First 50 Miles: a Walk in a Park – a BIG Park

I knocked out another five miles last night, bringing my total mileage up to fifty-two. That’s fifty-two miles in a month! I need to be doing just under a hundred to make mile goal, but fifty miles to me was an important symbolic number: I knew if I could finish the first fifty miles, the next fifty wouldn’t be as tough. And after the first hundred, the next hundred should be easier as well. From here, one thousand miles looks like a walk in the park.

OK, it looks like a very long walk in a park that goes mostly uphill. But completing the first fifty mile proved to myself that I’m serious about doing this.

We also had dinner with Sasha and his family Saturday night, and seeing how much strength he gained back so quickly after his latest round of chemotherapy, I’m reminded that this isn’t just a walk in the park.

Those pledges are important. They help keep me motivated through the next fifty miles, but they also help Sasha get well. He’s a strong boy, and I hope he’ll be well enough to walk his own 1000 miles soon.

If you can’t make a pledge of money, make a pledge to walk, or run, or ride. While I would appreciate a pledge for Sasha, making a pledge to help another child or charity would be welcome as well. I’ll be happy to give you a voice on this site to share your journey, or help you get set up on your own.

It’s amazing that we live in a world were all it takes to make a difference is to put one foot in front of the other, wiggle and click a mouse, or touch a screen.

The count: 52 miles down, 948 to go.

A walk in the park.

There Is No Try

For those non-Fanboys out there, this past Friday, May 4, 2012, was Star Wars Day. The date for this annual celebration was chosen due to its phonetic similarity to the Jedi blessing: “May the Force be with you.” So, “May the Fourth be with you!” Thanks to my daughter and very indulgent wife, we watched Episode IV Friday evening. I tried to make time to walk during the day, but I chose the easy path instead and just geeked out in front of the TV.

On Saturday, I tried to motivate myself again, but my allergies were killing me in the morning, and I decided to put off the walk until evening. My wife Julia need to pick up some fabric for a dress she’s making for our daughter, and since Walmart seems to be the only store within ten miles to carry fabric, we hopped in the RAV4 and made our run on the retail equivalent of the Death Star.

I don’t know what it is about Walmart the attracts the freaks (us included), but they were out in force. The family of six in the toy section was actually fun to watch, since the mom and dad were WAY more excited about the new Avengers action figures than the kids were. The psycho who latched onto Julia in the fabric department and started yammering about how she used to make dresses for her kids but they never call anymore since her husband left her and her car broke down but she doesn’t know why since she changes her oil once a year herself but uses vegetable oil because its cheaper except canola because Obama ordered the SEC to artificially inflate the price of corn so more would be available to use by Big Oil for ethanol to but in gasoline which is probably what made her car break down and her husband leave her and her kids hate her … was a little annoying, especially when I walked up to rescue Julia, and the lady looked me up and down and said: “You should try Weight Watchers.”

I found her lack of manners … disturbing.

We eventually made it out of Walmart with the fabric and one very unexpected surprise that had the potential to make it all worth it: the new XBox 360 Kinect Star Wars game. On Friday, I stopped by both Best Buy and Toys-R-Us to find this game. In both cases, they were sold out. Walmart, however, had dozens in stock on Saturday.

We had dinner plans with friends, so my steady slide to the Darkside continued through Saturday night with no walk.

Sunday, I was determined to redeem myself, but I still felt a bit under the weather. My wife had taken my daughter to a birthday party and were going to the ballet in the afternoon, so I had most of the day to myself.

I tried to get out to do my walk, but I just couldn’t seem to drum up the motivation. Instead I read some, watched a little Netflix streaming, and basically lazed about.

Around noon, I decided to try and fix my bad motivator and do something active. So, I popped in Kinect Star Wars. Two hours later, I was a tired, sweaty mess. Despite mediocre reviews from critics, Kinect Star Wars is awesome, and I’ve only played the first two missions! I was pretty exhausted, but I kept telling myself I’d try to go walking later in the day.

After watching some more Netflix, I realized it was already late afternoon, so I started on dinner so it would be ready when my girls got home. When they arrived, my dear daughter looked at me and asked “can we watch the next Star Wars, the one with Yoda?” My wife (did I mention how amazing she is) agreed to bend the rules and have dinner in front of the TV watching Episode V (aka Empire Strikes Back).

When they reach the point in the film where Luke is training with Yoda, I realize I’m identifying too well with Luke’s frustration over the difficulty of his tasks (levitating boulders while standing on one arm must be a challenge). I also recognize he’s getting a bit whiney, telling Master Yoda he’ll “try.”

In response, Master Yoda whips out this nugget of Jedi wisdom:

“Don’t try. Do. Or Do Not. There is no try.”

It’s amazing how much wisdom I’ve learned from Muppets.

After we finished Empire and sent my daughter up to bed, I decided to stop trying.

I walked over to the gym, still sore from my bout with Kinect Star Wars, and I DID.

It took me sixty-four minutes to walk five miles on the elliptical, but I finished it. Thank you, Master Yoda.

The count: 47 miles down, 953 to go.

It’s time to engage the hyperdrive.


Even Iron Man Needs a Little Smelting


Going into last night’s walk, I knew things were going to be rough. I left work in a hurry, trying to make the 6:30 shuttle home, and I forgot to change back into my walking shoes. I realized my mistake on the Metro, when it was far too late to turn back.

