Monday, December 28, 2015

Fartleking in My Thermal Underwear

fart·lek train·ing

 (fahrt'lek trān'ing)
Relatively unstructured interval-type training for aerobic fitness; consists of alternating intervals of fast- and slow-paced training over natural terrain (usually hilly countryside).
Synonym(s): speed play.
[Swed. fart, speed, + lek, play]

Now that I've got your attention, here's the story.  For Christmas, my husband gave me a Garmin Forerunner 220 fitness watch.  I thought that perhaps keeping records of my fitness efforts might help me stay on track, because most of my efforts to get into better physical shape have been haphazard due to life's many distractions, my own forgetfulness, and just plain bad luck.  Whenever I start a new exercise routine, usually within 48 hours I get knocked flat on my back by hormones, an illness or injury.  Then, during my recovery, I get habituated to being inactive and that behavior carries over long after my healing.  Perhaps if I have a watch on my wrist containing fitness software, I'll break out of that pattern.  There's no real logic behind it, but I'm desperate to get into better health.

Anyway, the first day I used it, my son helped get the Garmin Forerunner watch set up.  I strapped on the heart rate monitor, and we went for a mile hike.  He paired the watch up with my mobile phone and showed me all the data.  It was pretty amazing.  

The next day I strapped on all of my equipment:  The heart monitor around my sternum, the fitness belt around my waist, my mobile phone in the fitness belt with earbuds attached listening to Amazon Prime music, and my Garmin Forerunner on my wrist.  It was a lot of technology for an old lady like me to set up, but I figured it all out within a few minutes.  Then I fartleked for a couple of miles around the desert wearing one of my thermal undershirts I recently bought because of our uncomfortably cold winter.  I basically ran and jogged where there was sand, and walked where there were rocks.  The blasting cold wind was affecting my speed, but the software allows for notes so that I can record such excuses in the data.

Then I paired up the fitness watch with the Garmin Connect software on my mobile phone, and I could compare my heart rate, speed, distance, calories burned, elevation changes, etc. between the two days.  It also had that GPS map that a lot of people post on their blogs showing their horseback rides.  I can use the watch to track my horseback rides too.  It even has a setting for the rowing machine we just bought, and our old elliptical machine and treadmill.

The funny thing is that when the watch vibrates to tell me I've completed a mile or whatever, I find myself reaching to answer my mobile phone.  It's going to take some training for me to figure out how to react to the stimuli produced by all these gizmos.  

While setting up the software on my mobile phone, it somehow managed to automatically set up email on my mobile phone, which I don't want.  I get dozens of emails a day, and my phone started dinging every time an email came through.  I finally figured out how to turn that off.  I'm often too busy to call or text people during the day.  Then when I get a chance to wind down late at night, I want to return my messages, so I send emails, thinking people can check their email at their own convenience, and I won't have to wake them up with a call or text.  However, now I know that a lot of people can still be woken by email alerts on their smartphones if they haven't or can't turn them off.  For a long time, I thought people only got email on their computers.

It's amazing how fast technology is progressing.  Just five years ago I was a software engineer, and my expertise was in mobile phone software.  Now I know nothing about mobile phones, because they have advanced so quickly.  I remember my husband and I training our kids how to work with computers and mobile phones, and now our kids are training me on how to use that and much more.  P.S. was showing me how to make a text message with your voice.  I've been avoiding text messaging because I'm all thumbs and it takes me forever to type out what I mean in shorthand.  Once I have the right phone or software, I won't even have to type on a touchscreen anymore.

My husband picked the Garmin Forerunner 220 model because it has a large clock face / screen that can be back-lit with the touch of a button for when I'm not wearing my reading glasses, which I don't wear when I'm doing outdoor activities, and it had good reviews.  Some of the models had complaints about not being able to reliably pair up through Bluetooth with mobile phones. 

One of the things I've struggled with regarding fancy doodads is my inability to read the screens without my glasses when I am outdoors in the glare of sunlight.  I got a special screen filter for my mobile phone to fix the glare problem, but it didn't work.  If I want to read the screen, I have to step indoors or at least find some shade.  Then I started having trouble reading the screen on my GoPro camera, so I'd ask other people if it looked like it was on and counting down to the next picture.  In today's society, people are constantly showing me communications, photos and videos on their smartphones, and I can't see a thing.  I finally decided to take care of that and went to a new optometrist.

My last several optometrists promised to fix my problem by giving me glasses I can wear all the time that cover my entire range of sight, but they didn't work.  To read in the distance, I had to look through a tiny slit at the top of my lenses, and to read close up, I had to look through a tiny slit at the bottom of my lenses, and everything in between was for computer reading distance, so I couldn't wear the glasses while driving.  I ended up only using them for computer, and buying close up reading glasses at the drugstore, but it was pain having to switch between the two glasses all the time, and I had no viable solution for not being able to read street signs.

