Thinking with Portals

The weather is getting better, thankfully.

As enjoyable as the gym and the treadmill is, I’ve been really missing the road. It’s been months since I’ve been out there, and I’m starting to feel like I’m detached from reality.

Proof of this comes from when I’m running with my Nike+ sensor on the treadmill, and I seem to run further (based on my feet movement and pacing) at 9.5kph vs 11kph. Which makes no sense at all, and just demonstrates how un-natural the treadmill is at simulating what your feet do when given the freedom to just run.

GLaDOS is a lot like Woman, actually...

All of my stats, as useful as they are, aren’t really telling me too much at the minute. Especially as I’m now clearly much fitter than I was last September, and yet my old records for the 10km haven’t been dented since then. I mean, I can even remember writing on here, way back when I was barely running, that I was completing a 10km road circuit in just over an hour, and I still “appear” to be at that skill level.

I need to get out there and see, don’t I?


Because We’re Better Than You

I’ve started to feel like White Goodman recently.

A few months ago, I found comfort in the company of the unfit at the gym. Happily jogging along on the treadmill whilst people quickly came and left gave me comfort and confidence that I was doing well. Nowadays, I’d much rather be at Globo Gym.

The other day, I became fascinated by a fat man wandering around the resistance weights section. I’m talking about a proper fat man, the sort you get on Biggest Loser. The area was all free, and he could have used any item of equipment. What did he pick? The weird machine where you push up on your tiptoes to strengthen your calves.

His calves were fine, everything else was not.

And then we have the same old gang of slim girls who think that wandering around on the treadmill, set at a slight incline for 10 minutes, is enough to keep them looking good once their adolescent metabolism leaves them.

It all annoys me, particularly when I’m working really hard and feeling self-conscious for displaying a bit of sweat.

So, if anybody knows where the next best thing to Globo Gym can be found, get in touch. Please. Before I beat a fat woman to death with a kettle bell.

Beyond Limit Breaks

Running on the treadmill last night, two thoughts occurred to me:

1. The Nike+ system is not very rewarding in terms of showing your progression. I mean, I’m currently at “Green Level”, because I’ve done something like 300km, but I won’t get a higher level until I do 3000km, which is a bit rubbish.

2. I really do like my analogy for the “limit break” kicking in when I get past 40 minutes in a run. To reiterate my earlier blog, a limit break is something from the gameĀ Final Fantasy 7 whereby you earn a ‘super-attack’ for taking so much damage / punishment. The buzzy feeling I get in my legs after 40 minutes really does make me think I’m going through a Limit Break.

Therefore, during my lunch hour at work today, I conceived a new tracking system for my running progression. Funnily enough, based on Final Fantasy 7.

This all makes perfect sense.

I basic terms, my total calorie burn allows me to “level up”, meaning I’m currently level 14 out of 99. My total run distance unlocks different, superior weapons for me to use in battle as and when I achieve them, my average pace unlocks extra magic abilities, and my furthest run unlocks summon monsters. I really don’t think I should be bothering to explain these all to you as you will either know what all this means and be smiling by now, or otherwise have no interest in it, regardless of explanation.

Just let it be clear that this tracking system is a massive motivator for me. I really want to, for example, get some more advanced curative magic, unlock Bahamat ZERO and be able to use Ultima Weapon the next time I go to battle…in my mind.

Shut up. This helps!


It has become pretty obvious to me now as to why the running has been relegated into second place…Skyrim.

It took me a while to realise, however it should have been rather obvious, after having poured in excess of 100 hours into a video game in roughly two months.

For the uninitiated, Skyrim is the latest in a long line of role play games, in this case placing you into the role of “the chosen one”, born into a harsh northern realm, plagued with dragons which only you, being the “dragon born” can deal with.

A dragon born can “shout” in the dragons’ tongue, one such shout being “FUS-RO-DAH!” which means Push, Unrelenting Force. And I don’t know why I even wrote that.

Anyway…it’s a big game, and it was a game that was one of few games that I realised that I could earn a prestigious Platinum trophy playing. Again, to explain, on the Playstation, you are awarded trophies for doing certain things within a game, and getting all the trophies earns you a Platinum.

Now, for me, such a possibility is usually remote. You either have to play through on a ridiculous difficulty setting, or have to play both alone (great) and online with others (rubbish). Therefore, I usually write-off most games straight away.

There was one other game where I nearly did it. I earned 91% of the trophies onĀ Assassins Creed 2 before I attempted to get one of the last 3 trophies, only to have the game glitch on me, making the whole thing an impossibility. Wonderful.

And so now, looking at the trophy list on Skyrim, I realised that it was a) not dependent on difficulty and b) single player only. Perfect. The only two things standing against me were the length of the game – probably 120 hours or more, and the fear that the game – renowned for its glitches – would be another impossibility.

Alas, after 100 hours, the end is in sight, and I have a handful of trophies to clock up in order to get the Platinum. I will get it. And unfortunately, it means that trips to the gym are a second priority.

Sorry that this post into my running blog has nothing to do with running, but that’s how it is right now. The sooner I get it done, the sooner I can get running again.