Walking: Mobile Therapy & A Fortune on Shoes

For the last 4 years I have walked (obsessively) for mental and physical health. This week I crossed 4 years without missing a day and surpassed 9000 total kilometres.

You may remember that we had a COVID pandemic. For us, in this part of the world, things really changed in March of 2020. It was weird. Mrs Milddogs and I had just returned from a lovely trip to Martinique. Lovely, but not without concern. There were no masks. We did our own form of social distancing (which was hard to do on the airplanes).

Within a few weeks of returning, as we neared Mrs Milddogs birthday, the world began shutting down. By mid March, we were now working from home. We celebrated Mrs Milddogs birthday as a nuclear family and we all simultaneously had a weird moment as Mrs Milddogs paused before she blew out the candles on her cake. Do we still do that?

Within a week we had also discovered that our beloved Dendog was ill with cancer. Fuck, what the hell was going on?

I quickly realized that sitting in the basement working away wasn’t really good for me. Partially inspired by Tony walking around the neighbourhood every day, and the realization that I had far too much access to food and no “free” activity walking around the JSI “campus”, I started walking.

At first, it was once around the block in between meetings. Around the block is 700 meters. I’d average a pace of 14 minutes per km. Occasionally Jackson would join me and we would walk on opposite sides of the street as we solved no world problems through deep conversation.

Then, the obsessive part of me kicked in. I started getting more serious. Walks became a first thing in the morning activity. Before work meetings. Before the neighbourhood was awake. A time when I was alone to think through work stuff and personal stuff (hard to separate sometimes).

But those shoes! As the distance increased and the pace improved, my feet, legs and hips were telling me I needed an upgrade. Progeny #2 did some detailed research and recommended I pick up some Brooks Ghost shoes. So I did, despite the sticker shock.

In April, 2020 I cut 3 minutes off of my per Km time and doubled my distance walked to an amazing 44km. Hey, not great numbers but some improvement. I started to develop rules. The walk was recorded on my Apple Watch. No editing of results. I was allowed to pause for the occasional bathroom break, photo opportunity or interaction with another human.

I walked, and I contempated. I’d think through the previous work day. What could I have done better? How can I deal with that? How is my team doing? What is a more effective way to tell the boss that person X is really, really useless. Note that I might have been person X on occasion. Then I would think about today. What is most important? What is the mandatory stuff to get done? Have I told my team that I value them (never enough). And plenty more.

I’d think about my family and how we were all adapting. Sometimes good, sometimes not. Progeny #2 was getting ready for a new phase of living away from Mom and Dad. Am I ready for that? Have I prepared her well for life away from me? You may not know this, but there are well over 8.1 billion people in this world that get along just fine without my guidance.

Think and move. But, in character, probably not enough communication with those I care about.

Walking. More walking. By May, 2020 I was over 100km for the month. And July was over 200km. On June 4, 2020, I did not record a walk. That was the last time I have missed a day.

I have not missed a day in over 4 years. That’s a lot of shoe therapy. I have walked through all weather, snow, sleet, rain, heat, ice. I have fallen 4 times. Twice on ice and twice on muddy trails. Only a few cuts and scrapes.

I have walked through a fair amount of discomfort: Blisters (mostly in the early days), metatarsalgia (which felt like a broken foot), hips, knees. Heck, the inside of my right knee has been swollen for about the last year. Perhaps I should talk to a medical professional.

I have walked through life events: Weddings (happy face), funerals (sad face), colonoscopy day (poop face), COVID – 3 times (virus face). The COVID in October 2020 was the worst. I was pretty lethargic for almost a month. Slow pace and short distance was all I could manage.

I have walked through travel: Every day on our van trips. Every day on every other trip. On one canoe day trip we did up to and through the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park, I got up at 0300 so I could get a 5km walk in before we hit the road. On another canoe trip, I would just pace around the campsite until I got a kilometre in despite the fact that we still had about 7km of portages to do that day.

