Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat …

An odd title to today’s blog which requires a bit of background.

With the current limitations on outdoor exercise brought in to combat the Covid-19 crisis, I have had to dust off our ancient treadmill and press it into service.

I can get a few miles in every morning with the dogs but I don’t want to over exert them just so that I can get my miles in.

So some days, I have to top up my dog walking miles with a stint on the treadmill.

Now anyone who has ever used a treadmill will probably agree that boredom is a major limiting factor. To relieve the monotony I have had to add a few extras to the basic setup.

Firstly, there’s a laptop running an app called Zwift (LINK). At it’s basic level, Zwift allows you cycle or run (or in my case walk) around a virtual landscape. The speed of travel is dictated by the speed that you are plodding along on the treadmill.

For the app to know how fast I’m moving, I have a foot pod attached to my shoe which sends data to the laptop via Bluetooth.

There is also the facility to record heart rate but this requires a USB dongle as my watch and chest strap transfer data not by Bluetooth but by a system called ANT+.

So, after a few teething problems, I managed to prop the laptop up in front of the treadmill, paired it with my foot pod and was ready to go.

I started the treadmill then once that was moving, I clicked on RUN (there is no separate Walk function) and my little avatar started walking through the streets of that there London.

Live From The London Marathon Expo -- Run With Nick on Zwift

You can tell that Zwift started as a app for cyclists as the roadside was bedecked with advertising hoardings for cycling products. Running was added, initially as an Easter Egg but is now there, in it’s own right, along with cycling.

There are a number of tweaks that can be made including …

  • There is a guest city each month. An added line in a preferences file allows you to explore ANY of the featured cities.
  • De-clutter the streets – by default, all other people using the app, and are nearby, appear on your display. By turning off WiFi, once the app has started, everyone else just disappears.
  • The screen displays a LOT of information. Again, an extra line in the preferences and all the stuff vanishes. Unfortunately, everything goes so you have no idea as to how far you’ve gone.

After walking along The Mall then up and Down Constitution Hill, taking a peek at Buck House, and along Birdcage Walk.

Occasionally, you are given the choice of which direction to take and I had to make my mind up when I reached Whitehall. I chose right onto Abingdon Street.

As I was passing the Houses of Parliament, Zwift informed me that I had walked two miles which was my target for this session. I pressed ESC to pause the program.

I turned the WiFi back on to ensure that my walk stats would be uploaded then clicked on the Save button.

I continued on the treadmill, gradually reducing the speed as a cool down.

Checking on the internet, later, I discovered that my Capital city walk had been recorded on Garmin Connect as well as the native Zwift site. I downloaded the .gpx from Connect and uploaded it into Endomondo.

I was quite delighted to see the map along with all the stats.

So, two miles done in London / indoors added to the eight with dogs brought my daily total to 10.1 miles.

# WALK 1000 MILES in 2020
DAILY MILEAGE   10
ANNUAL MILEAGE   685

P.S. If you haven’t sussed out the title, it’s from the nursery rhyme …

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.

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