Dreadmill Mom Discovers iPad Mini ‘Virtual Runner’ App Made Possible by Mad Drunken Midget Friend

I had a cool new iPad Air once upon a time a few days ago.  Then my mean drunken midget friend aka toddler dropped it on the hardwood floor on Mother's Day. 


iPad Air via apple.com

"iBreak it."

This prompted my husband to ask if I would like a replacement iPad as a gift for making me a mom of said midget in the first place and ruining all my fun.  So I commenced to making a decision on whether or not I wanted to go with the Air again or downsize to the Mini which might prove more durable and safer with a protective cover should it land in mini midget hands.

It's not that I NEED another iPad.  The word NEED is reserved for food, internet service, and Injini toe socks (http://www.blogher.com/blister-proofing-bunions-snake-deterrent-injini-toe-socks).  But the iPad Mini is almost a necessity because there are so many things that can be done with it if the iPad fairy leaves one under your contour memory foam pillow.


The iPad Mini isn't just an oversized iPhone 5.  It's an iPod Touch Maxi!

I personally take my iPad everywhere because I believe that's what you're supposed to do.  When you have a cool new gadget, it does not reach the maximum pleasure standard until all your friends are jealous of your new gadget.  Therefore, it goes with me to Walmart, where I whip it out and check my Facebook as I wait in line to pay for my lemon Jell-O. I also take it to parties, where I use it to play games while waiting for my turn at beer pong.

When running on the ol' 'dreadmill' I usually watch videos on the iPad Mini from Netflix's "watch instantly" streaming option but the other day I figured out how to work a few apps specifically for running. I have an iPhone synched with my Mini, so that means I can say to my peeps, "Hey peeps! I just scored a mad new app." As of now I have so many apps that other treadmill runners at the neighborhood Y are simply in awe of my app-iness and app-titude.  I'm also looking into legally changing the name of my chocolate lab running partner to 'Appy the Uni-dog'.


via krapps.com & Younicorn on the App Store

“Make every day magical” by turning your dog into a unicorn.

A few days ago I spotted an app called 'Virtual Runner' and I finally had the chance this week to try out its downloadable courses ranging from 5Ks to Marathon runs. On a busy afternoon when only a 6 mile run would fit in with our PCS moving schedule I decided to go with the '10K Run Along the Potomac'.  To start, I downloaded the 'Virtual Runner' iPad app then downloaded the Potomac course. This required a few attempts to get right as it was really frustrating how big these video files are.  My poor little 32gb iPad couldn’t handle it at first, so I had to clean out a few things (aka finish line selfies and mad drunk midget friend pics) before I could download.

I have to say downloading the running course was the most disappointing part of this app.  Each race course can take 20-40 minutes to download.  I left the app open after pressing install and almost 10 minutes in I received an error message. To add further disappointment to the download process, the app would leave the halfway downloaded course on my iPad Mini so I’d run into more issues with space.  I learned it's ok to delete and reinstall the app if this happens.  The courses purchased will automatically show up in the available courses when you reinstall.


This speeds along the process.  Evidently.

The instructions are fairly easy to comprehend.  I know this because I took time to download and read an installation guide as if it were a juicy book on my iPad Mini. I read this thing like it was a mommy porn piece in the most obnoxious way so as to seek attention from the most people noticing me read something on my new gadget. I read about this runner’s app at the convenience store where I enjoy an occasional twice-a-day Big Gulp Mountain Dew. I read at the library while peering in a superior way at all the old schoolers who waste valuable energy turning pages. I read in slow moving traffic at stop lights and when people around me got a little horn happy, I stood up through my sunroof, waved my iPad Mini at them and yelled, "Hey! I'm reading a mother trucking installation guide on my iPad Mini, M'Kay?!"

Many painstaking hours of reading and learning later I figured out how to install the course.  Simply plug the iPad Mini into a wall charger, change iPad screen settings so the display is always on, and then leave open to the installation screen and most importantly, don’t let a mad drunken midget toddler touch it.  Nothing will pop up to say that the course is downloading, but it will be running and doing its thing in the background.

Everything from this running app's download on is pretty simple.  Just go back to the main screen of the app, click on 'run', select the course and you’re ready to rock it as much as you can on a treadmill.  'Virtual Runner' also contains a unique feature where it’ll sync up with ANT+ devices so the video will automatically adjust to your pace. I don’t have this so I used the preset 10:00 min/mile pace for the Potomac video.  This can be adjusted in the settings.

