Modern Pendulum – My Thoughts on the Fitbit

I travel through an exploration of the history of distance, a look at the origins of the pendulum, and a discussion about the start of the pedometer. From there I dive into the Fitbit, sharing my thoughts and opinions on it.

The mile we know oh so well is supposedly equivalent to the distance covered in 1,000 paces by soldiers in armor for hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Well, that is what I was told in school. The soldiers would drive wooden steaks into the ground every 1,000 paces to track the distance covered. Despite the comparative similarity of the words, the etymology of the word ‘mile’ comes from the Latin for the number one-thousand. Thus the linguistic connection between a unit of measure today and the Roman foot soldier two thousand years ago.

Roman soldier Re-enactors

Well, sort of.

In truth the Roman mile was roughly 400 feet shorter than the 5,280 feet we know today. Well, usually. You have to consider the differing length of steps depending on how rushed the soldiers were, or how tired they were. But let’s assume the distance around 4800 feet is the solid average distance for the Roman mile.

So where did those extra 400 feet end up coming from? Burueacracy. 1,760 yards, or 5,280 feet, was defined as the length of a mile since 1593 when the British Parliament passed an act that officially defined the distance as “eight furlongs, every furlong forty poles, and every pole sixteen foot and a half.” Not exactly a simple thing, but from this declaration came the official measure that we know today. This became known as the statute mile (not to be confused with the nautical mile which is itself another unique length not directly relevant to this discussion.)

That act of parliament wasn’t the final word on the matter though. The actual distance of a mile varied from country to country or even person to person. So, in July of 1959, a handful of nations met and agreed upon the exact length of the international yard in terms of meters, and thus the international mile was also codified as 1,760 yards.

Now that we’ve reached the final distance of a modern mile, lets jump back to the renaissance for a bit and examine the origin of the meter. (I swear I talk about the Fitbit soon.)

John WilkinsIn 1668, seventy five years after the distance of a mile was defined by parliament, an English cleric and philosopher named John Wilkins proposed a unit of distance that he named the ‘metre’ which was defined by the distance covered by a pendulum with a half-period of one second.

It’s a brilliant way to determine distance. He avoided the rabbit hole of dependency in determining length by using the constants of gravity and time, all by using a very simply machine: the pendulum.

I remember being fascinated by pendulums as a kid. The Orlando Science Center had a giant Foucalt pendulum that I would always run up to to and press my face against the glass as I watched its slow swings back and forth.

I can remember drawing a similarity between that pendulum and the way our legs moved. Sure, our legs have extra joints and muscles which enable further motion, but I remember many times standing there watching that pendulum while also swinging one of my legs back and forth freely as if it was a pendulum of its own. Without any good reason I was fascinated by the idea that our legs were pendulums making use of gravity for at least part of the work.

Pendulum

So there I’d stand and watch the pendulum swing, convinced that if I stood there long enough it would eventually slow down and stop. Eventually the parents would tear me away, ready to move onto the next exhibit. And like any good math nerd I’d then count the number of steps it would take me to get to them, or the number of words in a sentence I heard someone saying, or the number of squares in the tile. Etc.

Counting is so fun as a kid. But I can’t imagine it was fun for the Roman soldiers tasked with tracking the distance they covered. I’m sure they all dreamed of some automated way to track the number of paces taken. Unfortunately the Italian peninsula had to wait over a thousand years for the idea of a pedometer to arrive. Leonardo Da Vinci imagined a simple mechanical pedometer in the 1400s and wrote about it in his design journals. It wasn’t until the 1700s when the first mechanical pedometer actually came into being.

The first mechanical pedometer was invented by Abraham-Louis Perrelet. It made use of a pendulum-like system that incremented the counter with each sway of its counting mechanism. Far from perfect, but it remained largely unchanged until the the 1960s.

