I don't want to be last… (Zombies, Run! 5k Training)

I started doing Zombie’s, Run! again.  Why? Because I’m shockingly out of shape.
I imagine myself running from a shambling heard across a vacant parking lot or field. The distance increases and I start to feel triumphant. Eventually, and by that I mean like 30 seconds, I start to tire and slow. They don’t.
I realized that even the Romero-esque slow-but-steady zombies would eventually over take me. If there’s nowhere to hide and it’s just a matter of  endurance, I’m fucked.
Last week I started my diet and exercise routine. My plan is to run every other day and alternate excuses motivating forces.
Six to Start, the creators of Zombies, Run! also make a 5k (a little over 3 miles) training app. This app has is great for people who like to set goals and alternate their running routine because running is boring.
Zombies, Run! 5k Training is a fantastic addition to the Zombies, Run! program because the characters and the universe overlap without anything but the first chapter of the story repeating. I was super concerned I’d be doing the same story with different prompts. It was surprisingly hard to find out that they’re different.
In the Zombies, Run! 5k Training program you’re still Runner 5 but you’re not running on a mission, you’re training to get faster because Able Township not only needs you, it needs you at your best.
I like to run inside on my treadmill because I’m an indoor kid and no one can see me. Unfortunately, when the trainer wants me to run for 15 seconds, I have a bit of a clumsy transition as it takes my treadmill about 30 seconds to get up to speed… I manage.
While I really enjoy both Zombies, Run! and Zombies, Run! 5k Training, I found there’s one major difference between the app I have on my iPod and the app I have on my Galaxy S3: The accelerometer doesn’t seem to know I’m moving… I don’t know if that’s an issue with my S3 or an issue with the app. I’ll keep trying. [1. Fortunately, I’m on a treadmill so I can track my stats manually.]
Both programs link to Six to Start’s ZombieLink web situation where you can share stats (if your app decides to track them) and running routes and progress.
I realize $7.99 is a lot of money for app, but Zombie’s Run! is not just an app. It’s an audiobook, a choose your own adventure, a personal trainer, a progress monitor, and a game. If you want to get fit and be the star of a zombie apocalypse mystery movie, get the app. And if you want a bit of extra motivation and a change of pace, get the Zombies, Run! 5k Training app too.

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Quick Survival Tip: Stay Active

Staying active is the only way to practice the need to fight or flee at any moment. Down time sounds fantastic on paper but too much can be the death of you and your ability to survive any situation.

  • Could you easily climb to the 20th floor of a building in a hurry?
  • Could you walk 20 miles in a day? Run five miles with a pack on your back?
  • Could you wake up in the middle of the night and sprint through the woods or ruins of s city?

Personally, I can barely make it up 12 steps in my own home without a whinge and a rest. Not a good sign.
Sitting one the couch reading books will not prepare you for the post-apocalyptic survival. Knowing piles of things with out doing them will not prepare you.
It’s hard to stay active when it’s a choice but making it a challenge might make it easier.

Some challenges to help you stay active:

1. Zombies, Run! – This is an interactive story where you’re the main character, Runner 5. You’re coached and guided by the communications expert at a survival camp to run all over the English countryside. You’re the hero and more items you collect the more you can build up your camp.
Missions can be a half hour or an hour, between checkpoints you listen to a playlist you load into the app, your progress is tracked as a runner and the more you run, the swankier you base will get.
2. About.com’s 30-day Fitness Challenge – This one’s for people who need constant prodding. You’re signing up for a 30-day newsletter, each day brings a new challenge– all you have to do is read your email.
3. 100 push-up & 200 sit-ups – This is a great challenge for those who want to prove their dedication to themselves. Over a six-week period you build up the strength until you can do 100 push-ups or 200 sit-up non-stop.
If you do the initial test, you might be shocked to find how flimsy you actually are.

Staying active is a choice.

Choose not only to get that heart healthy 30 minutes of activity a day but also build yourself up and make staying active a part of who you are so when everything else is torn away you can be confident that you’ll still be standing strong, running fast, and generally not dying a heinous death at the hands of robot-alien-zombies.
 

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Hunger.

