Challenge accepted

Ok so I’m going to attempt to do 100 days of this again. Shouldn’t be so hard this time around ‘cos I’ve done it before. The health benefits were so good as well. I’m on day 3. Happy new year!


One million steps!!!

500 Miles.

Right I’m going to start with the song “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers because I’m celebrating the fact that I walked more than 500 miles in the last 100 days.

You can play it while you read the rest of this post if you like. And in case you we’re wondering, ‘haver’ – which is one of the lyrics in the song, means to: ‘Talk foolishly; babble’ in Scottish. Which is probably most of what you’ll find me doing here.

So I passed the 500 miles mark on April 9th. Proof here!:

Steps spreadsheet

I also walked a total of 1,262,233 steps (give or take). That’s over ONE MILLION STEPS. If only they were dollars.

Today, (day 101), I have only walked 2,655 steps so far. And I am so ok with that.

100 days

Fail days.

So the aim was to meet a target of 10,000 steps each day and I missed that target on a 3 days according to the pedometer app I have on my phone. Two of those days was by less than 500 steps and on the second fail day, I did complete them just after midnight but I just ran out of time. Obviously I took a picture as proof on one day – I had done another 1,009 steps by 00:17.

File_000 (7)

The first fail day was when I was in London and I’d been at my friend’s Kaya & Chris’ for dinner in Clapham. I missed the last tube from Clapham even though I/we thought the tubes were supposed to run all night nowadays, I got a night bus & part-walked to Brixton and my phone battery died. At least I was in a place I used to live so I felt safe because I always do in that part of London anyway – it feels like home and there were loads of people out. I was trying to get up to Finsbury Park. None of the shops would let me plug my phone in though even if I offered to buy something, but they let me charge it for a little bit at McDonalds (a place I avoid like the plague usually on principle, but I didn’t know what else to do). Then I walked and night-bused it all across London via Bank & Camden as my phone battery died again so I resorted to asking bus drivers the best way (no phone = no map/apps) and finally got back to my stepdad’s at 2:15am. So I did the steps but my phone didn’t count them. OK!!!!?!

The 3rd fail day I had a complete meltdown (the less said about that day the better) and I only reached 6,593 steps. It was on day 90 as well (slightly ironically it was also the day I had finally walked 500 miles). I didn’t know this at the time though so I was really annoyed / upset with myself on top of being an emotional wreck! LOL.

But then on day 97 – Easter Sunday – when I was tired and really really didn’t want to walk anywhere and it started raining just as I put my coat on to go, but I went anyway, while I was out it suddenly dawned on me that actually if I added all the steps up, I’d probably already passed the total target of the number of steps I needed to do! So I then added up the total target in my head & worked out it was it was ONE MILLION STEPS. (Not exactly complicated maths I know – 100 x 10,000 – just add up the noughts), but I hadn’t actually thought about the bigger picture because I was too busy focusing on trying to get to 10,000 each day. So at that moment I got super excited & powered through the rest of my walk and the sun came out and I had a big grin on my face because I realised technically I’d probably already done it! Some days I went way over my target, nearly reaching 30,000 steps and also didn’t always have my phone on me at every moment. I had to charge it sometimes and I gig a lot so I wasn’t always allowed to take my phone on stage with me.

So then I went to add everything up in a spreadsheet and realised that yes I did in fact reach my target on day 81 when I got to 1,004,477 steps. I could have stopped this obsessive walking shite 19 days earlier!

Interestingly, steps don’t equate miles don’t equal calories burned – i.e. more steps could be less miles or less calories and less steps could be more miles and more calories. Effort clearly plays a large part in this.  An example is one day I somehow burned more calories but did less steps: 10,900 Steps / 1,061 Kcal on one day compared to 10999 Steps / 495 Kcal on another. Weird.

Dance-floor steps and other fun stuff.

So, the best day was when I reached my target was at 5:24 am and I did that just by dancing on Saturday night / Sunday morning for hours at Threshold Festival! Boom!


Also as one of the organisers of the Festival (specifically the visual arts), I covered so many steps in the lead up to it while we turned several spaces into exhibition spaces including an empty warehouse space.

So it got to the point when I was happy to do energetic things like run errands and go to the shops and pick up train tickets and things for people. I helped my mates Kaya & Chris move flat while I was down in London – ‘cos why not – I got loads of steps in and I had practised moving the week before as I had moved home also. The day I moved was exhausting: With help, I moved all my stuff up several flights of stairs (I now live in an attic flat). I did however feel a massive sense of achievement at the end of the day when I realised I had scaled a total of 197 floors. YES!

I was also encouraging anyone I was with to join in when I was out on a night out or at friend’s houses, pacing around people’s living rooms. One night we all went out after a gig and while my mate Saphena smoked a cigarette I was manically trying to finish my steps for the day so she joined in with me. We were pacing up & down, jogging & skipping on Duke Street from 11:50pm – midnight and tagging the wall and I was ranting at her about what was going on in my life. When we went back into the bar, Jenn said to us, “well Jaz you look energised & Saph you look out of breath”. Hilarious.

Health & well-being.

This these images kind of say it all.

