As I wrote in mid-July, there was a big HealthMiles challenge open to the members of HealthFlex, the health insurance plan of The United Methodist Church.
In all, more than 2,800 participants logged more than 709,581,760 total steps during the 29-day challenge. The challenge sponsors set a 30,000-step daily limit, and a number of us shot for the limit each day. In the end, 17 of us finished in a tie with 870,000 steps.
The top three finishers were determined in a random drawing. I was not one of the three (who will receive $100, $75, or $50 for first, second, and third places). The other 14 of us will get $25 (along with the rest of the top-50 finishers).
There were 33 teams (31 conferences plus the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and one college) in the team competition. My team/conference, which averaged 273,228 steps/person, finished 8th.
As I said at the beginning, I simply wanted to see what I could do. I didn’t really intend to do 30,000 steps a day for 29 days in a row. I thought I’d start out with 30,000 on the first day and see what the competition looked like. I knew it was going to be tough when 50+ people uploaded 30,000 steps the first day. From then on, I took it one day at a time!
My biggest challenges were mental (constantly tracking my daily progress and keeping myself moving) and, of course, time. The biggest thing that helped was getting up earlier and starting the day with a 60-90 minute walk, racking up 7,500 to 10,000 steps first thing in the morning. I also used this time for prayer and planning. It was a great way to start the day!
Beyond that, it was a fairly normal but very active day. There were a few days (especially toward the end) where I was finishing my day with a 30-45 minute walk to get those remaining 3,000+ steps (a sign of getting tired?). Overall, though, I felt pretty energized. It was probably the adrenaline!
The toughest day was the 28th day of the 29-day challenge. We had to leave for Pittsburgh at 4:30 am for a 9-hour continuing education event. We spent about 6 hours on the road to and from Pittsburgh. I knew that didn’t leave much time for sleep!
I got up at 3:00 (on 4 hours of sleep) to walk for (only) 45-minutes. I walked at the Mellon Arena when I could (which wasn’t much). When we got home, and after Ethan went to bed, I walked for about an hour and a half to get my 30,000 steps for the day. I think I finished around/after 11:00 pm. Then I had to get up a few hours later for the final day of the challenge!
Well, in the 8 full days since the challenge ended, I’ve held myself to 12,000 – 15,000 steps a day with one day over 20,000. Soon, I’ll get back to aiming for 16,000 – 20,000 steps a day.
During the challenge, I thought a lot about the theme of “running the race,” the commitment to “keep moving forward,” and the utter importance of “finishing well” (which happens to be the topic of tomorrow’s sermon, my first since the challenge and a few days of vacation).