Let’s talk about hunger. You probably think you know what it is to be hungry, right? Your stomach growls, and you get more and more obsessed with food the longer you are unable to eat. But chances are (if our stats are correct) that you’re a person from a western, industrialised country who has never really expereinced proper hunger. You may have eaten crap for a day or two, or a week or two, or a month or two. You lived on beans while in university. You only have one or two proper meals a day while you’re on the dole. These all suck and leave you hungry.
But the thing is, that’s not proper hunger. Thats ‘wealthy, powerful country’ hunger. That’s not the hunger of having NO meals for the last week, of being forced into eating rubbish or rats or weeds from the garden. You’d turn your nose up at those, because even though you may be poor, there is still food available for you that isn’t that awful.
There won’t be when the end happens. Finding food will become more unlikely and fraught. Fussyness will not happen. Thee’ll come a point where you kill a rat and eat it – maybe even raw, because your hunger is now so intense that something that foul doesn’t matter to you.
I don’t say these things to scold or scare you, but to prepare you. Start letting go of your rich-country food prejudices. I’d still say avoid eating dogs and cats, because they’re invaluable for killing vermin and protecting you, but if feral dogs attack you, don’t waste the meat. Most things are edible, even if they taste bad, just remember that. Don’t let hunger drive you to it, accept it early on and it’ll be more easy to deal with.
See, the problem with not knowing what is actually edible and what isn’t, and allowing squeamishness to make your food decisions for you, is that in desperate situations you are then completely ignorant as to waht you can eat or not. Hunger my then drive you to poisonous berries and mushrooms, because you don’t know that dandelion leaves are perfectly fine (if bitter). It might drive you to eat your shoe leather because you can’t let go of the idea that, psot-apocalypse, your pet bunny is better as a source of meat than as something to cuddle.
Hunger. Don’t let it win.

Prepare you mind for the apocalypse.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?
I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.
Delightful.
There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.
Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

We all know having the proper supplies, tools, and even clothes for the apocalypse is vital. We prepare our bodies with exercise and diet, but how do we prepare our mind? How do we ready ourselves for the predators who will use mental tricks and manipulation to assert their will?

I recently read an article about Pick up Artistry or PUA. It’s a school of thinking and series of behaviors designed to coach men that women aren’t interested in to manipulate, bully, and otherwise deceive their way into bed.

Delightful.

There’s a book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss, about understanding and employing this technique that has a nearly perfect score on amazon with about 720 reviews. Overwhelmingly, these Seven Hundred and Twenty people, likely a vast majority of men  found topics like “Selecting a Target” and “Isolating the Target” to be valuable information.

Read the book, not to become this kind of person but to recognize them when they approach you, your friends, your daughter. Explain to your friends and relative what it looks like to be manipulated by a Pick up Artist. Every potential victim needs to not only be confident in their own mind and cues it’s providing but also aware of what might be churning in the mind of that seemingly vulnerable man who needs help on the other side of those buildings.

Because for all their placating and explanations of how harmless it is and how when a women “acts like she’s not interested she’s just playing games,” PUA is disturbingly similar to emotional abuse. That special kind of abuse that isolates the victim and makes them question their self worth so that the abuser can swoop in and be the hero in a situation that they caused.

There is nothing at all wrong with going out and trying to get laid. There is nothing at all wrong with using techniques to better “your game.”

The problem arises when the game is more important than the person being played. People who refuse to treat people like people are shitty people.

After spending three days immersed in a Mystery Method Corp (now Love Systems) seminar, Gene Weingarten expressed his uneasiness about “a step by step tutorial for men in how to pick up women, make them comfortable in your presence, and bed them, ideally within seven hours of your first meeting” and wondered aloud, “Is there something inherently wrong with the notion of seduction as a classroom-taught skill, complete with a long hierarchy of ‘lines’ that work, seemingly spontaneous topics of conversation that are anything but spontaneous, tricks for seeming ‘vulnerable’, and tips on how to behave so as to deliver subtle but effective nonverbal inducements to intimacy? [SOURCE]

It is vital that in all our preparations we recognize shitty people from the jump and never give them the upper hand. Recognize when people are playing at our emotions and trying to manipulate our minds by saying something so random and out of the blue that it confuses and thus disarms us[1. Yeah, that’s a technique.].

