I'm loping along, my feet lightly skimming the ground, the endorphins starting to kick in. The staccato trumpet blasts of "Going the Distance" from the Rocky soundtrack pulsate through the gleaming blue iPod nano, propelling me and my Nike Air Zoom Moires through my morning workout. I click the center button, and a pleasant female voice informs me I've just passed the 10-mile mark and am cruising along at an 8:17-a-mile pace. I flick to my programmed "PowerSong" for extra motivation and pick up the pace. By the end of the workout, the voice of Lance Armstrong is telling me I've just completed my longest run ever.
The Nike+iPod digital musical running experience is a collaborative product of leaders in their respective fields that will spice up anyone's running life and, for the serious recreational athlete, provide a convenient way to chart mileage, calories burned and other workout data.
You transfer the stats from your feet to your head with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit ($29.99), a wireless system consisting of a sensor that fits in a pocket under the left insole of your Nike+ footwear, and a receiver that attaches to the iPod. Choose one of four workouts (basic, time, distance, calorie burning), select the music you want to groove to, and head out the door. Distance, time and pace information flows onto the screen of the iPod, which can be strapped to your arm (admittedly not the easiest place to read from, but the visually challenged can always choose audio feedback).
The online iTunes store provides specialized workout tracks from the Nike Sport Music site. Coaching mixes, with voiceovers from such running legends as New York City and Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, will pump you up along the route.
Once you've finished your workout, you can send the data by Internet to nikeplus.com. Easy-to-read graphs help you follow your progress as you churn out the miles.
Because runners tend to be fairly selective about the type of running shoes they wear, Nike offers a variety of models with the built-in sensor pocket. And a range of Nike+ apparel, from short-, long- and sleeveless shirts to jackets and shorts, comes equipped with specially designed pockets that provide an alternative to the armband. Not to be outdone, Apple offers the iPod nano in 2-, 4- and 8-gigabyte versions (with up to 2,000 songs and 24-hour playback), in five different colors.