Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm Not Competitive ...


  ... or wait, maybe I am.  The company I work for has been sponsoring a fitness challenge for the last five weeks, encouraging employees to exercise for 30 minutes five times a week, aiming for a total of 900 minutes and logging their minutes on a website.  Each department is its own team, and the team that ends up with the highest average number of minutes wins Fitbits for every person on the team.  Sure, I'll play along!

My company sponsors a major midwest marathon, and the story going around is that the CFO group challenged each other to train for and participate in the marathon, and the challenge spread to other departments in the company.  It's all anonymous; we can see other people's rankings as well as our own, but we can only tell what team they're on, not their name or what specific exercise they're doing.  I was somewhat surprised to find that I've been the leader, not just on my own team but company wide, almost since the first day, although a pack of CFO team members has been hot on my heels (how many CFOs can one company have, anyway?).  I'm not doing anything spectacular, just the daily bike commute along with trail running and roller skiing on weekends, but that speaks to the value of consistency, always my weakness.

Then last weekend I caught a cold.  I have asthma, so a little cold quickly goes nuclear and I have to be very careful with myself.  So for four days this week I did nothing, and quickly dropped to fourth place.  Damn!  By the end of the week I could take some little walks and this weekend I did a little bit of easy hiking, coughing and blowing my nose as I went, but it was too little, too late.  The challenge ends today and I think I finished in third, with a little more than 5,000 minutes.  Third, after being in first the whole time.

I've been trying to figure out why this bums me out so much.  It's not like the leader gets a prize or any special recognition; the prizes are reserved for the winning team (there is no "I" in "team") and even though I lead my team by a huge margin, my team as a whole is in fourth place.  Still, it really bothers me, and I think I know why: I'm not particularly good at any of the sports I love to do, and I'm certainly not fast, but if you want to challenge me to pure number of training hours, I have a fighting chance.  Training hours is what I do!  I thought this was finally my chance to be a contender; if I had done my normal training this week, I would have won the whole thing by a comfortable margin, but a stupid, badly timed cold knocked me out of the ring.

Still ... staying healthy is part of the challenge of being an athlete.  That's a good reminder as we enter the cold and flu season.  If you get sick and can't train, you're falling behind, and we don't have time for that.  Bring on the hot lemon juice and ginger!


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