Oxfam Trailwalker

Of walking (or not) and dodgy pedometers

Once upon a time I walked 100km. In just under 36 hours. I did this as part of the Oxfam Trailwalker fundraising event back in 2010. The challenge was to walk 100km as a team of four in less than 48 hours. It was an amazing experience — and very very tough. (If you’re interested, our Trailwalker team blog is here.)

The reason I bring this up now is because all I can think about is how much I wish I was wearing a pedometer back then. Not only during the event, but during all the months leading up to it. I hate to think how many kilometres I walked from October 2009 and April 2010 as we trained and trained and trained.

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I’m participating in the Global Corporate Challenge — a 16-week event aimed at getting desk-bound workers moving. I’ve been wearing a pedometer for nine weeks now, trying to average 10,000 steps a day. I was managing it for a few weeks, but recently I’ve been struggling (partly, I recently discovered, due to a dodgy pedometer) and my average has slipped.

This is really difficult for me to handle! Just as I set out to walk 100km within 48 hours two years ago and succeeded, I embarked upon this Global Corporate Challenge with every intention of blitzing it. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to average 10,000 steps a day? Even when I determined it was around an hour a day’s dedicated walking, I thought it would be achievable.

Moreover, this weekend, there’s an added challenge to coincide with the start of the Olympic Games… Over four days (starting yesterday) we’re supposed to target a marathon distance. That’s 42km — approximately 65,000 steps — in four days. Or 16,500 steps a day. Show me such a challenge and all I want to do is achieve it.

After all, it’s less than HALF the Trailwalker distance, and I did that in under two days…

It all comes down to time. One of the reasons I probably won’t ever do Trailwalker again is because of the time investment. For seven months the training consumed me — every weekend and most weeknights. I certainly didn’t make any progress on my WIP. But I considered it a worthwhile endeavour.

With the Global Corporate Challenge, it’s been a challenge to squeeze in the exercise required to average 10,000 steps. Despite my fully functioning elliptical trainer — which I love. But invariably, it’s eating into my evenings — which is my writing time. My time. While I believe the Global Corporate Challenge is also a worthwhile endeavour, this time I’m not willing to make the same sacrifice.

It doesn’t seem possible to succeed at everything, all at once. Alas.

So this is why, when I consider the Global Corporate Challenge and my sub-par average of 9,400 steps, I can’t help but think wistfully back to when I did put walking before writing for a brief period of time… Man, I would have nailed this weekend’s marathon challenge back then!