There are days, weeks even, when the though of achieving anything is a somewhat utopian ideal. At least it feels like that! It's nice, then, to be able to report that I actually did achieve something in August, if only in the arena of counting steps.
At the beginning of the month I set myself the goal of taking 500,000 steps in a month. I'd never done this before. In fact I think I only broke the 400k barrier once or maybe twice last year. (I've just looked, it was three times!) So 500k was, to pardon the pun, quite a step up. It meant doing the equivalent of nearly 8.5 miles of walking a day, every day for a month. In a straight line, that would be about 250 miles. Imagine where you would be if you travelled 250 miles from home.
But I did it. It took quite an effort in the last three days because I had one day when I didn't walk at all, doing only 2000 steps. Now at the beginning of the month making up the difference over the course of a week would have been okay, but I had three days. That meant 10 miles a day, but I had a plan. On Tuesday we went to this event with Shane Claiborne and I made sure I walked everywhere I could. On that day I did 31k steps, which made it a whole lot easier to complete the job. So, yesterday afternoon as I set out to walk to church to do a small job, I passed the 500k mark. There were no balloons or major celebrations.
To be honest it has been far more difficult to hit a daily target of 16k than 10k for obvious reasons. It's further! But it's more than that. I can do 10k just walking to the station and back twice a day with Anne. That's a fairly steady, even distribution of steps. But the higher target relied more heavily on big days making up for low days. And by low I mean down around 12k! Anything below 10k was really low.
So, for example, I had 7 days over 20k and 1 day over 30k. I had 9 days where the cumulative average was below target, and overall I missed my target on 16 days. So it was a lot tougher than any previous challenge. But in the end I made it and I'm glad I did. To have missed out would probably have meant that I would have tried again, although probably in October because that's the next month with 31 days!
I guess I've learnt that I can do 8 miles a day, that 15 miles is still possible, and that it takes a large dose of disciple to sustain yourself to the end.
What's next? Well I will probably keep using the pedometer, but I'll stop keeping a daily record. I'll walk less, but I'll swim more. I haven't been in the water for a long time. I pulled a shoulder muscle or damaged a tendon of some sorts that kept me out of the water and I couldn't swim and do my 16k steps every day. So maybe this month I'll swim more if the shoulder is okay.