Stepforwards has started fundraising for 2021 by raising £100 raised for Cancer Research UK.
Due to Covid restrictions I had put aside my plans for group fundraising activities in 2020, but I still wanted to raise money, even if it was on an individual basis, and with this in mind I signed up for Cancer Research UK’s 10 000 steps a day challenge in March 2021. When I signed up I was working part-time from home and the days seemed long and empty. By the time March came round and it was time to start the challenge I was working full-time in a hectically busy job, back in the office, and time seemed quite a lot less elastic than it had first appeared.
To alleviate some of the pressure of fitting in the steps on days when it just didn’t feel possible, I gave myself a minimum amount that I had to reach on every day, which then needed to be made up by the end of the week so by Sunday night each week I had reached 70 000 steps.
For the first fortnight this formula worked well. If I got a little behind in the week I would catch up in buckets at the weekend with long dog walks, Zumba training and also running around a lot for work, and I started the 3rd week of the challenge 10 000 steps ahead of target.
I needed them. Week 3 was a tough week. Bad weather and very long working hours meant I ended the 3rd week nearly 8000 steps short of the 70 000 required, although still 2000 ahead of target. All I needed was a consistent 10 000 steps a day for the rest of the challenge and I would be fine.
On March 22nd I came home from work, taught my class, and went to bed ill. This was a pattern that would be repeated Wednesday and Thursday of the same week. My small lead disappeared and I started to fall behind.
I am the sort of person, as I think most people are, who will commit to sponsoring a person for their attempt as much as the completion of their challenge. If I sponsor you to run 10k and you drop out after 9, you will still keep my money. Therefore, I am sure if I had not completed the challenge, or if I had taken a couple of days longer, that the wonderful people who supported me and the charity would not have been asking for their money back.
However, this was not what I wanted for my challenge. I wanted to finish on the 31st day on 310 000 steps.
On Tuesday 30th March I crashed into bed at 11pm after jogging on the spot until I was almost asleep, disturbing my partner who was trying to watch TV downstairs. At 7am on Tuesday 31st March I got up needing to take 17 729 steps in that day to complete my challenge.
I spent the first hour of the day running round the house doing chores and left early on 1000 steps. I drove to work, parked up and walked around the block several times before walking into the office. I managed to keep myself walking to the kettle or photocopier until lunchtime and managed to be on 5000 steps by the time I headed out for a break.
I don’t get too many breaks at work. I walked around as much as I could in the 20 minutes or so that I had then went back to finding every excuse I could to get up from my desk.
I got home on 9000 steps. Then my partner and I went out for a very long walk. We have a few different versions of our dog walk, dependant on time, weather and inclination. On this night we did the long walk, with an added trip to the Co-op on the way home to walk around the aisles!
By the time I had done my ‘prepping dinner dance’ (see my previous blog for this and other ways to make up steps!) I had achieved over 19 000 steps for the day and 311 000 for the challenge as a whole. On Thursday I lay on the sofa all evening!
I wouldn’t recommend this approach to step challenges, and truthfully, I would like to try this again in better weather once things are a little more under control and I can devote time to more consistent walking. None the less, I am proud to say that I did it.
A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me. I am looking forward to my next challenge because honestly, now it is over I miss it!