Wow. A whole year. This is a memory I added to the list early in the Spring, months after I initially compiled it, when it dawned on me that not only could I actually be able to accomplish such a feat (ha! who doesn’t like a good homophone?!), but it was also something that I wanted to achieve.
Last summer, after a couple months of eating my feelings in the aftermath of leaving my marriage, I made the decision to live more healthily. I threw out the leftover pint of ice cream in my freezer, and started walking. I counted peacocks to begin, but quickly expanded my territory. My daily goal was set to be 12,000 steps.
Walking became my crutch, my vice. When I was sad, I walked. When I was lonely, I walked. When I was homesick, I walked. If I stayed still in my new apartment, these feelings would easily smother me. It was in those first couple of months that I depended on walking, much like an alcoholic might rely on a drink. In many ways, I drowned myself in those steps.
I started to get recognized in my neighborhood. At the hardware store, while I was shopping for paint, a man acknowledged he had seen me walking “everywhere”. A couple different times, drivers pulled over while I was walking to share that they had noticed I walk “a lot”. I felt a pride bubble up inside me. If I was going to be known for something among my neighbors, I’m good with it being that I’m The Walker.
Most days, getting my steps was routine. My typical morning walk gave me 5500 steps, and my afternoon/evening stroll tacked on an additional 6000. I’m thrilled that Toby’s happy to keep up with me!
But over the course of the past 365 days, not all of them were routine. When I was really struggling emotionally, and turned to walking as my vice, the 25,000+ daily steps I was getting gave me shin splints. Walking with those sucked!
After I got vaccinated in March, the flu-like symptoms hit me hard. Toby must have had sympathy symptoms, because his digestive system decided that was the night to have diarrhea. So, while battling extreme fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, fever, and a dog that had intermittent urgent needs to find a patch of grass, I still somehow managed to walk at least 12,000 steps.
And I just got back from my 5-week trip to the Toronto area. One way tacked on 1300 miles to my car’s odometer. I did that drive (both directions) with only one overnight midway through, which meant 11 hours behind the wheel each day. Finding places to stop to walk Toby and get some desperate steps was definitely something to work around. Not to mention how challenging it was to achieve my daily goal staying at my mom’s or up at the cottage. There were many a night, where I found myself pacing back and forth in the basement just before bed, in order to get the last thousand or so steps of the day.
As I write this, my mind struggles to comprehend the magnitude of this achievement. I took a minimum of 12,000 steps, every single day, for the past year. That’s incredible! What’s also amazing, is I looked at my activity statistics in my Fitbit dashboard for the past 365 days:
Do you see that? I just past 6 million steps today!!! With almost 2600 miles, I essentially walked to Toronto and back! Whoa.
I now get to figure out what I do next. Will I try to extend my streak? In many ways, I feel like getting my steps is part of who I am now. It’s part of my identity. I’m The Walker. But then again, I suppose I can now let go of the anxiety of making sure I go to extremes to achieve my step goal each day. That sounds nice.