Friday, January 30, 2009

Striding Out


I am embarrassed by the recent focus on setbacks and money. I want the reading of this blog to be a happy and positive experience – not a whinge-fest/grumblog! So, moving swiftly on….

Some of you will have read in my latest newsletter that I have set myself the challenge of walking 10,000 steps every day. This works for me on many levels.

1. I eat too much. Always have, always will. Wish it were otherwise, but it's one of those flaws that I may just have to accept about myself. And I’m not good at self-denial. So I’d rather exercise more than eat less.

2. I resent spending money on petrol. It costs me – and it costs the environment, so if I can walk more and drive less, that can only be good news.

3. Although I have spent much time in gyms, they lack soul. By exercising through walking, I can reconnect with nature, smile at passers-by, and soak up some Vitamin D direct from the sun. It feels GOOD!

4. I use the time to catch up on podcasts (current favourites are The Podcast Sisters, The Engaging Brand, Diary of a Shameless Self-Promoter, Wiggly Wigglers and iProcrastinate) so I’m multi-tasking.

5. I tidy up the world as I go along. When I was little I decided that When I Was Queen everybody would have to look after their patch of land and make sure that there was no litter. At all. Anywhere. So while I walk I pick up trash and take it “home” (wherever that may be).

I’ve been road-testing a few pedometers – one supplied to me by Fitbug and manufactured by Omron. Another that was bought from the Google campus store for me by my new friend Meng. And the iPhone pedometer created by WesternITS (who are also creating my new website… soon to come).

These are my reviews:

Google/solar:
I wanted to like this one because it is solar powered. The problem is that it seems to have a bad battery and/or requires frequent solar top-ups. So it spends more time off than on, so my step count is wildly inaccurate – about 30% of what the Fitbug shows.

Fitbug [pictured]:
I wanted NOT to like the Fitbug because it uses batteries (the flat, watch-style batteries), and I imagined that it would get through many of them - very environmentally unfriendly. But so far the battery life seems good, as is the accuracy. So at the moment this is my default pedometer. Attached to me from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed... apart from time in the shower, obviously (not that I do much walking in the shower!).

iPhone Pedometer by WesternITS:
I have tested this for accuracy of step count – which was excellent. But I haven’t used it so much because I assumed that it would run down my iPhone battery in no time. Which may not be true. If it uses as little battery as the iPhone’s iPod functionality then it will be no problem – apart from being significantly larger than the Fitbug, so not quite so convenient to wear all day (and equally non-shower-proof). But it has the big advantage of being a gadget that I have anyway – and the fewer gadgets, the better.

So at the time of writing, the Fitbug is tried and proven, the solar option is a bit disappointing, and the iPhone Pedometer app is excellent but I need to assess the impact on battery life.

But I’d be interested to hear about other people’s recommendations. Has anybody tried NikePlus? Any others?

I will be posting my daily total every evening (Hawaii time) on Twitter. If you’re not already following me on Twitter (a micro-blogging site – which answers the question “what are you doing” within a maximum of 140 characters) then check it out. It may sound weird, but it’s surprisingly addictive – and ideal for those quick moment-to-moment updates.

And if you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, and you would like to receive it, please go here and sign up. It is written by my Woman Friday, Daisy Hampton in Exeter, England, and gives an overview of the headlines rather than replicating what appears on the blog. So it gives a different perspective that you may find interesting.


Other stuff:

I know a lot of you have been waiting with baited breath to hear about my boat, the Brocade. I haven’t written more about it because, quite frankly, I felt I had done enough whingeing and any news on the boat was just going to sound like more bad news.

If you’ve ever had some building work done, maybe you’ve had that experience when you go away for a week, and while you’re away you’re envisaging the workmen slaving away in your absence. When you return it is with a sense of eager anticipation that you peel back the dustsheets – only to find that the progress has been…. imperceptible. If so, you’ll know exactly how I feel at the moment. Enough said.

On a more positive note, and just very briefly to return to the subject of money, a paddler friend here in Hawaii, Scott Burgess, has a great idea for raising some funds for my project. He has a box on his desk at work, and regularly asks his colleagues to deposit their spare change into it. In just a couple of days he has collected $22.73. It all helps!

You could even give it a slogan – any time somebody complains about anything trivial, tell them that “Worse things happen at sea” - and impose a fine. Every penny is a penny in the right direction – and it might help give your colleague a sense of perspective (or there again it might earn you a punch on the nose – so exercise fining rights with caution!)

We are now up to about $450 in the challenge to match Markus Bennett’s offered $1,000. Please help me to maximize this opportunity – if we can find another $550 in donations, Markus will match it!

See yesterday’s blog for where the money is going.

And huge thanks to all who have contributed. I will write up your names in my cabin and send you the photos.

Wow, this is a long old blog. Time to go! (not least because they are about to throw me out of the internet cafe...and I have just noticed that the mozzies have got to me and my legs are itching like crazy! And I still have 35 steps to go...)
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6 comments:

  1. Mozzies? I've never heard that word used. I Googled it, and the Urban Dictionary says it's Australian slang for mosquito. Is that what you're referring to, Roz? I love learning new words.

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  2. Caroline11:03 am GMT

    One of my recent personal environmental initiatives has also been to pick up litter (particularly plastic and glass) on my walks through the local woods (which, though I say it myself, have never looked so clean!).

    Interested in your pedometer trials - I've had a couple of step-counters but have never found them particularly accurate (trialled by counting the steps myself and comparing with the step-counter total!) I like the sound of the Fitbug.

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  3. I went through a step counter phase about 5 years ago. The whole concept worked for about a year or so. I also walked with a heart rate monitor. I was wildly excited about that, then after going through 3 HRMs and 4 step counters, I realized how much they varied, so I never really had an accurate gauge of steps or heart rate the whole time.

    These days I try and approach fitness with a "zen" attitude. If you ever see the movie "Spirit of Marathon" I want to be what one of the marathoners call "Zen Runners". No heart rate monitor, no step counter, no Trail Guru, no iPod, just out there running. Next to go is my digital watch. I like it this way a lot more.

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  4. Also, that's great about the Larabars! :-D

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  5. A postscript to my list of expenses. I've just found out my liferaft service will cost $555. Ouch! It's very unlikely I'd ever use the liferaft, but better safe than sorry.... I'd rather arrive in port wishing I hadn't had to carry the liferaft, than be in the middle of the ocean wishing I had it!

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  6. Hi Liz - Zen Running - I like it! I've been working on Zen Rowing, but I've a long way to go. I totally subscribe to the philosophy behind life without technology, but I guess I just like my numbers. It's too easy to kid myself otherwise. And life without a watch? Right now I would find that rather stressful, with so much going on. But one day in the future.... come the revolution!

    And shiftlock - yes, I was referring to mosquitoes. Or "you little $%@^%£^&&" as we Brits like to call them!

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