20 Million Steps – 10 Thousand Miles

Over the past five years I recorded 20 million steps on my pedometer.  Using the average of 2 thousand steps per mile, the 20 million steps equate to walking 10 thousand miles.  In more tangible terms, that’s the equivalent to making two round trips from Washington, DC to San Francisco – on foot.

I reached my milestone this past weekend during an evening run in Washington, DC.  Although the past few weeks delivered an Arctic blast with accompanying icy weather to freeze up the sidewalks and running paths, seasoned runners used the sidewalks with a southern exposure; noting the extra bit of Sun’s warmth that reached the sidewalk melted most of the ice.  A few windy days in the mid-30’s removed the remainder.

My milestone was a solitary event; no one else on the path.  No runners or cyclists.  The glow of city lights through the overcast sky silhouetting the trees.  My overall thoughts were of my accomplishment and trying to memorize the scenery before the forecast 6 to 10 inches of snow blanketed the ground.  My only other company along the trail was the deer I saw as I jogged from the creek level to the top of a hill with empty exercise stations.

With the start of the bitterly cold weather I took some time off from running to acclimate myself to the weather.  I substituted long walks with multiple layers of clothing; determining what worked best.  For now, I’ve found that a moisture wick shirt under a long sleeve running shirt, under another shirt, under a track jacket works best.  To keep my legs warm I’m wearing track pants.  I’ve found that my iPhone fits neatly in the pocket and doesn’t bounce around.  I run the ear phones under some of the shirt layers.  While I feel the iPhone is more secure (from dropping and ice toss) in my pocket, having the phone tucked away and wearing light weight gloves does limit my ability to multi task on the iPhone while jogging.

I enjoy listening to NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” (if I missed the Saturday morning broadcast) or to a great podcast called “Podrunner.”  This podcast has a series of one hour mixes that allow you to run at 130 to 180 beats per minute (I’m in the 130 bpm league), or run intervals.  I like the 130 – 140 – 150 – 140 – 130 bpm stepped intervals.  If you haven’t checked it out, you should. They welcome donations.

In a quick search of the web, I found some cold weather running safety tips, cold weather clothing tips, and 10 tips for running in the cold.  If you run with a Santa hat, it has a nice holiday look, but you get tired of getting bludgeoned with the pom pom.

I’ve gone on winter runs in Fairbanks, Alaska; tropical runs in Okinawa, Japan; and desert runs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.  You can’t choose the elements, but you can chose how you interact with them.

Since my recent move from Florida to DC, I have acclimated myself to winter.  I bought and used a snow shovel; learned that calcium chloride is better for concrete steps and sidewalks than salt when melting ice; I went to the National Mall to see the Christmas Trees, Yule log, and miniature railroad display; and went to a Christmas play at the Jewish Community Center.

I hope that in the New Year, you set and meet personal health goals.  I wish you all a healthy and prosperous year.

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