And the step count award goes to…

Yesterday marked a full year of meeting and exceeding my goal of 10,000 steps a day. And although it is my ultimate hope to make it the whole of 2020 with 10,000 steps each day, hitting 12 months in a row is a worthy milestone to record on my blog!

One full year of 10,000+ steps. Wow! That is 366 days in a row for a total of 4,340,493 steps which averages a little over 11,800 steps a day and equates to just shy of 1,500 miles. I am very excited about this, and I will not allow myself to feel embarrassed for this level of excitement!

After all, this is an accomplishment that I’ve been working towards for far longer than my current step streak. Indeed, for the past five years, I have tried to see how long I could keep a “10,000 steps a day” streak going. It sounds easy enough sometimes, but there has always been something to break the streak. Mostly, illness or injury has been to blame. Like my 6-month streak that was destroyed by breaking my ankle. Or my 4-month streak that was destroyed by a common cold that sent me to hospital. And, sometimes, everyday life has broken the streak. Like last summer when my 5-month streak was broken after I went for a 10-mile bike ride instead of a run, then went to my PhD graduation party that my sisters hosted for me, ending the day with not enough steps and not enough time to get them in.

After I break a streak, it normally takes a bit to step up my game again. Especially if the streak has been broken because of illness or injury. So, when on September 30 last year I managed just over 10,000 steps, after being down for a cold the week prior, I decided I would do my best to let that be the first day of a long streak.

Then when I was doing my 2020 goal planning, I decided that part of those goals and ambitions would be to have at least 4,000,000 steps over the course of the year. Which made me realise that I would also need to keep my step streak going all year. After all, I would need to average almost 11,000 steps a day to hit that 4-million mark!

So, I kept walking and running and moving. Every day. No matter what. I moved until I had at least 10,000 steps. And there have been days when I’ve had to go out for a walk just to get the steps. There have been days when I’ve run in place for 5 minutes to get myself over the 10K mark. And there have been days when I’ve thought about giving up. But giving up isn’t (generally) my style, so I have kept going. And going. And going… like a bunny on batteries!

Thankfully, one of the collateral benefits of the COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has meant that I’ve had more opportunities to run and to go for long adventure walks. Both of those have helped me to keep my step counts going. Although I do find it harder on days when I’m working, as I don’t get the walking in that I would normally get walking to/from the bus stop on my way to/from the office and I can’t enjoy the really long walks or runs. I also don’t get the steps that you get from walking to and from various meetings or from teaching in-person. But I have managed, somehow!

Of course, it’s not been easy, but it’s been rewarding. Indeed, Garmin gives you an 8-point badge every time you hit your step goal 60 days in a row. And they introduced a new 4-point badge during lockdown for hitting 10,000 steps 30 days in a row. Which means that I now get 16 points every 60 days – just for moving! Add that to extra badges for hitting above a certain number of steps (which are sadly only one-off badges) and the various badges I get for other things, and all these steps have helped me to reach Level 4. (Frustratingly, at each new level they increase the number of points you need to get to the next level!)

And! And! As I was writing this blog, my friend came by the cottage with trophy for my efforts! He has joined me in many of my COVID walks and has listened to me blether on and on about step counts during that time – and about my excitement about nearing the one-year mark – and decided to get me something to mark the occasion. It is one of the most ridiculously corny things anyone has ever done for me! And if you know me, you’ll know that ridiculously corny things are some of my favourite things. I haven’t decided where I will display the trophy yet, but I think it deserves a place of pride.

There are 920,000 more steps to take before I go to bed on 31 December 2020, and I am feeling confident that I will manage even more than that. I hope that you are managing all your personal goals and ambitions for the year, too (even if you’ve had to re-imagine them to fit the confines of the pandemic).

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