24 February 2010

Run for your life!

Since last April I've been foregoing the car or public transport to travel to work and back for a number of reasons

  1. It's the only exercise I get now I have a desk job
  2. It's the only fresh air I get
  3. It's free
  4. I know exactly what time I need to leave the house without being dependent on buses being on time/traffic etc
  5. It's a nice way to just have some 'me' time. Stick in my headphones and I'm away for half an hour (or there abouts)
I have a few different routes, with the most straightforward taking exactly 33 minutes, the most circuitous over 50 mins. It all just depends on how active I'm feeling.

All in all there are dozens of different ways I could go, and variety being the spice of life, I like to mix it up a bit.

Recently I've been able to use my inner geek to really test out my routes with a little GPS gizmo on my phone that tracks every step of my route, then uploads stats on top speed, average speed, distance etc into Google Maps.

I now know that the shortest route to work is exactly 2 miles, and although it's not really up hill, there are enough ups and downs to climb 91 meters en route. See for yourself here

But as I've accumulated loads of data around what each route encompasses, I still need to make the decision of which one to take each day, and after nearly a year, that is getting boring.

Fortunately help was at hand.

My newest geeky game draws in two of my favourite things.

Techy gadgets, and Zombies.

I have an application on my phone that turns the GPS sensor and map utility, into a Zombie detector.

As I leave home/work, all I have to do is set my destination, and the level of Zombie infestation. Controlled Outbreak (quite a few), Early Local Infestation (lmore), Late Local Infestation (loads), or Total Pandemic (fucking everywhere)

Type of Zombie defines the speed. Night of the Living Dead (2mph), Resident Evil (5mph), or 28 Days Later (8mph).

As today would be my first foray into a Chinton plagued by the undead, I decided a Controlled Outbreak would be a nice gentle start, and being as my previous stat gathering has informed me that my average walking speed is around 3.8mph I didn't want anything either in my way, or following behind me that would cause me to run all the way.The classic 'Romero' Zombie would be my first adversary.

Simply tell the phone where I'm going, and next thing you know there are dozens of little green Zombie icons all over the Map. Some making roads completely impassable, some loitering around in gardens that if I was nippy enough, I could probably scoot past.

Get within about 50m of one, and his little icon goes red, and he makes a beeline for you, and Zombies, having no regard for personal property and privacy, will quite happily wade through a private garden and over fences to get to you.

I got about 10 minutes into my journey without attracting attention from any of them, but as I neared the school on the main road, a crowd of four that were loitering around the playground picked up my scent, and I had to break into a gentle jog to make sure I was clear of them as their virtual hands grasped through the school hedge.

The road ahead was blocked, and there was too much traffic to be sure of being able to lure those ahead of me all onto the same side of the road as me, and still be able to dash across the road to go around them, all without the ones from the school catching me from behind, so I took the next left into the housing estate. There were quite a few in there, but I felt they were distributed in a pattern I could avoid if I kept my wits about me.

The ones from the school eventually lost interest, but I soon had another on my tail, and another up ahead blocking a path through an alley that was too narrow to try to go round him, so I had to lure him out.I walked briskly towards him, and the moment he got my scent, I crossed to the opposite side of the road, and slowed right down. As predicted, the alley Zombie shuffled down his path, and towards the road, just as the one behind me crossed to follow.

Now I had to really slow down and think fast. I stopped to pretend to tie my shoe - eyes still on the screen monitoring the progress of the undead behind me....

I'd timed it just right. With one 5m directly ahead, the other the same distance behind, I leaped to me feet, sprinted across the road at a perfect right angle, and didn't stop running until I'd put a good 30m between me and them.

They still had my scent, but were lumbering so slowly that I knew they would never catch me. I picked up a couple more over the last stage of my journey, but made it to work unharmed - even if a few of them did follow me into the hospital.


Tomorrow I think I'll up the ante a bit with an 'Early Local Infestation', but I'm not upping the speed yet - I can't run all the way to work.

So if you see me zig zagging my way up the road - dawdling then sprinting - don't look at me like I'm mad.....


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