Wednesday, May 30, 2012

They're following you, Runner Five! The swarm from the carpark! THEY'RE FOLLOWING YOU. RUN!!!!


Mission control told me that if I didn't stop in the abandoned hospital to pick up some medical supplies, they wouldn't admit me into the township. What choice did I have?

Thus began the MOST exciting treadmill run of my life.

Currently on the iPhone;
coming to Android on June 14th
I've had the "Zombies, Run!" app on my phone for a while, but never got around to trying it out until tonight. Partly because I've been lazy about running, but also because - don't laugh! - I am totally afraid of zombies, for real. I'm not joking. I lie awake at night, heart pounding because I'm absolutely terrified of a real zombie apocalypse.

So while the hype of this app in the running community was huge and while I knew I was badly in need of a way to shake things up and intensify my workouts (and alleviate boredom), I was legitimately worried that the experience would traumatize me and that someone would come find me curled up in fetal position at the bottom of the treadmill, shrieking. (Needless to say, I turned off the "zombie chase" feature. I just. I can't.)

I knew that I definitely wanted to use it for treadmill runs, because I don't like wearing headphones while running outside, around other people - I like to be aware of my surroundings, and I didn't want to have witnesses in case I actually DID start shrieking and curl up in a ball behind a trash bin. And treadmill runs are agonizing and boring - all I can do is just watch the clock tick on, and it's torturous. I know some people are totally zen runners and don't need music - not me. At least, not on a treadmill.

This app? SO not boring. My heart was pounding before I even started running, thanks to my helicopter crashing three miles outside of the township. I am the lone survivor, and all I can do is run. But before they'll let me in, I need to pick up supplies...

The mission control operator is my only connection to civilization as I begin my first mission. He's watching me and tracking my movements as I go, telling me when the "hostiles" are too close and I need to run faster. As I run, a computerized voice tells me the supplies I've picked up along the way - a pack of bandages, a baseball bat, a mysterious file from the CDC that I am to protect at all costs. Just when I think it's safe to take a walk break, he tells me to RUN FAST because a swarm of zombies has started to follow me. "This is where we lost the original Runner Five," he tells me, "right in this hospital where you are now, actually..." And then I hear the breathing in my ear...

I have never pushed myself so hard to run in my life, especially on a treadmill. My own fear for my life was taking over, and while I wasn't about to sprint, I definitely pushed myself to keep going. I took very few walk breaks (pretty much only when my side stitches were getting the better of me). Instead of watching the clock, my ears were straining, waiting, to hear either the computerized voice or mission control. I wanted so desperately to know that I wasn't alone out there.

The only thing that kind of took me out of the experience was my music. The app has the ability to play your music for the running portions, and it is kind of incongruous to be told that I need to run for my life, and then hear Blondie's "Atomic." I need to pick some scary, moody music just for this app. (Maybe some Godspeed You Black Emperor!) Also, the app slowed down the music a little, and that was a little torturous for me personally.

I wanted to keep going (I had set the app for hour-long missions, rather than half-hour), but I ran out of time. (Needed to go run some errands.) When I left off, I was closing in on the township gates with my supplies, just ahead of a zombie closing in on ME...