It was to be my last really long run before the NYC Marathon in three weeks. It was a rainy, blustery morning. Ducks frolicked cheerfully in a stream that had formed overnight. I set out with an iPod that we purchased a few weeks ago for Angry Birds on the airplane. My training has been time-focused, rather than mileage-focused; for most of it I’ve simply used the good, old-fashioned stopwatch on my Timex. But this morning I was interested in keeping an eye on my pace as well as the distance during my three-hour run so I was going to use the Nike iPod function with my shoe sensor.
I strapped on my new fuel belt and stuck the iPod in the zippered pouch. It was not a snug fit, but I thought it would be OK. I started running. Over the course of the first two hours the workout monitor lady repeatedly advised me that she was “pausing workout” when I hadn’t stopped it, and then immediately followed that with “resuming workout,” over and over again. Perhaps it was flopping around too much. Whatever it was, it was annoying. “Shut up” I scolded, at least four times.
By the two-hour mark my workout somehow ended. I didn’t know what button I had pushed incorrectly. The rain dampened my fingers and blurred my vision; I couldn’t make out the screen, especially with no reading glasses along. I became flustered. Despite a slight twinge near my right ankle, I wasn’t ready to give up. I wanted to do my full three hours. So I decided to just begin another sixty minute workout. I picked up the pace a little and started downhill. I don’t know if my workout was paused or running, but I made up my mind to ignore it no matter what, and just got back to basics. I simply ran.
Out of the blue I heard something that sounded like a transistor radio. I wondered if my iPod was picking up some weird wireless signal in the neighborhood and acting as a ham radio. I soon realized that the sound was coming from my pouch. I finally placed it. It was a song from Motley Crüe’s greatest hits, the only songs my husband has downloaded on the iPod. The songs skipped and shuffled. I had no idea how to shut them off.
The last 45 minutes of my run, the songs blared through my bag. A motorcycle revved. “Girls, girls, girls” rang out. The wind blew me back. “Kickstart My Heart” pushed me forward. With 15 minutes to go “Dr. Feelgood” joined me as my pace slowed to a crawl. Up my final short incline, “I’m on my way, Home Sweet Home…..”
Finally back in our cul-de-sac, I walked around for my cool down. The run had been long, slow and painful. I had no idea about my distance or pace. But my trusty, reliable Timex told me I had made it three hours. The tunes continued to blare, and I still had no idea how to stop them. As I climbed the porch, I hoped that this wasn’t the runner who’d show up in three weeks for the Marathon. I hoped it’d be the other one I’ve met along the way, the one who’s finished training runs feeling good and strong, not exhausted and weak.
I carried the iPod in my hand as I kicked off my shoes.
Vince Neil screamed “Girl, don’t go away mad. Girl, just go away.”
I echoed the rocker’s sentiment.
That’s exactly what I told the runner who showed up this morning.