In 1965 the ‘manpo-kei’ was introduced to Japan along with the notion that 10,000 steps a day was the secret to a healthy life. This is credited as the first digital pedometer in the world, quickly making its way from Japan to the rest of the world. The technology improved incrementally but in the end a digital pedometer was still a fun gadget that never really caught on. Sure most people tried it, but usually as part of some ill-fated weightloss scheme. Among its faults was the that it was a solitary device, and thus you relied on yourself to track and use as a motivational tool.

Forty years later Fitbit Inc. launched the “Fitbit Classic.” In technical terms it isn’t a pedometer like those above, it’s most certainly not mechanical, it is an accelerometer system which analyzes the data to generate step counts, as well as analyze the intensity of the activity.

My Fitbit Activity

Fitbits do more than just count steps. They are wearable at night as a way to monitor your sleeping habits and they track some other points of activity as well. Through the iPhone & Android app you can also track calories eaten, water drank, as well as your weight and body fat percentage.

In all, it allows you to track several points of your ‘quantified self.’

Quantified SelfIn 2008, Kevin Kelly (ex-Wired editor) and Gary Wolf (contributing writer for Wired), held the first Quantified Self meetup in San Francisco. QS is a movement for “self-knowledge through numbers.” With the Fitbit, as well as a few other entrants in the field of self-tracking gadgets, they saw the opportunity for an organized group dedicated to using the technology, sharing the knowledge they gain, and seeing just what can be done. Since then thousands of people have gathered in various city-based meetups, as well as at larger conventions around the world. Some make use of gadgets like the Fitbit, others code their own digital tools while others do it with simple old fashioned way with a spreadsheet and a graph.

I’ve never gotten to attend one of these gatherings but I follow Quantified Self’s website and, as exhibited by the careful tracking of my weight loss and body fat, I do have an interest in the realm of QS.

Up to now I tracked my weight loss through a scale and a spreadsheet. I tried a handful of other things, mobile apps, etc. but I found that I preferred just having a raw Google Doc to work with. I also tried tracking more, things like hours slept, calories eaten, etc. But in the end I always found the extra tracking cumbersome.

Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up

In the mind of wanting to track more and understand my body better, I’ve been eyeing QS related gadgets for a while. Largely though the focus centered on the Fitbit, the Nike Fuelband, and the Jawbone Up. Fitbit is a company founded to make their flagship gadget. Nike’s Fuelband is an obvious accompaniment to their growing athletic brand offerings. Jawbone is perhaps a surprise given that the company is most famous for their bluetooth earpiece, but I dutifully researched each before making my purchase.

There were three things which really sold me on the Fitbit:

1) I didn’t want a bracelet. – Bracelet trackers appear to be slightly less accurate than those worn on the belt or pocket clip, though they do have two benefits over the belt clips which I’ll get to later. Note, I don’t have any conclusive evidence that bracelets are less accurate.

2) Access to data – I really want the ability to do data exports. Of the three companies, Fitbit is the only one to have any such functionality though they include it only as part of their premium subscription benefits.

3) Customer service – The customer service stories about Fitbit are all positive from what I could find.

Now that I’ve owned my Fitbit for almost two weeks I feel ready to draw some conclusions and make some comments about the gadget as a whole.

I find wearing a Fitbit fun. That probably says a lot about me and where my mindset it. I really enjoy being able to look down and see how many steps I’ve taken today. Fun is good. Fun means there is a positive feedback introduced for simple activities which it tracks and makes it much more likely I’ll continue to work on being active.

Stairs to Elevator

On the opposite end of the scale, the Fitbit causes me distress when I know I’m bypassing things which would up its count such as taking an elevator rather than climbing the stairs at work. It’s not major distress, but I find myself feeling guilty. Which is also a good thing. Sure, sometimes I have a good reason to skip the stairs such as continuing a conversation with someone who takes the elevator – but all things being equal it is the push I need to make me take the stairs when traveling between floors at work.

