Review: Fitbit

One year ago, I bought a Fitbit. A friend had one and told me about it. I researched and found the cheapest one, the Fitbit Zip, at Best Buy.

I paid less than $75 at Best Buy.

My Fitbit One

Mine is pink. I attach it to my bra. (TMI?) I’ve had friends who say that they lost their Fitbits in the laundry so I bought a color which would stand out.

My favorite feature is probably that it let me know (via email) when it is low on battery. It has been known to throw false negatives, usually when I’m wearing extra thick sweaters or multiple layers of clothing.

I also like that, in addition to counting steps, the Fitbit will monitor my active minutes. I use those minutes while I’m competing in the IditaWalk.

The online tool allows me to keep track of several things: heart rate, sleeping, journals, etc. Food and water intake are interesting but I have a problem with food diary programs: we eat at home a lot. Tonight, for example, we had baked chicken thighs, roasted potatoes, and kernal corn. I have no idea how many calories are in that and, at this stage in my health plan, I’m not interested in learning.

My Fitbit is synced to the free app on my iPhone and iPad. Synchronizing is tricky at times and Bluetooth must be activated in order for the synchronization to occur. Each synchronization goes straight to my Fitbit account which awards badges for distances walked and personal records (nine miles in a single day is my record).

I’ve participated in several Fitbit challenges with my Fitbit friends. I have no idea who some of these people are but we challenge ourselves to improve and we’re able to message each other encouraging words.

I love my Fitbit.

Geocaching Accomplishments

I haven’t been devoting as much time this summer to geocaching. During my normal summers, I take time out to go on “geocaching adventures.” I may go to a small town and cache a town out or I may make a special trip to find one special cache. (I maintain a watchlist of interesting-looking geocaches on geocaching.com.) Sweetieheart usually accompanies me.

This was found on the Santa Fe Trail in Oklahoma, a geocaching trail maintained by DAR!

Sweetieheart holds a cache in Oklahoma.

This summer, though, I’ve been devoted to teacher-training and catching up on neglected housework. You see, my husband started a new job and we’re in the middle of new house routines as we get used to his new hours.

I’ve earned a few souvenirs, all of them accidentally. However, in my travels I’ve been devoted adding more geocaching states to my list.

Before this summer, I had found caches in the following states.

  • Texas (duh!)
  • California (Sweetieheart hails from San Francisco)
  • the District of Columbia — My husband says DC doesn’t count because it’s not a state.
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado
  • Oklahoma (my mother lives in a tri-state area — Texas, New Mexico, and Olkahoma

This summer, I’ve added the following states.

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia

This weekend I’ll be adding on at least one other new state: Minnesota. My sister-in-law is marrying in Bemidji. I’d like to get some other areas — maybe even cross the Canadian border!– but I doubt that I’ll have the time with our time crunch and the wedding festivities.

Accomplishments

This morning I walked the mall. Don’t hate! It reached 104F in DFW with an ozone alert. Mall walking makes a lot of (health) sense. As I walked, I had some realizations.

  • I’m able to walk farther than I have been able to since I was a kid.
  • I’m walking faster than I used to walk.

When I first began walking, I was lucky to walk two miles a day. (I think I actually began with a goal of 1/5 miles three times a week). I used to walk a 5k and pass out for the rest of the weekend. I could walk 10,000 steps and barely make three miles. June-July 2015,while I was in Washington, I had my first (documented) 25,000 step day. I walked a couple of seven-mile days. I even had one day with 11 miles of walking! And today I walked the mall. I’m about where I’m supposed to be (10,000 steps = five miles). In the mall, I can walk a 17-minute mile. These mark accomplishments. I’m only 5’3″. My strides are naturally shorter than an average person’s stride. I’m proud of myself. I paid less than $75 at Best Buy.

A Volksmarching Adventure: Fort Worth Downtown

It was Spring Break and I had a day to myself. The weatherman had forecast a soggy day so Mother Nature brought sunshine and temps in the 70s. The Downtown Fort Worth is a safe walk for a woman alone.

The start is at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. It sits across the street from the Water Gardens.

This lies along the sidewalk to the street next to the hotel driveway.

Fort Worth isn’t known as Cowtown for nothing. The Chisolm Trail passed through Fort Worth.

Remarkably cooling in summer!

