Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tough Grrrrl Tuesday: Boredom buster edition

It's been a pretty good week of running for me. I did two "track workouts" over the long weekend. The quotation marks are because I pushed Gabriel in the stroller for both of them. He's only 6 weeks old so he's far too young to go out on the bumpy, brain-damage-inducing roads and trails... but the smooth, silky track is perfect for him. Mostly he gets a good snooze out of the deal so it's a win-win.

The experiment started on Saturday. Scott & the boys were off on a Big Boys camping trip so I didn't have Daddio home to watch Gabe for my "long" run. So, I suited up and brought the baby to The Nick with me with the goal of doing 45 minutes. He did very well.... after about 10 minutes of me settling him down, that is. I had a breakfast date with my friend so we only got in about 35 minutes of running, but he snoozed the whole time and it was a pleasant, if boring, slog around and around the track. I didn't count laps so I have no idea of the distance but my guess would be somewhere between 3 and 3.5 miles. The only trouble I noticed was that despite the great sun coverage of the BOB running stroller (a generous hand-me-down from a friend... I could never have afforded one so fancy!) and his hat, the sun was pretty bright on the baby on the back stretch of the track. My brain went to work on solving that problem as a way of staving off boredom....

Sunday I intended to run but Scott & the boys returned earlier than I expected and I had done ZERO of the cleaning and whatnot I intended to get to on Saturday. So, I called it a rest day and then did anything BUT rest trying to remove the significant build up of grime around my house and getting some play time in with Things 1 and 2.

Yesterday I celebrated the holiday by going back to the track. I brought a handful of clothes pins and a light weight blanket which I pinned strategically to the stroller for full sun protection. It worked GREAT! (Gotta admit, almost injured myself patting my own back with that move!) I wanted to run for at least 6 miles or about and hour. Since this was at the track and I knew I would lose count of my laps, I picked up 24 little stones and placed them in the water bottle holder of the stroller. After each lap, I tossed a stone out to keep track.

That was enough to keep track, of course, but 24 laps is SOOOO many! I had to have more ways to amuse myself. One of my strategies was to warm up for 4 laps and then alternate "fast" and slow laps. My "fast" laps were done in just over 2 minutes, so about 8:00 mile pace. I have no idea what pace my slow laps were but I'd guess they were 12:00 pace or so, since the 6 miles took my 1:01 to complete. If I had tried to do that workout at an even pace I think I would have quit after 30 minutes or so.

(Although I did the run in about an hour, I have to admit the whole process took my about 1:25 minutes. Gabriel got a little fussy about 40 minutes in and no amount of Binky Reinsertion would ease his mind. So, we took a nursing break in the shade and then got back at it.... Thankfully he doesn't seem to mind my sweaty and stinky parts!)

 I also tried different modes of pushing: two arms, one arm, alternating... Come to find out, I'm VERY bad at pushing the stroller straight with one hand. Even on the straight away I look like a candidate for a DUI citation.

The other key to beat the boredom were podcasts. Now, I love good music as much as anybody during a run, but to really distract yourself from the monotony, it helps to feel like you're part of a conversation. I chose to listen to a couple of Another Mother Runner podcasts (of course!) and truly felt like I could chime in with Sarah and Dimity as they chatted and shared their wisdom on all things running. I have a lot of their podcasts back logged because I don't let myself listen to them unless I'm on a run, so I think I'll be spending a good chunk of the summer catching up.

I also discovered a podcast called "Judge John Hodgman". He is the "PC" guy from those (now kinda old) Apple commercials comparing the hipster Mac kid and the Antiquated PC Guy. He's also featured on the Daily Show fairly frequently and has several books out. This podcast series is great: it has "contestants" who present John with a disagreement between them. He interviews them and discusses the merits of their arguments. He then makes a decision. Sounds dull but it is all done very tongue in cheek and hilariously. I would highly recommend taking a listen.
I have a feeling I'll be spending lots of time at the track this summer doing endless runs with my little buddy in the stroller. It's good to know that it can be done and that I have some ways to distract myself as I go 'round and 'round and 'round (and 'round). I'll share other good podcasts and amusements with you as I discover them.

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