Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Squash and walking

I forgot to wear my HRM for squash today and it was the first time in weeks that I've actually worked up a sweat. Isn't it always the way?

Murali and I played our usual five game match, and the last game was a breathtaking decider. I guess I'm having to work harder because Murali is getting much fitter. I used to be able to rely on him running out of energy in the fifth game but now I'm having to work hard the whole way through. It was great fun.

Other than that, I did a fair bit of walking today. The walking challenge is in full swing and we've been asked for a team name and a team quote. One of the guys has come up with Flying Turtles. I think it's amusing so I'm voting for it. I hit the net and found a few good quotes for a walking challenge where we are counting our steps.

There was the obvious one by Lao-Tzu: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." I also found a Winston Churchill quotation that I thought was appropriate: "Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."

My team is currently in 114th place of 3357 teams. That's much higher than we were last year, so we're off to a better start. There are seven members on the team, four men and three women. You're only allowed two athletes. They define an athlete loosely as someone who competes in triathlons or half/full marathons. We have one athlete. While he doesn't race, he runs those kinds of distances on a regular basis. Unfortunately, he's injured at the moment with a torn calf muscle. Fortunately, we also have two crazy women, of whom I'm one. When I say crazy, Alex and I did a lot of walking last year. We've both started strongly this year as we know what we need to do this time.

To give you an idea of the number of steps involved in this, my team has an average step count of 11.5k steps/day at the moment, compared to an overall average of 7k steps/day. The leaders have gone out hard and have an average of nearly 26k steps/day. I'm currently sitting on 16.1k steps/day (10.3 km).

Over the term of the challenge, people's activity increases significantly. Last year, the overall average was 9.5k steps/day. This was despite the fact that a number of teams stop entering their steps part way through the challenge. My team ended up in 23rd place with an average of 18.3k steps/day. My overall average last year was 21.1k steps/day. I managed to walk 25k steps/day for the last 25 days of the challenge, which was a real effort. It takes hours!

I didn't put my GCC goal in writing the other day. My soft target is to do better than last year, and my hard target is to get my overall average up to 25k by the end of the challenge. I haven't gotten obsessive compulsive about it yet. Going on last year's effort, I'm sure it will happen soon. *blush*

This challenge got me fit enough to start running, so I'm really glad I had a go at it. I think it also saved me from a lot of the beginning runner injury problems I've heard about, as I was walking the equivalent of 16 km/day by the end of the challenge. By the end of October I had legs of steel!

You get your step count up much faster running than walking, so I'm relying on the challenge giving me added incentive to get out there and run over winter. I'm sure it will help on those cold Canberra mornings.

Speaking of cold mornings, it's going to be -3 degrees Celsius overnight, so I have begged a lift to the outdoor fitness challenge tomorrow morning. I decided that there wasn't a lot of value in turning up as a popsicle. I'll be rugging up. I wonder how many layers I can wear and still run. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Oh, and I put my electric blanket on the bed tonight.


jojo said...

squash certainly gets the HR up.. I know mine gets well over 170 beats per minute(and thats hte check just before the next serve so i have started recovery already...EEK) although no squash for me for a while! 16K of steps WOW WOW WOW... i either run or nothing..i would suck...

kathrynoh said...

How do you measure your steps? I've tried using pedometres but they never seem to be very accurate on me. Good luck on your challenge.

lyndylou said...

Hi Kathy,

Wow, you really are knocking those steps on the head! It's fabulous. Keep up the great work and hopefully I'll see you over the weekend.

Love, Lynda

Em said...

Something about "to know a man you must walk a mile in his shoes", think it came from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Geez, 26Km some people are doing alot of walking a day, though if it includes running that shouldn't be too hard.

Your teams 11Km a day is fantasticm that is no mean feat, keep it up!

Andrew(ajh) said...

114th out of 3357 is great - well done!
Wow, I've been cold the last few days, but -3 - ouch.
I've had the electric blanky on for ages now, have even left it on low all night a few nights :-)