Global Corporate Challenge

Every year I participate. And every year I regret it.

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At the heart of it, the Global Corporate Challenge is a great thing. Inspiring people to become a better version of themselves is always a plus. The main goal of the challenge is to reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day. Participants are asked to log their daily steps into the site and can track their progress. There’s an automatic support network because of the scope of the challenge.

As the name implies, it’s global. And it’s corporate. Hundreds of companies around the world sign up for the program and encourages employees to join. Teams of seven are formed, then pitted against each other in a friendly competition. While the goal is to hit the average 10,ooo steps, scoreboard leaders often log up to 50,000 steps daily.

There are message boards filled with inspiring tales of changed lives and motivational quotes. Sound nutritional tips are provided on a weekly basis.

Community

So why the Scrooge attitude?

About 3 years ago, I decided to make a major lifestyle change and started going to the gym on a regular basis. I signed up for group training sessions in order to force myself to go. It was hard at first, but over time, it’s now become part of the routine. In fact, when I don’t go, something feels a bit off.

In a nutshell, the training sessions are a healthy mix of cardio and weight training – the combination of exercise that most fitness gurus subscribe to. A major perk of these sessions is not having to think about what to do. Every day the workout is different, so there’s no concern about over working certain muscle groups.

Every workout can be a challenge. It all depends on how hard you push yourself. But when there’s a little step tracker attached to you, sometimes it’s easy to forget the big picture. An intense one hour workout may earn the same step count as a relaxing 20 minute walk around the block.

How is that possible? Some exercises don’t require full body movement. In fact, it’s often discouraged because you want to isolate certain muscle groups. Short of changing the position the step tracker for every exercise, this leads to an inaccurate count of physical activity.

Sure, activity trackers aren’t 100% accurate, but it can be discouraging when team members are counting on you for steps. Read: STEPS. Hence, the problem. Overall though, I don’t discredit the program. The Global Corporate Challenge is a great motivational tool for people who have desk jobs and are glued to their chairs all day.

Steps

Just remember to achieve long term success, it’s important to have fun. Find something fun to do as exercise and stick with the program. And to paraphrase a certain blue fish, just keep on moving.

The Giant Race

Giant Race

Running as never been my thing. Back in elementary school, I was usually one of the last ones to finish a lap around the parking lot. When I was playing soccer, my highest achievement was finishing 3rd overall when everyone had to run around the field – and that was with a healthy head start. Fast forward to adulthood. I’ve definitely been more conscious about my health in the past few years but running has never been my go to form of exercise. When people around me started to sign up for 5ks and marathons in droves, I questioned their motivations. Why pay for a race when you can simply lace up those sneakers and run around the block?

Well, some questions were answered in the form of my first 5k. Registration for the Giant Race was an unexpected yet welcomed birthday present from Peg. Believe me when I say I probably would have never joined one if it weren’t for her.

In the three months between registration and race day, my training schedule was anything but regular. To clarify, I work out. A lot. I try to go to the gym every day but usually make it at least three time a week. It’s a class setting with different exercises daily – a combination of cardio and weight training. If I can make it through a class with minimal breaks, I should be able to run a 5k without breaking a sweat right?

Prior to the big day, I went running all of two times. The first was cut short when I found out I locked myself out of the house. The second was me fighting sleeplessness and strong winds around a cruise deck.

Giant Race 2

Come race day, I was anything but prepared but more than willing to take on the challenge. The race path had runners cruising along San Francisco’s famous piers and finished at AT&T Park. My pace was slow and steady, like a turtle, and I finished in 37 minutes. It’s not a stellar time, but considering the facts above, it’s not horrible.

I think I get it now. There’s a thrill to finishing a race. A sense of accomplishment that can only be cemented via finisher’s medal and hard earned sweat. There’s that drive to continuously improve and beat old times. It almost has me considering to make running a regular thing. Almost.