Health Miles step challenge

So, I’ve been in this Health Miles program at work for almost a year now. Click the link where I explain it more but basically they pay you for being healthy and walking.

So for the month of April the company has been doing a step challenge. Basically whoever takes the most steps wins. Plus, there’s money involved. Top guy gets $100, then $75, then $50, then $25 for places 4-10, and $10 for places 11-20.

Now, I knew that I was not going to win because there are just far too many freaks out there. On April 1st (day 1), I uploaded so that I could see myself in 1st place with about 9,000 steps at about noon. I lasted there about all of 10 minutes before someone else uploaded their steps and wasted me with about 15,000. But then an hour or so later, someone else uploaded and had 25,000 steps by 2:00 on the first day.

I was calling shenanigans, but apparently this guy was seen running on the treadmill for about 90 minutes before work, and then for another hour or so at lunch. So like I said, there’s a lot of FREAKS out there.

As some comparison, it is commonly recommended that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy goal to have. In the 9 months or so that I’ve had this pedometer, I’ve been averaging about 10,500, so that’s nice.

So since this challenge started, I’ve been actively trying to get more steps than that. I’ve been working out extra in the mornings (also triathlon training), and for the month, have an average of just over 14,000 steps. So about a 40% increase.

And yet, THAT’S NOT EVEN HALF OF WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE DOING!!! It’s worse than I can even figure because as part of the challenge setup, there’s a daily maximum of 30,000 steps. So any steps that you take more than that are not counted towards the challenge. But there are 3 people in the company that have maxed out (30,000+) EVERY DAY! Like I said, there are a lot of freaks out there.

So today is the last day of the challenge, so I was trying to do some calculations as to where I stood. For the first week or two, I was holding on to some illusions of earning $25 by finishing in the top 10, but it has become increasingly clear that I’ll be lucky to hit the top 20.

So this afternoon, I looked at my calculations. I was at about 344K steps. But I also had 61K in the bank (I haven’t uploaded since Friday in a sort of sandbagging maneuver so that others don’t know how many steps I have – the pedometer has an internal memory that keeps track even if you don’t upload). I was also banking on a 15K day today, which would put me at 421K.

So looking at the leaderboard, there were 17 people that already had more than 421K, so I knew they’d be ahead of me. But then I realized something – because of the 30,000 / day maximum, anyone that had uploaded today (Wed) with less than 391K steps could not catch me, since the max they could do on Wed (the last day) was 30K. The leaderboard only tells you total steps and the last day uploaded – nothing about how they’ve done on particular days or what time they uploaded. Similarly, anyone with a last upload date of Tuesday and less than 361 could not catch me, and so on.

There was one lady who was at 413K with a last upload date of today. I figured she had likely uploaded in the morning and was probably going to work out later and pass me. Then there was one at 361K and a Saturday date who also looked likely to pass.

That would put me at 20th, and then there were only 2 others who had a chance (everyone else was eliminated due to the 30,000 daily max logic above). There was one guy at 363K and Monday, and one lady at 331K and Sunday. Both of those folks could theoretically catch me but it would be difficult.

I had worked out on the elliptical this morning. I tweaked my back bowling on Friday and it still kind of hurts. So I didn’t want to run on the treadmill for that reason. I tried a few elliptical machines this morning before finding one I liked. They were all various elliptical / stair stepping type things. The first one still felt like it was impactful. Then the second one only was counting every other step of mine (similar to how it works when I bike), but then the 3rd one hit the sweet spot. 45 minutes at about 150 steps per minute, so about 6500.

But in looking at my chances, I figured I’d better seal the deal and so I went after work too. Even used the same smelly clothes (and they were pretty rank). Did another 40 minutes and currently sit at 26,177 steps for the day. So I’m feeling good – even the 413K / Wed lady will have to do another 21K today to catch me.

I’ll keep you posted!

So I may have been mistaken for a homeless person

First of all apologies to those of you I’ve already told this story.  But yes, I fear I may have been mistaken for a homeless person yesterday.  I was out at the mall last night with my 2 older children.  I had gone there to walk around because I was in a pedometer challenge (who could take the most steps from the 23rd to the 30th) and it was the last day and I wanted to do my best to help my team to win.  And also to look for coins of course, as the mall is a great place for coins.

So we were walking around the food court and we had spotted a few coins.  We had stopped to get a drink at the water fountain in the corner of the food court when this girl (maybe 10-12 years old) says “Excuse me” to my son.  We stop and turn, and she gives him $1.17 in coins and then leaves.
Now originally I just thought that her mom or whoever had seen him looking for coins and just wanted to make his day by giving him a bunch of coins.  And I still think that’s a reasonable possibility.  But then this morning Carolyn came up with the homeless hypothesis: that the mom or whoever saw us scrounging for coins and thought we were trying to come up with enough for a meal for the kids and thought she would help out.

In any case, I have decided not to count that money in my change quest.  I actually feel kind of bad about it, especially if she really was intending for it to help us out.  So I am going to donate it at church on Sunday and that way it can go for some good.

The weird thing is that we had just come from a (rare!) dinner out at Larosas. We had dressed all the kids up in the hopes that it would cause them to behave better than a typical kid at a restaurant scene. It worked, but that is neither here nor there. I bring it up because I was dressed in my work clothes. The son was dressed similarly in khakis and a button down shirt, and the daughter was in a nice dress. So it wasn’t like we were all lookin scruffy.

But in other news, we did find $1.45 in just run of the mill coins (1 quarter, 9 dimes, 1 nickel and 25 pennies) and also found 3 of the racecar strollers that were not returned to their bases, which we returned for 4 quarters each.  Total is now up to $32.44 found, with an estimated $100 date of Jan. 24, 2010.

In other other news, we got killed in our challenge.  One of the other teams both did 25,000 steps both yesterday and the day before and wasted us.