I spent the last 10 minutes of my Valentine’s Day covered in sweat, running like a complete idiot for what amounted to completely nothing.

Ironically, I bought the dumb Fitbits last Thursday for a Valentine’s Day gift — my wife wanted one, Dick’s Sporting Goods had a sale going on, it was a perfect storm. So I strapped the thing on, downloaded the app and started adding friends.

Now, as anyone who has a Fitbit knows, the most fun part of the stupid thing are the challenges you and your friends can get into. Wanna see who gets the most steps in a day? A week? A weekend? Just add your friends to the challenge and let it track everyone like a creepy, plastic Big Brother.

The object of my demise.

But that’s where my problem began. As anyone who knows me knows, I don’t like to lose. So on Thursday, Allison Harris, a friend of mine/reporter at News On 6, challenged me to see who could get the most steps.

I won that challenge, so she challenged me again on Friday. I won again, but this time we realized I had a secret advantage — she works during the night while I work during the day. So she would go to the gym in the morning and get the majority of her steps in, then I would respond by seeing how many steps she had totaled so far (the app updates in almost real-time,) and then just beating that number and calling it a day.

Meanwhile, Allison would be stuck at work, unable to exercise (this didn’t stop her from pacing around the newsroom one night like a weirdo, but that’s another story.)

So we decided that we would do a weekend challenge. We were both off work, so we figured the playing field would be level.

What she neglected to consider is that I have a sociopathic desire to not lose. What I didn’t realize is that she’s just as stupid as I am.

My plan was simple: I would go to the gym on Saturday and get some obscene number of steps in, an amount that would demoralize her into not even trying. So on that trip, I spent nearly two hours doing cardio. There were a number of different times I almost stopped for the night, but then Allison would send me a message cussing me out for working out so long, which re-energized me and motivated me to go further.

The next day — Valentine’s Day, remember — I got up early and went to the store (more steps!) to get stuff for breakfast, cleaned house (more steps!) during the afternoon, walked the dogs (more steps!) before it got dark and then went to the gym. I felt unbeatable.

Meanwhile, Allison was plotting against me. She smartly sent me a bunch of congratulatory messages, telling me she was never challenging me again and that she had given up.

So I got home from the gym and cooked my wife dinner, then settled in for a nap. We have a new baby (did you know that the Fitbit doesn’t track steps if you’re walking and holding a baby? Total ripoff.) and I was exhausted. I plugged my phone in to charge and fell asleep.

Now here’s where it gets idiotic. When I went down for the nap, I was more than 10,000 steps ahead of Allison, who had already gone to the gym that day. (Sidenote: If you’re in a challenge, the app will update you when someone in the challenge passes someone else, or reaches a milestone.) But when I woke up from my nap and looked at my phone in shock — I had a 30-minute old notification that said Allison was only 800 steps behind me. Turned out, she had been jogging around her home for hours like a freak.

I knew that if she was 800 steps behind me 30 minutes ago, that meant that she was probably in the lead by the time I saw the update. I looked at the time and saw it was 11:50 p.m. — I had only 10 minutes left before the challenge ended.

I had already burned a lot of goodwill with my wife by going to the gym on Valentine’s Day, so I basically had nothing to lose, and regardless, there was no time to waste. So I grabbed my phone (to listen to Kanye’s new album) and basically took off at a dead sprint. My wife had no idea what I was doing, but long ago she accepted the fact that I’m an idiot, so I’m sure she was OK with it.

Now, I haven’t sprinted probably since high school basketball, so I’m sure I looked like a fool. But I didn’t workout that hard all weekend just to lose.

But even as I was running, I knew it was probably too little too late. The app had updated again and it said Allison was now ahead of me by almost 1,000 steps. That’s a pretty big gap to close in 10 minutes, and if she was moving at all, I would be toast regardless of how fast my stupid old legs were moving.

When midnight hit, I stopped running (thank God) and looked at my phone. While I was eagerly waiting for the numbers to update, I had already resigned myself to a loss. Allison was already celebrating in messages.

But then something magical happened — the numbers came up and I won by 102 steps. I did an embarrassing white-person dance, while I’m sure she hurled her Fitbit into the trash.


The only thing this image is missing is a notification that says “Allison Harris is the not winner.”

The hardest part of the night was explaining to my wife what was going on. “Well honey, I didn’t want to lose this meaningless competition…”

My wife didn’t share in my enthusiasm over my victory, but she did make fun of the sweat stains on my shirt. Will she allow me to wear my Fitbit on Valentine’s Day next year? Doubtful.

This Fitbit will probably end up killing me, but I’m going to be a thin, good-looking corpse.