Double Timing It: Walk Across Kansas and Up the Coast of California Simultaneously

VirtualWalkBig1At the beginning of April, I embarked on two (2) virtual walks.  The first is sponsored by my employer and is called “The Big 1” and described as “The Big 1 takes you on a coastal voyage from Laguna Beach in the south all the way up to San Francisco.  It is going to be a beautiful trip and your goal is to complete the route along the Pacific Coast Highway in six weeks.” Continue reading “Double Timing It: Walk Across Kansas and Up the Coast of California Simultaneously”

Octal October

Leaf less finallyFor over 2,500 years in our Western civilization, October has been known as the tenth month of the year and the iconic symbol of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.  Originally, though, the Romans had only ten months in their calendar; hence the “dece” in December (for ten).  The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October, retained its name (from the Latinocto” meaning “eight“) after January and February were inserted into the calendar around 750 B.C.  (October Wikipedia article).

October holds a special place in my heart, not only because it embodies the Fall season, but because I was born on the second day of the tenth month (frivolous sidebar: subtract two from ten you get eight).  So to with octal, although I rarely think in terms of just eight digits these days.

Way, way back, before IBM introduced it’s PC (aka Personal Computer) to the world, during the mid to late 70s, my father built several home computers using various early operating systems, including CP/M and DR DOS.  Just as I began to blossom mathematically through early exposure to algebra and geometry, I cut my intellectual eye-teeth on octal, hexadecimal, assembly language and machine code.

So it seemed fitting at the end of September, that I decided to increase my daily step goal from seven thousand to eight thousand.  Are you scratching your head yet?  Or just rolling your eyes?

I am happy to report I met my new goal of eight thousand steps eighty-four percent (84%) of the time. I had five days I did not reach my goal, one of which I would have met the goal had I not accidentally reset my pedometer a few minutes before retiring for bed.

In reviewing the data collected by my pedometer, I learned I’m walking, on average, about twenty-five (25) miles per week and getting roughly an hour’s worth of exercise time in the process.  That means, since the beginning of September, I’ve put nearly two hundred (200*) miles wear on my walking shoes!  I think it’s time for a new pair, or at least a new pair of inserts.

The latter half of November will be a challenge.  Travel and holiday guests may put a crimp on my ability to meet my daily step goal.  Only time will tell.

See you next month, same step channel, same step time.

* That’s thirty-one (31) in octal, by the way.

Just a Thousand More Steps … Per Day

I decided to increase my daily step goal by one thousand steps starting October 1st.  When I hooked up my pedometer to my laptop last Monday morning, I reconfigured my daily goal through the TrakNote software, which is much easier than trying to remember what buttons to press (or not press) on the pedometer.  I worried a bit that I wouldn’t be able to meet the new goal of 8,000 steps per day, but looking back on the last week, I’m pleasantly pleased and proud to report I succeeded on six out of seven days.  And the only day I didn’t reach my goal happened to be my birthday, so I gave myself a break.

The fall weather motivates me to get out of the house more with Apollo.  I even took Lexy on one very short walk.  She is still very skittish around vehicles and other people and dogs, so I have to be extra vigilant and patient when I walk her.  Most week days I end up walking Apollo after dark, so I don’t get an opportunity to take any photos.  With that in mind, I took a later afternoon walk with him on Saturday and snapped these pictures:

The base of this pole . . .At the corner of Fawn Valley and First Terrace, Apollo almost always stops to smell the fire hydrant and the stop sign but he wisely ignores the base of the utility pole shown at right.  When I took a look at the gaping hole forming around the base and the state of the rotting pole below ground, I took a few steps back.  I should probably send the photographs to my city councilman or at least the public works director before someone is injured  by a toppling pole.  I don’t believe it’s an electric utility pole, because it supports a streetlight, and no other wires beyond the power for the light attach to it.

. . . Is scary!

Here’s a few flowers and fruits we stumbled upon on our afternoon walk:


Pine cones

Yellow mum

Stepping Through September

My New PedometerI started wearing my new pedometer the day I received it, on the third of September.  Almost a month has passed since then, and I’ve enjoyed and been encouraged by the ease and usefulness of it.  I love that it’s rechargeable.  I love that it lights up so when I’m walking Apollo during the evenings, in the dark, I can easily track how far we’ve gone.  I really like the total step feature, which is in addition to the seven-day memory.  But I didn’t pass through September completely unscathed.