There is also one very clear truth that the Fitbit makes blindingly clear: Between the office chairs at work and the couch at home, I live a sedentary life. I spend a lot of time sitting around and that further emphasizes the need for me to carve out time for exercise.

As for criticisms, there are perhaps a few things I’m not thrilled with.

You have to be careful with this thing. I had a scare nearly losing my Fitbit after having it for less than a week. Initially I wore my fitbit with it hooked onto my jean’s change pocket putting the Fitbit on the outside. This seemed reasonably secure and allowed easy access to the view screen.

Bad plan.

It got caught in my seatbelt when I was in the car and was pulled free of the belt clip without my noticing. Thankfully it fell out in the car and not in a parking lot so I was able to find it. But this event taught me an important lesson: keep the Fitbit tucked inside your pocket, not outside it.

Clean ad infinitum

Beyond the risk of it falling off your belt there also lies the risk that it remains in you pocket all the way to the wash. This thing is small. The size of a USB drive. I know of one friend who washed his Fitbit only a few weeks after getting it. If the Fitbit is in the middle of a pile of laundry there is no way you will notice it.

While the battery life seems quite good, one of my complaints is around the proprietary charging cable. They use a proprietary cable for charging and I really wish they had just used Micro-USB so that I could use my own cables and not have to keep track of this proprietary dongle.

Lastly, and perhaps most damning: I’m not actually convinced that it is… well, useful. Yet.

The Fitbit can be a passive tool. If used solely for personal tracking, it is not too different from the pedometer we already discussed. And in that case, it has the same downfall as pedometers. But Fitbit and the other companies have begun working beyond this by adding a social layer and introducing achievements based on your levels of activity. In an attempt to be more than a passive tool Fitbit has also set it up such that when you’re within striking distance of a goal your smartphone and email can pop up a note urging you to push a bit further to hit your goal. But these are not aggressive pushes.

There is one feature for the Fuelband that I hadn’t considered before buying my Fitbit. More of my friends have a Fuelband than have a Fitbit.

Fitbit, Nike, and, I assume, Jawbone, all have built in social capabilities where you can add friends to compare and compete with your levels of activity. Taking this feature, where your own little daemon reports regularly on your progress, the social activity should not be overlooked as simply a tacked on part of these tools. This is what I did before I had one of these. I believe the social aspect is actually the most critical thing for these gadgets.

While the Fitbit appears to be the better technical gadget, it is in truth lagging behind Nike’s Fuelband for this very fact. Where as I have one coworker who owns a Fitbit, I know of a half dozen who have Nike Fuelbands and, had I chosen to go that way, I’d be in a bigger pack for fitness.

Wolves

They say that surrounding yourself with fit people will help you with your fitness goals. I think, as we grow to be more and more enmeshed in our digital lives that this sort of digital flocking could have the same effect. Seeing my friend Paul cross the 12,000 step mark for a day, or that Brian might have doubled me up in terms of activity, can definitely be motivators.

I think it says something that after I had a few people read the early drafts of this article they weren’t sure how I actually felt about the Fitbit.

I like it but I don’t love it. I enjoy having it and seeing the counter increase, but I do not regard this as a must have gadget – yet. I do think, for those who live mostly sedentary lives, it has definite value as an additional motivational tool and quantifiable survey of just how active you are. For those who are already mostly fit and simply look to tread water, I don’t think this qualifies as a tool that will really benefit you.

Photo credits:

Priorities

Priorities are a powerful tool in all parts of your life, but most importantly they are the direct path to attaining goals. I discuss how prioritizing lead to my successful weight loss of 2012 and why my progress slowed in 2013.

What happens when a swimmer stops prioritizing forward motion? He ends up treading water.

I have memories of sitting at the dining room table with my mom on my left, my dad on the right, and my younger sister sitting across from me. As a family we would assemble the monthly issues of “The Get Organized! News.” TGON, as we called it, was a monthly newsletter my mom wrote and published out of our home. Usually it was eight pages; two 17×11 sheets folded and nested within each other.

