We’ve all seen him. That Baylor teacher – wearing a red Baylor pullover and brightly colored sneakers, and walking – always walking. That Baylor teacher is Card Steele ’89 and you’re right, it seems like he’s always walking. But Steele is not just out for a stroll, he is on a mission to log 2,021 walking miles during the year 2021.
“On New Year’s Eve in 2020, my wife showed me on social media that a Baylor classmate of mine, John Clay, walked 2,020 miles in 2020,” says Steele. “I had started walking that previous spring when we were dismissed from school due to COVID. I was doing seven or eight miles a day then, just to keep me sane with teaching from home, staying inside so much, and everything. But as the heat of summer came along, I kind of lost interest. So when I saw what John had done, I thought I would try to do 2,021 miles in 2021. Having that goal has kept me motivated on days when I didn’t want to walk due to weather, busyness, or whatever.”
Recording his program on an Excel spreadsheet, Steele says it’s easier to get the miles in during school, walking during his free periods, lunch, and any other time that he can squeeze in a mile or so. “I might do the day’s work at different times during the day” he explains. “If I have two free periods during the day, I can get in seven miles or so before I get home. If I can do another three miles after getting home, I have 10 miles that day. That’s much easier than trying to get in seven or eight miles after getting home in the afternoon.”
While Steele says he has lost ten pounds or so while wearing through three or four pairs of walking shoes, he has also noticed some other benefits of walking. “You get a lot of time to think, so there’s a lot of self-reflection,” he smiles. “I’ve also been walking a lot with (recently retired teacher and coach) Bill McMahan ’67. It seems like we run into each other often while out walking, and talking with Bill is unbelievable. I’ve learned a lot from him and from his years at Baylor. I’ve walked with my wife, Laura, quite a bit and that’s good and important time with her, one on one, talking about our day, our kids – there’s a lot that we get to talk about during that time. I also listen to podcasts or music. I try to do different things every day.”
Steele, a Middle School math teacher, says he figured that he must average 5.8 miles per day every day this year to reach his goal and has walked short of that figure on only five days. He says that hitting the magic number of 2,021 does not have to happen on the last day of the year. “If I get it earlier, I may keep walking through the end of the year just to see how many miles I can get in,” Steele says. “I may miss some more days during the next few months, but it feels good to be ahead of my needed pace.”
Speaking of pace, with an average of 8.3 miles per day since January 1, Steele was at about 1,270 miles when school dismissed for summer break. With such a motivated start and a successful first half of the year, there is little doubt that he will reach his goal. But for now, he’s ‘Steele’ walking.