I am very fortunate to work for a company that encourages employee wellness. For the last several years I’ve had a high-deductible health plan combined with a health savings account. One of our benefits is the opportunity to participate in a wellness program in which we have an opportunity to earn cash deposits into our health savings plan by meeting pre-defined daily step goals. So, this backdrop provides the following story.
Years ago I got my first Fitbit, it was a lovely little gadget, a big improvement over the basic pedometer I’d been using. Those 5 little lights indicated my status toward meeting my daily step goal. Over a couple of years I walked a lot, so much my chiropractor challenged me to run in a 5K he was sponsoring. So I did. At some point my Fitbit wristband broke. They replaced it. But, I had moved beyond walking, and wanted more.
I think my next tracker was a MisFit Shine. I really liked the size, and for the time, style of the Shine. And, if you understood the code, it doubled as a watch. I was really moving up in the world of trackers. Then, close to my end of warranty, the Shine slipped out of the bracelet, and was lost. I contacted MisFit, they replaced it.
At this point I began to wonder if the fitness tracker industry had to replace nearly every device sold. My faith in the MisFit began to wane. Somewhere around this time I believe I upgraded to another tracker, my cell phone. RunKeeper was my app of choice. Back in December 2015 they sponsored the first global 5K, if you tracked your run on that date you could purchase a hoodie. I have the hoodie, and was very excited about participating, individually. Running in Small Town America, in a global 5K, with thousands of others, and all alone.
It wasn’t too long after that run that I wanted a real running tracker, something with GPS and maybe even a heart rate tracker. First I tried the Tom Tom Spark + music. It had everything I could ask for, and I loved it, despite it’s large and clunky size. But, alas, there was no method to get the daily steps from the Spark into the health tracking portal. I returned the Tom Tom, ultimately settling on a Garmin 325. The watch was huge, and was a nice smart watch with notifications, and great tracking of runs. Now I had more data than I needed, and ran based on heart rates not how I felt.
I kept that Garmin for about 2 years. Wore out the band, got a nice one from Amazon, but I suspect it will also wear out before long, the little band that you stick the excess strap into is just not robust enough. Speaking of the strap, as a diminutive lady, the strap wrapped all the way around, almost touching the body of the watch, so there was a lot of excess to keep corralled. I spent a lot of time, daily, fidgeting with the band, trying to keep it neat and tidy. It was always springing free and creating a cumbersome bulkiness on my petite wrist.
Then I saw the Apple Watch, series 3. Nice watch. Small, reasonable looking, while perhaps not stylish, it is at least more elegant than the Garmin. Still has GPS, still tracks heart rate, sleep, and all those Smart Watch features – including music! But it doesn’t talk to the health tracking portal. Ugh! I tried an intermediary software that would pull from the Heart app and push the data into FitBit – but it was only pushing the steps taken with the phone in hand, and I don’t carry my phone with me all day! Â Finally identified an app that talks with the portal and my iPhone, and now everything is as it should be.
Yesterday I took my first run with the basic running app, it seemed to do well. Unfortunately I paused the tracking without realizing it, and failed to track about 3/4 of a mile. I’m looking forward to using the new watch to train for my first 2018 5K. One of the features of the watch is the ability to store music, and listen wirelessly. I can’t explain the liberty of running wireless. I kept commenting to my husband as I twirled around like Pinocchio, “There are no strings on me!”