Each May, PRA supports employees who want to join the CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge race. This year, we logged our 3.5 miles remotely from various locations across the country. Each of us approached the occasion with our own wellness goals in mind, and as we each finished our walks, runs, or a bit of both on our own schedules, we sent each other emails, photos, and encouragement. Though we were hundreds or thousands of miles apart and far from the spectators at the in-person event, we only had to check our inboxes to see we had our own personal crowd cheering us on every step of the way.
I was excited to integrate the CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge this year into my personal wellness goal of having more “walking meetings” and physical activity throughout the workday. I did this year’s challenge on my treadmill while participating in a training on improving data quality. While that might not sound like the most exciting thing to do, I loved how walking during the meeting helped me to focus more closely on the resources, rather than multi-tasking. It’s a great reminder of the benefits of incorporating wellness activities into my work!
I joined the Workforce Team Challenge to go for a run with my colleagues, but also with the plan to include the “virtual” run in the middle of my training plan for an upcoming 10-mile race I signed up for in June. The wellness challenge of joining a run is right up my alley—for many years, I was a long-distance runner, participating in at least one half-marathon a year for about 7 years. Age, multiple combat deployments, an injury sustained jumping out of an airplane in 2012, retirement from the military, and graduate school all combined to cause me to describe myself as a “former” long-distance runner. I picked it back up in the fall of 2021, however, with the goal of running one race a month in 2022… and the Workforce Challenge was the May race in the book!
I planned to run the challenge as part of my Saturday long run in a local park called Garden of the Gods, which is beautiful, with a view of Pikes Peak several miles away. Just coming back from travel and the hilly route combined to give me a good run but not the best time; I had also signed up for a run to support our local zoo, which was a hill climb up the side of another local mountain. During the week, it was great to think of joining my colleagues running in Oregon, Georgia, New York, and everywhere else…along with the mountains of Colorado!
I didn’t feel like going out on Sunday for the CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge. It was unseasonably hot, and I was upset by the news that another person had been killed in an act of violence on the subway earlier that day. Looking out the window beyond the orange barricade diverting traffic around the never-ending construction in my area, I wondered if the heat, the litter-strewn street, and media reports of at least eight shootings in the city in the past 24 hours would keep me from leaving the house. “What’s the point?” I thought to myself as I headed out the door.
In the past few years, there has been no shortage of opportunities to feel the weight of sadness and loss all around us. Living in a crowded city, the ripple effects of the pandemic and extreme inequality are felt every day. I’ve had less time than I’d like to support my own wellness, which is why I convinced myself I should join my colleagues in entering the Workforce Challenge this year. I decided to walk at my own pace on city streets, the same streets I have walked countless times, in the neighborhood where I grew up. I’m glad I did it, despite my initial reticence. I took some pictures of things I saw along the way, including a mural with the words, “Look into the eyes of others and see yourself.”
When I decided to join the PRA team on the virtual Workforce Team Challenge, I figured it would be a good way to get motivated to start jogging with a goal in mind. Little did I know it would create a virtual space to get to know a few of my colleagues a little better, and seeing other folx’s pictures and experiences truly motivated me to give it my all. I am typically a hiker, so anything more than a speed walk is usually against my rules, but I am glad I pushed myself to run some too! Thanks PRA and colleagues for the motivation and drive to kick this summer off in a healthier way. Here is a photo or two of the run around the Bay in Olympia, Washington.
I finished my run this morning before the second day of the SOAR State Team Lead Conference. We were staying in my old neighborhood in Atlanta, and I got to run past my old condo and along my regular route for 5 years in Piedmont Park. It was a slow roll and not the pace I ran 12 years ago, but it brought back wonderful memories!
(No selfie, but I took a picture of the shirt I wore, my fave from a previous CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge.)
Though I love running, I don’t get out on a trail often these days—usually it’s easier to fit in a little HIIT [high-intensity interval training] on the treadmill, which means watching the clock, pushing hard, and getting it over with. So when I do head outside for the odd run, I like to let go and let my legs set the pace. It was especially nice to go with the flow on this jog since I took it on my Day of Reflection, a workday set aside annually for employees to reflect on career planning, goal setting, or other job-related personal activities. I spent much of the day reflecting on my last year on the job and thinking about future goals, and spending some time just letting my feet follow a path was a perfect break. The local rail trail is a forgiving site for someone who isn’t logging a lot of miles—shady, quiet, and so flat—and at the end, I stepped off of it refreshed and ready to do some more planning.