…said I. Well, yes, and…
First, the good news: By my most conservative count, on Thursday I hit 100 miles in my quest to log 1,000 miles by my 55th birthday.
Now, the bad news: Measurement, it seems, is a slippery thing. (And, I hasten to add, this is not any mathematical shortcoming on my part. This is what you might call instrument failure.)
I began with such high hopes, confident as I was in the technology available to us all. I had no fewer than four apps counting my every step, GPS following my every move. But in a real-world twist of fate that I confess I find perversely reassuring, those apps couldn’t keep up with me. Not reliably. One day was either 11,190 steps / 5.3 miles, or 14,094 steps / 5.52 miles, depending; another credited me with 9 miles round-trip to the Zumba class I knew to be less than 2 miles away – maybe 3 since I took the long way.
What’s a girl to do?
Invest in more technology, of course! The Jawbone Up Move (the least expensive of the fitness trackers out there, pushed into impulse-purchase-eligibility by Amazon’s 30% off sale) looked like the answer to my prayers. Worked right out the box, except for a preternatural preference for its default setting: male, 6′, 185 lbs., born 1987. I was married in 1987 and only approach 6′ with the assistance of a ladder – but at least it seemed to count reliably.
And then there was the challenge of calibration. Just how long is my stride? How many steps to a mile? I used a tape measure; I compared notes with D; I reverse engineered walks, dividing distance by steps to derive stride. Finally, I paced off several quarter miles on the boardwalk and came up with what I think is a respectable constant. Which happily aligns with what the Up has settled on, thus completely restoring my confidence in the little guy.
That number also turns out to be a lot fewer steps per mile than I had thought. Meaning: I’ve been walking a lot more miles than I believed. About 20 percent more. So instead of my target 5 1/2 miles per day, I’ve been logging closer to 7 — and on one memorable day that included my morning constitutional with K., circuitous midday errands in town and an afternoon stroll with I. and D., I had logged well over 11 miles before I tumbled into bed.
What’s not to love?
This has to be one of the few places where being wrong about time and distance is actually a good thing. I can feel the strength increasing in my legs and – ahem – butt. My definition of “within walking distance” (already an outlier, I understand) now stretches to 3 miles. It’s not a bad mindset.
So: today I celebrate. I celebrate confirmation of a hard-won calibration and 100+ miles’ progress toward a long-term goal that feels increasingly real and achievable. Milestone: check!