Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Treadmill - Five Recent Reality Revelations


The treadmill.

That indoor apparatus that allows one to walk or run when the great outdoors aren't so great.

How do you feel about the treadmill? Do you love it? Hate it? Love to hate it (or vice-versa)?

It's no secret that I'd prefer to be outside. In fact, my treadmill saw very little action last winter...and I don't think I fired it up (at least for running) until just recently.

Well, that's definitely NOT been the case this winter. Prior to the official arrival of the Polar Vortex, Iowa saw several days of low, single-digit temps (with sub-ZERO windchill). As much as I thrive on my outdoor runs, even I knew it wise to stay inside.

All told, I have done seven runs, this winter, with Milly (she's the name I gave to my treadmill a few years ago). SEVEN! What's more, six of those seven runs all happened in succession, over the course of 12 days (the seventh one just happened this week, after a 2-run outdoor reprieve).

With all the "Milly Time" as of late, I have had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking about how I really feel about her. Here's five reality revelations, courtesy of Dear Milly....

As odd as it may sound, I actually was kind of looking forward to my run with her, on January 19th. After all, it had been almost an entire year since we'd run together. I was still in the midst of my off-season, so I had ZERO goals in terms of running (regarding speed or distance). I even walked a half-mile warm-up, so I could start the actual "running part" at a decent pace. Everything felt (somewhat) decent, I got a great sweat going, and called it good at the 4-mile mark. It wasn't until I was doing my 1-mile cool-down walk that I realized I probably enjoyed the run because I knew (subconsciously) that I could quit at any time. Oops.
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Those four miles weren't as bad as anticipated
Probably my biggest gripe with treadmill running is the repetitious monotony of it. Granted, my treadmill is upwards of 18 years old, so it doesn't have a lot of modern bells and whistles. It makes too much noise to even consider moving it down to our basement (where I'd at least have a television for entertainment). Also, we have it planted in our mudroom, right under a heat vent. At least I get my backyard for a view instead of a blank indoor wall. These recent treadmill runs, though, did allow me to ditch the fleece-lined tights and thick gloves, and run in a tank and shorts. At least I could pretend it was summer because it certainly felt like it. Gotta love that sweat equity.


It's been said that treadmill runs are good for building one's toughness, both mentally and physically. I have to agree with that for many reasons, including the aforementioned boredom, the strain my body feels from the unchanging terrain and the constant fear that my long strides are gonna land me in a face-plant if I should stub my toes. Simply put, most of my treadmill runs feel a lot harder than I think they should. Case in point, last weekend's outdoor 7-miler (dare I say?) felt almost effortless. I ran it with a friend, we ran faster (and farther) than most of my usual treadmill runs and we were talking non-stop the entire time. What gives?
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truth?
Recently, I ran my first solo #5at5 (five miles at 5:00 a.m.), and I ran it on the treadmill. How's that for a double whammy (usually, these 5-milers are run outside, with my friend, Barb). What's more, is that I've now had three of these early morning expeditions with nothing to entertain me but my Ipod (which is difficult to hear over the treadmill's motor) and my reflection in the window. Although a 5-miler on the treadmill is nothing for a lot of runners, it's like running a full marathon for me with all the mojo and determination I have to summon to get it done. That said, once I step off the 'mill, there's usually a substantial surge of endorphins to bask in for the next several hours. Call me Hercules.

Just a couple days ago, when I ran my third #5at5, and it was an ongoing battle of Milly vs. me. With it being so ridiculously cold outside, our furnace is working overtime. Remember that heat vent above the 'mill? Although I have it closed, it still emits some heat. Wednesday's run felt especially steamy, and I was especially sweaty as a result. I had to keep increasing the speed (every 1/2 mile or so) to get me closer to the desired distance faster. I had to make a quick stop at the 2-mile mark to grab a towel...and then, again, at the 3.5-mile mark for a potty break. When I finally got to the 5-mile mark, I felt nothing short of victorious. My grit had come through for me, yet again. Although I can tolerate a miserable treadmill run now and then, I'm quite grateful I'll never have to run an actual race on one. How's that for a glass-half-full revelation!
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Done!
Anyways, although I much prefer to run outdoors, I am thankful I have access to an indoor option without having to leave my house. Although the treadmill ain't my gig, I have learned to tolerate it. And, I have much respect for the runners who love their treadmill runs, especially those who are knocking out double digit distances on the regular. Kudos to YOU if you're one of them.

