Sunday, January 27, 2013

A day on the "inside"

It's a very cold, chilly day in Iowa.  And we have at least an inch of solid ice everywhere.  I am not known for my grace or balance skills, so I am electing to keep the workout inside today.

When I became a serious runner in 2005, I ran almost exclusively on the treadmill.  I so loved that mechanical piece of art!  It helped me keep a consistent pace, and always showed me exactly how far I ran each time I put on my running shoes.

After a year of bonding with this running companion, I ventured outside. Running outside was a very different scene.  I no longer had the privacy of running in the closed confines of my house.  Outside, I had to be a little more aware of what I was wearing (I do have a small thing with vanity), and if I tripped or stumbled, it would no longer be a safe-kept secret.  Essentially, I was making myself vulnerable.  Not just to the weather or rough terrain, but also to public scrutiny.  If I was going to call myself a "runner," I had to look the part.

What I discovered, is that running outside was liberating!  The fresh air!  The sights and sounds of civilization!  The wonderful feeling of air cooling my body as I raced through the city streets!  I began to fall in love with running all over again.

When the weather turned cooler in the late fall, I decided it was time to reunite with my "first" running pal, the treadmill.  I set the incline on 2 (just like I had always done before), set the speed to my "usual" 9-minute pace, and got moving.  UGH!  It took all of about 5 minutes to realize something had changed.  I felt hot. The treadmill seemed real loud, I could barely hear the music on my Ipod.  Suddenly, I had this fear of stubbing my toes, or tripping and face-planting (and then, getting thrown across the room).  And, I just couldn't get the speed to work.  It felt too slow, so I upped the setting...and then found myself gasping for air because it was too fast. It felt like this old, trusty friend had betrayed me.  After 20 minutes, I gave up,turned the treadmill off and walked away.  Not every run has to be a great run, and I accepted that this was one of those "bad" runs.

A couple days later, I was eager to get back on the mill and knock out some miles.  Thinking I hadn't been dressed properly, I wore a "better" tank top and made sure to double-knot my shoes.  And I had a water bottle nearby.  I was ready.  UGH!  It happened again.  Frustration. Fear. Impatience. Anger.

I attempted a few more times to run on the "dreadmill," but every time was just as bad (if not worse) than that first time back on it.  Not wanting to take the winter off from running (in Iowa, that could be several months), I came to the conclusion I would have to do some running outside to at least maintain my level.  The first few times outside were a tad bit chilly.  It felt so good to be back outside, I didn't mind the numbness in my fingers or toes (which always disappeared after the first 10 minutes anyways).  And the beauty of the sunshine sparkling on the snow was breathtaking.  I didn't run far (usually only 2-3 miles), and I didn't run daily (maybe 2-3 times each week), but I felt great! to 2013, and here I am today. Inside.  But I'm not in a panic about facing "duh'mill" (my new name for the inside running apparatus).  I have learned to be a "good" runner/athlete/individual requires an open mind.  I do a lot more strength training now days, and that happens inside.  I do yoga, and I do that inside, too (my neighbors are probably thankful for that).  And, I am starting to get back on "duh'mill" to do some speed training......occasionally.

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