An alternative to Nike+

Since this post gets a good bit of traffic, I think it’s worth noting that you ought to check out RunKeeper if you happen to own an iPhone 3G/3GS. Not only does it not require a dongle, it’s more accurate and doesn’t require the latest hardware (3GS) to run.

Well, I am nearly two weeks into my walking challenge and so far so good. I’ve walked a total of 7 times since August 17th, for a total of 8.59 miles and 3,291 calories burned. Considering my lack of activity prior to the 17th, I’d say I’m off to a pretty good start. Walking with the Nike+ sensor and being able to track my progress has made walking fun for me. It’s exercise meets video game in a way…

My only beef with Nike+ so far is the website. The all-Flash interface is certainly nice on the eyes, but it doesn’t offer the functionality I’ve come to expect from sites that offer “social” features. It should be easy to direct people to your profile page, but it isn’t. You should be able to see how your friends are doing, but you can’t.

  1. If you want to share your progress, you have to do it via Nike-provided Flash widgets. You cannot link directly to your profile on the Nike+ website.
  2. The only way you can keep track of friends is through challenges (or via widgets – IF they happen to display them somewhere). Then and only then can you click on your friends’ name … and see their last run, and total run time and distance.

Neither of these are deal-breakers for me, but they’re annoying. That’s why I am excited about RunnerPlus.com. It’s everything that Nike+ isn’t. It has profile pages. It has friends. It has better visualizations of run/walk data. And it works with or with Nike+. (You can set up your profile to sync up with your Nike+ account if you like. Otherwise, they offer a software solution that allows you to sync your runs/walks without having to bother with iTunes or NikePlus.com.)

RunnerPlus has:

  • Better, more accurate visualizations.
  • Calendar-view … so you can see which days you walked and how far.
  • Profile pages with easy to remember URLs! Here’s mine: http://cdharrison.runnerplus.com/
  • Friends! You can see how they are doing and they can see how you’re doing.

In short, it has more to offer than the official NikePlus website, and that’s a good thing. If you’re using Nike+, do yourself a favor and check our RunnerPlus.com. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for sharing this site with me, Patrick!

Nike+ – Getting Started

Nike+ iPod BoxThis morning marked my first official walk with Nike+. I have added a new page to the site utilizing widgets from NikePlus.com showing my goals and last 5 runs/walks. Initially, I’ve set the following goals for myself:

  • Walk 100 miles in 16 weeks.
  • Walk at least 50 times in the next 16 weeks.
  • Burn at least 5000 calories in the next 4 weeks.

Since I set these goals up after my first walk, it won’t count towards them. Kind of a bummer, but not a huge deal. Also realized that I need to recalibrate my sensor. When I first set it up the other night, I only walked a half mile, so my pace was much faster overall. When I walked this morning, I ended up walking close to 2.5 miles, but the sensor only registered 1.95. Again, not a huge deal, but I am hoping to get the sensor better calibrated to me so future walks will be more accurately measured.

Nike + iPod

nike+ipod closeup in packagingScott and Patrick have Nike+ for their iPod nanos, and recently started competing against each other via NikePlus.com. Kim’s had an iPod nano for a little while now. I’ve thought about getting Nike+ for it for some time, but never acted on it. Then Mike made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: If I got Nike+ and walked 100 miles he’d PAY me $2/mile. Yesterday, I picked one up from CompUSA. Last night I calibrated it by walking a half mile. Tonight I start logging miles.

In the meantime, I’m going to see if there is someway to display my progress here on the site. I know this is something I can and will do, and it’s about time I get off my ass and do something about my weight.

Once I log at least two runs/walks I will start displaying my progress on the sidebar via a Wordpress Plugin for Nike+. Look for this to be on the site within the next two to three days. (I’d display it now, but I haven’t logged anything yet, and the plugin returns PHP errors if no data is found.)

Recovery

I got hit hard with the flu this year. I knew it would get me eventually. I didn’t think eventually would mean this year. (That’s why there’s been a lack of updates for a number of days.)

On Thursday, I went home early. I wasn’t feeling well when I woke up in the morning, but didn’t think too much of it. I chalked it up to a simple headache… a head cold maybe. By noon, I felt a lot worse. I had achy joints, lots of sinus pressure, a headache, a bit of congestion… At this point, I was having a hard time concentrating. I got a few things done that were lingering on my queue, and then went home.

I hardly ever go home when I’m sick. Our office is setup in such a way where each of us has some degree of space between our desks. Most people would probably stay home if they’re sick. Here, we pretty much stay head’s down unless we’re feeling bad enough to go home.

Well, on Thursday, I felt bad enough to go home. That’s how my wife knew I was really feeling badly: I went home. I took my temp… it was at 101º. Not good… So I laid down, and took a nap. I took my temperature again around four o’clock and it had increased to 103.5º. I called my wife, and she suggested I try to get an appointment with our family doctor as quickly as possible… (They were unable to see me until Friday morning.) So, she took me to a Prompt Care clinic close to our house, and around six o’clock I was able to see a doctor.

They checked my vitals… temperature was up to 102.8º… noted my various symptoms… The Doctor concluded that I had the flu. (Lucky me! Yay!) He gave me some Motrin (for the fever and joint pain), a prescription for Tamiflu (which works wonders), and sent me on my way!

The barrage of meds I through at the flu seemed to do the trick. By Saturday I was up and out of bed… and I’m back at work today…

God, it’s good to be back to “normal”. Being sick is awful. Maybe I’ll start wearing my jacket more often.