Metafilter Runs v.3.1. May 15, 2007 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Web-goddess regained the Mefi distance running title (previous challenges : 1, 2). Amazingly, she racked up 77.21 kilometer in 14 days. Silver and bronze medals go to AJR (76k) and Sanjayafan (75k). During the remainder of this month, we'll find out who's the fastest mefite (speed challenge over 5k). Previous participants have been invited to this new challenge via the Nike+ site. If you've got the Nike + Ipod sport kit and want in, post your Nike+ screenname in this thread.
posted by pj_rivera to MetaFilter Gatherings at 4:44 AM (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Hmm, I think I've just given myself frostbite icing down my hamstring...

But anyway, thanks to pj_rivera for organising this - and way to go AJR and Sanjayafan! You guys drove me to nearly DOUBLE my distance per day from the first challenge. I've thrown my hat in for the speed challenge, not in the hopes of winning (there's just no way), but in the hopes of driving everybody else on to their personal best. Good luck!
posted by web-goddess at 5:09 AM on May 15, 2007

As the distant, distant fourth place winner, congratulations to web-goddess. And smart thinking of pj_rivera: when you can't beat her, change up the rules. Looking forward to this next challenge.

I did some math, and over the prior three challenges our MeFi running team has logged 683.84 miles (that's 1100.53 km for your metric system superfans)! That's over at least 3 continents and 6 time zones. Pretty cool.
posted by AgentRocket at 5:27 AM on May 15, 2007

Oh, and isn't it so cute that our 5K (3.1 mile) challenge is version 3.1?
posted by AgentRocket at 5:29 AM on May 15, 2007

Is there any way to look at the full standings if I'm not in the cabal running club?
posted by Plutor at 5:36 AM on May 15, 2007

@plutor : cabal says no.

Let's protect the privacy of the innocent and the unfit. Actually, I'm not aware of any widget to post the challenge info to the web (there's one for your personal running info).

@Agentrocket : You saw right through my cunning plan. However, I do suggest we go back to the regular schedule for June (1 month/most km). btw, for the speed challenge, my money is on AJR.
posted by pj_rivera at 6:02 AM on May 15, 2007

I was hoping to have a slightly better showing in the last contest but a hurt back turned my mediocre running schedule into a non-existant run schedule. Ah well. Maybe in the June one.

I promise you I won't be winning the fastest 5k, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Question: How does this work? Will it only show runs I've done in excess of 5k? What if I run 10k? Will that count twice or will it only count the fastest 5k in that 10k?
posted by bDiddy at 6:18 AM on May 15, 2007

I racked up 140 km on Sunday alone.
Running. LOL.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:33 AM on May 15, 2007

I've got to give Nike and Apple credit--this is the best running motivation I've had since high school. For those who haven't come across it yet, you can also upload your data to Nike Running, which will generate training plans, etc.

I'm in the 5th week of a 12-week improve your 5-k speed training plan. I'm shooting for a 7 minute pace per mile, which would be a 21:45 5-k. The training program has essentially been alternating short runs (2 miles) with longer runs (4 to 6 miles). All this to say that I haven't actually run a 5-k since I started the training plan and there aren't any scheduled until the end of June. I'm going to try and squeeze one in for the challenge!
posted by ajr at 6:52 AM on May 15, 2007

bDiddy: I was wondering the same thing. I think if you run anything more than a 5K, it will take either your time to finish the first 5 km of your run or (maybe even) your best 5 km over the course of your run. But I am pretty sure you don't have to limit your run to exactly 5K.

I could of course be completely wrong - if history is any guide, I am - but I think that's how it works.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:10 AM on May 15, 2007

and if AJR gets anywhere near his goal, we are all toast.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:10 AM on May 15, 2007

I'm pretty sure the best 5k over the couse of a given run is automatically taken into account for the challenge, no matter what the total distance of the run is.
posted by pj_rivera at 7:19 AM on May 15, 2007

How cow that nikerunning thing is pretty wild. I wish I'd known about that before. I have a memorial day 10k coming up that i would like to have trained a bit more for. As it is I've been running a bit during the week with a long run on the weekend. But certainly not for 12 weeks. We'll see how it goes...
posted by bDiddy at 7:44 AM on May 15, 2007

OK, I'll give this one a go - I've actually been taking a running fitness and form class twice a week which, ironically, has been leaving me too sore to do any distance running outside of it, but I can squeeze in a 5K, especially as that's the distance from work to my house - handy!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:59 AM on May 15, 2007

