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Teething problems with a new fitness campaign

As Rusters share their experiences of the Coronavirus lock-down here comes an Ingolby dispatch from the front line as I begin my latest doomed fitness campaign.

Being one of the freelance Rust correspondents laid off by the publishers on Monday who received a batch of Huwaei smartphones as a parting gift, my first wrestle with 21st Century technology this week has been to try and learn how to navigate the mysteries of its software architecture.

At the moment I am still at the stage where my kids have to alert me by text to let me know that I have received a WhatsApp message and then I have to search to find which is the WhatsApp icon on my screen display – I’m currently registering about a 40% hit-rate success on that one.

But that’s by the by.

I find that, when it comes to fitness campaigns, the most important thing is to monitor the number of steps I take against my target of 10,000 per day. I used to do this via a version 3 of the Garmin wristband fitness device but – as the software on the new Garmin Connect App doesn’t recognise version 3 – I have been forced to buy a version 4 of same.

This has the in-built improvement that, whereas the version 3 required the user to physically “connect” it to the software via Bluetooth wireless technology by pressing the right button, the version 4 does this itself automatically.

As a result, I now know that it takes me 48 steps to get from my perch at the computer desk in my drawing room to my lavatory down the corridor and back again.

Because my Garmin 4 tells me so every time I make the trip.

My new and latest fitness campaign, which began on Wednesday, suffered a catastrophic incident that afternoon after I had set off to attempt one of my former regular expeditions whereby I travel in a broadly circular route of some 5.7 miles on foot.

In the good old days of yesteryear, prior to the various injuries and ailments which culminated in me being told about twenty years ago by the medics to give up running on roads permanently or risk being a zimmer frame case by the time I reached sixty, I used to complete this odyssey at a steady jog.

These days jogging is a thing of the past for your author, especially post (as regular readers will know) my Achilles tendon yank that occurred on 1st September 2019 – when I stupidly attempted a jog on a grass rugby pitch – and has since resulted in chronic inflammation of said sinew to the point where – after two hospital visits and an ultrasound scan – I have now been referred to a specialist physiotherapy unit for an appointment next month which, of course in current circumstances, may not now go ahead.


On Wednesday – as my one and only permitted “outing” of the day – I duly set off to attempt my 5.7 mile course, having taken the precaution of encasing my dodgy Achilles in a specially-purchased and bulky surgical support, and at what I’d describe a careful ‘easy’ pace.

The scheme was that this was my first attempt at the expedition in a long while and the goal was to complete it at all, rather than do so in an attempted record time.

I don’t mind admitting to Rusters that, in my terms, this was the equivalent of Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the world – or perhaps at least, the point during it when he and his men reached the end of the then existing map of the globe … but kept going. As I set off, I had no idea whether I’d round my course or not.

And there were several times early on when I began wondering whether I’d manage it and/or, to be frank, considered abandoning it. (The thoughts “why am I bothering?” and “tell you what, let’s begin this fitness campaign tomorrow … and let’s just get back home now and have a cup of tea …” kept reoccurring).

I’d like to report that in the end the spirit of Captain Scott and his doomed men on their epic “do or die” trek to the South Pole in 1912 (the last entry in his journal, found after his death was for the 29th of this month, 108 years ago) spurred me on, but this would be untrue.

The actual moment at which, after all my doubts and thoughts of turning back, I first determined to push on through to the end was when I reached the bench on Ham Common which I knew from experience was the exact half-way point of my circuit.

Yes, dear readers, I admit it. My motivation to push on to the end was the knowledge that it would be a shorter journey to keep going … i.e. rather than retracing my steps … to reach my bath and then ultimately my drawing room sofa!

But once back home, came the Big Disaster.

The data from my Garmin 4 wristband would not load up into my smartphone’s Garmin Connect App.

For about an hour and a half I cursed both it and President Xi Jinping of China (and his infernal spying device the Huawei P30 which apparently knows more about me than I do), until I suddenly realised how the cock-up had come about.

My old Garmin 3 wristband was powered by a tiny little disc of a battery that lasted about a year before you had to replace it.

My “supposed” new, improved, updated and more brilliant Garmin 4 version has a different sort of battery – one that needs re-charging roughly once a week by attaching it either to the mains or alternatively to a computer via an USB port.

I’d forgotten that. Hence, for the past three days – its battery having run dry of juice – my Garmin 4 had neither been retaining any data nor transmitting it to my smartphone.

As a result, I placed it on charge on Wednesday evening, intent upon beginning my new fitness campaign yesterday.

Yesterday, again, my new fitness campaign also failed to begin – the reason being rather less epic in the scheme of things.

As per usual, at about 1.15pm, I took to my pit for a snooze after lunch with a plan to set off upon a circuit of my 5.7 mile course at 3.00pm.

And didn’t wake up again until 4.50pm.


About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts

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