30 Day Challenge:

Take 20,000 Steps a Day


A man stands atop Mount Lincoln in Colorado look off to the horizon

30 Day Challenge: Take 20,000 Steps a Day

 

Disclaimer: This challenge ended up lasting 31 days, the full month of July.

Since I started Tenacious Travel, I have spent crazy amounts of time sitting and staring at a computer screen. Yes, I truly enjoy creating my website, but damn, I need to get off my ass more often.

I’ve become a bit… round. My belly has been expanding and my energy levels have been sinking. I’m like a loyal husband that has put on sympathy weight for his child-bearing wife (but nobody is pregnant).

So, I decided to challenge myself to step away from the computer and start walking.

…and walking.

10,000 steps, about eight kilometers (five miles), is widely seen as the ‘magic number’ to shoot for when trying to maintain an active lifestyle. So why not double it? We want this to be a challenge, right?

If I hit my goals, I should be spending over three hours a day walking and travel about 16 kilometers (ten miles).

To count my steps, I’ll use my Mi Fit Band that my beautiful girlfriend gave to me. Her motives are unknown, but I suspect she wants to track my every move.

Sweatcoin: earn money to walk

 

I’ll use the Sweatcoin app to actually make money for all the steps I take outdoors. If I hit my goals, I can make about a buck a day. No, it’s not a lot, but it adds up. And it pays me to stop being lazy. Win-win.

This challenge is about restoring balance to my life. It’s about getting outside and breathing fresh air. It’s about getting my blood pumping and sweating out my bad choices. It’s about watching my dog bound through fields as we explore the world together.

Ten miles a day… here goes nothing.


The Challenge Journal

The fine print: My objective is to average 20,000 steps a day for the entire month of July. Sometimes I won’t hit my daily goal, but that is okay. I’ll just have to walk a little more the next day.

Starting weight: 80.4 kilograms (177.2 pounds) Starting Body Mass Index: 24.7 (on the verge of ‘overweight’)

July 2nd, 12:20 a.m.

So, I had been planning all week to push this challenge back to August. My reasoning: this blog isn’t public yet and this challenge will likely get lost behind others once I finally ‘launch’ this website of mine.

This is a stupid reason. It doesn’t matter if nobody is watching. If I make excuses for myself not to follow through on my goals, I’m setting a dangerous precedent.

So, I decided to go for it.

10:45 p.m. rolled around and I had still only reached 11,000 steps. Damnit, I couldn’t dig myself into a hole on my very first day. I put on my $28 running shoes and started moving.

A close up of blue Tesla running shoes standing on a wooden porch

My ridiculously affordable (and comfortable) Tesla running shoes

 

Steps Taken
July 1st: 19,947
July 2nd: 21,158
July 3rd: 17,357
July 4th: 9,915
July 5th: 29,263
July 6th: 12,885
July 7th: 23,348
July 8th: 5,311
July 9th: 25,850
July 10th: 20,662
July 11th: 20,750
July 12th: 15,751
July 13th: 16,769
July 14th: 20,665
July 15th: 18,952
July 16th: 23,225
July 17th: 21,232
July 18th: 11,574
July 19th: 20,596
July 20th: 10,054
July 21st: 8,639
July 22nd: 23,506
July 23rd: 14,037
July 24th: 20,168
July 25th: 27,148
July 26th: 23,103
July 27th:
19,580
July 28th: 35,793
July 29th: 18,675
July 30th: 37,093
July 31st: 27,627
Average:
20,021


My first big race against time was a mixture of jogging, wheezing, pitch black sidewalks, walking with my hands on my hips, coughing up god knows what, and generally feeling out of shape.

11:50 struck and I was still short of my goal. I ran as fast as I could, but fell short by 53 steps – or 19 more seconds of running. I am sore and achy, but full of hope. I wonder how I’ll feel at the end of the month.

July 5th, 1:46 a.m.

