The 10,000 Step Club – 2020 Edition

Last year, as I was finishing up my fourth year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at my 25 best step days since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 217 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 45 occurrences, my 3rd best year to date, for a total of 262.  With my fifth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 8 1/2 years, featuring only 3 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is from my April 2017 trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

My July 2017 trip to Virginia, to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val, fell just short of the top spot.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

2013’s trip to Disney World, which spent 5 years as my single day best, included excursions to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom, and yes, falling 12 steps short of 25,000 still irks me.

4: 6/3/2019 – 24,665 steps

The first new entry comes thanks to last summer’s trip to Washington DC, and the day spent at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

The second new entry is from last summer’s work trip out to San Francisco and the day I walked to Pier 39 and then back to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  It would have been even higher but I was dead tired and took an Uber back to the hotel after the game.

6: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

Dropping out of the top 5 after only 1 year is my first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

7: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

My October 2018 trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday gives us our next entry.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

8: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My one-time second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

9: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

Still my highest total at home in the state of Illinois, the next entry comes thanks to the 2013 BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

10: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with 2018’s trip to California and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

11: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The next entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

12: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

Down to #12 is my 2017 trip to Disney World, a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

Book 16 (of 52) – Modern Romance

Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari

I first started this 52 book challenge in 2010 and, for the first time, an audiobook makes an appearance.  A conversation at work led to me finding out that Aziz Ansari had written a book about the trials and tribulations of finding love in the 21st century, titled Modern Romance.  Val sent me a link to a free copy of the audiobook, which I started the next day and finished yesterday on my flight to San Francisco.

Ansari take a humorous look at how traditional dating has been turned on its head, and how mobile phones, apps, online dating, and changing social mores have made finding a life partner both easier and harder than ever.  He also teamed up with a sociologist to look at the behavioral data behind the changes and comes up with useful advice on how to navigate the dating battlefield.

Normally, I am not a big fan of audiobooks (which is somewhat surprising given my daily commute), but I don’t think I would have enjoyed this one as much in text form.  Hearing Ansari’s voice helped bring across some of the data driven points in a comedic way.  As I start to explore some of these apps, this will be useful information going forward.

Fitbit V: Week 5

Another week that was done in by lack of activity on the weekends.  The week got off to a poor start on Sunday with just over 2000 steps.  Monday picked up a bit, finishing 54 steps over goal.  Tuesday fell back again, coming in just shy of 6500 steps.  Wednesday was a nice day, finishing just 17 steps shy of 9000.  Thursday was back down again, finishing 10 steps shy of 7300.  Friday was the highpoint of the week, as Val and I headed down to Pilsen after work to see Rhea Butcher at Thalia Hall, scoring nearly 10,300 steps.  Saturday was a bust, with a few errands and trips for food getting me a mere 3100 steps.

Total steps: 45,831

Daily average: 6547.3

The Still Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last year, as I was finishing up my third year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at the top 25 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 165 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 52 occurrences, my best year to date, for a total of 218.  With my fourth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 7 1/2 years, featuring 10 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is our first new entry, coming this past April during a trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

Another new entry, from July’s trip to Virginia, fell just short of the top spot, thanks to a hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

After 5 years as my single day best, 2013’s trip to Disney World falls down two spots.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.

4: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

The third new entry comes from last spring’s trip to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

5: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

We round out the top 5 with the fourth new entry, from last fall’s trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

6: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My former second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

7: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My now seventh highest total, and my highest at home in the state of Illinois, came thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

8: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

The eighth highest entry, and fifth new entry, took place just over a month ago and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

9: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The ninth highest entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

10: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with another trip to Disney World, this time a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

FB4: Week 48

A very schizophrenic week, with 3 days over 10,000 and the other 4 below 3800.  Things got off to a good start on Sunday, where some unseasonably nice weather led to a neighborhood walk that put me over 10,700 steps.  Monday’s Christmas Eve celebrations left me under 3500 steps, while Christmas Day was no better with just over 3000 steps.  Boxing Day was the low point of the week, with less than 2300 steps.  Things improved slightly on Thursday, thanks to a lunch date in the city with Val, which garnered me nearly 3800 steps.  A flight to California on Friday, followed by a walk down Hollywood Blvd to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame improved things dramatically, ending with over 17,200 steps.  A trip to Disneyland on Saturday to see Danny perform put me over 20,300 steps.

Total steps: 60,881

Daily average: 8697.3

FB4: Week 45

After 5 down weeks, we ended the week over goal for the first time since the end of October.  The week got off to a slow start on Sunday, as they are wont to do, finishing with a mere 5400 steps.  Monday was a nice bounce back day, coming in over 9200 steps.  Tuesday came in just over 7300 steps, thanks in part to an after-work trip in to the city to pick up a birthday cake.  A birthday celebration for Val helped Wednesday end with nearly 8300 steps.  Thursday was another strong day, coming in at over 7400 steps.  Friday was another good day, with just under 7300 steps.  Saturday was spent back in Boston to see Angelina, going over many of the same stops as my October trip, though with my mom this time, so my step total was a lowly 13,167.

Total steps: 58,317

Daily average: 8331

FB4: Week 41

Yet another disappointing week, with only 2 days coming in above my daily goal.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, where a quick trip to the grocery store and a late birthday dinner came in just shy of 4000 steps.  Monday and Tuesday finished less than 60 steps apart well below my daily goal.  Wednesday had a nice bounce back, coming in at nearly 9400 steps, thanks to a trip to North Plaza to pick up some contractors and an after-work trip to the Glen.  Thursday combined another trip to North with an after-work trip to Woodfield to see Nikki Glaser with Val for nearly 8700 steps.  Friday fell just 195 steps shy of goal, with another trip to North in play.  Saturday was spent lying in bed catching up on tv shows, barely surpassing 2000 steps.

Total steps: 43,119

Daily average: 6159.9

In The Land Of Cotton

This past weekend, I got on a very small plane, along with Val, and headed down to the beautiful metropolis of Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  Our trip started Thursday night after work, where we arrived and got some quality time with a young puppy named Simba.  Friday, the three of us worked remotely before heading out for dinner and to see the sights of Roanoke, which basically was The Roanoke Star and a grocery store.

Saturday, we headed out early to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  With an elevation of 3,197 feet and a trail distance of approximately 4.4 miles, McAfee Knob is one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.  It took quite an effort on my part, and probably more time than we were planning, but the views from the top, not to mention the satisfaction of one of my traveling companions, were worth it.  The trip back down was a bit easier, thanks to a fire road, but a small stumble certainly made it interesting.

Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering from the strain of the previous day, until it was time to head back to the airport and fly home.

FB4: Week 25

A tremendous week, pulling in my second highest weekly total of the year and my second highest single day total of the year and all-time.  Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, where I managed a pedestrian 3200 steps.  Monday was a nice bounce back, coming in at over 9800 steps thanks to going back and forth between Willow and South.  Tuesday was another nice day, finishing just shy of 7900 steps.  Wednesday combined work, a trip out with IBM, and some last minute shopping to come in close to 11,000 steps.  Thursday improved on that, finishing over 11,500 steps, thanks to a trip to the airport after work to head to Virginia with Val.  Friday was a slow day, as we spent the day working in Jeff’s apartment before heading out at night.  Saturday was the big day of the week, as we hiked up to McAfee Knob in the Appalachian Mountains.  All told, the day ended with 27,278 steps, taking over second place since I started tracking steps 8 years ago.

Total steps: 74,769

Daily average: 10,681.3