My rules changed a bit. I set the minimum qualifier as 700 meters . That’s a safe number and allowed for things like camping on a small island. Despite the low qualifier, my average is 5.7 km per walk. The walk must be outdoors. On a handful of days I did a qualifier outside and then finish on the treadmill. That was usually correlated to freezing rain events. I do not drive to the starting point. Walk from where you slept.

In parallel I was trying to keep my Apple watch workout and exercise streaks going. Those are in tact.


You may wonder where the stats are. So let’s begin that part. All stats as of June 7, 2024.

Days since start1364
Total Time (hours)1319:10:35
~60 days
Active Calories619820
Avg Distance /walk (kM)5.68
Avg Time /walk0:49:54
Avg Calories / walk386.18
Avg Pace (minutes per KM)0:08:48
Avg pace (km/h)6.82
Big Macs burned via active calories1106.82
Start DateMar 18, 2020
10km or longer count103
Days since Start1542.5
Consecutive Days without a miss1464
Stats part 1
YearTotal km Avg Pace (min/km)total time (hrs)Weighted AVG Pace
Stats part 2

10km or greater walks. I only keep individual stats on walks of >=10km

10km Avg Temp2.6
10km Max Temp23
10km Min Temp-25
10km Fastest1:18:30
10km Slowest1:34:03
10km avg time1:25:43
10km Furthest16.1
10km Average10.46
10km Count103
10 km Median1:25:30
10km walks

That dip in October 2022 was for a nasty bout of COVID


So many shoes! I have found that after 400-500km the shoes are done for daily use. This is a table of all of the shoes I have used.

Generic Nike2Shoes I had when I started
Brooks Ghost2Wear out quickly. Runner’s lacing helps
Brooks Glycerin2Cause worst blisters (but they were early on)
Brooks Ghost GTX4Good Winter shoe. 2 pair were free due to premature wear
Brooks Cascadia GTX1Really like these
Brooks Cascadia 1Have not used yet
Hoka Bondi1Blister causing
Hoka Speedgoat GTX1Used for winter: Correlated to knee issues
Salomon Ride 51Do not like. Insole will not stay in place
Saucony Peregrine Ice1Fell twice on the ice (over confidence?), long lasting but not enough cushion
Saucony Ride 161Enjoying these
Saucony Kinvara 1Have not used yet

Shoe Conclusions:

Diversity is important. I think I am done with Hoka. I will probably stick with the Brooks Cascadia GTX for winter. Summer I will vary, but I like the durability of the Saucony shoes. For the gravel roads at the cottage I may stick with the Brooks Cascadia. Although I have not tried them on the gravel yet.


The following is a list of locations I have recorded a daily walk. There are 83 unique locations that I have walked in.