Like a well oiled machine we would assemble hundreds of newsletters, label them, and rubber band them for mailing.

Despite my mom writing a newsletter about organization, I was slow to pick up on it. Organization that is. She did her best to impress upon me the need to make my bed, pick up after myself, put things away when I was done and actually put my laundry actually inside the hamper as opposed to around it. As a kid, I just couldn’t understand why these things were important.

One thing my mom did teach me though, with some help from the author Steven Covey, was to recognize priorities. Covey uses an analogy about having a jar, and all these things you need to fit in the jar. They’re different sizes and shapes, from golf ball sized down to sand, so it is no easy feat. He explains that what you need to do is start with the big things and then once they’re in there do the small stuff like pebbles and sand.

This is, of course, his metaphor for time and how we spend it. And for much of my childhood I took it as just that, but I think the critical second part of this lesson is that while it’s about managing your time it’s also really about setting your priorities.

The above triangle was a commonly quoted aphorism at Georgia Tech (and other colleges I’m sure.) In humor it speaks truth, in reality it speaks about priorities. As it ended up, I prioritized social life and the Internet, much to my academic chagrin. In retrospect I don’t think I consciously deprioritized school, and in fact I believed I was still doing enough even in the face of hard evidence to the contrary (namely grades).

I remember my parents calling me one day while I was at school and my mom tentatively asking, “Honey, we’ve been reading your blog and… well… you never talk about studying or doing homework on there.” I waved their concerns away, saying that I was studying but it didn’t exactly make for riveting blog reading. Which was true, but also the truth was: they were right. My priorities had been steadily shifting away from school.

I clearly remember staying in the computer lab all night to work on a project and after getting stumped, staying up the whole night anyways screwing around on the web rather than working or seeking help. It makes me sick to think about what I wasted because I didn’t set my priorities for school.

Tech Tower by hectorir

Over the past year with my weight loss I attribute the majority of my success to making myself aware of and paying close attention to my priorities. Exercising was bumped to a top priority overriding things like TV, Internet, and social lunches at work.

Eating right became a high enough priority that I began passing on candy, having epic battles of self-control when presented with buffets of poor choices.

To me, priorities are the overlooked part of the goals & resolutions equation. Gurus and self-help experts talk endlessly about the importance of setting goals and striving for them, but they seem to gloss over the part where success for goals comes from making the goal a priority and becoming conscious of how it ranks in your life. You have to decide how they are prioritized amongst your life, and then consciously act on this change.

Changing habits is hard. I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself, change in hand, standing in front of a vending machine. Or found myself rummaging in the kitchen, not because I was hungry, but because I was bored. These were (and still are) actions so deeply ingrained in my mind that it still takes a conscious decision not to do some of these. And I come to these decisions because… I’ve set my priorities!

Over the past month I’ve been treading water and I’m fed up. I held onto most of my good eating habits but I’ve been snacking more, and even indulging in an occasional soda.

So, now I’ve come to terms with my lack of progress and found the stirrings which will drive me forward again. Namely, my 30th birthday is fast approaching. And I badly want to be in the best shape of my life for that birthday.

This week I am prioritizing ‘working out and moving forward’ to be the top of my list.

Where do your priorities lie?

Iron Horse

My second hike of the year leads me to discuss modes of transportation, Chicago, and the paradoxical perception of trains as indestructible things while our bodies appear weak but if both are maintained, they could last forever.

Yesterday was my second hike of the year. I took advantage of a glorious blue skied day here and met up with two friends to explore a new trail. Well, new to me. The Iron Horse Trail is a fairly flat path that used to be a railroad track, it runs east-west across Washington and used to be part of a rail line which ran all the way to Chicago. When I heard this was what we were going to hike I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I expected it to be more ‘Stand By Me
‘ with actual rails and rail ties. In fact it had all been cleared out and left a nice broad, flat, walking path.

