Running High Tech

My sister gave me a Nike + iPod for Christmas.  It was a complete surprise in that it was something I really wanted yet did not ask for.  I was so excited I could barely speak.  The device allows a runner to track the speed and distance of each workout and compare it with other workouts from previous runs.  I couldn’t wait to try it.

The day after Christmas, I plugged the connector into my iPod and discovered that my iPod did not support the device.  I would need a Nano, iPhone, or some other different iPod, so I found a reconditioned Nano online for a reasonable price, or at least the least expensive price to be able to use my new toy.   I ordered it. I ran for a week as usual, tracking my runs on G Maps until the Nano was delivered.  I (with a little help from my tech team)  charged it overnight, downloaded some of my playlists and then plugged in the connector.  My sister had the foresight to also order an adapter for my running shoes, because, of course, the Nike + iPod is designed to fit into a Nike shoe.  I fit the tiny white sensor into the red adapter, tied it into my shoe lace, pressed the little button on the sensor to activate it, and walked around to start it.  I paced around the downstairs of my house, holding the Nano in my hand, and listened to the female voice coming through the ear buds telling me it was trying to connect.  No go.  I was impatient to run, so I switched out the Nano for the Shuffle and took off.  When my running buddy Sue showed up on Sunday expecting me to be ready to track our distance and speed, I had to tell her we would be waiting a little longer to try it out.

The next morning, I (with a little more help from my tech team) got the sensor to recognize me.  I half-read the directions on how to calibrate the device, then pressed start and ran a mile, then stopped the device so it registered my distance and speed.  I turned off the workout section, figured out how to go back to my play list, and ran what I already knew was another six miles.

The morning after that, I fiddled with the Nike + iPod section of the Nano and found I could choose many ways to record my run.  I could preselect a time or a distance.  I could choose a 3K, 5K, 10K, 2 mile, 5 mile, 10 mile, 1/2 marathon, or full marathon distance.  I could choose any number of calories I wanted to burn.  I could choose any number of minutes to run.  Any of these would be tracked by the sensor, and the voice on the device would tell me as I approached my goal.  I did not notice the ‘Custom’ heading, as it was highlighted, making it invisible to me.  What I was hoping for was to plug in, get sensed, then run like crazy until I had enough.  Then, at the end, the voice would tell me how great (or not) I had done.

I complained bitterly to my tech team that I was not receiving the kind of support I had dreamed about from my Nike + iPod.  My tech team took the Nano from my outstretched hand.  He (yeah, you know who my tech team is) pressed the menu button and pointed out the ‘Custom’ heading.  He scrolled through the choices available to me.  He pressed the directions manual into my hand, open to the page that explains how to make what I wanted to happen actually happen.

When Sue showed up this Sunday morning, I finally had all the kinks worked out.  I activated my sensor, chose an open-ended workout, selected ‘start’ on the menu, and we took off.  We ran 7.15 miles in 1 hour, averaging at a pace of 8:29 minute miles, and burned 651 calories.  That may still be a bit inaccurate, as I have not yet mastered pausing and resuming a workout, but it’s pretty close.  Pretty high tech.  Well, it is for me.

Explore posts in the same categories: Run notes that run into life, Training

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