Kemptville, ONHome
Rideau Lakes, ONCottage
Sarnia, ONHome Town
Trent Hills, ONFerris Provincial Park
Drommondville, QCProvincial Park
Quebec City, QCMarina City Park
Baie St Paul, QCRV Park
Tadoussac, QCRV Park
Nippising, ONAlgonquin
Hamilton, ONFall Trip 2021
Harrow, ONAirBnB
Niagara Falls, ONFall Trip 2022
Winchester, VACracker Barrel
Collegdale, TNCracker Barrel
Pelham, ALOak Mountain State Park
Slidell, LACraker Barrell
Barataria, LABayou Segnette State Park
Breaux Bridge, LALake Fausse Point State Park
Matagorda, TXBeach Boondocking
Kerrville, TXKerrville-Schriener Park
Coyanosa, TXRest Stop
Las Cruces, NMKOA
Alamagordo, NMOliver Lee State Park
Carlsebad, NMBLM
Columbus, NMPancho Villa State Park
Benson, NMKartchner Caverns State Park
Tucson, AZLazy Days KOA
Apache Junction. AZLost Dutchman State Park
Quartzsite, AZBLM
Sedona, AZBLM
Cottonwood, AZDead Horse State Park
Williams, AZBLM
Grand Canyon, AZGrand Canyon Village Campground
Moab, UTMonument Valley KOA
Bloomfield, NMAngel Peak Badlands Overlook
Santa Rosa, NMSanta Rosa Campground
Quitaque, TXCaprock Canyons State park
Tulsa, OKCracker Barrel
Roberstsville, MORoberstville State Park
Anderson, INMounds State Park
Powasson, ONMoochdocking
Bon Echo, ONBon Echo Provincial Park
Waterbury Center, VTLittle River State Park
Ogunquit, MERV Park
Salem, MAWinter Island Park
Morrisville, VTElmore State Park
Picton, OnSmuggler’s Cove RV Park
Louisville, KYCabelas
Lexington, TNNatchez Trace State Park
Wynne, ARVillage Creek State Park
Karnack, TXCaddo Lake State Park
Port Arthur, TXSea Rim State park
Galveston, TXJamaica Beach RV Resort
Rockport, TXGoose Island State Park
Corpus Christi, TXMustang Island State Park
Laredo, TXLake Casa Blanca International State Park
Lake City, TXLake Corpus Christi State Park
Austin, TXMcKinney State park
Tuscola, TXAbilene State Park
Canyon, TXPalo Duro State Park
Broken Arrow, OKBass Pro Shop
Eureka, MOWest St Louis KOA
North Abington Township, PALackawanna State Park, PA
Berlin, MDAssategue State Park, MD
Lewes, DEHelopen State Park, DE
Sugarloaf, PAValley Country Club
Orlando, FLRental House
Terra Haute, INCracker Barrel
Springfield, MOCooks RV park
El Reno, OKLake El Reno RV Park
Fort Sumner, NMBosque Redondo Park
Boles Acres, NMOliver Lee State Park
Dwyer, NMCity of Rocks State Park
Willcox, AZTirrito Farms
Vail, AZBLM Land
Eloy, AZPicacho State Park
QuartziteBLM Land
Anthony, NMKayFarms
Fort Lancaster, TXFort Lancaster Scenic Lookout
Cabot, ARMagness Creek Farms
Saint Genevieve, MOHawn SP
Grafton, ILPere Marquette SP
Fort Wayne, INCracker Barrel

You may wonder which of the 83 is my favourite location. That’s not as easy as it should be. So here is a list.

Grand Canyon: it is rather hard to beat walking along the rim of the canyon. Seeing some elk along the way is an added bonus. Our campsite was about 1.6 km from the edge of the canyon.
Lake Fausse Point State Park: Really nice walk on an island through the woods alongside the bayou. Gators were there to greet me.
Winter Island Park in Salem, MA: It was interesting to walk through old Salem. Also helped that there were bakeries to stop at.
Cap Rocks Canyon State Park: there are some great trails here. You can see vast canyons as you carefully wander amongst the bison, prairie dogs and more.
Palo Duro State Park: In the canyon floor, so many trails most with some elevation gains. Got to sample a bunch of them.
Lost Dutchman State Park: Many trails, hiking into the Superstition Mountains is spectacular.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Despite the occasional physical pain, I have found my obsessive daily walks as a great way to shed the mental pain and process the events of the time. Who knows where I would be (figuratively) if I had not started. You can image that the 1106 Big Macs I have burned off might still be around my waist (note that I don’t actually eat Big Macs). Physically, my legs and ass are the envy of many :). I have not used walking as a weight abatement strategy. I have definitely demonstrated that “you can’t outrun your fork” (that’s an Andra-ism). But it could be worse! All of the basic health metrics indicate I am healthier than before the pandemic.

What is next? I like mixing in some short runs these days. If I can figure out how to make my knee and hip happy, I might do more of that. I was rather chuffed when a hiker at Picacho State Park commented that I looked like a gazelle as I ran along the trail.


Like all social media posts, I am inviting attention onto myself. I’m not trying to be boastful. I am happy that I did not sit back and add 50 lbs during the pandemic. I am happy that I have continued. I feel good. Many people do much bigger and more important things. This has been important to me. There is plenty of research that says physical activity is better than pharmaceutical therapy and psychotherapy. In theory, it’s cheaper too, until you add up all of those shoes!