One thing I found that improved my time was to pause inbetween each word during some practice runs. Otherwise I found the words and spaces all jumbled together and I got confused. I also found it helped to practice words that have a long travel between, so I can type them without looking.
Over a few weeks I have improved my time from around 35 wpm to 55 wpm on the contest sentence. I have found that I'm now comfortable with much of the layout, and as a result I'm a lot more comfortable with fitaly. I'm still tentative with letters I don't know -- I think the suggestion to practice the quick brown fox sentence would help. Even though I'm awkward, I'm just as fast. I tried a test I haven't typed before (now is the time...). In graffiti I got 33 wpm. Using fitaly, I felt like I was slower, but I was just as fast: 35 wpm. I've used graffiti for years, so practice isn't going to help that at all. But with fitaly I can do better. In fact, the next run was 40 wpm, and after a few more I was up to 50 (which is about where I am in the contest). So the contest has helped immensely in my normal usage.
The contest is a lot of fun. I was sorry that it didn't start 3 months ago, as I found my graffiti digitizer is seriously hosed, and I can't run FitalyStamp at all, even in safe mode. My warrantee ran out 3 months ago, and I'm still trying to convince Palm to replace my unit :-(
I like the fact that there are weekly winners. However, I think it's too bad there's no separate prize for being in the top 20. It would be nice to be able to win both a Fitaly license and a FitalyStamp (Fitaly is still useful with the backlight in low light). And I'd also like to win a free Palm digitizer repair ;-)
Most important, the contest gave me the motivation to practice speed, and without that motivation I never would have gotten past 50 wpm.