About midway through the month I took the lanyard off my old pedometer and attached it to my new one.  I wanted a clip to fasten to my pocket opening so I wouldn’t accidentally drop the pedometer.  A day or two after doing that I realized the pedometer had somehow reset itself, losing not only the daily stats, but the memory and the total steps stats as well.  I determined that because this is a pocket pedometer (with no available belt clip accessory), the new lanyard, with the transitional piece of plastic near the pedometer, can become wedge between my body and the reset button (upper left hand button in the photo above), especially if I bend over repeatedly.  I am more careful now about removing the pedometer from my pocket when sitting, driving or doing heavy cleaning and housework.  Jeans proved to be the worst about resetting the pedometer.  My workout pants, looser fitting and with bigger and deeper pockets, were the best at preventing inadvertent resets of the pedometer’s memory.

I returned to the Pedometers USA website, hoping to find a belt clip for my model.  I did not find that accessory but I did notice a price increase.  When I purchased the PE-798 model earlier in September, I only spent $16.95.  Now, with just three days left in the same month, the price shot up to $29.95.  In reviewing other downloadable (but not rechargeable) models, the cute and compact CR-786 model goes for that nearly irresistible price of $16.95.  It looks like a thumb drive (and sort of is) but acts like a pedometer.

But back to how well the new pedometer performed in September after nearly four weeks of continuous use (minus the time I spent sleeping).  Even though the TrakNote software allowed me to export the data collected to a CSV file, I’m so terrible at using Excel 2010, that I gave up and copied/pasted the relevant information into my SparkPeople fitness web tracking account because I liked the charts better.

If I hadn’t accidentally reset my pedometer on the 13th and 14th, I might have actually reached my goal of 7,000 steps per day for most of the month.  The spike you see on September 22nd resulted from cleaning out the garage and an evening of stargazing at Powell Observatory.  I had to take it easy on Sunday the 23rd, when I woke up tired, sore and stiff.

I think it’s time to up my goal.  On the first of October, I will change my target steps, increasing them by a thousand, for a total of 8,000 steps.  I don’t know if I can reach the recommended goal of 10,000 steps by the end of the year (weather permitting of course), but we’ll see how well I do next month with the bar raised a bit higher.  I’ve languished at the seven thousand step mark for far too long.  Apollo wants me to walking him more often anyways.


Oh, and I almost forgot to mention an interesting occurrence between my coworkers and I.  Yesterday afternoon, my cube mates began discussing and guessing how many trips it would take around our floor to equal one mile.  Since I know my stride length and I always wear my pedometer, I volunteered to walk the floor one time to determine the number of steps around the perimeter (the hallway that hugs the exterior windowed offices).  Roughly, it came up to three hundred steps (I rounded up for ease of calculation).  Once I got back to my desk, I fired up Excel (I can at least do simple formulas, if not complicated fancy pivot tables and charts) and did the following calculations:

  • 1 mile = 5,282 feet
  • 5,282 x 12 inches = 63,384 inches
  • stride length (in inches) = 28
  • distance around floor perimeter (in inches) =
    300 * 28 or 8,400 inches
  • trips necessary to walk one mile = 7.56

So depending on your stride length, six or eight trips around our floor would equal approximately one mile walked.

Product Review: Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis Pedometer

My old pedometer finally bit the dust last month.  That explains why you haven’t seen any posts here relating to my weekly or monthly step stats.  My Omron pedometer decided it needed a permanent vacation.  This prompted me to go looking for a new and improved model.

I reviewed the Omrom pedometers at a website I stumbled upon dedicated to pedometers called, not surprisingly,  At a bare minimum, any new pedometer had to do everything the Omrom HJ-113 could do, including resetting automatically at midnight and having a seven-day memory.  I didn’t find anything from Omrom that flipped my trigger though.

Using the ‘Best Rated/Accuracy’ web page, I reviewed all the pedometers listed under ‘High Accuracy – Multi-Function’ and decided to purchase the Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis pedometer.  The number one reason I bought this model?  It’s rechargeable, which means I never need to buy another weird small coin battery again or keep track of a small screw driver to access said battery.   I couldn’t believe the low price of $16.95 and I appreciated the free shipping as well.