Is there anyway to participate in this without buying an iPod or Nikes? I run on Brooks Addictions and have a non-Apple player, and I'd like to get down with this.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:23 AM on May 15, 2007

Poke through the previous challenge links, there's tips on how to use the thingy without Nikes. Unfortunately, the iPod is still a requirement.
posted by inigo2 at 9:34 AM on May 15, 2007

Grr. Don't want to do this badly enough to buy an iPod. Grr.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:36 AM on May 15, 2007

middleclasstool: You don't need Nikes, but you do need the ipod. Specifically an ipod nano with the nike+ipod kit. It comes with the pod you can attach to your shoe through various means and a receiver you plug into your nano. It then tracks your run and when you sync it up in itunes it sneds the data to Nike's site. It's an amazing bit of cross-promotion but it works great and it makes me really enjoy running.

On another note, is there any way for me to get at the raw data it's storing?
posted by bDiddy at 9:37 AM on May 15, 2007

Actually, I found out how to get the data. Do I understand it? Nope!
posted by bDiddy at 9:47 AM on May 15, 2007

bDiddy, take a look at this blog post.
posted by pj_rivera at 9:52 AM on May 15, 2007

I'm definitely sitting out of this one. I'm a tortoise, not a hare (though you can't tell that by my absymal results in the last challenge.)
posted by pyjammy at 9:53 AM on May 15, 2007
posted by pj_rivera at 9:53 AM on May 15, 2007

If only I didn't have a sprained ankle, you'd all be in trouble. But alas, there shall be no 5K glory for my bloated feet.
posted by dead_ at 10:36 AM on May 15, 2007

Huh - I'm more intrigued by the Nike/iPod thing now. It seems like you all actually really find it useful and cool? Has this feeling lasted or are you still in the Gadget Honeymoon Phase? I was about to get a shuffle for running as a light alternative to my iBrick, but maybe I should consider the mini for this reason.

It's not full map data right, just speed/distance? Anyone disappointed with the system?
posted by freebird at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2007

Also - is it true you have to rebuy the system every month or so when the sensor battery runs out? In the immortal words of Burr: "Contemptible, if true."

Sorry to derail with gadget fetishism - I just love the idea of a non-local MeFi running group like this, and it seems as though Nike+ is really the enabling tech...
posted by freebird at 11:01 AM on May 15, 2007

Well, once a month might be a bit of an exaggeration. Apple's site says it lasts 1000 hours. The kit says not to keep it in your shoe if you're not running (like, don't keep it in if you're wearing your running shoes to work...) as the shoe part is the part with the battery and it turns itself off when not in use. However, once it does run out you apparently need to buy a new set. The Nike + ipod kit costs $30 and contains the piece that you wear in your shoe and the piece attached to your ipod.

I sound like a shill for the company, and that is because I am still in the Gadget Honeymoon Phase. However, I enjoy the system as a whole and really enjoy the community aspect of it. Community aside, I really enjoy it when Pauls Radcliffe congratulates me on achieving a personal record.
posted by bDiddy at 11:20 AM on May 15, 2007

[On preview, this is really long and fanboy-ish, but there it is.]

freebird: I am 25 runs in, and still loving it. I've turned on a couple of friends who feel the same way. I have the 2 gb nano, and it does the job plenty good for $149.

The device itself is pretty darned cool. At the risk of being accused of PepsiBlue and all that nonsense, here are the best points:

Regular Feedback. You get feedback in your ears all along the path. If you do a timed run (say 20 minutes), you get gentle progress announcements at 5 minutes, halfway point, and 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minutes remaining. The announcer woman is very pleasant and hearing her voice is encouraging throughout.

Requested Feedback. Any time you want to along the run, you can press the center button of your iPod and hear a progress report - time, distance, and current pace.

PowerSong. I thought this would be gimmicky, but it rules. You can choose a PowerSong, which will be standing by at the ready when you need an extra bit of juice. You just hold down the center button, and you immediately go right into the PowerSong. I use mine near the end of each run, to both inspire me to finish and to speed my pace to the end line. This is the true draw. Each time you plug your nano into your computer, it automatically uploads your run data. I do it each morning when I get back from the run. When you log on to, it shows you your run, with your pace going up and down all along the route. If you pushed your PowerSong, it shows you the point at which you pushed it and you can see how your pace was affected (mine is usually pretty dramatic).