Read the books your predators are reading so you know if you’re being treated like prey.

A few other books to add to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List:

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker
In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the US’s leading expert on violent behaviour, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger – before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded – or been victimised by – power.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

If you know of another books that should be added to the Prepare Your Mind Reading List, please let us know in the comments.

'Traditional' Gender roles are a bunch of bullshit post apocalypse.

Most post-apocalyptic media (and a lot of prepper groups) have this weird idea that when the world ends the women will finally get back in the kitchen where they belong. While the post-apocalyptic world may be harsher to those of the female gender than the male in some ways, anyone who things gender is the main thing of importance in deciding who does what is going to find their survival group operating at less than peak efficiency.
For a start, gender doesn’t decide your natural skills. It doesn’t decide your intelligence or how capable you are at learning. Gender has a minor impact on certain tendencies, but the truth remains that people are individuals first, gender second.
And then, you have to remember that what we consider ‘traditional’ gender roles are actually a pretty modern invention, at least among the poor. Before the industrial revolution, you couldn’t have members of the family or society not contributing. Women ran bars, shops, worked the farms. One thing they didn’t do was ‘stay in the kitchen’ because the family would have starved to death if they did.
Let’s think of it with a post-apocalyptic practical frame of mind. Say you have a woman in your group who happens to be a crack shot. Are you going to make her take care of the kids because she’s a chick? Hope not. Take that to the logical extreme, and it means all people in your group should be offered the same training and found work to do based on what they’re best at, not on what old-fashioned gender ideals state they ‘should’ be good at.  Don’t stick a man who’s an excellent child-care provider on the scavenger lines, and don’t stick a woman who’s a brilliant engineer on clothes-making duty.
It really is that simple.
Are there things that either gender can do that the other can’t? Sure. With women, it’s pretty much down to ‘I can squat out a baby’. And that IS something you need to consider – babies are going to be super major important post-apocalypse and so pregnant women need to be protected. Even your crack shot from above needs to be taken off the front lines when she’s up the duff. But the thing is, you’ll need her back. So what’s the answer? Have a creche system. After weaning, all the children are taken over by dedicated child-minders, male and female.
But if you let modern-day gender binary colour your assumptions so much you end up with the person who could fix up electricity for you stuck to breeding and rearing, don’t blame me when you suffer.

Blisters.

By now you probably know that we like to talk about the odd stuff. The things that other survivalists ignore, or don’t think of, the weird concepts our strange little brains come up with in the bath or at the supermarket.
Yesterday, I thought about blisters.
 
Yes, blisters. The annoying, painful, fluid filled sacks you get when you have irritated, injured skin. You get them when you burn yourself or when your shoes rub. Wait, when your shoes rub? What are you going to be doing post-apocalypse? A hell of a lot of walking. Which means what? Your shoes will rub.
Blisters can make it hard to walk or run and slow you down. So, what to do?
First, prevention:
You should, by now, have a pair of apocalypse ready shoes or boots. They should not be brand new and unworn, because that’s jsut asking for blistery-type problems. In fact, you should be wearing them as much as possible for two reasons. You’re going to need to wear the boots in – and get yourself used to wearing them. By doing that, you reduce your chances of blisters.
Invest in some hiking socks. Soft, thick and supported, hiking socks can reduce your chances of developing blisters, and keep your feet warm if the world ends in winter. Whatever you do, don;t think you can go without socks, no matter the emergency. You’ll be crippled with blisters all over your feet within hours. Keep a pair in your boots, and the rest in your pack.
If you do develop blisters, DON’T BURST THEM. The fluid acts as protection for the injured skin underneath. Bursting them before their time will lead to more damage to your feet. However, walking with blisters (especially on the soles of your feet, ouch) can be painful, so invest in some of those special blister plasters with the gel – it forms a protective barrier and reduces pressure pain.
If you have no access to plasters and the like, having not done your research pre-apocalypse (I don’t know how you’re reading this. Perhaps you have some kind of magic smart-phone that can still access the internet? If so, hello! Please tell us what finally finished us off. Was it badgers? I bet it was badgers) you still shouldn’t pierce your blisters. Instead, keep an eye out for a book on natural remedies and herbalism (loot bookstores) and follow their advice. Honey is a good way to heal injuries – it’s mildly antiseptic and soothing – but it’s pretty sticky, so it’s probably best to apply it at night. Similarly, try to keep your feet clean. It may be tricky, but the last thing you want is an infection setting in. So loot yourself some cleasning wipes and use them when you camp at night. And I want to wish good luck to my hypothetical post-apocalypse survivors currently reading this. Maybe I’ll see you out there.
Blisters aren’t the only foot injury you can face from lots of walking – sometimes the friction bypasses the fluid-filled stage and goes straight to the ouch-i’m-bleeding stage. If you are bleeding from your feet, don’t panic. Blood always looks more dramatic than the injury actually is. Simply use some of your first aid supplies to cleanse and cover the wound and try to mentally bypass the pain. The next day will be the worst, but survival is more important than the ragged, bleeding mess that used to be your heel. A sufficiently padded wound covering will stop it getting worse, and will reduce pain and prevent infection.
And rest assured that after the first two weeks of constant walking, your feet will harden up. No more blisters for you, so if you can just make it through those first two weeks…

