The first mini-challenge was “the power of seven.” Each team has seven people on it. For the Power of Seven mini-challenge you have to pick a day (among some prescribed options) where your team hits 100,000 steps together as a team. This year my team is much more into it than last year. And we did it! It was a nice exercise in working together as a team and even though it’s a small thing, it felt good to reach our goal. They give you little virtual trophies. And it’s nice to have team efforts on my trophy wall (yes, it’s the small things!).
This week we had another challenge: “beat your best.” This one was kind of daunting for me since my best was the day I ran the half marathon and hit just over 35,000 steps. If I was going to make over that in a day, I really had to plan for it. My average, which I can easily exceed if I walk to and from work (good for 14,000 steps round trip), add in an on-foot errand, and get up and move around from time to time, is about 16,500.
They give you a Thursday-Sunday range to choose from. You choose a day within that range. Since Sunday is my long run anyway, I figured it would be a good start. I messaged Julie and Anita to give them a heads up that I needed to get lots of steps that day and would they mind changing our 90 minute run to at least two hours. The first thing I got back, from Julie, was “lol.” At least it wasn’t a “no.” Anita said, “let’s see how we feel after 45 minutes.” We had just had a conversation last Sunday about how we didn’t feel motivated to do 2 hour runs this summer.
Since my challenge wasn’t theirs, I decided to take the pressure off of my running buddies and leave the house half an hour before I was meeting them. That way, we could stick with 90 minutes together and I could do 30 on my own. It was a good call because it put the responsibility for my steps fully on me.
Okay, so two hours of morning running, with a portion of that in the pouring rain with Anita (Julie had to wind it back because of some foot troubles she’s having), prepared me for a good breakfast at Billy’s Deli and got me to about 19,000 steps. I was also exhausted and a bit cold (from the rain), so went home after breakfast for a hot bath and a nap. Ready for round two!
The walk to campus and back is not only beautiful, but good for 14,000 steps. I also had an errand to run near the International Food Festival in Victoria Park. Adding that to my route would increase the steps. Did I mention that the weather was perfect for walking by then? The humidity had dissipated after the morning’s rain and the temperatures had moderated. So I put on my comfy shoes, grabbed my iPhone so I could listen to some talks I’ve been enjoying, and set out for another two hours on foot.
By the time I got home, I was feeling extremely relaxed (walking really puts me in a calm mindset) and already had over 36,000 steps.
I closed out the night with 38,514 steps, unable to take the additional 1486 that would take me to a nice round 40,000.So you might think, “Big deal.” The whole step counting phenomenon is kind of odd anyway. I’ve blogged before about how counting steps leaves out so much — strength training and yoga, for example, aren’t accounted for at all. Unlike swimming and cycling, the global challenge offers no conversions for these activities.
Still and all, I enjoyed the challenge of “beat your best” on Sunday. It felt good. I got a little boost and it didn’t totally wear me out. My feet were a bit sore and I confess I didn’t do much in between the run and the walk other than bathing, napping, and eating.
Besides feeling good, I liked checking in with the team. Even more daunting than my previous personal best, team-member Christine had a PB of 45,000 to contend with. And she did it too, ending up with over 48,000 steps on her beat your best day. And Joanne beat her best too.
The whole thing is strangely motivating, which I suppose is not news and is, in fact, the entire point. Beating your best is a well-tested strategy for upping our game in all sorts of things: race results, step counts, distance, weight you can lift, yoga poses, swim times…
Does the idea of “beating your best” motivate you in some areas of your fitness life?