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Zombies, Run!: Keeping Fit and Living Well in the Current Zombie Emergency
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The Book > Week Two: Venturing Forth

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message 1: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
It’s a scary world out there, full of shuffling, moaning zombies who desperately want to eat you. Venturing Forth, thankfully, includes tips and exercises that can help us escape their hungry maws.

Scouting the Local Area

I have never done something like scouting my local area before, but I set out to map the area around the Six to Start office:

There are two underground stations close by, which the Ministry of Recovery is adamant that Runners 5 should avoid at all costs. I didn’t hear much moaning coming from within, but I did my best to pull the shutters across the entrance just in case, and threw away my Oyster card to avoid temptation.

There were a few zombie sightings in the area during my recon, so I’ll know to keep up with my cardiovascular activity to ensure a quick getaway in the future. But more exciting than that - there are plenty of corner shops and cafes where food supplies are plentiful, as well as medicine in the medical centre close by to us. We also have the Lido to practice swimming in!

I’m not yet able to run with a backpack, but I have a handy water bottle with me always. However, there’s not much risk of being caught out by a horde until I’m able to run further from my base.

What does your local area look like? Be sure to leave out anything that would let a canny reader work out your location!

Walking, Running, Cycling, Swimming

Thanks to the fact my commute includes a walk, I’m able to walk for at least 30 minutes continuously. However, the Ministry of Recovery recommends being able to walk for at least an hour. Since I recently found a cache of audiobooks from the time before, I’ll be hoping to increase the amount of distance I can walk without getting sore feet. First thing to raid from the nearest shoe shop: a pair of arc-supporting shoes.

Running is another matter entirely! At a very slow jog, I can run for 20 minutes, but that will leave me sweaty, red and aching the next day - no good if I encounter a zombie at the wrong moment. Over winter, I’m going to use the little daylight hours we have to try and get some couch to 5k training in, to make sure I’m ready for when they attack.

What do your running records look like? Have you noticed anything that has improved your running time recently, like a new pair of shoes, or an upbeat song from the time before?

Accompanying an uplifting story from “SP” of Norwich are tips to get us runners onto bikes. I’m a terrible cyclist, but perhaps pairing practice with the balance exercises outlined in the Home Front, I won’t find myself veering off in the wrong direction. After all, it’s hard not to be tempted by cycling when the Ministry of Recovery and the illustrious Maxine Meyers hints that you could find yourself cycling up to 50 miles in one journey!

Most of us have learnt to swim at some point, especially if you’re near a large body of water. But despite the fact I can do some lengths, I’m not actually a very strong swimmer. I can tread water for maybe 30 seconds to a minute tops, nowhere near good enough if I’m waiting for a rescue boat!

But when you’re stranded on an island chock full of rivers and estuaries, it’s probably a good idea to increase your skills. You might even want to brave the Thames during the summer! Just don’t be seen without a wetsuit if the water temperature is under 16C, as anything below that can be extremely dangerous.

Do any of your Runners 5 moonlight as swimmers or cyclists? What are your routines?

Big Cities

Firstly, the advice is to avoid big cities as much as possible, unless you’re looking for loved ones. Where there were a lot of people, there are now a lot of zombies, as the Ministry of Recovery tells us. For those of us who were stranded here, though, the Ministry offers some handy hints.

Using a map, and ensuring you don’t get caught out after dark, you should be able to navigate through the city in relative safety. If I have to go out after dark because a zombie has broken through my defences, or I need to find water, I make sure someone who knows the area well is aware of the route I’m taking, and how long I’ll take to be back. Oh, and I never leave home without a walkie talkie.

I’ll be avoiding the London Eye now out of fear of falling zombies, but Hyde Park, a safe zone, provides some top notch running terrain. Oh, and those Gospel Oak zombie experts don’t half sound interesting!

Are you in the city or the countryside? How does this affect your exercise routines and training?

Tell us what you thought of this section in general, including the fitness regimes suggested - and we’d love to see your fitness routines!

message 2: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments My trusty walk/run companions (dogs) and I have done a fair amount of scouting out local area, but only via public access routes! We are in a rural area, so there's actually quite a lot we have not scouted before. Scouting those areas definitely presents many challenges! It was all private property before the apocalypse, and there were many hunters in the area, so it's important to remember they might be leary of strangers stomping through their land. Other hazards include tall vegetation (tall grasses, crops, trees, etc) which can obscure zombies, both crawlers and those still on their feet. The vegetation can also be dangerous itself as there is lots of poison ivy in the area. Then there is the wildlife, we've got all sorts. We had a coyote in the backyard a few nights back for example. I wonder if they will help keep the zombie population in control? They did not help much with controlling the deer so I'm not that hopeful. Too bad zombie are not deterred by skunks, we've got several of

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Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments (Continued after a dog helped me post before I was ready)... them too.

