One of the most useful apps I have on my phone is Runmeter. It’s a means of tracking runs or walks, and also an excellent way of finding out where you are in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I know Google maps does that too, but Runmeter just does it in a bit more of an interesting way. And best of all, it sends me an email at the end of the run/walk with a whole mass of fascinating nerdy statistical information about speed, elevation and calories consumed.
During the outing, it speaks to me at regular intervals to tell me my pace, average speed and distance travelled. There is naturally a choice of voice and I recently opted for a French voice. I thought it would be funny to hear a French lady telling me about my walk in Leeds, and would be good for my language practice. Sadly the French lady just gives the information in English with a very odd French accent indeed. It sounds quite bizarre in the depths of Roundhay park.
Naturally there is a great deal of creative potential in this app. I have found I can layer up walk routes on the same map to present a picture of a week’s exercise. I feel there is an art work in there somewhere.
This is particularly interesting at the moment since for the last few days I have been combining walking worlds. Over the years, dog walks have taken on established routes and patterns. I noticed recently I never mix them. So I have set about this week combining all sorts of routes within a mile radius and it has felt extraordinary. The little route above is a surreal collision of three routes: a local urban walk, a lakeside run and old Wykebeck. Why this should feel quite so odd I really don’t know but it does. I have that same sense you have when you see family in the workplace. It’s odd.
Disrupting patterns is always a worthwhile activity. I’ll probably revert back to normal in a few days, but for the moment, I can reflect on these surreal excursions with my Runmeter records close at hand.