was not: windy, rainy, and snowy in the evening. I can't wait.

Even better weather

We're now on the third day of spring weather even though spring doesn't technically begin (for climatologists, anyway) until Thursday. Yesterday we got up to 12°C, even more spring-like than Sunday's 10°C. (Those high temperatures are normal for March 31st and 23rd, respectively.)

Today's forecast high is 17°C—normal for April 24th and, if it actually happens, a new record for February 27th. (Note that the current record, 16.7°C, was set in 2016.)

Two things to note: first, weather ≠ climate, though you would be forgiven for freaking out at the Washington Post's latest news on the topic.

Second, this has given me a great opportunity to get steps in.

For the first time ever, I've gotten back-to-back 25,000-step days: 28,828 on Sunday and 28,293 yesterday. This included a lunchtime hike from my office to the end of the 606 Trail and back:

I've hit 25,000 steps only 15 times out of the 1,223 days I've had a Fitbit. That's 1.22%. For comparison, I've hit 20,000 steps only 66 times (5.56%), and 30,000 steps only 6 times (0.49%). I last hit 30,000 on May 27th (33,241), and last hit 25,000 (before Sunday) on August 29th (26,914).

So here's the question: can I do 30k today? Yes. But I'm not entirely sure how yet. Stay tuned.