I met up with Ben and his friend Joe. Together we walked 4.5 miles out before turning around, it was an easy walk on almost entirely flat terrain but it was still a nice long walk round trip. When they had looked up the trail they had thought there was an impressive bridge we’d come to, but it wasn’t there. At least, not in the amount we walked. That’s alright, this was a nice way to burn calories and enjoy time away from Facebook, Twitter, and life.

I honestly don’t know the last time I walked nine miles. Today I still feel it. My calves, my knees, and even my hip flexors are tender.

The walk was the first amount of exercise I’ve had in the last few weeks. February ended up being a month of treading water. I badly wanted to continue exercising and working out but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, I wasn’t motivated, I was fighting inertia. I always found an excuse. Thankfully, I haven’t suffered any major setbacks or backslides in terms of weight. I was able to simply tread water and see only minimal weight change.

This period of inactivity is only partially frustrating for the loss of progress on my weight loss, it’s also troubling as my first-ever 5k is fast approaching (as in this coming weekend) and I just know I’m going to suffer for these past few weeks. Today I am recovering from yesterday’s excursion but tomorrow I will be on the treadmill and preparing for that race.

race-time

This isn’t the first extended period of treading water for me. Last year there were roughly two months worth of time that I wasn’t actively moving forward. So I’ve been through this before. These happen to everyone. For anyone working on their own weight loss it’s vital they understand that these are just temporary pauses in the march towards progress. It takes an iron will to push through these times, but it is easily doable.

In some ways, yesterday’s wilderness stroll being on the ‘iron horse’ trail feels fitting. I love the term ‘iron horse;’ it’s such an anachronism of a phrase in today’s world. The steam engine, while still critical for much of the world, is completely outmoded in modern America.

The thing is, as outdated as it is, that name is perfect.

Through the lens of the Victorian era 1800s it perfectly describes a train. A world where horses were the peak of transportation technology were now faced with this new marvel – an iron, man-made, steam-powered, behemoth which could do more than had ever been done before. They played witness to the birth of the steam engine and the railroad. Rails spread across the world, in America it played pawn to the great rail barons — making men richer than Croesus and sending others to the end of the bottle.

Today we are still fascinated by trains. They’re a very real and very understandable representation of physical power. These forty or fifty foot long engines at the head of hundreds of feet of train. Those are iron horses, rolling in and out of the biggest cities in the world: New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago.

Chicago…

At the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

I took a trip to Chicago when I was younger. My first ‘real’ trip after college. I traveled on my own. I stayed in a hostel and explored Chicago for a week. I saw the sites, checked out the museums, the architecture. I wanted to see a Cubs game but didn’t get to. Whenever I travel my dad had a list of suggestions of things for me to do or see. Chief among his suggestions for Chicago was the Museum of Science and Industry. He recalled going and seeing the train they had on display there.

That trip was a fantastic experience, in fact I was in Lincoln Park when I got a call that was a job offer for my first programming job. It’s interesting but I was on my way to that museum when that call arrived. After getting the good news I went to the Museum and I saw it for myself. From their expansive model train rig to engine #999.

I think perhaps the other thing about trains that draws people to them is this: they appear to be indestructible. They’re not built with an expiration date. The boiler gets as hot as the sun and yet it is built to be a furnace on wheels. The wheels aren’t rubber, they don’t get pierced and go flat – they churn thousands of miles. Sure things break and they need to be repaired but the engine will go on.

The thing is, this is an illusion. They must be treated and cared for, protected from the elements. They cannot simply stand against the elements.

I find that our bodies are the opposite. Where a train’s daily routine is to do endless work with little apparent strain, our bodies are most happy at rest. Where a train appears to last forever, ours appear wilting and prone to flabbiness.

In one way they are the same: If you work to maintain them, they both appear to last forever.

No Jolt January

I discuss my 30-day challenge for January where I gave up soda and juice, turning instead to tea and water. I look back over my ties to soda and my reliance on caffeine over the years.

