Goal Achieved?

Olympian SandalOn March 30th I blogged about my goal to walk 100,000 steps in a day, and on September 19th I did just that. To put it into perspective:

  • 42.61 miles
  • 5,124 calories burned
  • 19 hours

How did it feel? For most of the day I felt good/motivated, and by the end it was painful… but the worst part was that I didn’t even care the next day, and haven’t cared at any point since doing it.

Goals Are Stupid

I thought I would feel pretty good about doing this, like I achieved something and might be proud. But I didn’t. This might have been because I had a bad week leading up to the Saturday that I did it. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but a family illness has taken its toll on me and to top it off I got a bullshit traffic ticket 3 days earlier. It has been over a month, though. Since I still don’t care, I’m left to assume that it’s just not that important to me.

Now, did I waste my time? Maybe. While one could argue that it was a great day of exercise, it took me out for a few days immediately after. Plus I hurt my knee, which is only now starting to return to normal. I could have easily (and regularly do) spread this out over a few days as extra activity and ended up with a greater net calorie loss and not hurt myself in the process. In the end that doesn’t matter, though. I didn’t do it for the net calorie loss, and I’m not upset about the time. The truth is that I’m disappointed that I don’t care about achieving something challenging that required planning, prolonged effort and dedication. It was challenging, but maybe not the right kind of challenging for me. Maybe speed is more my thing, but as of right now I have no desire to run or speed walk or anything like that.

How I Did It

When I blogged back in March I said it would be 50 miles and would take 13 hours and 20 minutes. It was shorter than that, and took much longer. I’ll cover why in a bit, but the bottom line is that doing a 50,000 day is a lot different than 100,000. Even after 75,000 it was a different pace/feeling/mindset. Anyway, I talked about building up to 100,000 along with plans for food, bathroom stops, routes, temperature, parks, etc…

The reality of it is that while I walked daily more often than not, and I did a lot of longer distance days, there wasn’t a ton of build-up. I did buy a (cheap) treadmill in April, which (surprisingly) has been great. So that changed the process quite a bit.

As far as diet goes:

  • Bananas
  • Clif Bars
  • Kind Bars (for variety)
  • Gatorade
  • A lot of water

I’m not a nutritionist or anything, but after talking with some people and reading online I decided on these items. Bananas would be great for the potassium I needed. Clif bars/kind bars for energy and convenience. Gatorade to replace the salt I was losing throughout the day. And a lot of water, to dilute the gatorade and replace what I lost, no brainer. I avoided caffeine, and think the only real meal I had was a Chipotle bowl around 7pm.

The day itself:

  • Awake at 4
  • 6am: 9,000
  • 8am: 17,500
  • 10am: 32,000
  • 12pm: 43,200
  • 1pm: 48,800
  • 3pm: 60,000
  • 5pm: 70,000
  • 7pm: 79,400
  • 11pm: 100,008

So, the day started early because I couldn’t sleep. It’s a good thing it did, because I don’t think I would have made it otherwise. I set the treadmill up in the living room the night before, and set out 3 sets of clothing so that I could change a couple times throughout the day. I was able to watch some European soccer, college football, Columbus Crew throughout the day. I even played PS4 for a few hours.

I started slow, sped up, and planned to slow down toward the end of the day. I did not think I would have to slow down as much as I did later in the evening, but time allowed for it. Most of the day was spent on the treadmill. At 8am I did walk around my neighborhood until shortly before 10am, as I took brief breaks every 2 hours. During breaks I made sure to keep moving, as to not lock up/cramp. At noon I went to the park, but started to feel the effect of walking about 18 miles and decided to come back in fear that I’d have a problem and be really far from my car. I went around the neighborhood a bit later for variety, but stayed in the remainder of the day after that.

Around 3pm I started to slow down, probably a little earlier than planned, I don’t have my plan notes to say for sure. At that point it was all about going and not stopping for any longer than I had to. Unfortunately, before I stopped to eat, around 7pm my knee started giving me problems. I think I twisted it while turning to look at something my girlfriend was showing me. Stopping to eat (less than 10 minutes) probably didn’t help. It got worse throughout the remaining 20,600 steps, to the point where I was basically dragging it along to finish. There was no way I came that far to come up short in the end.

The damage? Obviously I was in pain, primarily my legs. Immediately after I took a bath with epsom salts and rubbed them for a while. I woke up in the middle of the night and needed help getting to the bathroom 15 feet away. The next day they hurt, but were already recovering and by 3 days later they felt good again. My feet held up well, all things considered. I had 1 blister between the two smallest toes on my left foot. My right knee, that I twisted, wasn’t that much of a problem for normal use or even walking. Uneven ground and stairs were difficult, but in the end it didn’t seem 100% until I bent/used it a lot again, which wasn’t happening at home on the treadmill.

So it wasn’t perfect, or even smooth… but I’m not any kind of athlete or professional nutritionist/trainer/health professional. I picked a day, planned, and pushed through it. Some friends and family doubted me, some didn’t understand it, but that didn’t upset me or change my mind. Looking back, I don’t feel bad or regret it at all, I really just wish I felt somewhat proud of it, but I don’t. It is what it is. I nailed it when I said this, though…

If I am able to do this, I don’t think I would ever do it again. If I don’t get there before winter, then I probably give up and forget about it. Either way, it should make for an interesting next few months.

because I will never do this again, and I am ready to forget about it even though I was successful. Indeed, it did make for an interesting few months, but what now? Probably a pursuit of the mind.