I placed my order on Monday August 27th and I received the package on Saturday, September 1st, which impressed me for free shipping.  The pedometer came to me uncharged, so I hooked it up to my laptop to charge for a couple of hours.  A small CD came in the package which contained the tracking software, which I installed on the same laptop.  Windows 7 had already identified and installed the correct driver when I initially hooked up the pedometer’s short USB cable.


  • Rechargeable
  • Multifunction
  • 7-day Memory
  • Downloadable
  • TrakNote Software (mini-review below)


  • No belt clip
  • No lanyard clip

Sunday morning, while working from home on an application upgrade (it’s what I do), I read through the one sheet map-like-folded user’s guide and got the clock set (sort of … more on that later), my stride length and my daily step goal. I got the lanyard attached to the device, but didn’t really see the point since the cord did not include a clip.  I will probably steal the lanyard from my old Omrom pedometer, which does have a clip.  Since this new pedometer is supposed to ‘highly accurate’ using a tri-axis (instead of a dual axis like the Omrom had), I can just put it in my pocket or my purse.  I slipped it into my pocket late in the day on Sunday and recorded about a thousand steps before retiring for bed.

I woke up early on Labor Day and decided Apollo needed a walk.  I slipped the pedometer into my pocket without looking at it and headed out the door with Apollo pulling me down the steps enthusiastically.  I wanted to stay out at least three-quarters of an hour, if not an hour, so I could enjoy the gradual brightening of the sky as dawn approached.  I checked the pedometer when I reach the halfway point, while crossing Main Street at Mary Street and thought it odd I had already surpassed four thousand steps.  Apollo and I continued south through the partially developed Lansing Town Centre area down to Sonic and then back north again, retracing our steps to Mary Street.

Once I got back home, I put my reading glasses on and realized the clock was off by twelve hours.  This meant that at midnight, the pedometer didn’t reset because it thought it was noon.  I adjusted the clock and made a mental note to subtract about a thousand steps from Monday’s total steps.

TrakNote Software

I no longer have to worry about where I put my reading glasses when I want to record my steps in my fitness log.  The software that came with my new pedometer makes this insanely easy.   It even allows more than one user to use the software, although I don’t think you can have more than one person per pedometer (how would the pedometer know?).  If I were to purchase another one for Terry, he could use the same installation of the software.

The first time I ran the software, I filled out a short user profile.  These data points: gender, age, height, weight and stride, help calculate calories burned.   The target step I had already set directly on the pedometer, but it’s nice to be able to update it via a computer keyboard.  I connected the pedometer to an open USB port on my laptop before running TrakNote (you will get an error message if the pedometer is not connected).  I saved my profile and continued to the main screen of the TrakNote software.

I only had one-half day’s worth of data to review on Monday, so I couldn’t explore many of the features available.  The longer I use the pedometer and the tracking software, the more data and graphs I’ll be able to review.  If I want to really go bonkers, I can download the data to a CSV file and use a spreadsheet or database program to create pivot tables, graphs and other reports.

While I haven’t had the pedometer for very long (just a few days now), I’m excited about the possibilities.  I did e-mail customer service asking if a belt clip for this pedometer was available as an accessory.

I’ve also re-ignited my determination to get back on track with my walking and exercising regime.  The scorching hot summer de-motivated me.  With the autumnal equinox just a couple of weeks away, I’m all fired up to watch the leaves change colors while trying to keep up with Apollo on our evening and morning walks.

I will revisit this review after a few more days, but initially I would give the Pedusa PE-798 Tri-Axis pedometer high marks and a best buy recommendation.

Lower Sixties in Mid-January … Unreal

All that is left of West Kay
What's Left of the Street I Used to Live On (no longer has access to Main Street at the top of the hill)

I work up early Sunday morning. Nothing unusual for me, really, I try to wake up at the same time every morning, regardless of whether I work or not. I flipped on the Wii to do my morning weigh in.  I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks that contrary to my own belief, I eat less on weekends than weekdays.  Perhaps because I’m more busy or distracted by housework and errands or fun stuff (like the benefit concert Saturday night).  I am steadily losing the pounds, slowly but surely (or safely as both the Wii Fit Plus program and SparkPeople website reassure me).  I decided to adjust my Yoga and Training routine to shorten it, with a goal to do roughly fifteen minutes every morning after my weigh-in.  I’m finding it very easy to insert my cardio into my daily routine.  It’s the strength training that’s tougher (in more ways than one).

