Yep, AVDs are horribly slow to boot, install programs and run
. You've probably worked this out yourself, but if you boot the AVD early and leave it running you can save a bit of time.
Alternatively and preferably, if you have an Android device laying around, I suggest you plug that in and use it. Don't expect the AVD to give you any reasonable indication of performance, use a real device for that.
EDIT: Just to add, AVDs have an option to utilise the host GPU (you can select this either when creating the AVD or editing it methinks). Perhaps you can try this and see if it gives you any boost in performance. From my experience it does sweet bugger all and is still slow, but it's worth a try.