Tag Archive for runkeeper

Fare Thee Well, Fitbit

I’m one of the lucky winners of the Fitbit Force skin rash lottery.

Taken on Sunday, 2/23

I’m far from the only one reporting a problem, and now Fitbit has issued a recall on their Force devices. The company first blamed a nickel allergy, and they’re still using that as their main explanation. However, they’re acknowledging it may also be a glue used to bind the Force device to the wristband. This makes a lot more sense, as this rash feels more like a chemical burn than a rash. I’ve still got the burn/rash today (Monday), yet I haven’t worn the device since Wednesday evening. I notified Fitbit and they immediately issued me a refund and a shipping label to return the device.

Here’s the thing: I liked this device. While in many respects it is a glorified pedometer, and using RunKeeper and GPS on my phone is probably more effective when I get back to running, I liked the addition of a display and the ability to track activity all day. I also liked that it does sleep tracking and has a silent alarm. I had yet to really put it to the test in karate classes, but it seemed to be pretty good at figuring out when I was active versus just moving around on day-to-day tasks.

My personal feeling is their manufacturer used cheap materials. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the worst parts of the burns are beneath the two joins between the underside of the device and the strap. With luck, it will be something they’ll be able to straighten out soon.

Will I purchase another Force if that’s the case? Honestly, I’m not sure. I thought about downgrading to Fitbit’s Flex, but I hate the idea of a single-purpose device. There are also new competitors coming, like Atlas Wearables, who make devices capable of tracking more data (heart rate would be terrific) and which are waterproof (ideal for when I run the Warrior Dash this summer).

My only other concern? Dragging a sword across it in iaijutsu class or snagging it during judo work and partner drills. I can worry about that when a new device is in hand, though.

In the meantime, farewell, Fitbit. It was nice while it lasted.

Update 3/6/14:

It’s been two weeks now, and the photo below is what the wound (I think it’s fair to call it that) looks like now.

They’re turning me into a lizard!

Tasty, huh? It doesn’t itch near as much, and it’s mostly just crusty, dry skin as it heals. It’s cracked in a few spots, though, so I try to keep it clean and I put unscented moisturizer on it.

Fitbit still maintains it’s skin irritation or an allergic reaction. I don’t buy it, but hey, I’m not a doctor.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

I Ate a Frickin’ Shark!

Okay, so it was just an iridescent shark.


Still sounds a lot more impressive than “swai,” anyway

This thing is basically an Asian catfish. I picked up a bag of filets cheap, and today I broiled one up with some salt and black & red pepper. You know what? It tasted pretty good. It didn’t have that dirt flavor that often comes with American catfish or tilapia. Tomorrow, I think I’ll try pan-frying one.

Point is I’m massaging the diet a bit again. I’m still stoked about completing the Warrior Dash, and my weight lifting and karate have both been progressing well, but the results haven’t shown on the scale. Even running a couple of times a week isn’t quite cutting it, though it’s worked in the past. Some of it may be added muscle (judging by some of what I see in the mirror), but to make the doc happy and to see real results, I’d still like to shed a few pounds.

I see the consequences on the scale after a night of even one beer and a greasy burger and loaded fries at the bar with friends. Pizza or Chinese food with the family? Even worse. It’s a temporary spike, usually gone in a day or two, but the effect is definitely there. So it’s back to basics with making sure I get a solid breakfast and not overdoing things at lunch or dinner. We already cook most of our dinner meals, but at lunch I want to shoot for more fresh fish or chicken rather than the prepared things like processed fish sticks or chicken nuggets and mac & cheese the kids favor during the summer.


Now if only I could afford to do this all the time…

I don’t drive myself insane counting calories, and I’m not about to start weighing my food and watching my macros like a bodybuilder. I’m going to exercise a little restraint and see how things go. Eat as clean as I can as a guy who’s not fond of most vegetables and is picky with fruits.

And I’m going to eat some more frickin’ shark.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to team up for workout motivation, check out Fitocracy. Some of my friends and readers are already aboard, and the more the merrier. Hit me up for an invite if you like. If nothing else, it’s a great way to track workouts and progress. I’m also on RunKeeper, but try not to laugh at my pathetic little entries there. If enough people do the Fitocracy thing, maybe I’ll start a The Pack group.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

RunKeeper vs Nike+: Running App Smackdown

I’m a geek. If I didn’t have some way to track my running and see progress to give me some incentive, I probably wouldn’t be running. (And I still don’t run as often as I should, but I’m working on it.) When I discovered Nike+, I was sold. I get to run, listen to music and track my runs all at once. I’ve never been a fan of their Flash-driven interface, though, and I had frequent login problems. The screensaver and little Mini avatar crapped out a lot, too.

This summer, some running friends told me about RunKeeper. I used Nike+ on my iPod, so I didn’t have GPS. RunKeeper, meanwhile, has apps for both Android and iOS, and my Android phone does GPS beautifully. But I still had my little Nike+ gizmo in my shoe, so I kept plugging away until those shoes finally crapped out.

That’s when the good folks at Running Central set me up with a pair of Mizuno shoes. I didn’t want to mess with some little pouch to attach to my shoe for the Nike+ sensor, so I gave RunKeeper a shot.

After just one run, I gave up on Nike+ forever. Sure, it has coaching options and a social networking side just like Nike+, but it blows Nike out of the water in several areas.

First of all, RunKeeper has a much cleaner interface. No Flash garbage to slow things down, and the moment you log in you see all of your recent runs. You get a lot more flexible access to the data, and with GPS, you even get a cool interactive map that will even let you see your running data at any point along your route.

Second, the app just runs. The Nike+ iOS app has given me fits, and at times has just locked up completely when I tried to turn it off. I also have to sync through iTunes for my runs to appear on Nike+, where RunKeeper shoots it right up to the RunKeeper server.

Third, while RunKeeper gives me similar audio feedback to Nike+, RunKeeper also sends me an email if I’ve set a personal record or had a better run during a given week. It’s a small thing, but it’s a cool extra little encouragement.

Finally, RunKeeper is lot more flexible with its activities. I may not ever use it to bike or swim, but apparently it will work just fine for those activities.

I’ve only used it a few times now, but I love it. I always carry my phone and iPod while I run anyway, so now the phone has a function instead of just bouncing along in my pocket in case of emergencies. Now I still have my iPod for music, or I can choose to abandon it altogether if I don’t feel like tunes for that day (for example, I’d rather not have earbuds in on a busy road).

If you run at all or are considering taking it up, definitely check out RunKeeper. I’m using the free version and am having no problems with it.

And with that, I’ll leave you with the music that got me through the last leg of my run this morning.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.