Fitbit friends


I hope I don’t sound obsessive about my fitbit tracking device, because I’m not, but I do happen to think about it a lot. I mean so much that I always have it on my body, especially when I run. I have rarely forgotten to bring it along. In fact, before I go out for a run, I make sure my running shoes are tied properly, I have my house key, and I have my fitbit.

I’ve had it for a year now. My wife Beata gave it to me for my birthday last year and I’ve been using it ever since. At first, I did it to appease Beata, but then I gradually wore it out of habit. I am, after all, a creature of habit.

In order to use fitbit, you need to set it up on your computer so it can keep track of your activities. Since I love computers, that was an added incentive to use it even though I never felt the need bring along any device on a run. But I’m not obsessed by this fitbit tracker. Really, I’m not. Soon, I discovered that you could have fitbit friends, similar to Facebook friends. I thought that was a great idea because running is much easier when you have running friends even if you don’t actually run with them in person. The camaraderie of runners is always inspirational. Sometimes just talking about running with another runner makes you a better runner.

Of course, my first fitbit friend was my wife Beata. I found her first. I always told her that I was pretty sure that walked and/or ran the 10,000 steps recommended by fitbit, but she didn’t believe me. Even before she first gave me the fitbit, my running was gradually improving and I was slowly increasing my miles from the 4.5 miles I thought should be my minimum daily requirement. I was exceeding 10,000 steps on a daily basis and Beata was surprised. She became competitive and upped her mileage. I also gradually increased my mileage, not to surpass her, but to compete against myself. I wanted to return to my former running form.

I didn’t expect to make new friends on fitbit, but soon I discovered that my cousin Sandy was on fitbit. And she is occasionally at the top of the leader board. Then my cousins Nancy and Jane became my fitbit friends. I think we all feel encouraged to have this sort of camaraderie.

And then one day, I became friends with Lianne whom I know from my old neighborhood, the Back of the Yards. I didn’t actually know her when we lived in the old neighborhood, but we are now friends on Facebook and on fitbit. However, I did meet her once at our Back of the Yards reunion party three years ago. I always enjoy meeting people from my past unexpectedly.

I enjoy seeing everyone’s name in the fitbit rankings. I find it inspirational. Let’s see how many more fitbit friends I will make.

fitbit


I have never needed much motivation to go running. I enjoy running even on the days when I feel aches and pains during the run because it feels so good when I stop. And I also feel this great sense of accomplishment.

I have never needed much equipment to go running, either. As long as I have a good pair of running shoes, I don’t need much of anything else. As far as running clothing, I wear running shorts, but I have also run in cutoff blue jeans and any old t-shirt or tank top will do in the summer. In the winter, I wear layers under a good running suit.

I have never run with music because I like to travel lightly. Besides, I really enjoy the view as I run. Although I usually run the same daily route, I try to find something new every time I run. I like greeting other runners whenever I encounter them, especially in the winter when there are less of us out there braving the elements. I enjoy running for what it is in all its simplicity, without any other distractions like music. Well, it’s not so much the music, but the delivery device that I have to wear that restricts my freedom of movement. I like to concentrate fully on running and not on which song is playing or how do I skip to the next one. I want to be fully aware of my surroundings. I want to be one with nature because if I’m not, I might get hit by a truck and become one with the pavement.

Anyway, last year for my birthday, my wife Beata bought me a fitbit for my birthday. She got a fitbit through her health insurance and if she walked 10,000 steps she would get points toward her health plan. Then, she decided that I also needed a fitbit. I told her that I was pretty sure that I walked and/or ran at least 10,000 steps per day, but she didn’t believe me. It’s been a year now that I have this little fitbit and for the most part I do log in 10,000 steps per day, except on rest days when I only log in 5,000 to 7,000 steps.

This fitbit is a tiny little device, so I decided to give it a try. I normally don’t like to carry anything when I run because I don’t like to feel that extra weight on me and it always impedes my running in some way. I once measured the circuit I run with my iPhone 2 and I didn’t like carrying it because I was so self-conscious of it during the entire run. I was afraid I would drop it. I did the same last year, measuring my new running circuit, only this time with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Even though it was cool enough to wear a running suit, the size and weight of the phone in my pocket made for some very uncomfortable running. But I wanted to have some idea of the distance I was running.

Well, the fitbit is so small I carry it in my pocket all day long. When I run, I clip on the waistband of my shorts or put it into the pocket of my running suit during colder weather. I hardly notice it. However, I’m not so sure that it’s very accurate. Last summer when I increased my mileage, I found a comfortable and enjoyable running route. As I was increasing my mileage for the first time in years, my pace was excruciatingly slow. With time, my running form and endurance improved, and so did my pace. I noticed that on my fitbit the nine-plus miles I ran gradually became less than nine miles as my running improved even though I was covering the same distance. I believe this happened because fitbit counts steps and not distance. The number of steps also declined because as my running improved my stride lengthened a bit.

Overall, I think I would still be running the same distance and with the same motivation even if I didn’t have this fitbit.  I don’t really need it. Perhaps some runners need it and that’s fine. I know my wife enjoys the encouragement she receives from fitbit and she runs more often because of it.