Friday, March 11, 2016

the day I walked 100,000 steps

Today we have a very special guest blogger, my devilishly handsome husband Matthew Clute. When he told me he wanted to walk 100,000 steps I thought (of course) he's crazy. And then, hey this could make a really awesome blog post. :) So after much begging he finally sat down and wrote one for us all to enjoy. I know I will never walk this many steps in one day, so I will just have to imagine the experience through this post.....
Last summer I got a Fitbit for my birthday. It’s a fitness tracker that counts your steps, can determine the number of floors climbed, and monitors your heart rate. It also allows you to compete against friends who also have one. It’s a really cool gadget that has a really good iPhone App. Once I started wearing it I started earning achievement badges depending on how many steps I walked and floors I climbed for a day and the total amount since I started wearing the Fitbit. I curiously googled what the highest badges you can earn were. Highest badge for floors in a day was 1,000 and highest badge for steps in a day was 100,000. First, I tried just walking out my door early in the morning and doing a really long walk just to get a ballpark feel for how many steps I could do without really pushing myself too hard. I walked for 5 hours and then did a bunch of yard work in the afternoon and ended up with around 43K steps that day. Next up was how many floors could I do? I decided to try a workout just running up and down stairs in my office building for an hour. Got 200 floors doing that. I did that workout twice before trying to get 300 floors. Got it the first time I tried and it took a little over an hour and a half. The 300 floors workout was fairly difficult but that was with me running up them, not just walking.

sweaty proof. 300 floors.

Next up – try for something really hard - the 100K steps in a day badge. A few months went by before a good opportunity came up for me to be able to dedicate a whole day to the challenge. The weather needed to be cool, no rain or snow in the forecast, and the wife and kids would need to be out of town so I didn’t feel like a jerk for not spending what little free time I have with them. On Sunday, January 31st 2016 the stars aligned when Shannon took the kids to Richmond for the weekend to visit a friend. The night before I packed a backpack with various supplies. I woke up at 4am and drove into DC to see if I could do it.

all my supplies

Let me start by saying that downtown DC was an awesome place to attempt this challenge. It’s fairly flat, there are tons of attractions to see, it’s beautiful, and there are plenty of public restrooms. I parked at the East Potomac Park near the George Mason Memorial. I started walking at right around 5 am and I walked on average about 6,000 steps an hour for a little over 16 ½ hours, ending just before 10pm. I stopped for about 15 minutes to grab a piece of pizza in Adam’s Morgan for lunch and then for another 15 minutes at Union Station for a burger and a shake. I stopped twice for a few minutes at the Albert Einstein Memorial to stretch, and I made a few bathroom pit stops. Other than that, I didn’t stop walking for the entire 16 ½ hours. 
Here is a rundown of all the places I was able to visit during my walk (pretty much in chronological order):
George Mason Memorial
Roosevelt Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
Korean War Veteran’s Memorial
DC War Memorial
WWII Memorial
Washington Monument
White House
US Capitol
Supreme Court
Library of Congress
Union Station
Verizon Center
Albert Einstein Memorial
US State Department Headquarters
George Washington University
Georgetown University
National Cathedral
Naval Observatory
Creepy Savopoulos Mansion (stumbled upon this one wandering through rich neighborhoods)
Adams Morgan Neighborhood
Mount Pleasant Neighborhood
Crestwood Neighborhood (this was the furthest I got from the car at any point)
Rock Creek Park
National Zoo

Savopoulos Mansion. Creepy right?

70k steps and a sunset over the Capitol.

sunset facing west. 

At 5pm I had seen every tourist attraction DC had to offer, and was really worn out, but I still had 5 hours to go. 5 whole hours. So, I just started walking around the National Mall over and over again. It takes about an hour to get from where the car was parked in East Potomac Park to the Capitol and then an hour back so I figured I just needed to walk there and back twice and then go to the Washington Monument and back once and then I would be done. That made it easier to get through the last 5 hours. And FINALLY at around 10pm I was done. I was glad because it was starting to get late and I was getting tweaked that some nutcase was going to jump out of the bushes and assault/rob me and I would be too tired to run away.

I definitely feel like I know my way around DC so much better now! I was proud of myself for sticking it out and not giving up. My legs started to hurt around 60K steps but they didn’t keep getting worse and worse. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a consistent 7. Not unbearable. Around 70K steps my feet started to feel like my entire forefoot was one big pillow of blister, but luckily when I took my shoes off there was just a quarter sized blister on each foot below my big toe and another small one on each foot near my heel. Around 80K steps the skin between my butt cheeks started to get raw, which hurt for the last 2 hours (TMI?). After it was all said and done I took about 2 days off from working out but then I was back to normal.

So the real question is....why did I do it? Some other guy I saw online that had done it raised some money for a charity by doing it. Good for him. I just wanted to see if I could do it. The badge was there and I wanted to see if I had what it took to get it and I did. I think it’s important to set challenging goals and then attain them. It’s also good just to test your limits once in a while and find out what you’re made of. The other guy who blogged about it online said he thought it was probably not as hard as running a marathon. Let me tell you, I’ve run a marathon before (not a very fast marathon but I did it for the same reason stated earlier in this paragraph). This was WAY harder than a marathon if for no other reason than 4 hours of effort for a marathon vs 16 ½ hours for this. I will say that for someone who is in halfway decent shape, it is attainable if you make a solid plan to do it and don’t give up. It’s more of a mental test than a physical one.

So what’s next? Last year I started getting into triathlons and completed two. My time in the 2015 Nation’s Triathlon qualified me for the USAT Olympic Distance National Championships in 2016. I’m not going to go though. It’s in Omaha which to too far away. I decided my next big physical challenge is going to be the Savageman 70.3 Half-Ironman Triathlon in Deep Creek, MD. Supposedly it has the steepest hill (they call it the Westernport Wall) of any triathlon in the world and if you make it to the top of that hill without falling off your bike or stopping and you also finish the whole race they engrave your name and the year in a brick and put it permanently in the street at the top of the hill. I want that brick! That race is coming up in September so I’ve been busy training for that.

check out that incline!!

thats going to be me!!

After that maybe I will try to get the 1,000 floors in a day. I won’t be able to do it in a stairwell, too boring. I’d like to maybe climb a big mountain like Rainier or Whitney to achieve it. In 2007, back before I had my Fitbit, I climbed Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia all the way up and down in one day. The base was at 6,122 feet and the peak was 13,455 so 7,333 feet probably adds up to 733 floors so I know 1,000 floors is not impossible but it will be damn hard.

Kinabalu from base camp.

Anyhow, hopefully you enjoyed the story of my 100K step challenge (now complete). Hopefully it will inspire you to go for the 100K steps yourself or at least set a challenging goal and do what it takes to achieve it.


Congrats Matt!! What an accomplishment! Love you so much!

1 comment:

Weston Raske said...

Interesting read!! I just completed this challenge myself... if you're interested you can read about my experience at