Thursday, March 23, 2017

Running for Geeks

I’d loved running since I started doing it in 2010, but after my December 2016 marathon, which was miserable, I was blistered, beaten down, and burned out. Now I’m in this weird running purgatory. As of this writing, I’ve run seven times in 2017 and maybe one or two times more than that since the marathon, and most of all that was walking intervals.

I knew it would take several weeks to heal from the physical pounding of such an event, but I hadn’t imagined how long it might take to heal mentally and emotionally. Knowing that it’s not uncommon for a runner to find herself in a bit of a funk and needing a short break or recovery season doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

But instead of worrying over it, I’ve spent the down time lifting weights, developing a personal yoga practice, walking more, fighting zombies, and hatching Pokémon. The Pokémon Go and Zombies, Run! apps got me through the most mind-numbing miles or marathon training, and I have faith that they will help me find the drive to run many more.

Competition is a great motivator, and sure, you can invite friends or coworkers to challenges like logging the most steps per day on FitBit, but that doesn’t interest me these days. I need more creative and interactive fitness-driven games.

So I find myself absorbed in collecting a virtual zoo. In addition to spawning wild monsters, the PoGo app spontaneously distributes eggs to hatch into Pokémon, achieved by walking or slowly running 2K, 5K, or 10K, depending on the egg, up to nine eggs at a time.

Zombies, Run! is an interactive, narrative audio game about YOU saving the world from zombies, mad scientists, lions, and rogues all while collecting supplies to expand, upgrade, and protect your virtual home base. The writing is absolutely brilliant, and the cast of characters is delightfully diverse, including many women and queers, with those identities being merely incidental not integral to the plot itself. Each time, I can barely wait for my next mission; the engaging story always has me wishing I could run more miles or minutes to find out what happens next.

Combining North Texas’ bizarrely beautiful spring weather of late, that Team Valor “gotta hatch ‘em all!” attitude, and the encroaching apocalypse, I’ll find the joy of running again soon enough.

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