Tag Archives: fitness apps

What’s Making Me Happy This Week I

One of my favorite podcasts is NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. It’s one I make it a point to listen to as soon as it gets posted on Friday mornings. Every week they end the show with the segment “What’s Making Us Happy This Week.” Sometimes it’s big stuff; other times it’s small silly stuff. So I’m taking a page out of their book and taking a moment to reflect on what’s making me happy this week.



A friend of mine (the same friend who introduced me to Zombies, Run! actually) introduced me to this game last weekend, and I’m hooked. My ex was a super gamer and got me into it (I played a lot of World of Warcraft back in the day.), but Nik isn’t much of a video game player so I don’t play many video games anymore. (We do play a lot of table top games – see the next thing making me happy.) Ingress is filling a void in my gamer soul.

This is an app based game put out by Google. The story is that scientist at CERN have discovered a substance called Exotic Matter (called XM) leaking into the universe through various portals. XM is dais to have mind control properties. There are two factions the Enlightened, who want to use XM to improve humanity, and the Resistance, who feel XM should not be used to control people.

The goal of the game is to gain control of these portals and create networks by linking portals together. Along the way you level your character so you can use stronger weapons and equipment.  Essentially, it’s a giant game of virtual capture the flag. In order to capture and link portals you must be in range of the portal which means this game requires you to do some walking. (You can drive from place to place as well, but exercise!)


There’s also a very social element to the game. Often times you need other people to help you take down an enemy portal. And you are limited on the amount of high level gear a single person can use to capture a portal so to make a really strong portal, you need multiple people. There’s a variety of Google+ communities created around this game to help people organize and meet up. Chicago has an extremely well organized and active Enlightened faction. Oh and if you do play in Chicago, I’m Runninginchucks.

Our growing tabletop game collection
One of the benefits of already having a lot of house stuff is we got to add a bunch of fun stuff to our wedding registry. We registered for a bunch of tabletop games and several of then were gifted to us! We now own Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Bezzerwizzer, the Cards Against Humanity expansions, Dixit, and Fluxx. Now we just need to host a game night!

And because these can’t all be game related…


pumpkin spice ecard
I have always been a fan of pumpkin/pumpkin spice/ pumpkin pie. I loved for Thanksgiving because it was the one time of the year I got pumpkin pie. Now I do think the pumpkin spice trend has gotten a little ridiculous, but the vast array of pumpkiny treats still makes me smile.

Zombies, Run!

It’s possible I’ve never mentioned this before, but I’m pretty nerdy. I would die to travel in the TARDIS. Dystopian fiction is my jam. I played World of Warcraft, a lot, for about three years. If I has more time, I’d play way more videogames.  (I’ve been longing to finish Bioshock…) I spend my Friday nights playing tabletop games with friends. (I call board games tabletop games.) And not just your mainstream games like Apples to Apples and CatchPhrase. We might have once played a Dungeons and Dragons board game…

I know. You’re all shocked. I just seem so cool on this blog. Anyway…

It could probably go without saying anything that combines my love of fantasy and gaming with my love of running is pretty much a winner in my book.

Enter, Zombies, Run!


A friend if mine told me about this app a year or so ago. At the time it was only available on iPhone, but it sounded so cool that I anxiously awaited it’s release on Android. I downloaded it the day it released. It’s kind of pricey ($7.99), but so far it has been worth every dime. (And I’m not one to actually purchase a lot of apps.  I’ll deal with the ads in the free versions.) I’m actually only 50% done with the game, but the story is just so good. I really can’t believe how well written this app is.

Without giving much of the story away, you are cast as “Runner 5” after ending up in survivor camp, Abel Township. Your job is to complete various missions collecting supplies and helping to solve the cause of the zombie plague that has overtaken much of the world. The mission storylines are intermingled with songs from your own playlists.

Each mission runs about 30 minutes, but the app also has a 60 minute settinig. You also have the option to turn on zombie chases which adds some intervals in which you have to speed up to escape a zombie hot on your trail.

You can also allocate the supplies you collect to build up the various areas of the township – hospital, armoury, etc. This is where the gamer in me gets excited, leveling my base.  This can be done via the app or through the ZombieLink portal which is pretty cool.  You can review storylines and your run data on the website.

Right now I’m only completing about a mission a week because, aside from just not running very much, I’m so torn between wanting to know how this all ends and wanting to drag out my zombie entertainment as long as possible! Luckily, they are releasing a second installment in the spring.

And I’m totally aware this post reads like a (or rather the world’s worst) sales pitch, but I assure you the people behind Zombies, Run had nothing to do with this post.  They have no idea I exist. I just wanted to share one of my all time favorite apps with you guys. This is the time of year when motivation starts to thin, and there’s nothing like a good storyline to keep me moving. Oh, and they apparently have a 5K training app now if the lack of zombies in the Couch to 5K is a total dealbreaker for you.

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