I remember as a kid helping dad with his computer work for clients. We were the Geek Squad before Best Buy launched them as their tech support squad. I did all sorts of stuff, from building computers, to updating software, to even helping him pull networking cable. One of my favorite places for us to go do work was for a PR agency in Orlando which kept a fully stocked fridge of sodas. We had permission to raid their fridge when we were there working after hours.

Soda was just a drink to me for much of my life, almost the same as water, milk and juice. It was omnipresent at home, at school, and at work. College was when it reached a new level for me. I kept a 24 pack of Dr. Pepper next to my desk for easy access and endless drinking. I didn’t even refrigerate them, I’d just drink them warm because, well, caffeine. And also because Dr. Pepper is delicious warm (it was originally a hot drink.)

caffeineCaffeine is a powerful drug, and a crutch for many computer people. When plugged into a world which is always awake and there’s always a new door to go through, it’s very hard to find the strength to walk away and crawl into bed. So we end up clicking just one more link, or playing one more level, or chatting with one more person. And then in the morning we turn to our friendly copiously available friend: caffeine.

Well I had had enough of that, so for all of January I committed to a 30-day challenge that I called ‘No Jolt January’ devoted to purging my caffeine and soda addiction. Now, as I explained in my initial Facebook post: the goal wasn’t to avoid all caffeine – it was to avoid all soda which, since I don’t drink coffee, would dramatically cut my caffeine intake.

Now, last year I was not a ‘bad’ caffeine addict when compared to where I used to be. I had kept it to just a few diet sodas a day, but even as a limited intake it is very bad for you. Consider replacing that diet soda with just a glass of water, neither has calories, but water is just better for you: it hydrates better and doesn’t have any of the extra crap the soda does.

During my first programming gig we followed the simple methodology: “Caffeine is good. More caffeine is better.” We went out to lunch everyday and on the way back from lunch we always stopped by a convenience store. Everyday. And everyday I got a Red Bull or some other energy drink. Sometimes two. Because that was what was done.

This caffeine consumption continued, especially while I was hustling on ManaNation / GatheringMagic. I’d be up until 2 or 3 in the morning finishing an episode or editing articles before crashing for a few hours and getting up for my day job. When I went to work for CoolStuffinc, the office was right next to a 7/11 and I was quick to get an energy drink and doughnut in the morning, thus continuing the trend and addiction.

Caffeine is an addiction. You come to rely on it even when you get a good night’s sleep. And because there aren’t deaths tied to the caffeine addiction, it continues rampant and unchecked.

So, even though I had weaned back in the past year, I still had an addiction and I wanted to break those shackles. So… No Jolt January was born.

31 days without a drop of soda. The only caffeine I had was on three occasions where I had a cup of caffeinated tea. My caffeine headaches faded in just five days and after that it was simply a matter of determination. Even though I had passed through the worst of it, the years of advertising still embedded themselves in my head and I continually had urges to get a soda. I’d walk by a soda machine and think how good a Dr. Pepper would taste. At restaurants I would open my mouth to order a soda and then have to stop myself to ask for water. It was a constant battle.

I also added to this month that I would cut out juice. Why? Juice is healthy right? Well, sort of. It’s better than soda but worse than water. The majority of what you get from fruit is in the fiber and the chewy bits you get from eating the actual fruit. Also, most mass produced juice has extra additives, vitamins and sometimes sugar. So you have to make sure the juice is just juice. So, I largely cut juice out to ensure that I would drink just that much more water.

Well, over the course of January I lost a net result of 10 lbs, going from 285 down to 275. Part of that was obviously my working out and running, but its also the biggest amount of weight lost over 30 days during my march towards becoming a healthy Patrick. I attribute some of that success to No Jolt January.

So what now?

