Thursday, May 04, 2006

Treadmill Schmeadmill

It's winter in Colorado! Haven't you heard? Oh yes, we have grey clouds and sleet and cold to spare!

So, not wanting to catch pneumonia- which, turns out, is not a disease invented by my mother so I'd wear a coat- I ran on the treadmill today. B-O-R-I-N-G is really the only way I can describe this activity. I set out for a good five miler with some intervals and up until about four minutes in, I was feeling pretty good. I had that I'm-a-runner-and-nothing-can-stop-me attitude. But then something did stop me: boredom.

In four minutes I had flipped through twelve different songs, watched everything on the six televisions I could see from where I was and talked to both people running on either side of me, twice.

So, I decided that it was Let's Make A Deal time in JustRun world. This is a little game I play when I'm running where I start to make deals in my own mind so that I can finish a run. Sometimes, they are simple like "get to the end of the block and then you can turn around." Other times, on the really hard days like today, they're more complicated. I begin equating the completion of a run with totally unrelated events or tasks in my life. Today went something like this: "if you get through this run, you will complete the project you've been working on tomorrow... if you get through this run, you will have no problem finding your way around the new city you'll be visiting in two weeks... if you get through the next mile, your dog will finally learn the word 'sit' does not mean 'run circles around me and bark'" and on and on it went.

Obviously, this is a distraction I use to get my mind off what I'm doing. It's a distraction driven to the extreme by the monotony of a treadmill. But what if that were really how things worked? What if events totally unrelated to one another became the determining factors in our lives? What actions depend on other actions? And I realized I already knew this because this is how it works.

There are no accidents. Gritting through a treadmill run may not mean I'm going to be better at work or at finding directions or making the dog listen to me but it does mean something. It means that though it may not be obvious right now, there is a reason for the miles I'm running. I'll be better for having run them; stronger in body and mind.

And so now I know the reason for the treadmill. It keeps going and going as long as you'll let it. More speed can be added and you can adjust the incline but it just continues to turn under your feet. And you get through it. Not for the accomplishment of today's five miles, but because it's leading to all the miles after.


Ginger Breadman said...

I stumbled across your blog tonight and really enjoyed reading some posts. You express yourself very well through your writing.

Treadmills are good sometimes - it's way easier to make yourself run a certain pace or set a time and not really be able to stop and walk.

About connectedness, though - I really think everything in life is connected in some small way. Things happen for a reason - you just don't always know why at the moment. Who knows where that little dog might have wandered if you hadn't found a neighbor to watch it.

GirlGoyle said...

I have the same issue with the treadmill...booooooooooooring. However I do find it easier to run on that outdoors. The monotonous thumping of the feet on the rolling band sort of puts me in a trance. Before I know it I've run my 3 miles. The rare times I do run outside I'm cutting deals with myself the whole way there and back. "If you make it to the top of the can have a scoop of ice cream later." "If you do the extra mile today you can take it easy tomorrow." FYI - The ice cream deal usually works.

GirlGoyle said...

P.S. are you ever going to tell us where you decided to go on vacation? C'mon!! WE all live vicariously.

Runner Girl FL said...

I was just going to go on Saturday and look into buying a previously used one of those. With my schedule and the fact that the rainy season is about to hit the sunshine state. I figured it might help keep me going....I hate them too but rainy season is also lightning season so we can't run in the rain. (Which I love to do....when I'm not likely to die from a lightning bolt) And did I mention that Hurricane season comes along with rainy season.... yeah... fun... here we go again this year.

Any suggestions or do you run on it at the gym? My understanding is that many of them hold up clothes after the first month of use and so they are just fine and cheep to buy used.

Bre said...

I'm quite the opposite it seems - I can go and go and go on a treadmill for as long as my legs will carry me! Give me some bad music to sing to, or some reality tv to watch, and I'm a happy girl

ps I love this line: "which, turns out, is not a disease invented by my mother so I'd wear a coat"

that sounds very familiar to me, too!

justrun said...

Ginger- Thanks for stopping in. I agree, it's all connected in some way.

GG- Yes, outdoors is much easier to get through. Mostly because I know if I get a certain number of miles away, I have to do the same to get back home.
Oh, and I did say on my comments before, sorry... I'm going to be spending some time on A1A. No other plans than that so far. :)

RGF- Yes, I agree. My treadmill at home is a "used" one and it works great for the three times a year I actually use it. Otherwise, I'm at the gym. That's a little more motivating for me.

Bre- Last night at the gym the programming was scary. Tom Cruise was on three different shows at once. If that doesn't make you want to run fast and far, I don't know what does.
You mother invented diseases too? Wierd. :)

Sizzle said...

the pneumonia bit was perfect.

and i like how you turned a boring treadmill run into enlightenment. :)

Celina said...

Wow! Talk about committment! I can't even find the motivation to make myself MOVE, let alone RUN. I've tried the gym thing, but all the "way-too-skinny" girls make me feel super self-conscious, I've tried running around town, but the honking cars & waving passers-by are distracting.
I loved your comment about 'sit' not meaning 'run circles around me and bark.' But, I look forward to getting my dog back (he's been on vacation for a year), b/c I will use him as my "motivation" to walk/run! I mean, the dog does have to poo somewhere, and anywhere not in my yard would be great! :)

Robb said...

I also like the way your write. And, come to think of it, I don't know many people who really like doing time on a treadmill. It is dreadful.

Hope your weather improves...have a good weekend.

justacoolcat said...

For me the first 5 minutes on the elyptical machine are the worst and then I get lost in my own head.

The thing about this writing that gets me is your summary. How do you do it? (don't tell me, and I can continue to believe it's magic)
You always have the sweetest endings.

justrun said...

Sizz- What can I say... running makes me think. Or maybe it's writing about running. I haven't quite figured out where that line is yet.

Celina- I wish my dog could run with me but I know she'll never adapt to that. A good run for her is either chasing the neighbors cat or her 10:00 p.m. laps around the coffee table.

Rob- Thanks for stopping in. It's often the spirit of other runners that keeps me going more than anything.

Coolcat- I can't help it. It's a curse I was born with... much like hips and my love of the Red Sox.