A few days back, my body was craving an outdoor run. I have been pretty short tempered and feeling restless of late and the only cure I’m sure I can count on to release that nonsense is a good long run. I, however, did not have it in me to force a sub-30-degree escape and put my body through that torment. Instead of fighting the whole way through a cold run, I chose another form of personal torture: the treadmill.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when I began to dread the treadmill. There was a time, before I really considered myself a runner, that the treadmill and I had an exclusive relationship. We used to enjoy runs together at least a few times a week. I didn’t understand running outside back then; nothing was chasing me, so what was I running for? I can also recall the times when I would say the treadmill was the best way I knew to get a run in, for as the belt moved under my feet, it served as a constant motivator, keeping my legs turning over and forcing me to complete my run. The other day, I would have been pleased if this were still the case.
I headed down to the gym in my guy’s building around 6 p.m. It was, as usual, fairly empty and I got to hop on the treadmill I like most. One other runner was there and I sort of expected to just go. After all, I needed this run.
My goal was not lofty. I wanted 30 minutes run time. Not much to ask of my body at all, but the treadmill and I were not in sync. I was struggling. The music on my iPod wasn’t right and the heat (it was humid as heck in there) was too much. The belt was not as kindly encouraging as I remembered when we were together last. It was as if every step made me feel more defeated by this machine. A machine that was making me feel confined and cramped and negated everything I love about the mind clearing peace of a run. ARRGH to you treadmill!
I did power through, though, kind of. I walked twice and only completed 3.25 miles in 30 minutes. It was a poor display of my running ability and certainly not a mind clearing, “stop being so cranky Suzanne” run. To some extent, I was more restless and short-tempered following.
Despite this poor treadmill experience, I wasn’t about to give in to my restlessness. OK, I was about to give in, but I still held out some hope for mild day. Mother Nature graciously answered my plea with the weather picking up this weekend. Sunday afternoon I laced up and my feet carried me six miles out across the Ben Franklin Bridge and back to Center City. My iPod was shuffling songs I love. The sun was shining on my face and warming my skin. I was once again carefree and feeling wildly like myself. I didn’t stop to walk at all because my body never seemed tired, and the only motivation I needed was the strength of my legs and my own will to keep me moving.
Spring is in the air in, Philadelphia. OK, not really, but by way of my mindset (and keeping me off the treadmill) I’m going to keep saying so!