“I Found My Fit,” By Andrew Knott

Dec 16th, 2015 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Almost a year ago, my wife surprised me with a Fitbit for my birthday. Perhaps she had noticed me glancing at hers longingly, checking in on her weekly challenge stats, monitoring the rises and falls in her heart rate, or surreptitiously slipping it on late at night when she was in bed and had left it to charge. The power I felt when wearing it, if only for a few short minutes, was intoxicating. I, a mere mortal, could count my own steps and measure the pace of my heart!

Needless to say, I was thrilled to finally have my own. I had been anticipating this moment for months, so I got right down to business. I instituted a strict regimen designed to maximize step quantity: five-mile run in the morning, walk to and from work, perform work duties while walking on a treadmill desk whenever possible, pace around a lot at night while eating and caring for children.

Looking back on it now, it all seems a bit silly. I mean, a treadmill desk? You can’t even run on those things. And all that time spent working and playing with my kids: what a step wasteland. On my best days, I was topping out at around 50,000 steps and some days I only managed a measly 35,000. I was so naïve.

A couple months in when my wife finally invited me to join the Work Week Hustle Challenge with her and her friends, I knew something had to change. I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by posting sub-optimal step numbers for the whole world to see. And by whole world I mean about eight people: four who I’d met before and four whose names I knew.

My first step was to quit my job. I knew it had to be done eventually, so I decided to suck it up and cut the cord. My boss was a bit perplexed when I told him the reason, but we’re talking about a man with paintings on his office walls that he actually painted himself. I think they are of trees and mountains or something super original. Yeah dude, what a valuable use of your time.

Anyway, with work off my plate I was able to ramp up my daily regimen. I never left my feet between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and incorporated hourly jogs around the neighborhood. I even figured out a way to use the bathroom without standing still: I won’t go into details. I also looked into ways to induce sleep walking, because those seven dead hours every night were really gnawing at me. No luck so far, but I remain hopeful. The schedule was pretty intense, but having the wife and kids out of the house for at least 12 hours a day was nice. The wife had to pick up a second job as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesperson and I put the kids in extended day care before and after school.

After three weeks, my 5-day step total was pushing 200,000. The closest anyone in the Work Week Challenge came to me was Tina S., who I believe is one of the ones I’ve met before. She came in only 137,252 steps short of my total in Week 3. I began to hate her for her slothfulness. Just looking at her stupid profile picture, in which she was bent over at the waist, torso perpendicular to the ground, her head hovering inside of a stuffed alligator’s open mouth, made my heart beat quicken (by about 8 beats per minute if you’re interested). Her little comments on the challenge message board were about as funny as you might expect from someone who would pose with her head inside an alligator’s mouth. “Wow, Gary. Are your feet tired yet??” LOL, Tina. You’re just too hilarious! NOT.

A few weeks later, my wife stopped inviting me to join the Work Week Hustle. Clearly, she and her friends were humiliated by my stepping superiority. It might have also been because she left me and filed for divorce. Some people sure know how to hold a grudge. She and the kids moved back to Florida; she actually grew up there if you can believe that.

I do admit I was a bit sad when they left, but I quickly looked on the bright side: without the kids around, I could finally tackle my ultimate goal of 500,000 steps in a week. You always hear people talk about how energetic kids are, but let me tell you, if you try to get them to run more than 3 or 4 miles you get a whole lot of whining. I tried cramming them into a double stroller from time to time, but the 9-year-old objected vehemently and the 6-year-old was less than thrilled.

Since my wife left the dog behind, I thought he might make a good running companion for my twice daily 10-mile runs, but after just a day he started hiding under the couch whenever I got his leash out. No wonder Chihuahuas have such a bad reputation.

In order to fill my Work Week Hustle gap and provide a little external motivation, I reached out to my three best friends––my primary care doctor, my therapist, and the 23-year-old girl that interned at my office––to see if they wanted to start up a challenge. Unfortunately, I think they all got rid of their phones or died or something because all my texts bounced back and I couldn’t find them anymore on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snap Chat.

Oh well, the real achievement is in the individual journey anyway. I kept grinding every day until I finally did it: 500,000 steps in one week! The moment that badge (it was called the “Your Life is a Complete Waste and Even Your Cat Hates You” badge) appeared in my Fitbit app was the happiest moment of my life. Yes, the name of the badge did seem a bit odd, because I don’t even have a cat, but I was okay with it. I thought “Urban Legend” would’ve been apt, but who am I to argue with the great people at Fitbit.

So, what’s my next goal? I think it’s time to jump back into the dating game. There’s this lady that runs in my neighborhood every evening at the same time, and if Fitbit commercials have taught me anything, it’s that women love to be chased by men they don’t know when they’re out for a jog. I can’t wait to meet her!
Defenestration-Andrew KnottAndrew Knott is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and the University of Cambridge. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post and The Higgs Weldon. He also writes about misadventures in parenting and lawn mower repair (among other things) at www.explorationsofambiguity.com. He and his wife Michelle are the parents of two boys who begrudgingly tolerate his attempts at humor.

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