Wednesday, May 02, 2007

4.7 Kilopwns

Apparently, I've got game.

I have completed 4 runs for a total of 10.84 km. My average pace is 6'57" per km. My last run was 4.7 km.

This info is courtesy my shoes. You see, they talk to my iPod. Then it talks to the interweb which tracks when I run and how often, far, and fast.

(No - really. I'm serious.)

I have decided to get into running. This is a venture I previously entered into when J was in field school in the Caribbean. I found myself bored in a beautiful summer with nothing to do and lonely. So I bought a $10 pair of runners and went to it. After a while I developed a condition called Shin Splints. Of course, as I was young and ignorant I did not know that there was such a condition or that I had it. I simply believed that it was a muscle protesting because it hadn't been used in a while. (Obviously the solution was to run harder and faster.) Fun times. I had trouble walking for well over a month after that little adventure. Don't do as Donny Dont does.

But I digress.

A large part of the problem was my shoes. Now that I know this, on the recommendation of several friends I have paid a visit to the Running Room to get analysed. This apparently consists of taking off my shoes and walking around while they watch closely. Then they tell me what category of shoe I need. (Motion Control, Cushioning, Stability, etc.)

Apparently I do two bad things, I pronate (turning my feet outwards giving my footprints humorous appearance) and I roll them in as I walk. Apparently the two problems cancel each other out, so there's not much they can do to correct me. (They gave me a 'Cushioning' shoe. Comfy.)

So I brought the shoes to the counter to pay, and that's when the fun started. "OK.. don't pay for those yet." Said the clerk. "Pardon?" says I. "Here, take this." she says, handing me a coupon for 75c off 'Vector' brand meal replacement cereal. "Go down the street to the Safeway and buy a small box of this.". "Pardon?" I repeats. Apparently that cereal currently features a coupon on the box for 20% off all purchases at the running room. (!) So I did as I was told, and got cheap cereal and cheaper shoes.

The box also carries a coupon for a free $40 high-tech running shirt. There is also no limit to the number of shirts they will hand out, one per cupon. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that when the cereal went on sale for half-price the following weekend I went a bit critical... Reports are still coming in but we suspect I now own 5 identical running shirts. (Damn my frugal nature.) I'm now living entirely on breakfast cereal but it's worth it.

So as I'm finally about to buy the shoes and walk out with my free shirt, the clerk mentions (almost as an afterthought) "Oh, you don't happen to own an iPod Nano, do you?". "...yes..." says I....

Here's the deal: The shoes have a special pocket for a little electronic pod, about the size of a quarter but 1/4 inches thick. The pod never needs charging, and continuously communicates wirelessly to a small receiver that attaches to your ipod. This part is also around the size of a quarter. The iPod itself needs no update, as the software that is pre-installed on it natively supports this hardware, it is Plug and Play in the purest sense. It is extremely versatile and provides you with constant updates on your speed, caloric burn rate, distance travelled, proximity to your preset goals, etc. When you next sync the iPod it transmits this data to the Nike+ ("Nike-Plus") server and you are able to view your progress history and goals online. There is even a widget for it you can have on your desktop.

Oh - and it FREAKIN' TALKS.

Apparently it was 38 dollars. I know this because that's when they told me to stop throwing money on the counter as fast as I could. (from the "I'll start putting down money, you tell me when it's enough." dept.) I'm glad it wasn't expensive because I don't think leaving without it was optional.

I've gone out twice with the Running Room free group run and twice on my own. I've met some really nice people and am having a lot of fun. (Leave info in the Comments for this post if you want to join me, it's Wed at 6:30 and I do the 'Beginner 5K run'.) I know that I have run 8.6K of my goal to run 30K over 4 weeks. I'm currently 0.1K ahead of schedule, I've run 4 times in 2 weeks, and that I am the biggest geek ever. I really like running and my shoes are a toy. I couldn't be happier if they were made of candy.

(Well, maybe. Mmm.. candy.)


"When your computer knows where your shoes have been, the stage is set for the revolution my friends."
-Old Cuban Proverb

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