Monday, May 09, 2016

30,895 steps, 13.64 miles, 2136 calories burned

Today's long-ass walk started off as something of an accident. My boss mercifully let me go home early so I could recuperate, so I took the opportunity to head out to the creekside path earlier than usual. I followed the south-side trail from the beginning, and I eventually discovered that that trail, once you get past Yeongdong Bridge 1, actually leads to an entirely different universe from the trail I'd followed on April 23. After Bridge 1, the biking/walking path veers hard right, then straightens out, and it turns out that the creek to your left is still—ta-dah!—the Yangjae-cheon.

Some twenty-something American dudes passed by me, jogging along, gabbling loudly about the path and asking each other whether it was new. It was a bit like listening to a hive mind talking to itself. One of the group seemed to think the path was new; he said there'd been plenty of construction going on in this area last year. Unlike the path I had followed toward Cheonggye-san, the Yangjae-cheon path remained polished and pretty-looking. Instead of passing through scruffy neighborhoods, weeds, and other evidence of dilapidation, this path went alongside complex after complex of newly minted apartment buildings and daintily manicured grassy areas. I felt a bit guilty for immediately liking this path better than the dowdier one I'd taken late last month, but I couldn't help myself: who wouldn't choose to walk among verdure and flowers as opposed to damp, dank concrete and cracked asphalt?

So I walked the Yangjae-cheon path for as long as I could, hoping to reach its end at a reasonable hour, but the path just wouldn't end. Eventually, I crossed under a bridge and hit a creekside park, at which point I gave up, turned around, and headed back to my place. By the U-turn point, I had already racked up 20,000 steps. On my way back, I figured I might rack up 25K steps total; as it turned out, it was 28K, and once I was back at my apartment building, I figured What the hell, and went over to the park to do two laps and top myself off at a little over 30K steps for the day.

Curiosity killed the kitty, as my old French teacher used to say. I now have to find out where the Yangjae-cheon trail ends. Looking at Google Maps, I think the trail ends not far from where I did my U-turn, but I'm not positive: on the map, the trail actually appears to end before the park I'd hit, which makes me think the online map hasn't been updated yet, so I can't see the full, awesome extent of the trail. Who knows, really? Maybe the Yangjae-cheon trail leads to the door to hell. One way or another, I'm now determined to find out. Meantime, I can bask in the fact that I burned off almost a whole day's worth of calories just by walking. And since I'm sure my pedometer is cheating me when it comes to estimated distance, I'd bet my walk was closer to fifteen miles.



John Mac said...

you keep raising the fucking bar...

Kevin Kim said...


Well, the walk itself started off as a sort of mistake: I had no idea how far I'd go before eventually turning around. As for calorie burning: I did the math on you and me, and on one of your most recent walks, your pedometer claims you're burning about 85 calories per mile, which is normal (roughly 100-120 calories per jogged mile; walking would naturally burn fewer calories). If you do the math on my walk yesterday, my pedometer is telling me that I'm burning about 157 calories per mile.

Why the huge difference? Well, first: I weigh significantly more than you do, so whether I'm resting or walking, I'll naturally burn more calories than you will when doing equivalent activities. Second, I actually entered my weight-at-the-time (probably around 285 pounds when I did this) into the phone, and haven't updated my weight in a while—not since before my "experiment." Upshot: given that I've lost some weight but failed to update this, my pedometer is almost certainly exaggerating my calorie-burn rate.

Pedometers do create trust issues. The calorie thing isn't a huge problem for me, mainly because I don't really look at such data that often. But distance is another matter: I constantly feel that my pedometer is shorting me whenever it counts up my distance walked. Smart phones have accelerometers that allow them to measure direction and distance through a sort of "inertial navigation" algorithm, and I imagine that they use the data they gather to form an estimate of your average stride length.

That, I think, is where my phone is shorting me: it's saying my stride is shorter than it is, and since my phone's GPS is almost always off, it never matches up inertially measured distance with actual raw distance to make sure they correspond. If the phone is giving me only 95% of my actual stride length, this adds up over thousands of steps. Personally, I think the figure is closer to 67% (i.e., two-thirds).

I'm not really raising the bar: your walks, which often seem to be about exploring Namsan and/or going downhill/uphill to river level and back, are far more challenging than my current walks are (at least until I start doing my staircases in earnest). You're living the life that I lived when I was teaching at Dongguk!

hahnak said...

what phone & app are you using? i did not know that people could use their phones as pedometers. i had assumed all along you were using a fitbit or something similar... i havent been reading closely so apologies if youve talked about your setup.

Kevin Kim said...


My Samsung Galaxy came pre-packaged with an "S Health" app by Samsung. The step count has proven quite trustworthy, which is the main reason why I stick with it. For a brief while, I tried "Google Fit," but that app sucked at counting steps. S Health is fine for my needs.

John from Daejeon said...

Kevin, you need to block out your American/English hive mind when it comes to Google maps and embrace the South Korean hive mind's use of Naver and Daum maps. They are a hell of a lot quicker to add new construction than Google and give far, far greater detail. Here's one hell of an interesting, foreign woman's take on Daum v. Naver from May 2015. She also has a slightly newer Daum maps update.

As you carry around a smart phone with you, you might want to download one, or both, of those South Korean map apps. It took me getting lost a few times with my Google map printouts before I complained near some of my young students (with great hearing) who basically called me a primitive neanderthal for using Google maps and paper hard copies on my bike/walking treks into the wilderness surrounding Daejeon instead of always having a smart phone with Naver maps on it. I still don't travel with a smart phone, but I always, always carry Naver or Daum map printouts when I'm off to somewhere new.