Foiled by the Fitbit

The Wellness Committee interrupts this program with an important message:

This is a test of the emergency sweat system. This is only a test. If this were a real workout, you would hear your fat screaming as it burned, followed by the whimper of your abused respiratory tract.

Pay no attention to that shackle on your wrist.

You must never remove it, not even for airport security, because it is your free pass out of gym prison.

You are, at the moment, on probationary house arrest.

People at work are competing in a six-week Walk-a-Thon.

The premise is simple: count your steps each day and get averages for your week. You can compare your steps to everyone else in the program, send virtual encouragement tokens, and work up a lather just trying to get the app to sync with the ten other “health” apps in your smarty-pants phone.

Once your Fitbit’s in place, you don’t make a move without getting credit for it.

If I have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and stub my toe on the dresser and hop up and down ten times trying not to scream choice words, then by George, I’d better be getting steps counted for it.

Three days into the program, I pulled up my numbers. I have a desk job, so I set my bar pretty low: 5,000 steps. By the end of my day, if I walk around the house putting things away and hunting down food, I’ve got it. Sure enough, my goals were met.

My mistake was looking at everyone else’s.

“Who is this?” I demanded, scrolling through the list at work, “Who is Captain Awesome and why does he have a bazillion steps already?”

“He’s in the fire department,” said a helpful coworker, “I think he walks all day long.”

Another coworker passed by. “Hey,” I said, dragging her over, “how are you getting so many steps?”

“I have a treadmill at home, so I just hop on after work.”

Frowning at my numbers again, I decided to up my game. That weekend, I dragged my fat on an uphill hike. I busted 10,000 steps. I can’t decide whether the altitude or the gravity got to me first, but as we all know, letting the sherpa carry you home will not get you steps.

This is when I realized: not all steps are created equal.

It’s so unfair.

Whether your steps are uphill or downhill, running or sauntering, in high heels or tennis shoes, they count the same.

If you are walking from the couch to the fridge, they count.

If you are eating at the Home Town Buffet, your Fitbit awards you a medal for thirdsies at the dessert bar.

And so, this ugly little bracelet that goes with nothing is my way of announcing to the world that I’m working out…without actually working out.

I made my daughter wear the Fitbit one day, to see what kind of steps are involved with not owning a car. Between the bus stop, the train depot, and the college campus, she busted 12,000 steps halfway through the morning.

These were honest steps, made of determination and survival skills. I am both ashamed and prepared to cheat. Four more weeks to go.

I clapped for hours at my sons’ CIF volleyball game, but apparently the Fitbit does not give credit for walking on your hands, so instead, that bag of Doritos counted.

Two. There were two bags.

I went to a yoga class today. There are no steps involved, but it counted, didn’t it?

(Haha, no it didn’t, because this ugly little floor mat that goes with nothing is my way of announcing to the world that I’m doing yoga…instead of napping in child’s pose.)

It’s just not right. This thing isn’t working.

I need to strap it on a toddler for a day. Maybe a cat should give it a try. Both are about six-to-one step ratios, achieved quickly under house arrest.

When this is all over, I will likely go on an emergency sweat to cleanse my system of its Fitbit follies, ditch the bracelet, and purge the Panda Express from my love handles.

My winter fat has turned into spring rolls.

I need to lose ten pounds before it’s summer buns time…only fourteen more to go.

It burns us, precious.

The Barbary Coast

I’d love to tell you today’s post is about a lovely travel destination. I really would. Oh, I travelled all right, but it’s nothing you’ll find a book on in the travel section of B&N.

This morning I got up early and went for a run.

That’s code for: the bird outside my window would not shut up at 6am and I was so mad I couldn’t fall back asleep and, yes, I had planned on a work-out but I am SO not motivated and I can think of a dozen really well thought out reasons why I should just skip straight to the shower instead but darn it…there’s no time to drive to the gym or even put on my yoga DVD because I just laid here thinking them all up so now I’m out of options and out of time and I just won’t respect myself tomorrow morning if I don’t GET UP RIGHT THIS MINUTE and put on shoes and RUN OUT THE DOOR and whatever you do DON’T LOOK BACK.

Running is barbaric. Don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. I run as a last resort, when I need a super-sweat really fast. I feel a little like I cheated on my time but made up for it in pain.

I have a girlfriend who ran the Boston marathon to celebrate her 40th birthday. And then she never ran again. I have a girlfriend who rides centuries on her bike. She started running to see if she feels like doing a Triathlon. Can you guess which activity she prefers? She may not ever make it to the swim part of her experiment.

Hubby does his early morning run three times a week because he ran in high school. Yeah. All I hear about is the latest body part about to fall off from his last “run”. He won’t stop running though…because his head tells him he’s still 18. His knees, not so much.

My long legged sons run like the wind. They fly effortlessly around the track or past Hubby or to the dinner table. They are fairly certain if a cheetah chased them, they’d win. In their opinion, the sweat, the heaving lungs, the shaky legs, and the nausea are all part of the fun. If they run with me, they run backwards, cheering me on. Top marks for sportsmanship.

When I run, I can’t wear ear buds because they sweat right out of my ears. So I hum the soundtrack to “Chariots of Fire” and take off. In 30 seconds I am breathing like a bellows, so I mentally chant, “In with the good air! Out with the bad!” In five minutes the sweat begins to permeate my sun visor and I’m thankful it’s not streaming into my eyes. I look directly at the space in front of me. If I look up and see how far there is yet to go, my pace falters and I might start thinking again.

So I trot stubbornly on.

I have one pace and one pace only, and I finally decided to name it the ‘Barbary Coast’. I will never be a hare. I am obviously a tortoise.  This means if pirates are chasing me, I’m a goner.

It takes almost the whole run to warm up and then I’m in a zone where I will just keep trotting into forever unless the path runs me into a wall. I tell my body to just keep moving and then my brain and I go to Morocco.

I am imagining riding a camel along the beaches of Casablanca when…

What in the name of sweet mercy is THAT?! I completely forgot about trash day. I just ran past someone’s wretchedly ripe cans. Oh man, my mouth was wide open and I was breathing in so deep, I reckon there’s a few fruit flies at the bottom of my lungs now.

*ack ack gasp*

This is the part where I spit like a girl.

Don’t watch.

When I finally staggered home I had the rush that comes from accomplishment and endorphins.

But the word “rush” was out of the question for the rest of the day.