Since I thought Terry had had a rough night with no sleep since he crawled into bed after five in the morning, I let him sleep and opted to attend church remotely via WFC‘s online campus.  The lead teach pastor started a new sermon series last week urging us all to know Jesus (as opposed to knowing about Jesus).  The second sermon of the series focused on Jesus as Creator.  My notes haven’t made it online yet at my other blog, but will sometime today.  Our plan had been to attend church at WFC’s Speedway campus, which just happens to take place inside the Legends 14 Theater.  We prefer the praise band that leads worship there and had hoped to take in ‘We Bought a Zoo‘ at the first showing of the day.  As I learned when Terry woke up around ten o’clock, we could have gone had I woken him up.  But I did not know that he had actually slept most of the night in front of the television.  Oh, well. We can still see the movie on Monday.

I started preparing the marinade for grilling our chicken.  Since the temperature outside approached the unheard of lower sixties (in the middle of January in Kansas … beyond unbelievable), we decided to fire up the outside grill.  Or rather I did.  Terry supervised since he’s still only got the use of one arm for the next few weeks.  After the chicken had marinated for over an hour, I placed it on the preheated grill and lamented not purchasing some asparagus while at the grocery store Saturday afternoon.  Steamed broccoli and a spinach and baby spring mix salad would have to do.  Thirty minutes of grilling later, we had perfectly cooked Honey Garlic Chicken to savor.

Terry and I had started watching a Christian movie I had sitting in our Netflix streaming queue while cooking lunch.  The Encounter proved disappointing for me at least.  Terry expected company to arrive soon after we finished, so I decided Roxy and I would go for a walk.

I walked at an easy, slow pace to accommodate her arthritis (and the fact that she hadn’t been walked since Rachelle returned to Texas last week).  We crossed Main Street and headed west on West Mary Street, but rather than continuing west, I turned right on a newly re-installed access road that cut parallel to Main Street back north to Kansas Street, crossing over West Kay Street, and the house we rented prior to purchasing the home we now own on Bambi Street.  We turned around at Kansas Street and decided to climb the hill back up to Main Street via the abandoned West Kay Street’s crumbling pavement (see photo above).

Roxy did very well walking on my left, even with cars and trucks whizzing by her not ten feet away.  Of course, by that time, she just wanted to get back home and take a nap on the memory foam topper on the hideaway bed.  She perked up and even pulled me most of the way home because she spied another woman with two dogs (one small dog and a medium-sized dog) about a block ahead of us.  I even thought about taking both Roxy and Apollo to the dog park, but worried that Roxy always overdoes herself chasing after the little dogs and the younger ones.  It usually takes her a day or two to recover from her dog park adventures.

After Terry’s friend departed, we sat down to watch another movie, this one a foreign film called ‘Point Blank.’  I liked it and did not realize that French films could be just as good as an action flick produced in the States.  A good story (if predictable) but better than average acting (even having to read English subtitles).  I’ll write a separate review later today.

For dinner, Terry wanted to use the last of the chicken pot pie filling and gravy.  I had another tube of croissants (of a different type) so I improvised some turnovers by placing the filling (without any extra gravy) in one triangle and placing a second triangle of pastry over it and pinching the edges together.  I had enough filling for four turnovers.  I popped them in the oven for twenty minutes at 375 degrees and warmed up the gravy when I took them out of the oven.  Not bad.  For our after dinner movie, we watched the re-broadcast of the Hallmark Channel’s most recently original film: ‘A Taste of Romance‘ – better than average and a bit of a tear jerker a couple of times.

I checked my e-mail and social networking sites before heading off to bed, noting that before dawn on Monday I had an interesting conjunction of moon, planet and star I could witness.  I stepped outside this morning, first through my front door (but couldn’t see the moon at all from that vantage point), then out my back patio door and looked directly south.  And what did I see?  The same exact thing displayed in the graphic to the right.  Saturn, the quarter crescent moon  and the star Spica.  Sadly, I couldn’t locate my binoculars nor did I have my tripod available (it’s in the trunk of the car).  Not that attempting to photograph the moon (always too bright a light source) with the dimmer planet and star in the same from would have resulted in any post-worthy photographs.  A grand sight to behold first thing in the today on such a clear, still, not-quite cold morning in mid-January.