Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Sunny With A Chance of Braaaaaains!

So I checked the forecast for this weekend, and apparently it’s going to be hotter than hell at the zombie race this weekend:

Onalaska forecast

Onalaska Forecast 2

38 degrees??? That’s insanity! The zombies won’t have a chance to eat me – I’m going to die of heat stroke first!

In preparation for the upcoming zombie-eating-Beth fest, I decided to try out the Zombies, Run! app1. It’s an iPhone app that you use while you are out running – it’s plays an audiotrack that tells you a storyline as you run. A storyline about you (affectionately known as “Runner #5”) during a zombie apocalypse. You can select to have the “zombie chase” option on or off – I chose “on”, naturally – and the “zombie chase” options means that at random times, the audio will tell you that zombies are chasing you and you have to sprint! It’s sort of a highly motivating interval training system. I only went out for a *very* short run this evening to test out the app, so I didn’t get chased by any zombies yet.

Here’s a summary of my “mission” so far2:



It’s probably a pretty good thing that I picked up a radio, some tinned food, and some first aid kits, but I’m not sure why I needed to pick up a sports bra (WTF?). You can do as much of a given “mission” as you like on a run, and then pick it up again next time from where you left off. Next time I intend to do a much longer run and hopefully I’ll get chased by some zombies at some point.

Though I should point out that while I wasn’t actually chased by any zombies, there was a point where I was told some were nearby and I could hear them breathing. You can actually pinpoint when that happened on my Runkeeper summary of the run3 – the shorter the bar in the following graph, the faster the pace4:

annotated runkeeper

I’m hoping that means that I will, in fact, sprint when being chased by zombies this weekend!

  1. I know I just sound like a broken record but again, no affiliation with this company. []
  2. Note that for parts of your run, you are just listing to whatever music playlist you want to listen to, and then the radio transmissions break in. “Bananas and Blow” is a song on my running playlist – I didn’t actually pick up bananas or blow as part of my “mission” []
  3. As I was also using my Runkeeper app to track the run, because I didn’t know if the Zombies, Run! app recorded distance and time for you. []
  4. Except for the bars that are just a dot at the bottom – that’s when you are just standing still []


I Snooze, I Lose

So I’ve been meaning since forever ago to write a blog posting about the Sleep Cycle iPhone app. It’s a free app1 that tracks your sleeping patterns2 and then works as an alarm to wake you up when you are in the lightest stage of sleep. But mostly I love it because I get to look at a graph every morning when I wake up! A graph that looks like this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Or this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Or maybe this:

Sleep Cycle App - screenshot

Of course, what prompted me to write this blog posting today, of all days, is that Dr. Dan just blogged about this app! I didn’t even know that he used the Sleep Cycle app, and here he is scooping me! Of course, the data from our respective Sleep Cycle apps show that I spend, on average, 7 hrs 02 mins sleeping per night compared to his 5 hours 40 minutes per night and so clearly he used his extra awake time to scoop me on this blog topic3! As I suggested in my comment on his blog posting, “Beth snoozes, Beth loses… literally!”

Like Dr. Dan, I wish that this app had the option to overlay all my graphs on top of each other to see if some sort of pattern emerges. I mean, I have data from 243 nights4 and it’s pretty hard to spot patterns just by flipping through the graphs one at a time. I’d also like to see what my maximum and minimum sleep times were (or some other measure of the spread of my data); though my average across 243 nights is 7 hrs and 2 mins, I routinely sleep 5-6 hours per night during the week and 9-10 hours on the weekends.

Now speaking of sleep, that actually sounds like a good idea right about now. BETH SLEEPY!

  1. and you know how I feel about free stuff []
  2. by using your iPhone’s accelerometer to sense your movements as you sleep []
  3. I have a vague recollection of Cath writing a post about the Sleep Cycle app eons ago, but a quick search of her blog came up empty, so now I’m thinking that perhaps she just told me, at some point, about her using []
  4. though not consecutive, because sometimes I forget to turn on the app []


A graphic look at hill runs

I’ve mentioned before that I’m using the RunKeeper iPhone app to track my training runs. One of the things I really like about RunKeeper is that it gives you a graph of your pace and the elevation of the runs you do.  And you know I’m a sucker for graphs.

This is a graph from last week’s hill run1:

hill run The blue line represents pace, which is in mins per kilometer – that is, how many minutes it takes to run you one kilometre. It’s a little counter intuitive at first, because lower = faster (unlike speed, where higher = faster). Incidentally, I’m not sure why they have “speed” in the legend, since they don’t show speed on the graph2.

The green line represents elevation – it’s easier because higher on the graph = higher in real life.  You can tell the app isn’t perfect though, because on this run I ran up and down *the exact same hill* four times, so the elevation at the 1 km mark, which was the bottom of the hill, should be at the same elevation as the other troughs in the graph3.

Also, I’m a little surprised that pace doesn’t mirror elevation – I feel like I run so much faster on the downhill than on the uphill.  It’s starts to show up that way a little near the end, but I would have expected it to be more pronounced.

Also, I think the graph is missing a line.  If I were the one drawing the graph, it would look like this:


hill run 2

Where the red line = will to live.

I hate you hill runs. I hate you long time.

  1. I’d show you the graph of today’s hill run, but the end of it got b0rked, like this one []
  2. I think you can select “speed” instead of “pace” as your default measure in settings, but pace makes more sense to me when I am running, so I prefer it []
  3. i.e., just before 2km, ~ 2.5 km, and at the end of the run []


Running App FAIL

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my run tracking app, which uses the iPhone’s GPS to map out where you run as you run,  occasionally has crazy ideas about where I actually ran.  In the comments, extragoode mentioned that it was possible that sometimes the phone might lose its GPS connection for a second and jump to using cell towers instead until the GPS kicks back in.  I’m guessing that’s what happened on tonight’s run (planned route in blue, “actual” route in red):

Running route FAIL

because I’m pretty sure I did not traverse False Creek like this!