But my dress shoes are really comfortable, and I figured if they can handle the half mile from work to the Metro, they can handle a few miles on the elliptical. Right?


I made it about a mile and a half before my toes started screaming at me. Despite the gym rules, I kicked off my shoes and proceeded in my socks. Fortunately, it’s a small, clean apartment gym, and I wasn’t too worried about everyone else being as unsanitary as me.

The half-inch drop from not wearing shoes resulted in the elliptical punishing my muscle groups in new and interesting ways. I didn’t think I’d make it another half mile.

So I read.

I figured out early on that I can prop my iPad up in the elliptical’s console and loose myself in an eBook for miles at a time. I’ve been reading the Molly Fyde series by Hugh Howey since I started my 1000 Miles project. I’m now on the third book in the series, and it’s turned out to be pretty fun. It’s sort of a Firefly meets Hunger Games space opera, with just enough technobabble to feel geeky, and just enough teen angst to stay light and fluffy. It’s not a demanding read, but the characters are well developed, and the plot is engaging. It’s easy to get lost in it.

Which is what I realized somewhere around mile 4.2.

I’m not sure if it was the power of Howey’s narrative, or the awesome power of my Iron Man t-shirt,

I finished up my mostly shoeless five miles in sixty-two minutes.

The count: 42 miles down, 958 to go.

5 More Miles Has Me Feeling Fat and Happy

I’ve been sharing my walking adventures via Facebook (and Twitter, and Reddit, and StumbleUpon), and one of my family members congratulated me on my efforts, and suggested that if I keep it up, the pounds will start coming off. While appreciate the encouragement, this “1000 Miles” project isn’t about losing weight.

First, it’s about helping raise funds to help a little boy named Sasha beat cancer. It’s proven more difficult than I thought to get set up to set up the organization needed to raise the money without running afoul of the tax authorities. The options are, I can just collect funds from everyone via a PayPal “fundraiser”, giving PayPal their five to ten percent cut; I can start and register a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, which will cost about $1,000.00 in legal and government filing fees, and which will take several months; or I can find an existing not-for-profit to act as a fiscal sponsor.

To get started, I’m going to open up the PayPal fundraiser, and work to find a fiscal sponsor. Initially, donors won’t be able to deduct the money they give, and there will be other tax implications, but this will be the fastest way to begin helping Sasha with his treatment expenses. If all goes really well, the 5031(c)(3) option.

For the time being, look for the PayPal Donate Now button on the sidebar of the page. I’ll also be setting up a dedicated Pledge Page where individuals can post their pledges.

So now, let’s get back to the Facebook post, and my other reason for doing this “1000 Miles” project: I’m a fat guy. At 400 lbs, there’s no denying it. And I don’t particularly care to deny it. But what I do want is to dispell the myth that fat people are lazy and stupid. Even fat people get sucked into believing these stereotypes, acting out the role that our image-worshipping culture sets for them.

It is possible to be fat and happy … and healthy. Over the past two years, I’ve steadily increased my activity level. My body has done an excellent job adapting to the challenge: in July of 2010, I could barely walk a mile in one hour every few days. Over the course of a year and a half, I built that one mile to three to five miles several times a week. With this project, I’m trying to get it to every day.

I haven’t lost weight, but I feel more energetic, my life-long asthma has disappeared, and overall I feel more relaxed.

Regardless of weight, getting up and moving can have a tremendous positive impact on person’s health.

So, 37 miles down, 963 miles to go!

32 Miles In First Month – Not Bad, But I Can Do Better

Worn out and sweaty
Worn out and sweaty, but feeling good with ONLY 968 miles to go.

With this evening’s five miles on the elliptical, I’m finishing up April with 32 miles total, waving ONLY 968 miles to finish up over the next eleven months. It’s a decent start, but I’m going to have to do about 30 miles PER WEEK to make my goal of 1000 miles by next April.

I did manage to improve my five mile time by two minutes, from 60 minutes in the beginning of the month to 58 minutes tonight. I even briefly considered a sixth mile, but the stich in my side convinced me otherwise.

So, I’m hot, sweaty and tired, but I feel great. I’d love an ice cold beer, but all we have is tea, so I’m going to drink my tea. And yes, my pinkie will be extended.

Three Out of Five Is Not Bad

No adrenaline rush today. When I got home from work today, I already felt like I had walked five miles. I was beat, and I was starting to tell myself it would be alright to skip The Walk (I’m starting to think of it as a proper noun), especially since I did so well yesterday.

I spent the early part of the evening with my family, having dinner, chatting on the phone with my buddy Steve about closing on his new house, talking with my four-year-old about her day at school, and then checking Facebook while she took her bath.

When it was time for my wife to put out daughter to bed, I found myself getting ready for The Walk. I really didn’t think about until after I started putting my shoes on and remembered that, just an hour earlier, I had convinced myself not to go at all.

So, maybe I set tonight’s expectations high when I planned for five miles. After thirty minutes on the elliptical, I had only made it 2.5 miles, and I new five miles wasn’t happening. I finished up the last half mile in a few minutes, and felt satisfied I had made it three miles.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to quit when you’re ahead. Well, at least tonight.

973 miles to go!