May 28, 2020

All-women’s team wins Step Counting Competition

By Robin Brooks

The SHIN SPRINTERS, an all-women’s team composed of Diana Douglass (team captain), Quynh Nguyen, Ellen Tejera, and Jen Tritz took top honors in the Step Counting Competition managed by the Intramurals program at UW Recreation. The challenge ran April 20 – May 17 and was designed to be completed virtually; it encouraged participants to aim for 8,000 steps a day and to log their steps six days a week.

Ten teams of four people per team moved for a combined distance of 5,543 miles, or 11,707,755 steps over the four weeks! The MVP for the SHIN SPRINTERS was Quynh, who logged 492,626 steps. Combined, the team logged an impressive 1,553,088 steps for the competition.

Rec got in touch with the team to get their thoughts on winning the competition; here are their responses, compiled and lightly edited.

A photo of Diana Douglass

Team captain Diana Douglass

Rec: How do you know each other/how was the team formed?
Jen: We are all second year students in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.
Quynh: We know each other through our Physical Therapy program for the last two years and thought that this competition can keep us moving more during this COVID-19 time.
Ellen: As future PTs, we are always looking for ways to stay active!

Rec: Why did you participate in the Step Counting Competition?
Ellen: As a part of our cohort’s workout challenge, I had made a goal for myself to log at least 5 miles of distance a day during this Zoom time. I am used to walking to and from buses and around the medical center. Although I intended to continue exercising at home in other ways, I didn’t want to miss out on these little bouts of walking throughout the day. (My dogs also agreed this was an excellent idea!) When the opportunity came up to be a little competitive with my distance, I jumped at the opportunity!
Diana: I wanted motivation to move more, regardless of the quality, intensity, or intention. We are all in a workout challenge with our cohort, and I wanted motivation to move even if it didn’t count towards our other workout challenge

A photo of Quynh Nguyen

MVP Quynh Nguyen

Quynh: I participated in the Step Counting Competition because I wanted to motivate myself to go outside more. It is also a way for me to get on my feet after a whole day sitting in Zoom classes. I thought having teammates will keep us connected and also a motivation.
Jen: I wanted another piece of motivation to run every day or just keep moving even with full days of school on Zoom.

Rec: While participating – did you face any challenges or do you have any highlights to share?
Diana: There were some days that getting to 8,000 felt like a challenge, but I was always able to get it done for my teammates. My highlight of the whole challenge was that we were all supportive of one another, and had some friendly competition with BABY GOT TRACK, a team made of our classmates. My personal highlight was increasing my running mileage to the highest it has been since returning to school.
Jen: A personal highlight was hiking Mount Si the day the trail opened up. It was exhausting after not hiking for more than a couple months but the step challenge motivated me to join my roommate (who was on the other DPT stepping team). My personal challenge was the last week- school picked up and it took everything to get my 8,000 steps in daily.

A photo of Ellen Tejera

Ellen Tejera

Ellen: I am not much of a runner. Seriously, it is my least favorite form of exercise. So I had to push myself to take lots of short runs in order to log steps without it taking ALL day to do. Highlights include enjoying the nice weather and taking some leisurely walks with my husband.

Quynh: I faced some challenges during this competition. When the weather is really crappy and it’s hard to get in steps, those were the days I did not think 8K of steps would be possible but I did not want to let my teammates down. I felt like we did a great job communicating and keeping each other accountable.

Rec: What value did you find while participating in this event?
Ellen: It kept me motivated, especially my fellow teammates, to get up and move at all possible times. It also reminded me to take little study breaks, which are great for your body and mind!
Quynh: While participating in this event, I valued the health and appreciation for the people in my team and also the Baby Got Track [team]. We [sent] texts to check in with each other and also share our hikes/runs. We even started our own marching during class and it was fun to keep each other in the loop with our physical activities.

A photo of Jen Tritz

Jen Tritz

Diana: I loved being able to do this with my classmates. As PT students, we value personal connection and health and wellness, values that have been hard to prioritize during the stay home order.
Jen: I appreciated an excuse to step away from my computer and school, and the motivation that came from me not wanting to let my team down.

Rec: Are you or do you plan to participate in any other virtual UW Rec programs?
Quynh: I participated in the 3 Week Run/Walk Challenge and I am currently participating in the Self-Directed Duathlon. I would also love to participate in other virtual ones in the summer as well.
Ellen: I do not have any plans yet, but I would consider it!
Diana: I participated in the 3 Week Run/Walk challenge and am participating in the Self-Directed Duathlon.
Jen: Potentially! I should go look up the summer offerings.