Marathon Journey: Day 12

Boredom threshold.

I have a REALLY low threshold for boredom. Possibly because I’ve got some weird brain chemistry. My euphemism is “busy brain.” It seems like my brain is pretty disorganized, busy, and gets bored a lot quicker than most.

Let’s note that this isn’t because I’m super smart or something, because I can figure things out so quickly that I’m just idling most of the time. A tough math problem? I’m interested in it for about 3 minutes and then move along regardless of how close I am to the end. Maybe those trains will collide, maybe not. Who cares? I can tell you with certainty that by 6 PM, we’ll know, so let’s go do something else and then wait and see if a hashtag of #Traingedy shows up or #NearMiss.

This is a good idea for a novel. Like Ender’s Game, except instead of blowing up spaceships, the students in a school discover that trains are actually crashing when they fail to solve word problems.

See, this is what I’m talking about. We were talking about boredom, how dumb I am, trains, novels.

Running is definitely a test of my boredom threshold. When I trained for my first marathon, I had an early version of an MP3 player. The issue was that A) it didn’t hold a lot of stuff, which meant that I had to make tough choices, and B) it took one AAA battery. Which meant that it didn’t have a whole lot of power, and on a long run I had to make a decision about which third I would most need some audio accompaniment.

One effective thing about training while bored, I DO think it’ll cause you to run faster from time to time. Not because you want to achieve athletically, but just because you’re like, “Okay, I gotta get from where I am now back to where I’m finished. The faster that’s accomplished, the better.” I preferred the physical pain of hard running to boredom. Which sounds nuts. It’s like I was being tortured, and was saying, “It’s not the being stretched on the rack that sucks. It just takes FOREVER.”

But what about the easily bored runner? What should they do?

I don’t know for sure, but I have some tips and ideas.

1. Podcasts and Audiobooks

Music is great and everything, but unless you’re a rock critic or a hardcore music fan, or maybe a musician yourself, you’ll probably find that music gets a little boring. You can only listen to Journey’s Greatest Hits so many times. Granted, that “so many” is about 85 billion, but the point is that it’s finite. If you’re looking for some recommendations, podcast-wise, it’s just a matter of taste, but surf through the iTunes top lists and download some shit. Just know that with audiobooks, it’s all about the narrator. If the narrator works for you, the book will be good, possibly better than the written version. If you’re not digging the narrator, you’ll hate it.

2. The Path

You gotta find some different paths. This becomes really important when you’re putting in the serious miles. I have routes I like, but the problem is, at any given time, I know exactly where I am, how far I’ve gone, and how much running is left. This isn’t a big deal on a 30 minute run, but it’s bad times on a 90 minute run.

3. Stop Less

If you can find spots where you don’t cross as many intersections, wait for as many lights, do it. Stopping breaks up your opportunities to zone out and stay zoned out, which can help pass the time.

4. Write

I bring a pen with me and write on my arm if I have an idea. And because I have to come up with an idea EVERY DAY, it gives me something to think about.

5. Old Haunts

I decided to start making routes that go by some old haunts. For example, the “Haunted Field” that I used to walk through with a friend when we were kids. We had spears (small dowels, sharpened, with gold spray paint on the tips), and we’d walk about as far in as we could before getting scared as hell and running away. Places I used to live, friends’ old houses, all great fodder, and all adding up to something interesting.

6. Movies for the blind

I haven’t tried this yet, but I will, and I will report back. You may have noticed that some DVD’s have audio tracks for people who can’t see. You get the full dialogue and music, and there’s also someone explaining what’s happening on-screen. I don’t watch nearly enough movies, and I think this would be an interesting alternative. Plus, even some fairly long runs would be taken up almost entirely. Oh, and I figure there are some documentaries and the like that would work audio-only, as well as commentary on some movies.

That’s all I’ve got.

Well, truth be told, that’s all I’m going to write about. Because I’m bored.