We are far enough out that our zombie population is pretty low, but we are also too far out to be able to get into town and back in one day via any of the means discussed in this chapter. Going to town in these apocalyptic days will require a team effort and several days work. A neighbor down the road had horses, maybe we can ride them into town for a supply run. That was an option not discussed in this chapter! I imagine the exercises from chapter 1 will come in handy for those with muscles that are not used to riding horses!

message 4: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Clarke (eruvadhril) | 3 comments Well, good news and bad news for me. Bad news is, I'm in the province of Utrecht, pretty close to the city itself. The population density in the Netherlands is already pretty high; approximately the equivalent of taking all of the inhabitants of Washington state and moving them all to Hawaii.

The good news is, if I walk out my front door and follow the road, I can be in open farmland in half an hour on foot or ten minutes by bike. In the opposite direction, I can be on the river in about ten minutes of walking. Acquiring a boat of some description would be a very good thing; I can imagine transport of goods and people along the rivers would be a viable option all through a lot of the Netherlands. Same with bikes- the infrastructure's already there and the country's flat as a pancake, barring the occasional mountain*.

Nearby, according to Google Maps, I have a couple of pharmacies, a couple of corner-shop grocery shops, and an electronics supplier across the river. About a half-hour walk through residential areas will get me to a larger shopping complex, which is probably best avoided unless someone with serious firepower clears it out first.

Back to the river. I'm wondering whether it'd be possible to set bridges up as zombie choke-points. Most of them have been sensibly built wide enough to accommodate either a few people or at least two lanes of car traffic. I wonder if a Durin's Bridge-type situation could be retroactively engineered, making sure that anyone trying to cross would have to go single file? There are more bikes in the Netherlands than people, so any such system would have to accommodate the average Incredibly Tall Dutch Cyclist without slowing them down, if at all possible.

*The Netherlands does not have mountains. They have a hill. They just call it a mountain because everyone else has one, dammit, and they want one too. Don't tell them, though. This is the country who built walls to switch off both the ocean and the wind; if we make a big deal out of it I wouldn't put it past them to build a mountain in a fit of pique.

Eva Therese (eva-therese) | 4 comments I live in the city and I think I have a pretty cozy spot. Right outside the door I have two supermarkets and a bike shop. Within a range of about 1 kilometre I also have a pharmacy, two more bike shops and some more supermarkets.
I bike every day to work and while I'm not particularly fast, I'm used to covering wide distances. This will be useful for when it's time to leave my home and venture out, looking for other survivors or a more permanent safe place. I should probably get some books about bike maintenance, since I have all the needed tools and supplies nearby.
Mapping the neighbourhood will be the next step. And if I get a pair of binoculars I can scout it out from the balcony.

Denali (yarnbard) | 10 comments This section would be more helpful if I had the time to actually maintain a running/biking routine, but I appreciated it for the future! When the weather was nicer, I would bike through the forest to the food co-op each week, but unfortunately, I don't have the time to really bike recreationally. I live a little ways out from downtown, which is probably good for my safety, and potentially good for more exercise, but unfortunately, it's also inconvenient!

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Cari | 4 comments I run through my development (1500 homes) three times a week and know it fairly well thanks to that. I live about 30 miles south of Washington DC, so I don't feel that it's a threat to my town. There's a lot of farmland around me which is also beneficial.

message 8: by Lulu (new)

Lulu (robotwitch) | 19 comments Mod
Carol - That vegetation and long grass sounds like it would be a prime spot for crawlers - you'll have to be careful when you're going through it! I wonder if coyotes, like dogs, are immune to the zombie virus...because I imagine zombified coyotes would be pretty terrifying! Do you think you could use the stink glands from skunk to make an anti-zombie spray? Could work for throwing them off the scent too! Horses are a good idea, as long as none of them get bitten on the way...

Danielle - It sounds like you are in a great spot! Have you done much boating before? It'll be a handy skill! I think you're right about the shopping centre, though, in emergencies, it might be good for ransacking for supplies. Do you think the flatness of the Netherlands will help you spot zombies from far away?!

Eva - Binoculars and a bike sound like great things to have to hand! I'm sure your bike supplies would come in handy for trading or making yourself useful in a permanent settlement. Do you think being in the city might be a disadvantage?

Denali - Biking to a food co-op through a forest sounds idyllic! I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to get your biking skills back, either.

Cari - That sounds like your far enough away from a large zombie settlement, but close enough you could probably bike into town if you needed any supplies!

message 9: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol (clbfreeman) | 15 comments Yes, the long grass can definitely hide a lot, that is an important reminder. I sure hope coyotes are immune - if so, maybe they can help take out the crawlers at least? Using skunks stink glands to make a spray is definitely an interesting idea. I think I might want to make sure I have some tomato juice on hand first in case I goof up and end up dousing myself - I don't want to scare away my fellow humans! Yes, hopefully the horses are as eager to stay away from the zombies as we are!

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