Reality: Because you're not as skilled as you think.

A few months ago, I started doing semi-regular apocalypse walks. These are a really good idea, and I thought I was getting super fit. Certainly skil enough to take a job that involves walking for five hours a day.
If you could hear me, you’d hear hollow laughter.
Oh yeah. It turns out that most people assume they are better at stuff than they are. I assumed I was fitter than I was because I could walk for up to 10 miles at a fairly leisurely pace. Of coure, I stopped regularly on those walks, carried very little and generally treated it like a fun excursion. It’s a bit different when you have to walk at speed for five hours, in the sweltering heat, carrying a backpack, and still have to do your job.
So you really need to be aware of this stuff. Unless you are actually a fully trained professional in something, you’re probably not as good at it as you assume.
So what can you do about that?
Learn your (actual) limits:
Don’t assume that you can do something based on limited or no experience of it. Actually go out there and do it – or something as close to it as you can. If you think you can walk for hours at a decent pace, in all weathers, carrying a backpack, GO AND DO IT. When you have done it, you’ll know how good you are, and whether you need to practice more.
Don’t underestimate how much work it takes:
The things we discuss may seem easy to you – but you have to remember that when you do them you’re CHOOSING to and you have the option to stop at any time. It’s fun to live off the land when you have the option to return to central heating. It’s nice to choose natural childbirth when there are hospitals available to help you out if you get in trouble. If you have no other choice than these things, you might find they become more stressful and dangerous.
Self-Awareness:
Easy to say, hard to do. Effectively, you need to be well, aware of yourself. How you react. Your strengths and weaknesses. And you need to be honest about those things or you’re going to get yourself – and other people – into trouble.
So, how to do it?
As I said, try and experience things for yourself. Measure your acheivements against others – you can’t expect to be as good as an expert, but compare yourself against the average. If you aren’t good in comparison, you’re below average. Simple, yes? Be honest with yourself about this – I know your ego relies on being awesome, but there’s no shame in not being good at something – and you can always get better.
Of course, the people who always think they’re experts aren’t ever going to understand this is about them. Fortunately, they’re gonna die pretty soon. Hopefully they won’t take any of us with them.

