Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zombies, Run!

I have been using the Zombies, Run app now for a bit over a year. I haven't been consistent in using it for runs, since I tend to alternate between listing to podcasts and or audio books and music - and since the Zombies, Run app uses a playlist, injecting a fascinating story (and random zombie attacks) in between tracks, I tend to find it most interesting to use a music playlist when using this app.

My July 25, 2013 run map from Zombielink - Lakeshore, Toronto, ON

The story, in a nutshell, has you, the runner as "Runner 5" in a post-apocalyptic world overcome by zombies. You're a member of Abel township and are sent out on missions (with home-base folks providing commands in your ear).  The dialogue and narration from the various folks speaking with you help unroll a fascinating storyline with interesting characters and unique conflicts.

As you run, you end up picking up supplies that you can use to help build up your base and increase Abel's strength and population (remember Sim City?  Something like that)

The storytelling aspect of Zombies, Run is fascinating, but the random zombie attacks, are, of course, an additional benefit.

My June 15th ZombieRun from Zombielink

The app uses GPS to track you and how fast you are running. Thus, when a random zombie attack occurs, there's a warning, and a background beat that, like the classic Jaws theme, increases in intensity when the zombies get closer.  From 100 metres, to 50 metres to 20 metres . . . and all the while the sound of the zombies, uniquely three-dimensional in your ears, get louder and louder. It actually sounds like they're closing in on you and can be quite convincingly terrifying.

To escape from the random zombie attacks, you need to run faster for a full minute, or else you get caught.  And no, you don't die. If the zombies get too close, you end up dropping all your supplies (to distract them and lighten your load to get away), meaning you lose anything you found.

Two different zombie chase stats - Caught & Evaded

The random zombie chases, of course, make for a fantastic interval training experience.  The frustrating thing, of course, is when they come when you're at the bottom of a hill.  That can be truly killer.  (I much prefer when the come just as I'm about to run downhill)

One of the fun stats to look back at shows you your average speed during different songs, which can help you adjust and manage a playlist of songs that you might just run faster when listening to.

Zombielink song stats
Of course, this doesn't show if you happen to be running up or down elevations, so you have to sometimes remember that.  (For example, in the screen shot below, I'm running down the "Jolly Cut" of the Hamilton escarpment and am thus going a lot faster than average speed due to the favourable incline....

....and on the flip side, the chart below shows just how slow I was moving when I was heading back UP the Hamilton mountain up a set of stairs....

Deathly slow speed going up stairs
In any case, it's a fantastic app that I have gotten a great deal of benefit and entertainment from.

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