Fine, I’ll admit it: I didn’t give it my best effort yesterday. 10,000 steps short of my goal. Oops. It might have something to do with me staying out crazy late and drinking beer with an old friend the night before. Who knows?

I was starting to panic when 11:00 p.m. rolled around and I had taken less than 5,000 steps. So, I did what any other exhausted and dehydrated person would do: I got off the couch and ran across town. Fireworks crackled overhead as my dog panicked and I moved slightly slower than usual.

I’ve dug myself a bit of a hole early on, but I’m excited to see how I get out of it. There will be more days that I fall well short of goals, but there will also be 30,000 step days. They’re coming, I promise.

July 8th, 1:03 p.m.

Got some good steps in yesterday, almost all before 9:00 a.m. On the night of the 6th I drove up to Kite Lake Trailhead (outside of Alma, Colorado) parked my van, and slept.

I awoke at 3:30 a.m., ate a cold piece of pizza, fed my dog, Bubba, and gathered my gear. I groggily poured myself out of my van and was met with a quiet moonlight. I found my friends and we stretched and started hiking.

 
A silhouette of hikers summiting Mount Lincoln in Colorado at sunrise

Summiting Mount Lincoln at sunrise

 

Now these were real steps that we were taking. We huffed and puffed to the top of three different mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation: Mt. Bross, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Cameron. My friends completed a fourth, Mt. Democrat, but I ducked out because Bubba’s paws were beginning to tear.

The first week is in the books! I’m just behind pace, but have more big hikes planned later in this month. This challenge has already shown positive results. I feel lighter on my feet and full of energy at all times. Bubba and I are exploring the world together and enjoying every moment.

July, 9th, 2:53 p.m.

The relentless Colorado sun doesn’t care if I have goals to reach (highs of 38 degrees Celsius)

 

I picked the wrong week to start sleeping in.

After slacking off yesterday and putting off today’s steps until 2:00 p.m., I was forced to take a run in Colorado’s triple digit Summer heat. I still have 13,969 steps to reach my daily goal. Needless to say, today was a bit of a learning experience.

Start Your Steps Early!

If you’re trying to hit a step goal, do yourself a favor and try to complete at least half of your total before noon (especially in the Summer). Procrastinating will force you to exert yourself during the hottest part of the day or rush yourself late into the night. I’ve made a habit of doing both.

That’s all I have to say about that.

July 10th, 12:30 a.m.

Power-walked, jogged, and sprinted around town for 15,000 steps in the final two hours of the day.

July: ‘Half Inspiration, Half Desperation’

July 16th, 12:00 p.m. MIDWAY UPDATE

Ah, the halfway point. It’s been an absolute grind to say the least. Steps don’t care if you’re tired, burnt out, hungover, have shit to do, or its a 100 degrees (38° Celsius) out. Steps are always waiting, screaming to be taken.

The last few days my legs have felt heavy and taxed, especially when I’m running. My body has hit a wall. In spite of this, I have made some very noticeable progress.

Here are some of the physical differences that I have seen:

Midway weight: 172.6 pounds Midway BMI: 24.1

I’m trimming up and it feels good. I’ve shed almost five pounds so far. My legs, although often fatigued, feel stronger and more stable. My energy levels are up and my stamina is climbing. The blisters on my feet have turned to callouses and I feel like I’m getting back towards ‘trail shape’ again.

Mentally, I feel sharper and more focused. I am able to organize my normally jumbled and erratic thoughts when I’m walking or running. Many of the ideas for this website have come to me while I was racking up the steps.

A curious yellow lab sniffs a from being held in front of his nose at night

Keri introduces Bubba to a late night frog while we get our steps in

 

Oh, and Bubba is thoroughly satisfied and exhausted on a normal basis. This is something I never thought possible. Instead of anxiously following me around the house waiting to be exercised, he is constantly recharging for our next adventure.

It’s safe to say that this challenge was a great idea. Here’s to the second half, where I must now average 21,437 steps a day.

July 25th, 1:20 p.m.

So, I have some good news and I have some bad news.

