Hack the App: Charity Miles

By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard of the charity miles app, (in which case feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph), but if you haven’t here’s a quick description. The app allows you to earn money for charity with each workout you do (run/walk/bike). Once you have downloaded the app and made an account, it’s a pretty quick process to get going. You select your charity from a list of options (I usually run for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America), choose your activity (run/walk indoor, run/walk gps, bike gps), and press go! It’s that easy! There are some additional features (you can join teams, post your runs to social media, and snap a photo of your run), but this is essentially a charity app, not a running app, so it would be used in addition to a running app, if that’s your cup of tea.

Anywho , I recently started using the app again after a long break. For a while I had a lot of technical issues with getting the app to work, so I stopped using it. Then, I got a new phone and never reinstalled it…you know the drill. I’ve come back to it in the last couple of weeks, though because I joined a (super awesome) virtual running club (more on this later), that uses the app to track miles for friendly competitions, as well as to encourage the use of the app to do #somuchgood.

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Within charity miles, I’m on a team associated with my running club, and any miles I run are automatically tallied under the team total. There are multiple teams associated with the club and we are essentially in competition with each other. And that’s where “hacking” the app comes in. Because really, whenever something is a competition, there’s bound to be some…ahem…creative…ways to win.

I know what you’re thinking, (cough..cheater…cough cough) but I promise there are ways to hack the app that are not cheating. And both Charity Miles and my running club encourage it. Obviously, sitting on the couch with the app on pedometer mode and jiggling your arm is a no go, as is putting the app on gps mode while you’re driving, but there are so many “approved” ways to hack the app, and you don’t have to be even slightly devious to come up with them. Hacking the app is basically turning it on any time you’re doing some kind of physical activity: walking to work, shoveling snow, vacuuming, etc.

Today, I’m hacking the app for the first time. In the most non-creative way possible: I turned on pedometer mode when I got up and it’s recording any movement I make all day (sadly very little with my desk job); but it has definitely inspired me to get up and move around just a tiny bit more than usual. I feel like I have this fun secret…I’m raising money (I think I’ve raised a whole 25 cents so far today..haha!) AND I’m getting miles for my team. (We’re currently in last place, so the situation is DIRE.)

At first I thought it was weird and a little wrong, but since it is encouraged (search #hacktheapp on Instagram) by both Charity Miles and my running club, I figured I should give it a try. And really, the end result is that I: a) raise more money for charity b) am more active, and c) have a little fun. How can that be wrong?

Do you use charity miles? Do you hack the app?

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I’ve Got a Goal!

Hi! It’s been a couple weeks, so let’s catch up. In my last post, I was super eager to sign up for a half marathon through my work even though I have almost no time to prep, and I’m not physically at my best.  I got some great suggestions on how I could make it happen with run/walk and not putting pressure on myself, but in the end I’ve decided not to sign up for the half.

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Fortunately, it turns out that this year, for the first time, they are also holding a 5 mile race!  I’m going to do this instead! While I’m still craving long distance; the 5 miler will be exciting for other reasons;  I haven’t run a 5 mile race in a long time, and I think I might have a chance to PR!  Although 8 weeks isn’t enough time for me to train well for a half, it should be plenty of time to train well for 5 miles!

I feel good about this decision.  I’m so glad they added a 5 miler. Prior to getting pregnant and taking a running break, I was itching to run a 5 miler because my current PR was below my fitness level. I was sure I could PR a 5 miler if I could just find one to run. At my current fitness, it’s pretty much the only distance I have any hope of even coming close to my current PR; so it gives me a little challenge that wouldn’t be there for a 5k or even a 10k. And I think a little challenge is part of what I wanted to get out of the half marathon.

Current PR: The Run to Remember ::: Boston, MA ::: May 25th, 2008 ::: 52:43

Another thing that I realized with my crazy desire to sign up for the half is that I want to do long runs again. When thinking about the half, I really didn’t know how I could fit in runs that might end up taking 2 hours. But I’m pretty sure I can find one hour! So, I’m going to take my current 30 min run and lengthen it at least once per week.  That should be a good starting point. With any luck, I’ll be able to get a half marathon on the schedule sometime in 2017.

Note: My hometown turkey trot is 8k (4.97 miles) and I have run that numerous times, but I haven’t run an official 5 mile race since 2008.

Good Idea/Bad Idea

Alright, let’s play a game called “Good idea or Bad idea”!

Here’s how it works: I’ll tell you about my life, then ask you a question about whether I should run a half marathon, and you tell me if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. (Spoiler alert! It’s a bad idea, but I want to do it anyways, so tell me it’s a good idea. wink wink!)

Here’s some background-

  •  The company I work for has a program that pays race entries for employees and their friends/family (with some restrictions)
  • Since I moved at the end of July 2015, a lot of the races are local to me, but I’ve only been able to participate in 1 so far (due to the time of year, pregnancy, general busyness)
  • They just sent an email with the spring schedule of races which has a half marathon on the list that’s in the next town over
  • I have not run more than 5 miles since, hmmm….well, it’s been over a year
  • The aforementioned 5 miles happened once…Turkey Trot 2016, aside from that I mostly run/walk no more than 4 miles at a time (3 times a week, at best)
  • In the last 3 weeks, I have run once….2 miles, and I walked a good chunk
  • I am studying for an exam that is at the end of April, and while I wouldn’t say it’s going poorly, I will admit that I am doing the bare minimum and struggling to get that done. (I say this to insinuate that I have no time for training, and if I somehow make time for training, I should really be using that time for studying instead)

To recap- I am in no shape (physically) to run a half marathon, I have almost zero time to train for a half marathon, and yet… I WANT TO RUN THIS HALF MARATHON!!!  And it would be FREE!

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Finishing my last half, which was apparently almost 3 years ago! Gosh, has it really been so long??!

So, here’s the big question: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Oh, also it’s in like 9 weeks.

Talk me into or out of it, please!

 

Lean, Mean, 2017!

Hi There!

Anyone still out there? If so, glad to see you again; I hope 2016 treated you well. 🙂

Let’s see…how do I do this again? I think I might have forgotten how to blog. I suppose should give a little explanation of where I disappeared to.  You see, I feel weird writing in my running blog when it’s not about running, and 2016 did not see a lot of running. And certainly not a lot of exciting running. So, I thought about blogging many many times, but never actually put pen to paper (so to speak). The second reason is just not having time. I know I can make time, but since I wasn’t particularly sure what to write about, I didn’t. That’s pretty much it – not a lot of time and not much running news.

The thing is, though, 2016 was a big year around here. HUGE, actually. There were honestly a million things I could have written about. Non-running related things, but also little running adventures, hurdles, and victories. Lots of things I could have shared that I just didn’t. My bad. I’m going to try to be better about this in 2017. Pinky swear.

So to catch you back up, here’s a short list of the most important things that happened in 2016-

  1. I HAD A BABY!

Yep, you read that right. I had a baby. Nope, I didn’t even breathe a word about this on the blog. But it happened, I SWEAR.

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PROOF! 

And, I still have that baby; he lives with us now. Which is just fine because he’s the best baby. I’m not just saying that because he’s mine and I’m biased. He is actually the best baby.

SURPRISE!

Good list, right? It was a good year.

On the running front, the short version is I ran until it sucked, then I stopped. I started up again when I was cleared by my doctor, and ran consistently until Christmas when I took a short break that I’m hoping to end this weekend. At some point, I’ll try to do a post on running while pregnant and about my not so glorious comeback.

Until next time….