The first is an image that I found from 7th January. This was three days before I started this self-imposed challenge. Post Christmas / New Year blues clearly in full force there. I also had pretty bad eczema too from wearing, what turned out to be (from a process of elimination), waterproof eye make-up. It was around then that I decided I was really going to push myself to try this 100 day challenge. I managed 4,990 steps that day and realised I needed to up my game. That first picture was never really meant for anyone else to see but looking back & realising how far (500+ miles) I have come I’m happy to share it.

The second picture is from day 20 of the challenge, which I put up in my previous post and from when I was exhausted by it all but determined to keep going.

The third one is from yesterday. Day 100! I mean obviously smiling helps ha ha, and I’m made up to have made it to end, plus the weather is so much nicer now it’s April and not January.

I think though that being outside, getting fresh air, exercise, daylight, vitamin D etc. etc. are all good. My legs feel more toned, I have more energy, I can focus better (when I have time to sit still) and walking 10,000 + steps is pretty easy now.

I just need to try to make sure I try to keep moving! I need a new challenge – answers on a postcard please. My friend & band-mate Dawn suggested a 100 day yoga challenge. I also need some new trainers soon too – I have already sewn the toe-holes in these ones up once and I’m on the 2nd pair of insoles for them.

1 Million Steps


Finalky, here are a few pics I took along the way (since my last post).

How easy is it to walk 10,000 steps a day, really?

10,000 steps a day.

10,000 steps is what what the NHS recommends we all walk every day: “Setting yourself a target of walking 10,000 steps a day can be a fun way of increasing the amount of physical activity you do”.

My initial reaction? Fun? Really? Maybe?

How realistic or easy is 10,000 steps EVERY DAY?

  • In the middle of winter?
  • When it’s raining?
  • When you’re cold?
  • When you’re tired?
  • When you ate too much over Christmas?
  • When you have no waterproof clothing?
  • When, after a week of over-enthusiastically walking everywhere and telling all your mates about it, there’s too much chafing because you’re not actually used to walking that far and don’t have, nor can you afford more to the point, any “sportswear” or clothing to make this said walking more comfortable?
  • When your feet hurt from all the walking?
  • When your umbrella is broken and you need to get to a meeting?
  • When you have too much work to do?
  • When you have no time?
  • When you’re hungry?
  • When you have a hangover?
  • When it starts to get dark at 3:30pm and you don’t want to go out alone and no-one else wants to walk with you to help you maintain your latest obsession which is now 10,000 steps every day, but also, you only got up at 2pm and you’re not even dressed yet because you’re an insomniac and didn’t get to sleep until 4am?
  • When you got the coil fitted the day before?
  • When it’s time of the month and you’re in pain?
  • When it’s 0°C degrees out and there’s 45 mph winds meaning it actually feels like -5°C?
  • WHEN LIFE HAPPENS!!!!!!!!!!!?

Interestingly, the average person takes between 3,000-4,000 steps a day apparently.

I’m quite relieved to realise this because I thought I was really rubbish when I first started and I felt exhausted from trying to maintain 10,000 steps a day.

And now I’m pleased (slightly smug in fact) to say I have done 10,000 steps for the last 30 days. In January/February. Here is proof. #winningatlife


And look here’s a picture of me really happy, after an hour of walking on day 20: Sunday 29th Jan, 2017.


Clearly I’m not happy. I was happy later, once I got home and realised that I’d got through my twentieth day of steps, but at that point I felt drained and exhausted. And I needed water and food. And I felt a bit faint – sounds dramatic but it’s true. And all the benches were soggy ‘cos it had been raining drizzle for what felt like 10,000 days so I couldn’t sit down while I was out. It was one of the days I’d gone out unprepared. (I’d also refused a lift home from friends the night before after a really nice day/evening out, so I could walk the 5,000 steps I still needed to do to meet my goal – at 8pm on a Saturday night, when all my other mates were going out partying. So I was still feeling a bit dejected about that to be honest.)

So why am I doing it? It’s annoying, you could say stupid – at least some of the time. Well, I want/need to get fitter/healthier. So does everyone I guess. I currently have limited physical strength and stamina for running several times a week – it’s clearly far more pleasant in the spring/summer. I am not a member of a gym (I don’t have much money). And I’m lazy.

With walking, I figured at least I can realistically make myself do this every single day if I put my mind to it. One thing I do have going for me is stamina and resilience for something that is achievable. And if I set myself a challenge, I very rarely give up. You could say I should do this with running, but I have found my body physically can’t keep up at the moment so I am forced to give up and feel disappointed after a couple of weeks.

So. Walking: Achievable; Doable; A sustainable habit?

Ok so some of you people probably do this stuff all the time. I get it – you’re healthy, fit, (not lazy like me), you are twenty-something. Whatever. You wake up and eat your colourful breakfast of a medley of fruit with granola and quinoa with a side of mashed avocado and pomegranate smoothie and hold the caffeine this morning because, last night you found it hard to get to sleep and you had a late night of like 9:30pm or something which has sent your whole day sideways, and also you jog to the office before I’ve even gone to bed yet. #iwokeuplikethis  – UGH! Great. Good for you.