Storing food for the post-apocalypse

So my husband will be going on a week-long backpacking/hiking/camping trip in the depths of the Canadian Rockies. Very soon. Which means, of course, that he’s in the middle of preparing for this week of torture trip into the wild.
Since he, you know, doesn’t want to survive on pine needles and berries, he’s packing food. Enough food to last him a week. Which, when you have to carry all this food on your back, can add up to a lot of weight. (It also added up to a lot of dollars at Mountain Equipment Co-op, but that’s a totally different story.)
Anyway. All of Hubby’s trip preparation got me to thinking: what’s the best way to prepare (food-wise) for the post-apocalypse? Now, I’m not talking about making sure your bunker is fully stocked with canned goods and other non-perishables. I’m talking about that possibly lonely trek on a possibly long, lonely road through a possible wasteland (lot of possibles, here). I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if/when you’re making that trek, you probably don’t want to be carting around three cases of Alphaghetti and two cases of KD. Plus a box or two of instant ramen. And maybe some Girl Guide cookies.
My husband is not taking cans of Alphaghetti. Nor is he taking a bunch of watermelons and half a tub of grapes, like that one guy did last year. Instead, he’s taking those freeze-dried camping meals (well, at least I think they’re freeze-dried). The last time he did this hike, he brought a backpack full of MREs.
Apparently, MREs weigh more than the freeze-dried meals, even though they obviously weigh less than cans of Alphaghetti and a watermelon.  Instant ramen would be pretty light, though, so maybe a desperate person could take those? (With Girl Guide cookies. Because to be perfectly honest, I’d miss Girl Guide cookies. Especially the mint ones.)
So now I’m wondering, is it a good idea to stock up on MREs and freeze-dried camping meals? What do you think?
You tell me: What would be your preferred trekking-through-a-post-apocalyptic-wasteland food supply?

Your Post-Apocalyptic Tribe: Dress for Success

Does anyone remember that show The Tribe about all the kids left over after a disease kills all the adults? They kids banded together in tribes based on their needs, interests, and location (e.g.: The Mall Rats). You could tell a lot about a person in that world based on how they looked and what they wore.
In the post-apocalypse you might want people to know who you’re allied with or where you’re from. It could mean the difference between being shot on sight or welcomed with open arms.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend tattooing your affiliation post-apocalypse. While it’s the permanent method that many gang members and sub-cultures seem to be fond of nowadays, it’s also potentially fatal if not done by a fully sanitized and licensed professional. You want to go through all the trouble of finding a group to belong to and then dying of tetanus right after your initiation? Not a good look.
Colors, also a gang favorite, are another great way to show your affiliation. But colors are going to be hard to find and be selective about come the end times. Also, if you’re team chooses red and their team chooses blue, the robots will still find all of you way more easily than if you all wore army green and hid in the forest.
Where you choose to hide, or set up for the long haul, will heavily impact not only who you’re associated with but also how you’ll need to dress to survive that environment. We here at In Case of Survival are all about practical[1. Psyche, we’re the least practical bitches on the earth.] survival.
If you’re residing in the sewers, you should have some goggles and a wrench and some sturdy boots for wading through muck and tightening drippy pipes. If you’re in the forests, you’ll need flexible shoes for climbing and stealthy movement, also a lot of form-fitting clothes so they don’t get caught on things.
More to the point of post-apocalyptic tribes, you’ll need to consider how to merge both recognizably and practicality.  If everyone looks like a hobo then no one likes someone you’d trust. Would you invite a hobo into your house, campsite, or country club?
Well maybe you’re a better person than I am, but I sure as shit wouldn’t.

Dos and Don’ts When Dressing Your Post-apocalyptic Tribe:

DO dress for your environment– both weather and terrain.
DO make room for weapons relevant to your environment and any enemies you might encounter.
DON’T go for garish colors or accessories– this is how the robots will spot you. Everyone in bright colors will die first.
DON’T let the tribe members get too flexible with the dress code.
DO have something that’s difficult to replicate in a pinch like being black, or bald or tall or … Well those aren’t really feasible. Hair dye! Nail Polish! Piercings (though, like tattoos, there is a health risk involved).

Any other suggestions for dressing your post-apocalyptic tribe for success?

Training for the post-apocalypse

Now that my mind has re-injected itself into my body (the last few weeks have been rather hectic), I’m able to start thinking about post-apocalypse things again.
One of the post-apocalyptically focused things that have crossed my mind these past few days is the idea of training for the post-apocalypse. I know Anninyn has talked about it before, and she’s even got a training regimen already planned (and, you know, follows).
I, on the other hand, am nowhere near that organized. Or athletically inclined. I got a gym membership recently–and I’ve actually gone to the gym!–and have been working with a personal trainer. Which is all well and good and all that, but sometimes I have to wonder how effective personal training is when thinking about exercise in terms of post-apocalyptic survival.
Continue reading “Training for the post-apocalypse”