Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good for the soul

Readers, and most especially fellow runners, I have a confession to make. I fear it will alienate me from the majority of you, that it will instantly place me in the category of Not One Of Us. It may confuse and bewilder you. It may even anger you. But it's been weighing on me and I've got to say it. I can't live a lie, people. I need to tell you what's in my heart.

Here it is: I prefer running on the treadmill to running anywhere else.

Oh, I know. I'm a freak. Demented. Perverted, even. But it's true.

To illustrate why I operate outside the confines of human decency in this regard, let me share with you my inner monologue under four different running situations.

Trail Running
Geez, this trail is hilly.
What does that sign say? A WILDCAT has been spotted on the trail?! OH HELL NO.
Was that a wildcat? Probably not.
Wait, what was that? Was THAT a wildcat? I think it might have been.
What are you supposed to do in a wildcat attack, anyway?
I should have brought some mace.
Ack! Deer poop!
Another hill? Are you kidding me?
Whoa, it got a little washed out here during that last rainstorm.
Hey! Leash your dog, dumbass!
This trail is super uneven. And I think I'm allergic to all these trees.
WILDCAT! Oh, no. Just a squirrel.
Two squirrels!
Probably running from the wildcat.
WTF with this rutted, uneven, washed out trail?!
Aaaand ... there goes my knee. Crap.

Street/Sidewalk Running
Do I look stupid?
Holy crap, it's humid out here. And hot. Super hot.
This is seriously some serious humidity.
It's like running through soup. Really hot soup.
Do I look stupid?
OMG, I think I just swallowed a bug.
Does that car see me? Because it's kind of swerving my way.
Hey! Cars drive on the road, not the sidewalk, idiot!
OMG, it's so hot. Soooo hot. And humid. This is ridiculous.
I'm way too tired to run up this hill but I don't want all these people to see me walking.
And I have to pee. Really really bad.
How far is it back to home now?
What the heck was I thinking taking this route?
Do I know anyone who lives over here? Will they let me use their bathroom?
Just swallowed another bug. AWESOME.
Gottapee gottapee gottapee gottapee OMG gottapee.
Do I look stupid?
I'm pretty sure I look stupid.
I'm going to pee my pants.

Track Running
This is the most boring freaking thing I've ever done.
How many laps was that?
I should run clockwise, just to freak people out.
I can no longer make right turns. Ever. In my life.
I'll be listing to the left whenever I walk now.
This is the most boring freaking thing I've ever done.
How many laps was that?
This is the most boring freaking thing I've ever done.
How many laps was that?
This is the most boring freaking thing I've ever done.
How many laps was that?
(Repeat. Forever.)

Treadmill Run
Alrighty, blinds open, ceiling fan on, mp3 player fired up, let's do this!
Ha! Look at those poor bastards running in the park in 90-degree temps and 98% humidity!
Suck it, losers!
OMG, I love this song. Kicking it up to a 6.
Woo! That felt amazing!
Oops, pee break.
Okay, back now.
OMG, I love this song, too!
Working up a sweat now. I'll turn on the treadmill fan.
Aaaah. Nice.
Another awesome song! Reminds me of hanging out at the lake that one summer.
That was a fun summer. I can still smell the Coppertone and mesquite and taste the grilled burgers and Hawaiian shaved ice.
(Remainder of run is carried out in a mindless endorphin haze.)

So yeah. I love the treadmill. I love it the way I love Lindor truffles, dirty vodka martinis, Billy the Exterminator and my new running shoes.

The treadmill is the only place I can get my mind right, without any outside distractions.

(Plus I'm antisocial. And a control freak.)

I hope we can still be friends, but I'll understand if none of you can be seen talking to me in public anymore.



  1. I am 100% with you on the treadmill running. Outdoor running is a nonstop internal dialogue of "which way should I turn next" and "gah, people are coming this way on foot, how can I avoid them", and "wtf, I can't breathe, when did summer happen". Indoor track running is: "this is stupid and why the HELL do they put stationary bikes facing the track". Just this morning, in fact, I declared a moratorium on outside running until next November, when I can again run my favorite outdoor (paved) trail, alone, in the early morning hours without fear of heatstroke. Also, I can ALWAYS get in a better groove on the treadmill and push through in a way I can't when I'm running on non-belted surface. And since I run for myself, I get to pick how I want to do it, without feeling like I'm not a "real" runner, right? Oh, and what kind of shoes are those? They are super fly.

  2. Although I think you might be a wee bit crazy with your love of the treadmill, I doubt that you will be forever ostracized from the running community. I totally agree with you on track running, btw. And even street/sidewalk running. I am, however, a diehard trail runner, and hate the rainy months that keep me off the trails (due to washouts & waist deep mud puddles) and force me into the gym. :)

    Of course, there is hardly ever a danger of heat stroke or intense humidity where I live, so that might have something to do with it! :)

  3. Lea: Yes! to pushing through on the treadmill and to running for yourself. That is me exactly. The shoes are Scott T2 Comps with Yankz laces (because the laces that came with the shoes sucked). I looove them. They weigh nothing and make me feel super fast, even though I'm not.