I sound bitter – I am actually jealous really. Sorry. I even heard myself saying to my partner the other day – “Hey we could start to eat really colourful foods like fruit and stuff for breakfast like they do on the telly – that would be cool wouldn’t it? I mean you see it all the time the Internet and stuff”.  Hey, the possibilities are endless. Yeh…

Anyway, even if it doesn’t seem like that much, I feel proud of myself for this whole 10,000 steps thing. The plan is to try to create some kind of new life-long habit. Obviously I know 10,000 steps every single day would be too much (we all need days off) and to be honest, I think I’m going to want a break after a while. I’m aiming for 100 days and I’ve done 30 days in a row and if I can do 10,000 steps, for 30 days, in a row, in January, in the cold and rain, then there is absolutely no excuse for not doing it for the rest of the year. After-all, there is that slightly-annoying saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.

What helps?

Ok so this is where I get to be positive (kind of) – because so far I realise this whole thing has been mostly cynical and sarcastic. But actually, if I’m honest, I’m really glad I’ve done it – the statistics at the end should tell you that.

  • Podcasts: After about 1 day of walking 10,000 steps, I was utterly bored of my own thoughts/internal monologue and needed something else to make this whole thing more enjoyable and interesting otherwise I was going to lose the will to live and give up pretty quickly. So I re-found my love for Woman’s Hour which I used to listen to regularly and I have listened to every show since the end of December now. I also started to listen to the 2nd Best Podcast which some mates of mine, Chris & Tom, created. Both shows are great and have kept me entertained so far. I have had to stop myself from laughing out loud several times when walking through Sefton park. This includes whilst hearing the insights into my mate Chris’ self-employed, working-from-home-life and his attempt to really badly prank the guy who could ‘cure any problem in 7 days’, which didn’t work out ‘cos Chris has been prank-called himself and knows how bad it can be, so didn’t want to do anything too horrible. It turned into several awkward (but hilarious as a listener) minutes of Chris repeating Sombrero/Top Hat down the phone until the really confused guy who could ‘cure anything’ basically just hung up. Anyway, podcasts help because they take you out of your mood and stop you from thinking too much. The distraction means you can walk and not even realise how far you have gone and then you’re done! In fact some days if I’m near the end of listening to an interesting programme, I’ll walk further so I can get to the end.
  • Talc: See earlier re: Chafing.
  • Waterproof clothing: I have bought some waterproof trousers (I figured overall it was cheaper than bus/taxi fare if I was to walk regularly in all types of weather, and I had just walked 5000 steps to town in the rain, so it was an investment). I haven’t actually used the waterproof trousers yet, but the whole week before I bought them, I got absolutely drenched. If and when it rains like that again, I am prepared.
  • Suitable clothing: If you can afford to, buy and start out with the correct gear. Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable and (more importantly) doesn’t rub. Also see earlier re: Chafing.
  • Drink water before you go out and take a small snack as a pick me up: Just do these things. On days 8 and 20 you’ll be really glad you did.
  • Take photos: As a photographer it’s nice to incorprate that into walking. So I’ve been doing a bit of that too while I’ve been out…

But how do you maintain 10,000 steps if you’re busy?

To be honest – I’m self-employed and what I thought was going to be a busy January actually turned out to be a pretty quiet month for me. Meaning not many deadlines, not much work, which, let’s face it means no money and plenty of time to kill, so hey what better to do than walk around the park for an hour a day trying to reach 7 KM. Plus I had my tax returns to avoid so it was win-win.

I have also started to incorporate the things I am doing with my day into getting my steps, so buying groceries, walking to meetings or rehearsals instead of getting the bus etc.

To be honest, some days it has been really really hard to motivate myself to get out there and I did almost give up a few times. That point at 11:30pm when you realise you still have over 500 steps to walk and you are walking around the flat in circles. Although, in the end, I tried to make it more fun by turning the tunes up and getting some drum and bass dancing steps in. And if I get my steps in early in the day I am more focused at doing my work.

364,336 steps / 260.8 km / 162.1 miles / 26,880 calories

So obviously, I have proof of the steps I’ve done. Spreadsheets, pictures, charts, apps. You name it. Just in case you don’t believe me, the totals from 10th January for the last 30 days are 364,336 steps / 260.8 km / 162.1 miles / 26,880 calories. Or thereabouts!

As for weight loss/measurements, currently, I’ve not done all that. I don’t own any scales, so I couldn’t tell you! I also eat too much chocolate and cake and drink too much red wine. So it’s probably a good job I’ve walked so much. I won’t even get into my statistics for how many calories I can consume in a day (which I’ve also started to track…).

I think I feel a bit better/healthier/less depressed – could be the steps, could be the fresh air, could be the slight change in season, could be a combination of them all. I do know that if I’m feeling agitated, stressed or angry and I go out walking and listen to a podcast, after a short while, I usually start to feel better. So it’s been great for my mental health.

And we begin again…

As you can see, each day the pedometer resets itself and you have the harsh realisation that you have to start all over again!

So let’s see if I can make it to 100 days. I tell you what, it’s a lot easier now than it was in the first week when I just felt exhausted and was dreading meeting my target each day.