I explained this problem to my new optometrist, and he did what all the other doctors did, which was to recommend that I get one pair of glasses that cover the range of my sight.  I immediately shook my head and said, "I'm not making that mistake again."

He said I could try bifocals, but most people have a hard time adjusting to them and just don't wear them.  I said I would try, because they couldn't be any more useless than the glasses I've had.  I also said that I need glasses I can wear in the car to read street signs, but I can't see when driving outdoors without sunglasses.  He said I could get sunglass bifocals that would allow me to read street signs in the distance, and close up stuff without all the computer distance taking up real estate on the screen.  That sounded like a good solution, so I ordered one pair of clear lenses for computer and book reading, and one pair of sunglasses for distance and book reading.

When I picked up the glasses, I tried driving home in the sunglasses, but couldn't see a thing.  The cars around me were all blurry, so I removed the sunglasses and took them right back to the optometrist's office.  I said that some mistake had been made.  Then I realized that I could read their computer with the sunglasses on, and I said that someone had given me the computer/book reading prescription for my sunglasses when it should have been the distance/book reading.  I had to get help from three different people before one woman finally found the error, and told me that I was right.  That's exactly what happened.  So, now I'm waiting for the prescription sunglasses to come in again, only this time with the right prescription.

The clear computer/book reading bifocals have been good in that I don't have to keep switching glasses between activities, but I can see how the transition between the two portions of lenses can be distracting and disruptive.  It feels like I've got floaters in my eyes.  However, if I just slide the glasses down my nose, I can get the close up lens out of my line of sight and focus on the mid-range lens, then do the opposite when I'm reading a book.  It's also just nice to have another pair of glasses around so that I don't have to search high and low every time I need to read something.

It's nice that technology can now get so much power into a tiny chip, but I suspect that the next advances are going to have to take place in the realm of catering to people with poor eyesight if these companies that sell gizmos want to expand their customer base.  There's no way I would be able to use a watch as a mobile phone unless someone came up with a fold out expandable screen with enough light and glare-resistance for me to read it outdoors without reading glasses, and enough space for me to type without constantly hitting the wrong touchscreen buttons, or a reliable voice command program to avoid typing all together.  I think every gizmo business needs a senior citizen working in their Quality Assurance Department to remind these young programmers what functioning on a moment-to-moment basis is like for the other half of the population.

So far, today I haven't been able to continue my fartleking outdoors, because Rock is lame and Stewie is sick, vomiting all over the house.  He puked on the bed and pillows, he puked on the couch where I sit, he puked all over the carpet and tiles.  I've just spent the entire morning cleaning up vomit.  I'm trying to catch him and carry him outdoors as soon as the heaving begins, but haven't been able to get down to the barn to soak Rock's hoof, none-the-less exercise my own body.

I've also already had several close calls regarding the universe throwing random heavy objects at my bare feet in an attempt to break my bones so that I can't exercise.  That always happens as soon as I start an exercise routine.  It's like the universe says, "Dear God, she's trying to take care of herself.  Stop her before she succeeds!"

Here's the deal.  If I'm doing something bad, like trying a rob a bank, then I would hope the universe would throw some obstacles in my way and stop me, but 99% of the time I'm trying to do something good for myself or someone else, so I don't know why all these ridiculous things happen to stop me.  It's getting pretty old.  Some days I think I'd be better off just rolling over and playing dead than trying to do something good.


TeresaA said...

That is an awesome word. I love it. :)

Crystal said...

That sounds like a cool Christmas gift. I agree with all the gizmos and reading and looking at them all, my eyesight is fine, I have glasses but only distance causes me problems and luckily one lens works for far.

fernvalley01 said...

Heck of a start! lol, sounds like you are pretty determined! I hope all of the gizmos help.I am interested in the shaded glasses, I struggle with light sensitivity and wear sunglasses almost all the time outside,At work I have trouble because of the fluorescents I am wondering it I had a tint put on my regular glasses it would help(I have a progressive bifocal )

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I finally got to walk a mile yesterday because Stewie's stomach settled down and Rock started walking on four legs. Interestingly, some quail took me by surprise by bursting out of bush in front of me, and I can see how my heart rate spiked on the software. I guess you could say that I spooked.

achieve1dream said...

That is so cool that it recorded the spike in your heart rate when you were startled! That watch sounds really awesome. What a great Christmas present. :D

Sorry about the sick and injured critters. I hope they all recovered quickly.

My dad got bifocals. He was having trouble adjusting to it (headaches) and wasn't wearing them all the time like he should, but I think he got used to it after a while. I'm glad they are working for you. :D

achieve1dream said...

Oh by the way I don't have a smartphone and I only get email on my computer so I never thought of that beeping and waking people up either! Oops!!