February 22, 2014

Stair climbing

I'm so glad that my 10,000 steps per day challenge for February is almost over! It's not so bad on the days that I run, but on my rest days, I find it such a struggle to get in 10,000 steps. Even if I feel like I'm moving all day--cleaning the house, grocery shopping, running errands, even going for walks--I have a hard time getting in all 10,000 steps. I haven't missed any days, though!

I have an app called "Streaks: Motivational Calendar" on my iPhone to keep track of my progress. It's motivating to check them off every day that I hit 10,000! I also use it to track binge-free days and a couple of other things.

Anyway, today was a rest day, so instead of struggling all day to come up with ways to get in steps, I decided this morning to take the kids to the rec center for some activity. I planned to just walk leisurely around the indoor track while the kids swam, but once we got there, I changed my mind to try something new.

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love everything about it, except actually doing it. I've been asked numerous times why I don't find an activity that I love to do, rather than running, for exercise. But honestly, I've tried lots of other activities, and running is my favorite, by far. I'm not a very active person by nature, and I just don't enjoy bike riding, or swimming, or sports. Running has become my go-to exercise, and even though I complain about doing it, I think deep down I actually love it ;)

Anyway, all of this is leading up to the fact that I did something different today that I really, truly, enjoyed! I went into the pool area while the kids were getting dressed into their bathing suits, and while I waited, I started walking up the steps of the bleachers, crossing to the next set of stairs, walking down, and returning to the start.

Once the kids came out to swim, I realized that what I was doing was much more interesting than walking around the track, so I kept doing it. I sprinted up the steps, turned left at the top of the bleachers, walked to the next set of steps, walked down, turned left, and returned to the start--and then repeated that, over and over again. It was so completely simple, just walking in a square--11 steps up, 12 forward steps, 11 steps down, and 12 forward steps. It took about 20 seconds to complete each "square" when I was going slowly, or 12 seconds when I did the whole thing quickly.

The kids swam from 9:15-10:00, and I was doing that the entire time. The sweat was pouring when I was done, but I'm pretty sure that's because it was like 900 degrees* in the pool area!

*Or maybe 75.

I was curious how many steps UP I did, so I timed how many "cycles" I was able to do in five minutes, and I did 14. Since I did it for 45 minutes, that would be 126 times around the square. There were 11 steps up for each square, so that would be 126 x 11 = 1,386 stairs going up. I knew I'd be sure to crush Jerry on our Wii Fit U altitude challenge today!

When I synced my Wii U Fit Meter, I was really excited to see the number. You know what number popped up?

Twenty-nine feet. It said I only climbed 29 feet! If each of the stairs was, say, 6 inches high, then I *should* have climbed 693 feet. Meanwhile, Jerry walked a couple of flights of stairs at work today, and earned 6,287 feet of altitude*.

*I may have exaggerated that number a little, out of bitterness.

I absolutely LOVE the idea of the Wii U Fit Meters, and it has certainly gotten my family to move a lot more than we would have otherwise, but I hope they change it to be a little more accurate. My step count is usually very accurate, but the distance is not (because you can't input your stride length). I always get shorted on my distance, especially when I run. I know I could buy a more accurate gadget, like a FitBit or the new Garmin version of an activity tracker, but I really like the "game" part of the Fit Meters. It's fun to see the map of how far I walked each day, and get awarded with a new outfit for my Mii when I complete a course.

I completed Berlin today, which leaves only one more course... the Tour of Italy!

All the others have ranged from 13 miles (New York) to 133 miles (Hawaii). The Tour of Italy is 653 miles, so it'll take me probably six months to finish that one. That's why I saved it for last. Jerry is only about 10 miles behind me. That kind of blows my mind, because I run five days a week--you'd think I'd have left him in the dust! But he gets in a LOT of walking at work.

I went to visit Mark at the nursing home today. I called him before I left, to see if he wanted me to bring him anything, and he said he would love a burger, fries, and Coke from McDonald's. I made a sandwich and packed that for myself, but stopped at McD's to get Mark's lunch. Mark seemed to be doing really well today--he was a little quieter than usual, but he definitely had an appetite. He ate the whole quarter-pounder and half the order of fries I brought him.

I'm so glad that the chemo hasn't had a negative effect on him at all. He hasn't gotten sick from it, hasn't lost his appetite, or felt unusually tired, or anything. He has two weeks off of chemo treatments, and then he'll do three more weeks of it (just once a week). After that, I'm assuming the doctors will do tests to see how the tumors are--whether they've grown, or if the treatments have shrunk them. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but I just keep thinking about how miraculous it would be if somehow Mark's cancer went into remission.

When we found out about his diagnosis, the prognosis was terrible. Without treatment, the doctor estimated he'd live three months. When I think back to our visits in the hospital just a couple of months ago, Mark wasn't doing well at all. He was in a LOT of pain, and his hands were pretty much useless (he couldn't pick things up or grasp things) because of the tumors in his brain and on his spine. He couldn't shift his weight in the bed without crying out in pain, and he certainly couldn't walk.

After 10 radiation treatments, 3 chemo treatments, and a ton of physical and occupational therapy, he can now walk (it's not easy, but he can do it), he can move around in his wheelchair by himself, and use his hands to do anything he needs to. I'm stunned by how much better he's doing in just a couple of months' time. He has so many people thinking about him and praying for him, and it just makes me believe that a miracle is possible. I can't wait until he gets some updated tests!


  1. I am so glad to read that Mark is doing well. My Grandma was just diagnosed with Lymphoma and Tuesday we will find out her course of treatment. It's a sad and scary time and it is so great to hear that there is hope always in all things.

  2. Soooo HAPPY to know that Mark is feeling well. It does indeed sound like he has made so much progress.

    I know that the medicine and therapies have played a big role in this.... but I also know that ALL of the love, support, visits and prayers from your family has been vital.

    Not to mention all the love, support and prayers from all of us.... wish I could visit and meet him personally !

    Please do keep us posted : )

  3. I love the Streaks app! I'm "streaking" in February with 60min on my elliptical each day (I'm doing additional stuff as well, but not aiming for every day on other items. I've been hitting 10K a day in February too though, I'm actually committed to with the Pact app).

    I have the Fitbit, and it's "stairs" aren't always necessarily correct either. Changes in weather or altitude (while driving) can affect it. Also, you have to reach a certain "change" before a "flight of stairs" is calculated, so smaller stair sections may not register at all.

  4. Stories like Mark's makes you realize how important your health is and that no matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter if you're not well. My bum knee is a splinter compared to what Mark and other cancer patients are going through. Makes the mantra "run for those who can't" even more meaningful.

  5. With FitBit I think the stairs/hill have to be equal to 10 vertical feet of elevation for it to compute to a flight of stairs. The Wii thing might be similar. We have stairs in our home that lead to a bonus room and it is *just* barely the 10' mark. So if I slouch or don't start off with a hop it doesn't compute on my FitBit. If I'm running up and down the stairs I always end up needing to do 11 or 12 to get 10 to register. And the stadium seating at our big movie theatre will only count as one flight all the way to to the top, even though it really is closer to 2, it must be just barely shy of hitting that 2 flight mark. But like the pp stated, sometimes weird weather affects it too. Whenever a storm blows through I get a couple bonus flights that show up that I didn't do - makes up for the ones it cheats me out of. ;)

  6. You should be getting more than 10,000 steps when you're running 10 miles unless your stride is over 5 foot. Definitely inaccurate!


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