Science fiction fans will recognize the Fort Worth Water Gardens from “Logan’s Run,” a dystopian movie from the 1976.

This building is reputed to be haunted.

If you enjoy historic buildings, be sure to check out the T&P Station. It’s now fully restored. Occasionally, you can even get a look inside, especially if they’re preparing for an event.

The unique shape of this building is reflected in the unique decorative touches.

Fort Worth is also known as Panther City. Keep an eye out for panthers while walking!

I think this looks like my cat.

Keep an eye out, too, for some interesting city art.

This kind of art makes me quite aware I know nothing about art.

One of my favorite pieces!

Another favorite piece

You’ll pass historic buildings.

It's got real, live firemen inside!

Check out the doors!

I also learned that I’m shrinking. All my life, my doctors have told me I’m almost 5’3″. Fort Worth taught me otherwise.

I should have brushed this sign with the top of my head.

Do I need to talk to my doctor?

It’s a fun walk but be careful around lunchtime and rush hour. The traffic can get dangerous to pedestrians.

Baltimore: The City that Doesn’t Wish to Rent

I like to travel on the fly. I don’t often get the opportunity but I like to go to a place without any real plans. Since I was on my way to Washington, DC, I thought I’d arrive a few days early. I brought along my faithful traveling companion, Sweetie, and the adventure began.

I was due in DC on Sunday; we arrived on Tuesday. We’d decided on the flight to visit Baltimore, a city neither of us had visited before. We had no hotel nor car rental reservations.

To rent a car, we had to take a shuttle from BWI (Baltimore Washington International airport) to the off-site car rental site. Let me tell you, they stuffed that shuttle tight. I was nearly bopped on the nose several times by an overstuffed backpack carried by a man with a bad sense of balance.

At the off-site building, we found about 10 rental agencies. Sweetie began with Economy. I’d used them before on spontaneous trips. We’d never had a problem before. Economy didn’t have any cars available. So he moved to the next booth: Alamo.

You’d think that Alamo, being named after our home state, would be friendlier but they wanted to see an itinerary before they’d rent to us. We’d been traveling paperless so we had no itinerary. A helpful agent suggested that we show them the paperless itinerary (from our email). However, there was no free wifi in the building and no one was willing to share their password to the wifi system.

“Why do they need an itinerary?” we wondered. We never got an answer but three more places wanted the same thing.

Dollar was willing to rent to us without an itinerary but we were rejected there because we only had my bank debit card (which functions as both a credit and debit card). They wanted a real credit card.

Sweetie made his way around the building from kiosk to kiosk int he two hours we were there. In the end, there were only two rental agencies he didn’t try because Avis finally agreed to rent us a car.

It took us over two hours to find someone willing to rent us a car "on the fly."

Inside the Building

Geocaching: A New Easternmost

Geocaching.com keeps lots of statistics. Some of my favorites are most eastern, western, southern, and northern finds.

Since 2011, my most eastern find has been I am the God of Leaky Caches and Soggy Log Books. In addition to logging a new state (Delaware), I’ve now logged a new most eastern find: Light Pole Park.

This is on the boardwalk. The cache is located at the end of the boardwalk.

Near the Cache but not yet there.

Wonderfully Silly Cache!

Sweetieheart and I were on a trip up the Panhandle to visit my mother. We stopped off to buy gas and to stretch our legs. As Sweetieheart paid, I pulled out my trusty iPhone and looked for a nearby cache.

We got a hit less than 300 feet from us. It’s title led me to believe that the cache could be located in this unique piece of art.

There's a cache in there!

We were right and we had a laugh at the silliness of this wonderful cache.

Found in the barrel of a large gun.

Can I lose weight just by walking?

Depending on your weight, walking 10,000 steps a day burns 250-600 calories. The more vigorously you walk, the more calories you burn. You can lose weight with walking but, in my opinion (and I’m NOT a doctor), it’s better to walk for health than walk to lose weight.

I just prefer to keep it positive. My goal is not to get thin; it’s to get healthy.

How do I know if I’m active?

An inactive person walks 3,000 steps or fewer a day. 10,000 steps is approximately five miles. That’s 30-60 minutes of walking a day!

Why 10,000 steps?

According to legend, the first pedometers only had four place numbers (ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands). One step after 999, the pedometer rolled over.  Thus, a health recommendation was born.