|Eeek! I encounter a rattata in Piedmont Park during a 6-mile run.|
When I entered the park, I turned on my new app for Pokemon GO, an augmented reality game that lets you collect Pokemon characters in the wild. I knew the park would be perfect for this.
Just off the path in the green bowl near Park Tavern, I glanced down at my phone and could see the digital rustling that takes place when one of these monsters is near. It turned out to be a rattata, a kind of rat in the game (which uses your phone's camera to blend the creature in with actual surroundings as in the picture above).
After a few flicks of pokeballs, I captured it and added it to my Pokemon collection.
I've found over the years that augmented reality games such as this help me run in actual reality. They can give me easy focus on creating new running routes especially during pretty detailed running schedules like the one I'm currently on. When you have to grind out six- to eight-mile runs almost daily (or have been running every day for the last 9.5 years), it can be difficult to be motivated to do the same courses over and over.
I've frequently run in the park to play Ingress, the other virtual reality game by the same creators as Pokemon GO.
This time around, however, I've been able to leave the phone in my pouch when the workout calls for running at a specific pace. It does give me an incentive, however, to make sure I finish with enough time to see what might be lurking in the digital expanse of what we know as Piedmont Park.