I don’t plan to drink soda again, I might have one on special occasions but I don’t need soda to function. So it is a treat for special occasions. For February I begin a new 30 day challenge: “Flexibility February,” which will be largely focused around yoga and just generally working to be more… bendy.

This post’s cover photo comes from Flickr photographer: Roadsidepictures.

30 Days of Miles

A look at my experiment in November of running a mile every day examining the weight loss and some of the events that happened during the month.

I started November calling it RuMiDaMo as a play on NaNoWriMo but after a week or so I dropped the name and just shared tweets and Facebook posts about my daily runs. What I expected was a decline in response and interest by my friends, I thought people would start tuning the posts out as they began going “There goes Trick again, going for another run.” What I found though was that while a few would tune me out, others would follow along, celebrating each milestone and victory right there with me. In fact, a handful would be inspired to launch their own month challenges, much like how I was originally inspired by Google’s Matt Cutts.

So, for everyday of November, I ran a mile. I did this using treadmills available to me, I never ran a mile on pavement outside. And I did this for a few reasons:

  1. I had to limit my excuses. If I was going to run outside, then I needed the weather to cooperate and Seattle is not exactly known for ideal running weather.
  2. I had to limit my risk of injury. Treadmills are less exercise than running on pavement because the ground is always perfectly flat. Your foot is never surprised by a rock or a shift in the pavement. And for this month, that was ideal because I was scared of not finishing my 30 days.
  3. I had never run like this before, so I needed to minimize variables. This wasn’t a lab test, but I wanted to do the same thing for 30 days, not find new running routes or test my limits beyond the scope I laid out.

So, for thirty days, I faithfully made my way to a gym either at home, at the office, or in a hotel, and I knocked out a mile run with a warm-up and cool-down period. As much as I maintained the status quo for 30 days, there were a few deviations or changes worth noting:

Longest distance run: 1.5 miles (see below)

The second day of the month I got overambitious and decided to run a mile and a half, which I was able to do. But I paid for it as I slowed down my pace for the next three days to ensure I didn’t overdo it and have to stop early on my challenge. But I know I could do 1.5 miles then, so I had to wonder after 30 days how far I could run. This was really a big thing because it became a constant struggle for the next four weeks to hold myself to my mission of a mile a day. Discovering a new personal best wasn’t worth, at the time, putting the 30 day streak at risk.

Best mile: 10:10 (5.9 mph)

For my final daily run I pushed myself and cranked out a respectable 10:10 mile which ended with me doing 7 mph for the final 1/8th of a mile, compared to my slow and steady 5.5 mph which I use for most of my runs, 7 mph felt blistering and left me gasping for air as I crossed the finish.

Most snafus: 3

In one run I had the following happen: shoelace came untied, accidental stop button trigger, and phone dropped onto treadmill. I had to stop the run three times to rectify these, but I faithfully made sure I hit my mile without issue, padding the distance a little to allow for the time it took the treadmill to come back up to speed.

Starting Weight: 295.4 lbs

Prior to my first run, I weighed in at 295.4 lbs. I wasn’t going into this with the intent goal of burning calories, but I was curious to see what effect it had on weight loss.

Finishing Weight: 284.4 lbs

Despite a work trip which caused me to regain some lost weight, and this month having the holiday of gluttony, my first weigh in after my 30th run put my weight loss at 11 lbs for the month. Not too shabby!

 

So what’s next? People wanted to know if I was going to continue running everyday, or if I was going to run further, etc. And the answer is that I happily took December 1st off of exercising. My plan is to continue to run, though I’ll be running further and thus taking days off to rest and not overwork my muscles. I’ll also be adding in weights again, probably in the form of some kettlebell exercises. But, who knows, we’ll see! I still have a fair bit more weight to lose until I’m happy, so the trek continues.

Now it just has more running in it.

Update: After a weekend of rest, I went for a run yesterday and churned out two miles. The longest I’ve ever done and, honestly, longer than I ever thought I would do. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really difficult run, and I won’t be pushing past that distance for a bit.