Back on July 12, 2012 I reported that I had just crossed over 500 miles (500.91) on my “virtual” hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ve significantly accelerated that pace and passed 1000 miles on April 14, 2013 and now stand at 1017.32 virtual miles. This puts me near Mt. McLoughlin in Oregon which is about the same latitude as Grants Pass.
So it took 748 days to achieve >500 miles and just 1009 days (261 more) to reach > 1000. In fact, now at 1017.32 miles in 1011 days I’m now averaging just over a mile a day for a sustained plan of over 2.5 years.
The point of this “virtual” hike is to give me a tangible goal that I can use as motivation to exercise down in the basement since I can’t really do “real” exercise. That worked well and led to my most sustained exercise binge (since past training for triathlon, a century, and crew). And recently (October 16, 2012) I decided to drastically push up my typical exercise session and really focus on weight loss. For that revised goal keeping statistics has been even more important and again my numbers mania has worked. But I’ve been less interested in plotting progress against the PCT GPS track and especially looking at Google Earth as I was doing at the 500 mile milestone. So I’ve added new goals instead.
First I decided to translate my treadmill distance into walking along various routes:
- from Omaha to Glacier National Park
- from Los Altos to Glacier National Park
- from Omaha to Los Altos
- from Omaha to Boston
- from Omaha to Big Bend National Park
It’s a bit easier to transfer treadmill accumulated distances to DeLorme mapping application which will convert the distances into locations along highway routes. So, for instance, for route #3, I’m west of Salt Lake City and getting near the Nevada border via I-80. And for route #5, I’m just south of Odessa having passed through ancestral locations in Oklahoma (near El Reno). And for route #1, I’m past Red Lodge and getting near Billings. All these routes have some personal significance/interest so it’s fun to watch my virtual hiking gradually get me closer to these goals.
Second, for Christmas we decided to add a stationary bike to our array of exercise equipment (treadmill, elliptical). The bike has two advantages for me: 1) it’s easier to crank and read (plus being easier on my aging joints), and, 2) I always was more fond of real bicycling and have some notion (if it ever gets warm here) of trying to get back on a real bike. So bicycling has taken over as my first priority and main source of exercise.
In the past when I’ve biked a lot the time that required was an issue. While working finding time to exercise was difficult and so more intense, but shorter exercise sessions were more useful (like the elliptical, which is clearly the best, but least interesting and thus hard for me to keep up and something P90X is absurd for me). And here in Omaha biking is much harder than in Los Altos so biking disappeared from my exercise and that was much of the cause of my weight gain. But now, retired, time is not a problem, and, it has proven easier to diet (resist hunger) by hopping on the bike as often as possible during the day.
So my exercise levels (as measured as calories by the machines summed for all machines) has more than tripled since dedicating myself to weight loss. In fact, it’s so high now that it won’t be sustainable (i.e. about 1200 calores/day) but I’ve got months more to do before hitting weight goal (with a major backslide due to recent vacation). Then I’ll try to even that out as I also try to find a sustainable plan for weight maintenance (I’m considering the 5:2 fasting idea).
So as of yesterday my biking (just since beginning of 2013) reached 1581.5 miles. And that’s just 60 days of actual sessions, or 26.4 miles/day (contrasted with just over 1 mile/day on treadmill and even way less on elliptical). So now I’ve been working on translating stationary biking into goals and have the following:
- from Omaha north to Canada, then all the way around U.S. (lower 48)
- from my last address in Boston to my first address in California (now near Grand Island on that route).
- the three major north-south interstates (I-5, I-35, I-95), now done except for I-95.
- the longest five east-west interstates (I-90, I-80, I-70, I-40, I-10) and for these I’m now “at”:
- near Sioux Falls, SD (on I-90)
- near Ogallala, NE (on I-80)
- approaching Denver (on I-70)
- near Amarillo, TX (on I-40) [my birthplace, btw]
- approaching El Paso, TX (on I-10)
So with all these opportunities to record exercise sessions and plot them against virtual trips I have plenty of “entertainment” of translating boring exercise into actual adventures. But none of these compares to the actual adventure Sterling Cleveland is actually doing.
But at least I’m doing something and if virtual is all I can do it’s all I can do.