    Amy: I love the IDEA of trail running, but I have learned the hard way that trails and I do not mix. Trail running is super badass if you can do it though, so go you!

  4. Who cares where you run? It should make YOU feel good and happy. So my dear Kathy, rock that treadmill and feel good.

  5. Treadmills are great --although I walk, not run, so I hope I'm still allowed to comment! (I spent 10 years running outside on sidewalks and now have arthritis in both hips --my running days are over.)

    A fan, good music or an interesting podcast, always the right temperature. It's a great time to think. Although I'd also like my husband to put a shelf on the wall the treadmill faces so I can stick my laptop up there and watch a movie. :-)

  6. Count me as confused and bewildered.

    And tipsy. (I blame the wine.)

    If you were here in Germany, I'd make a trail runner out of you in no time. No wildcats here. Just...wild boars. Stop it! They're not THAT big!

    In all honesty, I hate the treadmill. It makes me feel like I'm going to pass out. I also hate breathing deeply indoors. Which is just one of my million or so affectations.

    Wait. Is this about you or me?

  7. Renee: Walkers are definitely welcome! And we have a TV mounted above the treadmill, so I can watch it when I'm not in the mood for music. I know. I am spoiled rotten. I highly recommend a setup like that, though!

    E: OMG, wild boars! I think I'll take the wildcats. Although if I took out a boar, then I could eat it! Porky goodness! Hmm. I'll have to think about this one.

  8. I'm right there with you! I just started running (I'm a slow runner, too.) But my teaching partner talked me into signing up for the Seattle Rock and Roll half marathon. So this means that I actually HAVE to do some training on the road. I'm really not happy about this. I was born and raised in the town I still live in and have nightmares about people I know watching me run. If I could run the half marathon on a treadmill, I would. Really.

  9. I've been thinking of renting a treadmill to see what it's like to have it at home. But I run with Blue, so I'm also thinking of training him to run on a treadmill a la Cesar Milan. And then everything gets way too complicated and I put it off for another day.

  10. Here is my experience with dogs on/near treadmills: I let Rascal come into the room with me once while I was using it. During my walking warmup, he freaked out and kept trying to eat my shoes and we both nearly ended up in traction. And then I put him outside. The End.

    (I do hope that once I can run with him, I won't hate running outdoors quite so much, though. I do quite enjoy walking him.)

  11. Sounds like I need a treadmill.

  12. I am right with you! My love of the treadmill was actually overshadowed by the fact that I thought I'd "have to" learn to like walking outside. Which I do not. Ever. Boring. Bleh. Me + treadmill + Ipod = happiness.

  13. You know how you feel when running on a track? that's me running on a treadmill.

    I adore road running because that's all I do and I always go different ways and totally sticky-beak at people's houses. I've only swallowed a bug once which was good. I also go super-early in the morning or late-evening. Because I'm a RISK TAKER. BOOYAH.

    I could never run on a track because I am useless at keeping track - I'd convince myself I'd done ten laps when it had only been four. LAZY.

  14. And dude, go peepee BEFORE you start. Sheesh. it's like running with a child.

  15. I too love the treadmill. I just started Running so I'm pretty slow....more like run-walk-run-walk.

    OMG! I Made it 2.5 miles with out dying.

    I try to focus on my little achievements- the treadmill makes those goals and achievements easily visible, miles/speed. Plus I don't have to worry about traffic lights or cars-----the zen mode is more easily obtained when you don't have to worry about being run over.;-)

  16. ha! I only like running on the treadmill, too. I hate running outside, on a track, or anywhere else. I also need to have a fan blowing directly on me since I have rosacea and turn BRIGHT RED when exercising. Lovely, eh?

  17. I think I may revisit the idea of a treadmill- I have always thought that I might buy it and then just like my breadmaker - it would sit in a corner sulking and collecting dust. However I really have been enjoying my daily walks but as the mornings get darker and mistier I have been loathe to get out of this is a very timely post for me...some might say inspirational!

  18. YEAH! The other reason I preferred the treadmill is that if I suddenly felt like I was going to die I was only 2 feet away from a chair. We have a friend that had an aneurysm while jogging and nobody found him for an hour.

    Yesterday I drove on a road that parallels where I walk and saw a sign that says BEAR CROSSING.

  19. Hey Kathy! Look at you all public and what-not! I get into trouble on the treadmill when I listen to music. Those endorphins can be a dangerous thing... But I do like the option of still getting some time in when the weather is bad.

  20. Hey, if you like the treadmill, that's great. But I'm with Kim.


  21. I totally get that. And, running around a track? Absolute torture! Treadmills are awesome, I wish we still had room for one.

  22. No treadmill, but I too dislike running outside (in Prague, you look like you're fleeing something) so I jog in place, or around the living room, occasionally leaping over footstools if it gets a little bit boring. My feeling - whatever works! And I love those pink shoes.

  23. I confess I am a treadmill addict too. I am more of a slow jogger than a runner though.

    I'm with you on hating the hills, the heat, the traffic and having to pee.

    I also worry about how much my boobs are bouncing. No worries on the treadmill at home. :-)