Wednesday, September 05, 2012

My Dog Doesn't Understand Me

Fret not; that thumping, rhythmic, heavy pulsing sound behind you is not the noise of Heaven and Earth colliding.

Rather, ‘tis the pounding of my sneakers as they hit the pavement while I jog. Yes, you read that correctly. I am now jogging. (Well, not this minute of course; it’s difficult to type while running.)

I had more excuses than a double bacon cheeseburger has calories to avoid huffing and puffing down the street. They ran the gamut from “I might pass out,” to “I’ll look silly.” (Of course the latter pre-supposes that I don’t naturally look “silly,” which might be up for debate.) Yet, recently, my walks have — at times — become my jogs.

What pray tell, you might ask, has caused this transformation on par with the changing of the earth’s axis?

I am the recipient of a neat-o, boss, whiz-bang, plaything that plugs into my computer called an accelerometer. As I understand, an accelerometer “knows” where it is in space. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t know it is in Eureka or Portland, but it is able to discern when it moves from one location to another, and at what velocity. Therefore, while it is on my person; should I go to and fro, hither and yon, nigh and far, or up and down; it measures that movement and speed. After an initial multi-day “assessment,” it computes my baseline activity level and sets up a 12-week challenge, gradually increasing my activity level. The result is I become more active, and hence, healthier — and hopefully thinner.

Each evening (as well as an obsessive number of times per day), I place it still on a flat surface to watch the ring of green LEDs glow. Should at least four of the six do so, I’m at 100% of my daily goal. Oh happy day! On the contrary, should I receive less than four, I better get moving.

At day’s end, I realized I forgot to check my progress.

Placing it still, I sadly counted three lights. Refusing to let a small white inanimate device tell me I’m sub par, I grabbed my dog’s leash (with dog attached), slapped a headlamp on my forehead, and proceeded into the darkness, determined to achieve today’s goal. To fend off the night’s chill, I opted to move at a quicker pace. Before one could say, “You look silly,” I was jogging, my headlamp flapping up and down, making for an annoying strobe effect on the sidewalk ahead. To be honest, a jogging aficionado would look at what I call “jogging” the same way a chef would look at a TV dinner as “fine cuisine.” I am clumsy; I breathe heavy, and since my dog is in tow, a more accurate description of this activity would be "jog and pee." (I jog, he pees — just to make sure you are not confused as to who does what...)

Despite its barriers, it is an enjoyable way to phase into “jogging.” We run about 100 yards, he stops to mark something. Then, we run to the next tree, telephone pole, or bush. (It’s surprising how much the bladder of a 21-pound mini-schnauzer can hold.) Sometimes he’ll skip a stop, deferring to my desire to keep moving; and since we’re teammates (and since I need to breathe), I periodically accede to his desire to inspect a large clump of grass. Yet, ever onward we huff.

I must admit however, I wonder if he thinks, “YOU want to get fit so I have to get out of bed? How fair is that?” But, then again, he can’t count LEDs, so he just doesn’t understand.

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