What are your thoughts on treadmill running? Do you have access to one in your house, or close by? What's the longest distance you've run on a treadmill?

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up. 

 


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22 comments:

  1. I have access to treadmills at my gym, however fairly on in my running career, one winter I trained for a half marathon on them, only running on treadmills. Went outside for a run finally, got a mile in, tore a calf, presumably because I was running very differently. So since then I only walk on a 'mill: I will go and do the time I'd have spent running on the mill, cross-trainer and two different bikes to get the cardio workout still. Loved this post though. Can you balance a kindle on the display and read that or do you run too fast?

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    1. Unfortunately, I don't have a kindle or Ipad, etc. My pace is anywhere between 9.5/10-min. miles; for myself, it seems too fast to read (and I'm horribly klutzy, so I dare not even attempt it LOL).

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  2. I don't have a treadmill. To run on the treadmill I have to go to the rec center near our house. Now, with my injury, if I am going to run inside, I'd rather use the elliptical. Less pounding and less stress on my hip. I have been doing that for the last week and a half. Ugh! I would much rather be outside, but it's better than nothing!

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    1. I agree, the elliptical is far friendlier to my body! And, it's SOOO much quieter, I can actually hear everything around me (including the TV in the basement).

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  3. Almost every winter run is on the treadmill for me. I hate the cold, and I've been layering and going out on the not so cold days but I do the treadmill if it's too dark or cold. I don't have it at home, but luckily I do have one close by!

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    1. I still try to get outside unless it's extremely cold (in the ZERO range or below) or an icy mess. I'm thankful I have my 'mill for a back-up plan ;-)

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  4. I do have one that sees little to no use as well. This year, I am walking on it a bit on some of my non run days. You and Milly have become quite close this season!

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    1. Ha!!!! I don't know if I'd agree with your definition of "close." Ironically, I don't mind walking on it, though, even without music.

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  5. I hate it with a passion but I can deal if I absolutely have to. Ive thought having one would be nice as it would limit the amount of time I had to drive to the gym if we couldn't get an outside run in and also if I just felt like sleeping in or something.

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    1. I'm close to 'hating" it at times. I'm really trying to make the best of it, especially in this crazy coldness we're enduring right now. I am craving fresh air, though.....

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  6. I actually don't mind treadmill running. Sometimes it is nice to just pop on a movie, to turn your brain off and just run. One year when I was training for Boston it was so cold that I had to run one of my 20 milers on my treadmill. Eeek!

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    1. Seriously, I don't know how you did that! I think I have done a 6-miler on it (I think LOL), but I know I have done many 5-milers. I just don't know if I could go any longer. My hips just don't like the lack of variation in terrain. UGH.

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  7. I had a whole reply written and then it disappeared.

    Anyway, you got me counting -- 5 times on the treadmill this year, but not all in the same week luckily. I don't think I'll be on it at all this week.

    I am a tv watcher when on the treadmill, that works for me, and being in the privacy of my own home helps too. I have run on treadmills in gyms occasioally.

    I neither love nor hate mine, but I do love that I have the option because there are definitely days when it's too dangerous to run outside.

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    1. I definitely have run more on the mill in 2019 (already) than I did in all of 2018. And I'm not saying that to brag (but, maybe plea for some sympathy LOL).

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  8. Funny how we both wrote about TM running this week!

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    1. With all the Milly miles of late, I had a lot to say LOL

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  9. I love my tredmill! It’s newish, in my basement and gets my love almost daily!

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  10. This winter has definitely brought out my gratitude for my treadmill. While it's not my preferred way to run either, I feel like being able to run on the mill is like knowing a second language. It comes in VERY handy at times and you'll never regret it. I'm glad you and Milly are getting on nicely lately! You probably already know my mill PR is 22 miles. After that kind of crazy I know I can do anything.

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  11. I always prefer to run outside, but it is super nice to have the option to run inside when needed!
    I am glad you have been able to keep up with your runs and stay safe from the nasty cold weather!
    I can only last about 7-8 miles on the treadmill, then I am done! haha

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  12. I actually use to hate the TM and would only want to run outside. However, I've found myself opting for the TM even when the weather is nice just because of convenience and it let's me stay home with Baylee. I think my TM has made me a "lazy runner".

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  13. The treadmill is certainly not my first (or tenth) choice! It's nice to have the option if you need it, but it can be terribly boring and it also leaves my hips and upper leg pretty achy. Something about the landing doesn't agree with me.

    You're onto something about it building mental toughness, though!

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