Last year, I took one of those Facebook quizzes: How would you die in a zombie apocalypse? It told me I would survive for four months and 12 days, making it from Brisbane to Fraser Island. My mistake was having a stitch after running for 15 minutes.
I wasn’t even mad. It’s probably true.
But since then, every time I see someone running for their life in a TV show or a movie, I find myself wondering whether I could escape in that scenario. In The Hunger Games, I would be one of the first casualties. Probably wouldn’t even be able to run away from the Cornucopia. Alien invasion or the rise of the machines? Forget it.
So I decided to let my fear of dying in a (mostly) unrealistic scenario be my motivation. Enter Zombies, Run!, an app designed for people just like me who need the motivation of IMMINENT DEATH to make them move.
It’s basically like listening to an audio book/TV show. Want to get to the next chapter/episode? Keep running. And sometimes you will be chased by zombies who want to rip you to shreds and eat your brain, which makes you want to run faster.
I was going to start with the regular Zombies, Run! app but, upon hearing my plans, my mum wisely pointed out that being motivated doesn’t mean you can suddenly run five kilometres when you’ve never done it before. Especially if running for the bus leaves you panting for 10 minutes straight. So instead I turned to Zombies 5k, the app that teaches you HOW to run five kilometres.
I started on a long weekend, mostly because I feared I would die and wanted time to fully resurrect myself before returning to work.
The first workout was pretty simple. For the most part, I was walking around my neighbourhood and being introduced to the story (no biggie, someone shot a rocket launcher at my helicopter and I had to parachute out and then find safety). I was to become the new Runner 5, a death-defying courier/errand-runner for this post-apocalyptic world.
Since it was only training, I wasn’t sure if zombies were going to make an appearance yet. I told myself that, if they did, I wouldn’t freak out when they started moaning because it was all fake and I’m a grown woman, damn it.
But I did freak out. Because when the zombies started moaning, it sounded like they were right behind me and then something TOUCHED. MY. SHOULDER.
The zombie moaning only lasted for a few seconds. And, OK, it turned out the thing touching my shoulder was my own hair tickling me. I’m just glad no cars were driving by because I can’t say for certain that I would have paid due care and attention when crossing the road.
But the important message here is that I didn’t die from running. Eventually, I recovered from my stitch. I have to admit, I felt pretty proud of myself by the end of the workout.
I learnt more about Abel Township, where I would be heading just as soon as I picked up some medical supplies from a nearby abandoned hospital. I already liked the voices in my head(phones). And I liked that my surroundings could be transformed from suburban streets to an apocalyptic wasteland with only a few suggestions from the app. (It probably didn’t hurt that most shops were shut when I went for my run and people were staggering around with hangovers like actual zombies.)
The next day, it would be time to start my eight-week training program. It might kick my butt and I might even cry but soon I would become Runner 5, runner-away-from-zombies extraordinaire. Soon I could rule the world.
Or I could just run for 15 minutes without getting a stitch. That would be good too.
Feature Image: Warm Bodies (2013 ) Summit