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!
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