The day a stranger told my husband and me we were walking slowly was the same day I found out I’d earned my “Serengeti badge.”
Now let me explain all that.
For my birthday a few months back, a good friend gifted me her Fitbit Alta when she upgraded to a Fitbit Watch.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this gift, honestly. On the one hand, I was curious to learn how many steps I take each day. But I wondered if this new wrist accessory would show I’m not as active as I thought I was, in which case, my levels of pain and fatigue would be even harder to explain.
Turns out, I usually have one day a week (Sundays) when my step count is lowest. And, I’ve found out that more steps doesn’t always equal more pain. There are some days when I have walked more than 10,000 steps (our day at the San Diego Zoo comes to mind) when pain was at a high. But there are other days, when pain is quite intense and I’ve taken about 6,000 steps.
Walking is my main form of exercise and during the school year, I arrive near my son’s school at least twenty minutes before his dismissal, park my car, and walk through the neighborhood at what I consider a leisurely pace, but apparently what others consider slow.
The other day, my husband and I were strolling hand-in-hand when a resident of a home we walked by was out front and commented that we were walking slowly. (This isn’t the first time someone has told us that. You can click here to read my blog post “Change” for more on that story).
We continued walking, but once we turned the corner, my tears dripped below my sunglasses. If I walked with a cane, I doubt this man would have commented on my speed. But because I live with an invisible disability, my pain and struggles are not evident to others.
Then later that same day, I received an email telling me I’d earned my “Serengeti badge” — meaning I’ve walked 500 miles, the same distance as the Serengeti according to Fitbit. (Though to be honest, I did wear a Fitbit for a while a few years ago, and I think my new badge is the result of the combination of my old and new miles).
In any event, I think 500 miles is pretty impressive. 500 miles of walking. Even when I’m hurting. Even when I don’t feel like walking. Even when I’m walking slowly.