What's Your Power Song?

I used to wonder if I would still feel the need to run all the time if I could eat ginormous tasting menus and effortlessly maintain a size 2 (in no danger of happening). And I used to think the answer was a definite "hell no"–I'd bring on the banana pudding and revel in my genetic luck. But over the past few years, I've come to crave running. Not the endorphins or anything silly like that, but the concept of setting myself in motion in time to the music blasting in my ears. I may look like I'm dying, but as these rivers of sweat pour down my face, in my head I'm onstage shaking my ass with Janet Jackson to "Miss You Much" or doing backup vocals for Michael Stipe.

And now, running is even more fun. This weekend, in addition to our divine tasting menu dinner at Babbo (perfection), Jeff gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received. Nike and Apple recently paired up to make their Nike + iPod kit. You need an iPod Nano (Jeff has one), a special pair of Nike shoes (we trekked to the Niketown in Midtown), and the kit, which has a sensor chip that fits snugly in the sole of the shoe and a receiver that plugs into the iPod. As soon as you plug it in, a special feature shows up on the Nano for you to customize your run. Do you want to run a certain distance? Do you want to run for an exact number of minutes? Do you want to burn a particular number of calories? You tell the iPod what you'd like to accomplish for that particular run and what playlist you'll listen to. The most fun pre-run part is choosing your "Power Song," the song that you'll cue up at the press of a button when you kind of just want to quit.

Then, you're off! You press the button to start your run, and a nice man or woman (you choose!) tells you your workout is beginning. Then, the same kind voice updates you throughout your run: You've run one mile! You're running at a 9 minute, 25 second per mile pace! The whole time you run, the screen displays your time, your per-mile pace, and your calories burned.

I can't explain how happy this makes me. I'm an obsessive time watcher. Yes, there are times when I get lost in the magic of a Damn Yankees song and don't even look at the time, but in general I like to know how long I've been running. And since I can't run on a treadmill, I roughly translate my completely unscientific "i guess i run a 10-minute mile" theory and then calculate the distance. Until yesterday, it's all been guesswork. But now, I just run. No clock-watching, just RUN. And it's AWESOME. I ran my typical Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens route yesterday, which hey, it turns out is 4.24 miles. I have my pace, I have my time. I had my Wilco Power Song, courtesy of Jeff.

Then you go home, plug the Nano into your computer and all your info is automatically entered into a spreadsheet of sorts on the Nike website. You can compare each run you make by distance, time, pace...you can of course race with yourself and track your progress (automatically! right when you plug in the iPod!), and you can also compare yourself with other users around the world.

Enough publicity for Nike...this just makes me so very happy. It's the perfect gift, and even so was only a small part of a perfect weekend.


  1. Either "It's Raining Men," or "Ojos Así" by Shakira. Not that my shin splints have resolved yet.

  2. Even though you had already explained the gift to me, I am now in greater awe of this genius use of technology and of the fact that you are the ultimate target audience for this product.

    Well done, technology people and Jeffy!

    A good power song for me: Jimmy Eat World - "A Praise Chorus", amongst others.


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