Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Sweaty Elbow--thoughts on surviving the dreaded elliptical "runner"

It is a sorry state of affairs when your last 4 activities on RunKeeper are elliptical runs.

And RunKeeper taunts you with its sarcastic emails about your new elliptical running “achievements.” Congratulations, my (_|_). (The icon is more vulgar than the word, no?)

If you haven’t been here, someday you will. Here is how to survive it.

1. Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself some props for choosing elliptical. Look, you could have taken a lazy day or you could have injured yourself further by running on something you shouldn’t have.

2. Intervals. Fact: the elliptical is boring. Worse than the treadmill. Especially if you mindlessly pump away on level 1. Challenge yourself with intervals. I like two minutes at level 8 or 9 followed by a one minute resting interval on level 1. By the end of 30 minutes of this, I can get my heart rate up to 180, not bad!

3. Relatedly, embrace it. This idea comes from Lauren Fleshman’s blog.

I like to get on one of the ellipticals next to someone reading a magazine who is so relaxed she isn’t even mouth-breathing, and proceed to work myself into a sweaty mess, drops flicking off my elbows onto the floor forming a puddle while I huff and puff, inevitably scaring her to death.  Its a little hobby of mine.  Kind of like one of those jokes where you walk into a crowded elevator and proceed to the very back corner where you face the wall for the remainder of the ride up.  Freaks people out every time.

In other words, go all bad-(_|_).  

4. Most importantly, tunes. Obviously, something with a decent beat. But that is not sufficient to sustain me on the dreaded machine for an hour. I like to listen to something nostalgic that will take my mind off ellipticalling and back to good times. Lately, I’ve been listening to Erykah Badu albums—an artist I listened to nonstop in college. Not an obvious choice for a cardio workout. But Erykah Badu has a cardio connection for me. Spinning was my first foray into endurance training since cross country in school—which I don’t remember much about other than one time I drank a glass of milk and ate a cheese sandwich just prior to a run and then wondered why I threw up. (Hold on, this is about to get relevant . . .) The most important part of a spinning class is good tunes. One spinning instructor I had would throw into the mix a few Erykah Badu songs each session. I remember pushing up those hills in step with some Baduizm. 

Speaking of nostalgia, here is a picture of me from college, sporting a "yorkie" hairdo. Haha, good times!


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