I wish I knew more of the ins and outs of downloading on the iPad Mini so I could accomplish the process at a more rapid pace.  However if I did know everything there is to know about this I'd probably pretend to be Steve Jobs back in his whacked out fruitarian days.  I'd be taking a butter knife to my iPad Mini and disassembling it and screwing around with the insides with the same look on my face I get when trying to figure out where the "off button"  is on my talkative 5 year old or whether or not the ducks at the duck pond are practicing their teenage girl faces.  Then I would probably put it back together, using some duct tape, Saran Wrap and pond water.


via krapps.com

Yeah, Steve Jobs was a God, sure.  But he ain’t nothing compared to Steve the Unicorn.

I do admit that despite the slower than usual download process, the course was exceedingly clear and smooth-sailing. It really felt like I was running The Potomac and before I knew it, I was almost done with the run.  Now I just need to purchase one of those new-fangled tablet holders for the treadmill so I don't have to bungee cord the iPad Mini in place.  I made a text note with the 'Notes' app to buy one in Wal-Mart next time I go - which will be in approximately 5 minutes as I live in a constant Wal-Mart going loop.

Running with this app didn't feel like a typical treadmill run.  This was also the first treadmill run that I wasn’t constantly staring at the time elapsed ticker on the headboard or clicking around constantly on Netflix TV shows or surfing the net for Botox coupons or plastic surgeons that accept old L'Oreal mascara tubes in lieu of MasterCard.  I usually hate the treadmill, but I need it.  Our relationship status is complicated.  But with the 'Virtual Runner' app, the run was fun and a much faster way to knock out a few miles than packing up a stroller to push 40 pounds of my mad drunk-on-almond milk midget friend throwing his sippy cup in the street every 5 minutes.  The 'Virtual Runner' app trimmed almost a minute per mile off my run time.  Now if only I could pee while I run to save even more time...

Did I just say that?  Please excuse my social awkwardness.  I stay at home with a mad drunken midget friend determined to break my iPad all day.


"I also opened up all of mama's tampons today and watched 'em expand in toilet water.  It was gnarly.  You should all try this at home."

So would I buy more running courses from Virtual Runner? Yes and No

The Pros

The videos are LOVELY – I genuinely felt like I was running the Potomac like it was a fairy tale excursion filled with good times and sweet memories. In fact, this run was such a thing of wonder and fabulousness, I felt sure I would want to write a sonnet about it upon hopping off the treadmill.


Maybe I'll even write an ode or a limerick about it.

Once done with the timely download process, the app is simple to use However I'm certain the downloading would be less time consuming on a different device or with a different user as I was born missing many of the Best Buy 'Geek Squad' skills along with stereotypical feminine skills like: cooking, cleaning, and making napkin rings out of old paper towel rolls.

Unlike 'Map Your Run' and other running apps, 'Virtual Runner' doesnt drain your battery – My iPad Mini only used 2% battery running the Potomac video for an hour.  But if you ever want to spare your battery and get unlimited life on your iPad Mini, just turn it off.

I know lots of stuff y'all.

The Cons

Price – This app doesn't come cheap. Although Virtual Runner is initially free, each course costs $7.99 so if you want to run Boston, the 26.2 miler is split into 4 files for a total of $32 and almost 8gb of iPad Mini space.  I'd like to run Boston this weekend but as it's grocery buying weekend, which in my opinion is the most evil of all the weekends, I have to forego buying the videos. I hate it terrible, but I'll do it because my family insists that on occasion I feed them something other than peanut butter and barbecue chip sandwiches.  They are so self-centered.

Space – The videos are clear and pretty to look at but at a major cost in the long run as far as iPad Mini storage.  But at least I can still flip the thing over and put on makeup with it. The back of the iPad Mini looks pretty shiny. A shiny surface is all I need.

Download Process – This process needs to be upgraded as it’s currently a major time sucker.  Maybe I was doing this whole thing wrong but in the downtime of waiting I almost had time to get myself some kitty babies implanted in my uterus after cleaning out all the cobwebs with a gynecological Swiffer Vac.  Thankfully I have a limited shelf life on my baby making parts so I'm glad to report that no kittens were birthed during this download session.  However, I'm thinking of running the Falmouth Road Race video and since I'm not certain my tube tying procedure 'took' a few years back I could end up with five more babies by the end of the download.  Maybe just four if I don't catch uploading hiccups in the process.


via Outside Interactive from the App Store

Unicorn easily disguised as a blonde treadmill runner (to avoid suspicion).

"... Just running with the Virtual Runner app on the iPad. No unicorns here. Please don't stare."

Treadmill powered by biodegradable unicorn poop.

I’m off subject now. Somehow I meandered my way from a virtual running app that shows almost real time race course scenery all the way around to the plight of my uterine spider web colonization.  However I do hope my review and suggestions are useful to Outside Interactive 'Virtual Runner' app designers, and if I can be of further assistance in consumer reviews of this product please send me a pretty unicorn with a syringe full of Botox in his horn and a fist full of hundreds tucked under his tail, minus the fist.


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