The nikeplus site has some neat stuff:

Map your routes. Using specialized Google maps, you can plot out your run and see the exact distance. Then, for each of your runs, you can assign the route. So into the future, you will know where you went. You can also see other people's routes, if they make them public. In my neighborhood, there are several dozen of them. I borrowed a couple for my own runs.

Goals. You can set distance, speed, and other goals, which the site tracks for you. I set a goal of 45 miles in four weeks, and after each run I can check the progress to see how far along I am and for far ahead/behind the pace I am. When you complete a goal, you get a little medal that goes into your "records" section.

Challenges. That's our Metafilter Runs stuff. You can do goal challenges (first to 100 miles), distance challenges (most miles over 2 weeks), or speed challenges (fastest 5K over the next 2 weeks). After each run, you can see who is in what position. It gives really great motivation to get out and go.

See your runs. Each run is stored at the site, and you can see statistics for every one of them - distance, average pace, calories, time. You can also, as noted above, assign routes. And you can include notes if you want to. So you can see how you have progressed.

I sort of liked to run before, but the gadget got me to really like it. I am constantly playing around with my stats and mapping my routes and measuring my progress. On my runs, I really appreciate the feedback. When I am in a challenge, I am much less likely to snooze because I know I'll fall behind and I want to make a respectable showing.

All in all, the thing is cool.
posted by AgentRocket at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2007

Grr. Now you're making me want to buy an iPod. Grr.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:35 PM on May 15, 2007

Man, this is killing me. I got the Nike thing for Christmas, but I haven't been able to run yet this year since I broke my arm snowboarding. I should ask my physical therapist whether I'm allowed to run (the arm swinging would be the problem).
posted by smackfu at 12:44 PM on May 15, 2007

I love it. Love, love, love it. Is very motivational. If there's not a MeFi challenge going on, I can set my own goals (like "run 15 times in 3 weeks" or something like that.)

If I have to buy another one in six months, I'll consider it money well spent.
posted by pyjammy at 12:47 PM on May 15, 2007

I second those emotions. One minor nitpick: the kit doesn't play nice with my polar heart rate monitor. Apparently the two signals interfere with each other, causing the connection between ipod and shoe chip to drop.
posted by pj_rivera at 2:08 PM on May 15, 2007

On another note, is there any way for me to get at the raw data it's storing?

I think you found some info already, but if you're interested, I wrote a little widget (well, with my husband's help) that displays my stats in the sidebar of my blog. If anybody wants the PHP, just drop me an e-mail.
posted by web-goddess at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2007

Is there a minimum speed that this will work at? I do a lot of walking, including competing occasionally in longish events, and find tracking my progress fairly difficult. I walk at about 7-8 km per hour, would that even register?

Also, does it work on off road conditions? I'm thinking of getting something like this for my boyfriend's birthday, but he runs off road (i.e. mountain running the like) as well as in the city.

I'm reading up on the apple guff also but personal experience as to how it work beats marketing spin any day. If this does happen I'd certainly add my kms to the mefi pool. I won't win any speed competitions but can still cover a fair bit of distance if I'm training properly, and have my eye on the Auckland half marathon later this year.
posted by shelleycat at 5:40 PM on May 15, 2007

goddamn. this sounds awesome but I have no intention of buying an ipod.
posted by dreamsign at 8:13 PM on May 15, 2007

It works fine for walking, shelleycat. I've read a few sites that suggest you may need to recalibrate it if you're switching from predominantly running to walking, but I've never had to do that. (In fact, I've never calibrated mine.) I've used it on several long walks and - judging by a comparison with Google pedometer - it's pretty darn accurate.
posted by web-goddess at 8:31 PM on May 15, 2007

Thanks web-goddess I've done some reading around about this now, including the previous threads here in meta (useful!), and screw the boyfriend I want one of these for myself :D Google maps has updated the local areas to nifty high res versions over the last year, so I can see this working in all kinds of ways.
posted by shelleycat at 1:59 AM on May 16, 2007

OK, you Pepsi Blued me. I now have an iPod and the Nike+. THIS IS GREAT! Can you add me to the next challenge?
posted by dness2 at 3:58 PM on May 17, 2007

Great, I'll add you to the challenge. What's your Nike+ screenname? Is it dness2?

In the meantime, here's hoping nike & apple remember where to send my cheque.
posted by pj_rivera at 2:10 AM on May 18, 2007

Color me pepsi blue too. 'freebird' on the Nike site...
posted by freebird at 4:13 PM on May 19, 2007

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