Almost 300,000 Steps Ahead!

I checked in on my monster today.

So close to a 300,000 step lead now. I think I’ll try to actually hit it. But not tonight. I’m tired.


App Review: iNaturalist

Pokémon Go is, apparently, a gateway drug to getting interested in nature.

During the spring, when we were walking home from kindergarten, my son picked up a leaf and asked what kind of tree it was from. I didn’t know, but I figured that (as the joke says) there was an app for that. A little searching led me to INaturalist, a “crowdsourced species identification system and an organism occurrence recording tool. You can use it to record your own observations, get help with identifications, collaborate with others to collect this kind of information for a common purpose, or access the observational data collected by iNaturalist users.”

Wordy, right? It’s a lot simpler to use, though. You just take one or more pictures and upload it (I use the iOS app for that purpose). You can fill in what it is if you already know, and there’s an image-matching algorithm that will suggest possible identifications if you don’t. Then, other users can comment on it and make suggestions as well.

Greenshield lichen. My latest catch.

What do a do with it? Mostly, if I see something cool – especially if I don’t know what it is – I’ll snap a picture and upload it. Mostly it’s been plants and fungus, but I’ve got a bagworm cocoon and a lizard and a deer as well. (For the record, I know what a deer is. And just wanted to share.). My son uses it, too. He’s the one who’s spotted more than half of the things I’ve photographed and uploaded, and he insists I use the app to find out what it is, now. Which brings me back to the Pokémon Go comparison I made earlier – it really does feel like I’m “trying to catch them all” when I go walking, now. I spend mire time looking around, trying to spot something new and interesting.

The lizard I mentioned. Sadly, still unidentified.

The iNaturalist people say that their primary goal is to “connect people with nature”. I think they may have succeeded.

Not Too Bad

It turns out that, even when I’m not trying to walk a lot, I still walk a lot. According to my FitBit, I covered 4.77 miles while not making an effort to do anything special. Go figure, right?

Of course, according to my phone, I only walked 2.8 miles. Which is interesting, since I had it on me most of the day. I know that different pedometers have different sensitivities, but a two mile difference feels really strange.

Speaking of pedometers, I’ve found yet another walking game to liven up the day. It’s called The Walking Monster and doesn’t have a URL, but it looks like this:

Here’s how it works. You start with a 4,000 step lead, and you accrue steps as you walk. The monster slowly follows you, and if your lead ever drops to 0 it catches you. Also, I believe it starts getting faster over time.

That’s it, and I’ve had nightmares like this. But it adds an extra bit of fun to walking. Also, given that a movie got made about emojis recently, I figure it’ll be optioned for some sort of Dark App shared universe any time now.

That Went Well

So far, so good. I blew through my walking goal yesterday (6.95 miles, and I was so tempted to go knock out that extra 264 feet), thanks to the Zombies Run 5K app and having to go grocery shopping. And life in general, really. I also got in all of my exercises, so I feel…

Sore. I’ll be honest, I was a little sore when I got up this morning. It was the good kind of sore, though, if that makes any sense. Not like way back when I started all of this, where my thighs as calves felt like they’d been carved out of oak. No, this was the kind of sore that tells you that you worked hard the previous day, and that vanished as you move around. By the time I made it to the treadmill for Workout 1 on the app, the soreness was gone.

Workout 1. It went well, I think. It was 10 minutes of walking (I set the treadmill for 3.0 mph), then 10 sets of walking a minute and then running 15 seconds (for the run I went up to 4 mph), and then a 10 minute “freestyle run” (which, to be honest, was 10 more minutes of walking). I covered 1.67 miles in total, or 5.12 miles if you believe the app.

Wait. 5.12 miles?

Yeah. About that. See, I’m letting my phone count my steps for the app. And I misread the thing that asked how long my pace was, when I set it up. I thought it wanted my height, so I put in 6′ 5″. Which, to put it mildly, skewed the results. I mean, that has me at a 7 minute mile. If I could run a 7 minute mile, I don’t think I’d need to be using an app that was training me to run a 5K.

Still, it’s a little thing. The workout was good, and I was properly out of breath and soaked with sweat when I was done. Workout 2 happens tomorrow, and then I’ll be settling into the app’s recommended every-other-day schedule by hitting the workouts on Monday, Wednesday, an Friday.

Now to take the app’ final bit f advice, and hit the shower.

It’s Super-Effective!

Way back in September of 2016, I started walking my Charizard buddy MacArthur in Pokemon Go.

A month (and 75 km) later, I’d evolved a different Charizard into this:

I specified that this was a different Charizard, because I like my little buddy MacArthur.  He was my starter Pokemon.  Oh, sure, I’d have evolved him if I never found another one, but I did (and it was stronger) so I evolved that one.  Sadly, I had to drop the game in November 2016, because my ancient iPhone 4S couldn’t hack it.  Right up until January 2017, when I got a new(er) phone and MacArthur and I got back to work!

Guess what?  We did it!  My Charmelion is now a Charmander!

What now?  Well, because my son really wants me to get a Raichu, it’s time to take my Pikachu J.J. out walking.

23 more kilometers should do the trick.  Pikachus are easier to mature than Charizards.



Know what this thing is?

If you said “some sort of water main”, then you’re wrong. Well, I mean, you’re right.  Obviously. But it’s a playground, too. I have this on good authority from my son, who wanted me to play with him on it.

Said play consisted of running up to it and leaping off it, then hitting the ground and rolling to a stop. I didn’t do that, obviously – I’ve made a lot of progress, but I’m still a large man with sore knees.  But I did chase after him, which meant running a lot. A whole lot, because he’s 6 and active and wants me to play with him.

Yes. He is a good workout partner.

I Expected More Walking

I took the day off from work today to go on a field trip with my son’s kindergarten class. To Build-A-Bear at a nearby mall. No, I don’t quite get it either – all the field trips I remember going on were to museums, or zoos, or plays, or the like. But there you are, and the kids had a great time.

Me, I was just confused. I was expecting more walking, or something. Not an hour of standing around. But my son adored having me along, and that’s what counted the most.

I still hit my walking goal, though. Knocked it out by covering 1.73 miles in a 32 minute session of the Decoy Duty mission for Zombies Run. Thanks to me, Abel Township now has a hospital!

I also managed to hit my calorie budget, despite my field trip lunch being at McDonald’s (and a double quarter pounder with cheese, and large fries). It just goes to show what’s possible when you plan ahead and don’t snack, right?

Next time, though, I need to try not to need to walk so much in the evening to hit goal. I get up at 3:30 am – walking at 7 at night is late.