Let’s start with the good: my girlfriend recently got back in town from China. She’s visiting for three weeks. We’ve been having a great time! We even went to Las Vegas and ate at our favorite restaurant in the world.

Now, for the bad: I have put my steps on the back-burner. They have not been a priority and my averages have been suffering. I’ve dropped down to an average of 17,894, which doesn’t sound bad (but really is this late in the game).

This means my last week of steps I will have to average 26,912 steps a day, which I have only surpassed once this month. I anticipate lots of late night sprinting and early morning jogs. My sleep will suffer, but I WILL reach my goal. I hope.

July 29th, 12:08 p.m.

My calves are shot. My legs are jelly. My IT band is aching. My dog thinks I’m crazy. I’m exhausted.

I reached 30,000 steps for the first time this month (just as I promised I would). A few days ago I felt extremely pessimistic. I thought I had dug myself into a hole too deep, but yesterday’s total gives me new hope.

A yellow lab laying on his side with an exhausted look on his face

Today Bubba got excited and took twice the steps I did. Now he is tired.

 

I feel like a different person than when I started this challenge. I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? In years past I’ve gone months before without ever running. Now, my days feel incomplete without it. The late nights exercising alone in the darkness — it’s kind of soothing. I’m beginning to see how people get addicted.

Three days left. Time to finish strong.

July 30th, 2:43 p.m.

This morning I paced back and forth around the light rail station as I awaited my train. I followed that up with more aggressive marching around Union Station as I stacked up steps waiting for my bus. I looked like a madman with a million things racing through his head, furiously storming around and trying to make sense of it all.

And whose to say that I’m not?

I have 51.5 kilometers (32 miles) left to finish my challenge this month. Sometimes I’m just going to have to act like a lunatic along the way.

August 1st, 12:23 a.m.

The challenge is finished. This last week my existence was consumed with reaching my goal… if I wasn’t working, I was walking. If I wasn’t walking, I was running. Steps, steps, steps… all day long. I’m glad the grind is over. I’m tired. I’m ready for a new challenge.

Challenge Complete!

 

Noel Before the Challenge Noel After the Challenge
Round figure, sluggish, constantly staring at computer Active, energetic, and physically fit
Ran sparingly and inconsistently for short bursts Daily runner with best stamina in life
Bored, unfulfilled, and under-exercised dog (Bubba) Bubba constantly experiencing the best day of his life
Had a hard time focusing, jumbled and disorganized thoughts Clear mind, natural and flowing creativity, focused
Unsure about achieving goal, lingering self-doubt Confident, motivated, and goal-oriented

Gear I Used

Stats

Total Steps Taken/Average Per Day 620,637/20,021
Kilometers/Miles Traveled 480.89/298.81
Most/Least Steps Taken in a Day 37,093 (July 29th)/5,311 (July 8th)
Time Challenge was Completed 11:17 p.m. on July 31st
Weight Lost 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds)
Calories Burned 19,880
Sweatcoins Earned 385.78 ($19.28)
Total MiFit Battery Recharges Two

What I Learned

Without question, I took more steps this month than I ever have in my life. This challenge forced me to break out of my sedentary routine and get out in the world. I feel lighter on my feet and healthier. My mind slows down and my creativity blossoms while I’m on my feet. I didn’t lose a drastic amount of weight, but I trimmed up and changed my habits.

My future goal will be 12,000 steps a day. 20,000 is a bit much for now. I want to be active, but I don’t want my life to revolve around steps. Balance: that’s what I’m looking for.

Try it Yourself!

I recommend a step challenge to anyone who needs to become more active. Steps are effortlessly countable, easy to achieve, and take you places you may never have gone otherwise.

You will notice changes both mental and physical. You will find yourself out in the world thinking clearly and moving freely. Some days the challenge will feel more like a chore. You will doubt yourself and you will struggle, but you will come out on the other end a stronger and more determined person (even if you look crazy pacing around the occasional bus station).


Next Challenge →
Create 15 New Posts in One Month


 

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