I guess I've had a meeting of the minds with Milly.
You all know who Milly is, right? She's the treadmill that lives in our mudroom. She and I are not exactly the best of friends.
I think I have come to a catharsis on the relationship she and I share, though.
There's no need to elaborate on the winter we've experienced in Iowa this year. Let's just suffice it to say that this outdoor runner has been stuck inside, with Milly, far more than ever before. The temps have been in the single digits (often times with sub-ZERO feels-like conditions). It's been windy, there's been record-breaking snow, and an abundance of ice.
Due to my work schedule, the bulk of my runs happen in the wee hours of morning, when it's still dark outside. Not exactly safe running conditions, given the above-mentioned weather reality.
Recently, in an attempt to get my runs with Milly over and done, I have been making them progressive runs...where each mile is a little faster than the previous ones. It's kind of an empowering move on my part, because it makes me feel like I'm winning the battle of getting the run(s) done without quitting early. And, I'm getting them done quicker than if I'd just kept the same boring pace for the duration of the time on the 'mill.
Did I mention that my treadmill is almost as old as my youngest child? Yes, Milly is 18ish years in age, a legal adult, so to speak. Not sure what that translates to in human years. She does not have any modern bells or whistles and no fancy monitor or advanced settings. She's also rather loud, so even if we had a television nearby, it would be difficult to hear it.
Even more recent, I've also (on occasion) been adding 400-meter surges at the end of each mile. Ha ha! That makes those miles even less painful because they seem like shortened miles (1200 meters, instead of 1600) and those 400m surges are kind of like a quick interlude between those shortened miles. Obviously, this kind of a run could be considered an interval workout or (gasp!) a speed drill....but I'm choosing to simply call it a coping strategy, a means to get those (indoor) treadmill runs over and done.
Monday, after work, I had another such run with Milly. Most of my Monday runs are short, usually only 2-3 miles. They're not intended to be anything more than just an easy-paced run to kick start the new week. As I was lacing my shoes, the idea crossed my mind to do a 4-mile run, which would be my longest #nevermissaMonday run ever. Once the idea made its appearance, I couldn't let it go.
Instead of just doing the "shortened" (1200 m) miles (also with the 400m surges), I decided to test the waters a bit and ALSO increase the pace with each mile. I wasn't prepared for what happened....as each mile got a little faster, the run seemed a little easier. The 400m surges got progressively faster with each mile as well, yet they didn't feel like they were requiring any extra effort on my part.
Granted, my body was thoroughly warmed up after the first two miles, but those final two miles felt good. Great, actually. Inside, on the treadmill, none the less. In fact (dare I say it?), I enjoyed an indoor run with Milly! When I finished that fourth mile, I think I had a small taste of runner's high. From the treadmill!
My hunch is that this "coping strategy" of mine has morphed into something else. It's been building my speed (ever so slightly) and increasing my endurance for sustaining a faster pace for longer periods of time.
So, my catharsis? Even though I'd MUCH rather be outside, I guess these indoor runs are serving me well. Monday's run was my 18th treadmill run of 2019. Believe me, that's a huge record number of runs with Milly in such a relatively short time span (less than two months). There's no way they would have happened if the weather would have been more cooperative. So, maybe that's a second catharsis? Nah....don't think for a minute that I want winter to stick around any longer, either. I'd still rather be outside!