For Christmas this year, I got one of 'dem new-fangled Nike+ thingamabobbers for my iPod. If you're not familiar with what I mean, it goes a little like this. You buy some special "Nike+" shoes that have a small cavity under their insole. In this small cavity, you can store things like, oh, a dime bag, a few grams of cocaine, 3-6 MDMA pills, whatever you need to get the party rolling. Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to make friends when you're never without recreational drugs handy!
I digress; you place that funky oval-looking thing with the swoosh and apple logo on it in the cavity in the insole. That's the transmitter. It's pretty much an accelerometer dressed up in a snazzy orange and white case with some uber-recognizable corporate logos attached. You then plug the receiver into your iPod Nano and voila! the "Nike+ iPod" menu option appears on your Nano. After some brief setting up, such as entering your weight and telling Mr. iPod menu if you'd like miles or kilometers; female voice feedback or male; etc--you go running! You can even set up a "Power Song"!! This is a song that automatically plays when you depress the center button on your iPod. I suppose it's supposed to be for the last leg of your run, when your ass is dragging and you need some motivation. Or, in my case, when you're being pursued by large, poorly controlled dogs intent on rending you limb from limb. Just for shits, I made my power song Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek". Ever try working out to that song? Don't. Unless your workout consists of eating 'shrooms and staring at the sky, I don't think Imogen is much of a motivator. Although you'd probably have a riot inventing some interpretive dance for that song.
Now, I don't own Nike+ running shoes. So I had to be slightly creative with my transmitter placement. Take a look. Yes, I have merely crammed the accelerometer underneath my shoelaces. I suppose I could buy one of those clips made by various third-party vendors to carry the transmitter...but what fun would that be? How would I proudly display on my corporate logos with the damn thing in a case? Labels define us, people!
So there we have it, you set up your Nike+ Sport Kit and hit the road. It tracks average pace per mile, distance you've gone, time you've been working out and even calories burned! Then you come home, plug your iPod in and sync the data with the Nike+ website! And here's where the trouble begins.
You see, I don't run. I walk. Running hurts my knees something fierce. I don't like running. Anyone who knows me knows that I only run when chased. I log onto the Nike+ website and there it is, staring me in the face. My shame. An average pace of 16 minutes 8 seconds per mile? Hey, I'm faster than that! It's like, 15 minutes 4 seconds per mile! Am I "That slow fucker" in the Nike+ community? How do I tell people that I'm not running?!? I'm walking! It's slower than running, honest!
You can also set up "Goals" and "Challenges" for yourself, which Nike+ will track. It's actually quite an ingenious website--it totally allows you to visualize your workout history and functions much like a personal trainer. A personal trainer is way more exciting, though. There's really no possibility that you'll end up fucking the Nike+ website. Kinda puts a damper on the whole relationship. Regardless, I set up a "Challenge" for myself--my one year goal, from 12/26/07 to 12/26/08, is to travel 1000 miles. I even gave my "A Thousand Miles" challenge a witty description: "Vanessa Carlton will be so proud". Chuckle, chuckle, right? I didn't "share" my challenge. But there it is--there are TEN other people in my challenge. I didn't invite them. How the fuck did they get there? And why is one of them beating me?!? User name David_Zen is 10 miles ahead of me! His last run was 10.1 miles. What the hell? And he's from fucking Belize! It's always sunny in Central America! I'm in Buffalo, for crissakes! There he is, in Belize City, drinking beers with his runner pals mocking the "slow fucker from Buffalo". He's even got a "Power Song" by Prodigy! I'm totally going to give my Nike+ to my teacher friend who runs every day. Take that, Central American Arthur Lydiard!
Seeing that I needed some affirmation, I created a "Goal" for myself. These are totally private, and you even get a spiffy ribbon for your Nike+ "Trophy Case"! I made a goal "To Burn Calories". The default is 900 calories in, um, 4 weeks. Which is pretty fucking sad, if you think about it. 4 weeks? I think if you walk to the fucking bathroom twice a day you'll burn 900 calories in 4 weeks. So, in 4 days I burned 2280 calories. Yeah I got a ribbon. I'm so fucking bad-ass.
And the creepiest thing about this Nike+? Lance Armstrong lives in it! No shit, when I ended a workout yesterday, all of a sudden, my iPod said to me, "This is Lance Armstrong. Congratulations, that was your longest workout yet." Does anyone else note the irony here? Lance Armstrong was a professional cyclist. Don't think he ran those seven Tour de Frances...
Speaking of irony, the missus and I went to see The Great Debaters last night. It's an enjoyable movie, with strong performances from its leads and a great message about the power of education. None of that is ironic, however. You see, the film is also about racial inequality and the need for tolerance, etc. As far as I could tell, the wife and I were the only white audience members. Until the film ended and I stood up and began to leave the theater and noticed--there were a whole bunch of whites there. In what is probably the most delicious irony I've seen in years, every white audience member but the wife and I had sat in the back of the theater. Priceless.