I turned the corner and there, 500 metres ahead, were the leading pack. They were tightly grouped and moving at a reasonable pace. Catching and overtaking them would not be easy.
It was Week 2 of the Step Count Challenge and my knee was still troubling me. I had originally decided to take this 5K easy, but when I saw the group ahead, my competitive nature took over. I checked my heart rate and pace on my new Garmin Forerunner 235 (what a watch) and realised that I could, should and would catch them.
I zeroed in on the person at the tail of the group and made him my target. I would catch him first and then pick the rest off, one by one.
I lifted my head, pushed out my chest and focused on quickly gaining ground on the competition. It took me five minutes to get within 10 metres of him and at this point I stopped gaining on him. It was as if he was aware of my approach and had increased his own pace to keep me at bay. I wasn’t sure how long I could maintain my own pace and I was close to admitting defeat.
And then, an opportunity presented itself.
We approached a road crossing and although no traffic was coming, I nonchalantly jogged across and as we touched down on the kerb, we were finally level and for at least thirty seconds we were neck and neck, matching each other in stride.
I didn’t dare to turn my neck and simply stared ahead, quickening my pace that little bit more. Soon, I necked ahead and then the real work began.
At this point, I should probably explain . This was not a running race. In fact, it was really only a race in my mind.
For this was my 3 mile active commute to work and as far as I was aware, nobody else was in on my private race.
Or were they?
As I marched on towards work, I heard the sound of shoes slapping. He was right behind me and the quicker I walked, the louder his shoes became. I could not shake him and my wee (28 inch) legs were struggling. How could he be moving so fast, for so long? Was he also racing me?!
I quickly glanced around and he was nowhere to be seen. How could this be possible, especially when I could still hear his shoes?
Possibly because they were not his shoes. They were mine. Not on my feet, but in my bag!!
I take my walks to work and the Step Count Challenge seriously (maybe too seriously, if this blog is anything to go by) and wear running shoes on the way in while my dress shoes are in my bag.
The noise was the soles of my shoes reverberating rthymically together in my bag, as I moved faster. It reminded me of the famous Billy Connolly shark joke.
On realising this, I instinctively slowed my pace and disaster struck. Out of nowhere, another commuter appeared and overtook me. She had the most amazing gait and was walking effortlessly and at speed… in heels! I was up against a pro.
At every junction, I applied my casual jog to gain the lead, only to see her once again overtake me on the pavement. She was a walking machine. As I crossed the final road and neared the point of no return i.e. my workplace, I resorted to what can only be described as cheating.
I innocently checked my watch and feigned surprise and shock at the time. I shook my head and broke into a run.
Haha. Take that fast walking business lady.
Victory was mine, even if I did break the rules. But then, this is my own race and there are no rules. I am wild like that.
This is how I make my daily Step Count Challenge walks to and from work fun and interesting, especially as my route takes me along some rather dull and uninspiring streets.
Am I alone in my secret races or do you also compete against other commuters? Or, do you have other ways to gamify your Step Count Challenge walks?