I’m no marathon runner.  I blew out my knee while skiing about 20 years ago.  It’s full of screws and aches whenever there’s a storm front moving in, or I stand too close to the microwave.

My back is really more a collection of knots, than actual muscle & sinew.  Every morning, my body and my mind have a 5 minutes discussion on the importance of putting socks on, before I’m actually limber enough to make the attempt.  And I’m “only” 40!

With three young daughters, my thoughts are more often than ever, turning to my own longevity and quality of life with my family.  I want to be able to play, run, ski, golf, and do all the dad things with my kids as they grow up.  Of course, as a devout foodie and lover of the adult beverage, curtailing my caloric intake to the “game changing’ point, is probably not likely…and so that leaves an increase in exercise.

I’m self-aware enough to know that my life style and current body shape (roughly pear oriented) won’t support hitting the gym every day (or even every other day) for a good long workout.  Instead, I needed to figure out the kinds of micro-lifestyle changes that are individually small and easy to attain, but collectively can make a significant difference.  Things like taking the stairs at work, and parking far from the entrance to the mall.

I got a Fitbit Force (which I highly recommend), so that I could track all those micro adjustments to my life and as a numbers guy I more comfortable being able to quantifiably measure what I’m doing.

But, I felt I still needed a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  I considered a marathon, but as I mentioned, I’m 100% certain either my legs or my lungs would spontaneously combust around mile 10, regardless of how well I trained.

A daily/weekly number of steps target seemed right to me from lifestyle perspective….but it also seemed SOOOOOO boring.  “Wow, 12,345 steps today!  Omg Jen (my wife), look at how all the numbers increase by one…isn’t that cool! I’m so motivated to do it again tomorrow!!!!!!!!”  Right.

So my brain started turning, and it hit me the other day to spend 2014 doing a virtual walk across the country.  I’m starting in San Francisco, and figured I’d head to my parents house in Potomac, Md – as that’s where it all began 40 years ago.  So, here’s deal: 

  • I’m using my Fitbit Force to track distance
  • I’m using Google maps to map my progress - you can see the route above, or go see it on Google Maps
  • My route is designed to avoid highways (figured that was pretty realistic to how I’d really do it); and per Google maps, my distance is 2,983
  • I must be done by 12/31/14; is an average of between 8 – 9 miles per day
  • If I don’t make it I’ll donate $100 to both the Democratic and Republican parties…two organizations, I really don’t like.

Every week, I’ll calculate where I am on my route across the country, and as this is a food blog, I’m going to endeavor to find some interesting culinary tidbit about the location I’m at.  It may not be possible every week, but I’ll give it try.

Additionally, I’m going to ask any and all people who read these posts to suggest food spots and attractions that may be anywhere near my intended route.  If they’re at all in range, I’m happy to take a detour, and “walk” to them…give my thoughts and impressions – like those are in any way valuable.

Documenting my “walk” is simply another way to keep me motivated, and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to pull some interesting stuff out of my ass along the way….