Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zombies, Run!

It's been a little more than a year and a half since I first took up running with the Couch to 5K program. People ask me all the time "do you enjoy running?"

Umm. To be totally honest....not really. When I am in the act of running mostly what I am thinking is, "oh god oh god please make this stop." I'm not enjoying the running endorphins or whatever--which btw, I am convinced are actually a myth. Because I have yet to experience any kind of runner's high. But it's more how I feel after running that makes it all worth while. I feel strong, and I am still genuinely surprised that I'm able to run at all. When I started I could barely make it for a full minute, but it's amazing how quickly your body adjusts and gets strong. And I guess I kind of lied about the endorphin thing--at the end of my first 5K I felt amazing, like I had just accomplished something really special. But still, one morning of feeling good does not a runner's high make.

ANYWAY, the point is, running is hard. In fact, the hardest part is working up the motivation. Sometimes you just want to stay on the couch, you know? So I'll take anything I can to help me get my ass outside or down to the treadmill--because I only run outside if the temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees. Otherwise, Homey don't play that.

Enter Zombies, Run, stage left.

Zombies, Run is an app that was originally only for iPhone, but has expanded into the Droid universe. It's a game, radio drama, and running tool all in one. Basically, you play the "character" of a runner for a small outpost of survivors of the zombie apocalypse. You go out on missions to collect supplies and other more mysterious items. Between songs from your own playlist, voice actors play the part of other people in the town (called Abeltownship) who dole out personal stories and clues to a larger mystery. Because not everyone in Abeltownship is who they seem...and it looks like you might even learn about how and why the zombie virus began. The longer you run, the more supplies you collect, and the more you can build up Abeltownship and support its growing population.

Believe it or not, the app actually has me looking forward to getting out and running. I want to hear what's going to happen next with the characters and each mission includes more clues about what started the zombie plague and whether someone is working against the survivors. There have been a couple updates since I downloaded it which have improved some bugs--there weren't really any instructions before, but now the game contains a "codex" that explains the who, what, where, and provides explanations of all the items you pick up.

Each mission lasts between 25-30 minutes, but you can keep running as long as you want. The game will continue to play songs from your playlist and you can still pick up items as you go (though the number decreases when the mission is completed). There's also more acting--once the mission is over you get to listen to portions of a radio show some of the survivors have started. It doesn't really add anything to the overall plot, but it's cute.

I recommend Zombies, Run wholeheartedly to anyone who likes to run or is trying to get into running. If you used this along with the Couch to 5K plan, I think you would have a really great way to stay motivated. If I remember correctly, the app cost $7.99 but is well worth the price. The first "season" contains 23 missions and I imagine they will release more in the future.

So tie on your shoes, plug in your earphones, and head out the gates of Abeltownship. And remember. RUN!

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