The Family Sprint Challenge

Like I imagine many of you (most?), there’s been a whole lot of sitting around the house in my family since we went into social distancing mode. Tons of computer and screen time, between work and writing and watching things in the evening to relax. I wanted to come up with a way to get the whole family engaged in something a bit more physical, even if it was just a small thing.

My solution? The family sprint challenge.

Three weeks ago, I outlined the plan to the fam. We’d pick a course and start timing each other to see how fast we could complete it. Why? Because why not. My family likes a good competition, though I stressed to them that we’d be racing against our own best times more than anything else. Everyone’s at a different ability level when it comes to running, so while we’ keep track of who was overall fastest, we’d also be paying attention to how improved people are becoming.

Daniela caught the spirit right away. She’s never one to turn down the chance to make a chart, and she went straight for a piece of paper and pencils. In no time, we had the challenge up on the wall, waiting and ready for people to fill out their times. But that’s where it sat for about a week, untouched and pristine. Clearly my family wasn’t going to start spontaneously running without a nudge.

So I got out my sneakers and sweatpants and ran the route as best I could, making sure everyone knew I was doing it. It’s about a half mile, up a hill and then back down it. From from a level surface the whole way, and while I’m still jogging in place each day to keep the heart rate up now and then, that’s all the exertion I’m typically up to. I knew this was going up on The Chart, however, so I really pushed myself. When I got back, I was wheezing for a half hour, and that was after just 3 and a half minutes of sprinting. (Well, sprinting for the first bit. Let’s not fool ourselves here.)

However, it was enough to get the rest of the family moving. Tomas headed out almost as soon as I got back, never one to prove to the rest of the world that he’s better than me. He did the course in 2:09. Yikes. That inspired Denisa, Daniela, and even MC to get in on the action. I was worried I was going to come in last. (I have no illusions that I’m fleet of foot), but my record ended up getting me second place. Woo hoo!

Sunday, we raced again. Tomas shaved off two seconds from his time. MC decided she wanted a shorter course. (I don’t blame her.) Daniela and Denisa both improved by around 20 seconds, and I cut a whole half minute off my best. Down to 3 minutes even! (Though I was still huffing and puffing enough to put the Big Bad Wolf to shame.

All told, it’s been successful so far. We’ll see how long we can keep it up. If anyone local wants to come by and add their entries to the chart, I’ll be happy to time you. 🙂


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