The topic of videogamifying your life isn’t something I’m a stranger to. Today I discovered a new avenue to take this predilection down. I’ve recently become enamoured with jogging in lieu of public transport. I’m no superhuman, but thankfully my training is paying off and the thought of movement with speed doesn’t rock my mind with full blown terror. I’m fortunate to be at this point, but it hasn’t come without work. By no means is this a complete transformation. Fuck off. Sometimes I’m just too tired after a day of work to even think of hitting the pavement. Thing is, with work being a handy 4.5km from home, if I can drag my butt off to the bathroom to change into a pair of shorts I can usually get myself out and onto the footpath with a bit of speed. It’s a convenient way to get around and, if you’re travelling under 5km, usually takes about the same time as public transport. This makes sense if you can imagine running diagonally (a direction that public transport doesn’t go) instead of my legs hitting the ground at a train’s pace (which they don’t do). Utilising my best Pythagorean judgement, I find the path of least distance and see how quickly I can trace it.
So that’s a basic explanation of what jogging is. Great. I apologise for what may have been the least interesting thing I’ve written on here (and I’m sure it faces some stiff competition).
The videogamifying aspect I referenced in the first sentence comes into play in so many ways. When I’m jogging, I think constantly about how I’m feeling. How are my energy levels? What’s hurting? Sure, by breath is coming in raggedly, but is that worsening the more I run? Or is this my base level of breath intake while jogging? I’ve often found that I can be panting like a dog, but 5 minutes later I’m still panting and I’m no worse for wear than I was 5 minutes prior. So I’ve got all these meters to check on, the next is figuring out my rate and how to best utilise it without depleting everything else. If I need to speed up, that’s gonna throw off that careful panting balance and I’ll actually be hunched over, resting my palms on my knees. The most exciting part is looking ahead and tracing your best line of movement. It’s almost like bullet-time in that you can see all the options in front of you and need to establish how you’ll best react to them. Unlike bullet-time however, this all comes in real time, which is a bit of a rush. You’re constantly weaving in and out of obstacles (pedestrians, mostly). If everything’s crammed, a half second turn to your left establishes whether or not there’s room on the road to quickly skirt the footpath blockage.
Today I had the joy of following in another runner’s wake. This guy was probably a tad fitter and faster than me, but the drive of having a goal to follow meant I kept up pretty well. Whenever a traffic light called us to stop, it allowed me to catch up that second or so I was behind him. I’d see the path he took and quickly analyse whether or not I could manage to shoot through the gaps he took (sometimes accelerating with a short burst, like the rush repeatedly tapping a button as fast as possible). If not, I’d need to find a quick auxiliary route. It was a thrill, like running a race just to keep pace, closing the gap inch by inch. My body wanted me to slow down back to its normal rate, but I kept up until he took a right at Bathurst.
Next time I’ll take the fucker out with a green shell.