Me and My iPod, A Love Story

Too true.First of all, I don’t want to jinx it but my last three runs have had way less leg cramping and on my long run on Saturday I did 1:04 fast per mile than I did the week before.  I feel like I’m finally making progress!

On Ask Me Anything day a number of people e-mailed and asked about how I stave off boredom.  This is a significant thing – I am someone who gets bored incredibly easily, I get bored at red lights so several hours of running, biking, or swimming is a lot for me to deal with.  When I started training for the Seattle Marathon I bought an iPod which I named “Running Buddy.”

Running Buddy has seen me through a lot of boring miles of running and walking.  I know that there are people who use running to clear their thoughts or whatever but my only goal with running is to complete the workout, and not being bored out of my mind is important to that effort.  I spend an inordinate amount of time making playlists to match up to my various running workouts.

I also set up little rituals around music – I start every long run with Mama Told Me Not to Come by Three Dog Night (singing my re-written lyrics “Mama Told Me Not to Run in my head).  In the middle I play Hall of Fame by the Script, and at the end I play Rebel Beat by the Goo Goo Dolls.  What happens in between changes from time to time and goes from Rock, to Country, to Musicals (Newsies Soundtrack?  Sure!) and the dramatically cheesy (Michael Bolton singing “Go the Distance” on the last mile of my long run?  You bet your ass.) Whatever it takes to get through the run. Once on a 14 mile long run I had failed to get adequate sleep, food, or water and I learned that “hitting the wall” is a real thing.  As I was weaving and stumbling through the last half-mile, just trying to get home, I realized that I was singing, out loud, to my music – I felt like Running Buddy and I really bonded that day though I’m not sure how if affected my relationship with my neighbors.

Running Buddy has also become “Spinning Buddy.”  For someone who gets bored easily, well, at least for this someone who gets bored easily, spinning is like the 9th circle of boredom hell. I work to keep between 85 and 95 revolutions per minute at various levels of resistance depending on the workout. It’s hot (my gym does not air condition the spin room), parts of me that are ass and ass-adjacent hurt, and despite my little legs pumping furiously, I go absolutely nowhere.

I have to talk myself out of skipping the workout all the way to the gym, and as I walk from the locker room to the spin room, and I have to talk myself out of quitting every moment thereafter until the workout is over.  Sometimes music doesn’t cut it, I’ve tried podcasts (thank you Cat Pause!) and have, on my worst days, resorted to watching television and movies, whatever it takes to keep myself on the bike.

I think perhaps the cruelest thing about the IRONMAN is not the distance, but that you are not allowed to listen to an iPod.  Seventeen hours of just moving forward in one of three ways with nothing to distract me.  I am really not looking forward to that and I imagine it’s something I’ll have to train for as the event gets closer.  But I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so let’s do the damn thing.

For now though, it’s me and Running Buddy 6 days a week!

More Cool Stuff:

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About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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9 Responses to Me and My iPod, A Love Story

  1. wonkafonka says:

    CAN’T LISTEN TO AN iPOD?????? How does ANYONE complete it??? I think that’s literally the most shocking thing I’ve read on any of your posts. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lsstrout says:

    Ah, we have finally found Ragen’s weakness! Boredom!
    I didn’t know IM won’t allow ipods. That seems cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. KP says:

    Holy ham planet, I am totally adding “Go the Distance” to my long run playlist. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ^Ela^ says:

    Do you have a good tip for the swimming pool? I’m kinf of allergic to running and cycling, but I love swimming, at least in theory, but I don’t do it a lot, because I can not bring my iPod – and where my iPod can not go, I usually don’t go either… 😉


    • J N says:

      In my masters swimming days there were already music devices that were meant for swimmers, and that was quite some time ago. I bet they still exist.


    • jwassists says:

      There are totally waterproof earbuds that connect (I assume via Bluetooth) to your iPod or phone (which remains outside of the pool.) Ragen really, really hates to be bored (as you read) so I looked into buying these for her when she was starting her swim training. It turns out she likes swimming, though, haha. So I haven’t purchased any, but they definitely exist!


    • I use the Finis Neptune mp3 player in my long swims and it’s AWESOME. Best invention ever! There’s nothing like swimming to Chaka Khan belting out “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)”. There’s also Waterfi’s waterproof iPod nano, but that requires waterproofed earbuds, which I find, leaks water. The Neptune has sound pads that attach to your goggles and rest on your cheekbones to pass the sound waves through your bone. It works best underwater.


  5. Jane says:

    Hi Ragen, don’t know if you already heard of the Zombies, run app? It’s a real fun sort of interactive audio book-like game. The story is really captivating and you can even let yourself be chased by zombies if you like which us great for interval training.

    I’m glad to read you cramps are better! Keep up the good work 🙂


  6. The “No iPod” rule does suck cuz it’s usually the one thing that gets me through a long run (plus, I’ve had to re-learn running technique by speeding up my cadence using an app that speeds up my playlist in order to avoid getting chronic plantar fasciitis, which kept me out of competitions all of last year). I find that if I can keep a few songs looping in my head for specific events (in swimming, I think of meditational music or one chant to keep me calm and focused) then I’m able to stave off the reality that my breathing is heavy, I’m sweating profusely and I really would rather stop during races 😉


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