Fall is in the Air – Get Fit with Pokémon Go

Is it Fall yet? I don’t know about y’all, but this Summer has been miserable. As a transplant from the north, this Summer has been surprising. SO. HOT. And the humidity, oh don’t get me started. I’m training for a marathon in November, and I’ve had to do some long runs as preparation. When I say long, I mean LONG. Like hours long. Upwards of 10 miles long. I live in the middle of nowhere, and there’s nowhere safe to run for that long of a period of time. I drive about 40 minutes one way every Sunday so I can go to a rail-trail that has paved and gravel sections and is guaranteed to be traffic-free. Maybe you remember the scavenger hunt I participated in during the early days of August. That game inspired me to keep exercising outdoors, and participate in this marathon.

One of the items from the scavenger hunt game was Pokémon Go related. In case you’re not up on the phenomenon, Pokémon are critters that Trainers collect and then train to fight each other. Actually being able to collect Pokémon was a huge dream for a lot of people in my generation, so now that they’re able, they’re all in. One of the other things that the app lets you do is hatch your very own Pokémon eggs. This is a big deal too, because it’s one more motivator to get people out of their houses and exercising. Fitness trackers can only motivate so much, so this graphic interface is what a lot of people need. But I digress. These eggs come in different varieties. There are 2k, 5k, and 10k eggs. You hatch these eggs by putting them in an incubator and walking or running - or driving I guess even though that’s cheating - the necessary distance. Here’s where I get back to the scavenger hunt. Pokémon Go had been out for about a month when the scavenger hunt list was published. I expected that there would be something about the new app in the list but I didn’t have a clue what it would be exactly since I didn’t play Pokémon Go. Here’s the actual text of the hunt item:

Time-lapse this submission to 20 seconds or less. Join The Hunt, and wear sensible shoes. Grab a friend and go for a walk. A really, really long walk. Unlock the 2.0KM, 5.0KM and 10.KM Poke Eggs and show us what you've hatched. Capture the journey in a 20 second time-lapse video and upload to Gishwhes. Extra Points if you photo grab your hatchlings and ping @OsricChau with a map of your travels.

So you can see there’s a lot going on there. I made sure the other members of my group didn’t want to do the item, since I knew there were those who already played. There were no takers though. One of the things that I didn’t know originally was that I’d have to hatch those eggs consecutively, rather than all at once. Well, that wouldn’t be so bad right? I had an 8 mile run scheduled that day anyway, what’s adding another couple? Over here on this side of the pond, we use the Imperial measurement system, rather than metric like the rest of the world, so maybe you don’t know the conversion for kilometres to miles (confession: I had to look it up for this, too). Each kilometre is roughly 0.62 of a mile. I’d only have to do 10.56 miles to hatch all three eggs. That would only be about a half hour more, considering I’d have to stop periodically to catch Pokémon and then take screenshots of the hatchlings. So I went to the trailhead with flush toilets and water fountains so I could fill my bottles. It’s pretty cushy compared to the OTHER trailhead that has composting toilets and no water for miles. My husband accompanied me so that he could take a video or two of me at the trailhead to edit into my 20 second video. He used my camera and walked a slow circle around me so that it would look like I was spinning in the time lapse, and then I embarked on my journey.

I neglected to mention that I began this journey at 9:30am on the last Sunday in July in North Carolina, during the summer that tied with five others for the record of Hottest Summer since 1895. When I embarked, it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit. I had a backpack with 20 ounces of water, a couple energy gels, and a spare camera. Everything was going fine until I realized I’d been 2.5 miles and hadn’t yet hatched my 2k egg. I’d been really off pace and not paying attention to the distance, since I was taking pictures and screen shots of each Pokéstop on the way and catching what Pokémon I was able to. I wasn’t all that far behind, so I figured it’d all be okay even if I had to add on another mile to make it 11.5 total. No problem. I’ll make the rest of this very long story shorter and cut to the end. 13.5 miles and three and a half hours later, I finally had my three Pokémon, a nearly dead phone battery, a case of heat exhaustion, and a cranky husband. Turns out that Pokémon Go doesn’t use the same GPS as my sports watch, which is much more accurate and reliable.

Ok so what’s the “Pokémon Death March” have to do with Fall? Well during that very long trip, and on subsequent visits, I became intimately familiar with the landscape and foliage of that trail. So imagine my surprise when not a month later I saw brown leaves littering the trail. I thought that it couldn’t possibly be Fall yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE it when it’s 96 degrees outside. I’m in the minority of people here who really like the heat and humidity. When I don’t love it though is when I’m trying to run miles. So I’m going to be really glad when it’s below 70 degrees and I’m running. I belong to the #SportsBraSquad. I’ve been a member since the 1990s, before hashtags were even a thing. I may be cold all the time when I’m not running, but when I’m exercising, I sweat like a pig. Like, rivers of sweat. I could irrigate a field. So I try to expose as much skin as possible so evaporation can do its magical thing and keep me cool. So it’s usually me in a sports bra and shorts when it’s above 70. I may actually have to put on a shirt and leggings here soon.

It’s raining right now, and 70 out. People are wearing light jackets. I’m glad it’s time for that.


Posted: Saturday, October 01, 2016