Among my friends, I have a bit of a reputation for loving electronic gadgets"¦.in fact, I have earned the nickname Gadget Gal because I really do enjoying playing with my technology toys.
I was happy to find that there are many ways to connect my love of gadgets with my preparation for the Disney Half Marathon. In fact, I have found several things that have made my training more organized and my running more fun.
Web Gadget: Map My Run
MapMyRun (www.mapmyrun.com) is a wonderful website that helps runners with journaling workouts, figuring out pace, and even number of calories burned. The most interesting tool on the website, is the feature that allows you to find out how far you've run by "drawing" your route on a map.
In addition to calculating your distance (I, for one, like to know if I've run 3.2 versus 3.5 miles!), it also allows you to save your runs and share them with friends. The best part is that, although, you need to provide a username and password, but MapMyRun is free. Because you have a free account, you can save your runs and view your progress.
iPhone Gadget: iMapMyRun
I'm a die-hard iPhone owner and recently discovered a new, free application for the iPhone that is related to MapMyRun - it's called iMapMyRun (available at the iTunes Store in the Applications section). When you got out to run you can bring your iPhone with you and turn on iMapMyRun which uses the iPhone's GPS features to pick up satellites which tracks your time, current speed, average speed, as well as your route.
When you return from your run you can save it and it will upload it to your MapMyRun account, as well as show you a map of where you ran. There is even a feature to allow you to post your running route on your Twitter account (Twitter is free "micro blog" social networking tool). I use this constantly now in my training and when I return from my run, I still find my gadget-loveself saying, "This is so cool!" It is cool, but it's very useful.
Music Gadget: Your MP3 Player Plus iTunes
The final gadget that is indispensable is my Disney running list on my MP3 player (which, for me, is integrated into my iPhone).
Over the years I've collected many Disney songs that a fun and inspirational"¦.and just keep me moving over those long distances. Some of the songs on my playlist include: Will and Elizabeth (Pirates of the Carribean), Go the Distance (Hercules), Colonel Hathi's March (Jungle Book), Just Can't Wait to Be King (Lion King), Under the Sea (Little Mermaid), Grim Grinning Ghosts (Bare Nake Ladies), Go With the Flow (Finding Nemo: The Musical), Jalan Kopo (pre-show music for EPCOT's Illuminations), and, of course, the Mickey Mouse March.
You can share your list of running songs by building publishing a playlist on iTunes for free. You can view some of my Disney Running Playlist and download songs at: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=296681342
Now you're probably envisioning me running with gadgets strapped all over me, that isn't the case. There are many device holders available on the market into which your phone or MP3 player can fit safely. With mine, the nylon case straps comfortably around your arm with Velcro and stays snug during running.
It's certainly fun to have gadgets, but safety has to come first. I make sure that even when I'm listening to music, the volume is low enough that I can hear cars, pedestrians, or other runners.
During many races (Disney included), you're not permitted to use MP3 players because of the number of runners. I might miss my gadgets, but they have been very helpful for training and getting ready for my half marathon. And anyway, I know the sights and sounds of Walt Disney World will allow be all I need to keep me moving to the finish line.
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