When I run, I disappear into a world where I control everything and nothing at the same time. Deep down inside, I’m secretly (or not so secretly?) a control freak. My shoelaces have to be tied just-so, my hair needs to be braided in one way or another, and my form needs to reflect the perfection achieved after countless high school cross country and track practices and over a decade’s worth of Runner’s World subscriptions (arms parallel at a 90 degree angle never cross the body, if you can crush a potato chip your grip is too tight, knees up, stride long, etc etc etc). It is also absolutely impossible for me to run with music. Not only does the cord from the headphones totally throw me off, but I firmly believe in being completely present in myself and my surroundings when I run; it gives me that rare moment of clarity in an otherwise unclear world.
With all this nasty weather as of late has taken a toll on my running. Being forced indoors presents a serious challenge for me. For one, it takes away my control. If I want to speed up, I don’t want to have to scroll through speeds. And I hate feeling restricted by side rails — I’ve never been one to walk or run in a straight line. Also, the stagnant air and scenery create a mental block for me that triggers distractibility of an A.D.D. magnitude and creates a judgmental treadmill troll out of me. Last week I managed to run 3.1, while waiting for my car to get fixed at the tire shop:
Ok, where are these treadmills… Occupied… Occupied… Occupied… Is that — Nope, occupied by a short person. I guess I’ll just pretend to use this elliptical in the back row until a treadmill frees up. If I do five miles on here does it count as a run? Why is this guy holding on to the front handle while running at full speed? I’m pretty sure the treadmill advises to let go at any speed above 4.0. Maybe I should just go do a 45 minute NTC workout and call it a day. It’s so crowded in here. Ugh one of these treadmillers has to be done soon. Ooh he stopped! Nope, starting up again. Grrr people are just standing here waiting for treadmills. I wonder how fast I can jump off the elliptical. I hope they realize I was here first. People don’t think I’m actually on this elliptical, do they? Ooo she stopped! Oh no, cut-off shirt girl is swooping in! Wait, what’s this, she was running with a buddy treadmiller? Yes! Ok, play it cool. Don’t mind me, just getting off this elliptical. And… Finally. Let’s do this. Just gonna re-tie my shoe laces and I can get started with this run. 5 miles. Here we go. Man, that guy is super sweaty, why would he wear a grey shirt? Ew. It’s not even dri-fit. Sweat flying all over the place. Cut-off shirt girl is running way too close to the front of the treadmill, she should really open up her stride. I guess I shouldn’t judge, she’s going faster than me…But seriously she should drop her arms. Ew I can see myself in the mirror. Who else is looking at me in this mirror? Not flattering. At all. Quick speed check… 6.9, 7.4… I mean I could go that fast I just don’t want to. Whatever. Only .68 miles? WTF. This is horrible. My car won’t be ready for at least an hour. I’m stuck here. I think my right shoe is tighter than my left shoe. I’ll fix my shoelaces after this first mile. Little Ms. 7.4 is walking now tsk tsk. I can do this. Maybe just 2 miles and an NTC workout? Treadmills suck. Sweaty shirt guy sure is flying over there. How does his hair stay so straight? Cutoff shirt girl isn’t that far ahead of me, I think I can catch her. Is there ANY air circulating in here? Stanford Track & Field — well played, sweaty shirt guy, well played. Maybe I should go back to school. Ph.D.? It’s probably really beautiful around Stanford these days. I’d never have to run on the treadmill in California. Cut-off shirt girl stopped. 3.14 miles… I can run more than that. Focus. Focus. Man, I wish I was outside. Those guys at the tire shop better had given me that free oil change. I don’t know who they thought they were dealing with. Chi-Town in this mutha… Mmmkay. Almost there, just gotta run more than cut-off shirt girl. I’ll do five outside tomorrow when it’s warm(er) outside. 6.5… Dammit why is my Nike+ app so far behind this treadmill. Lies. All lies. Gotta get to orange level. 3.0 miles… Phew only a couple more minutes. Let’s drop this incline down to 0.5… 3.1, 3.11, 3.12… so close… 3.13, 3.14… get me off this treadmill… 3.15!!!!! Take that, cut-off shirt girl!
Horrible, I know. The treadmill brings out the worst in me. I promise I’m not a bad person. Now let’s compare with the 9 mile long run I did on Sunday morning, outside on a sunny 40 degree day.
I love how my Chicago Marathon logo shows through my favorite thumb-hole shirt. I hope everyone on this river path can see I’m from Chicago. Wow, it’s such a beautiful day. What new sights will I see on this route? Oh, don’t forget to get a picture of the “Make History” graffiti by the sailboats. So awesome. That guy in the purple shirt has solid form. Good for him! These CW-X tights are the BEST! Maybe I’ll do 10 miles. I wonder what the weather will be at the Nike Women’s Half… People are so nice on this river path. Just smile and keep going. They’re all my friends 🙂 I wonder if that guy on the bench realizes how HONY he looks right now. Would it be weird of me to take his picture? Half-way point already? No way. Almost time to run over the Harvard Bridge. So happy. Happy, happy! Dang a stop light. It’s all good, maybe I can take a quick selfie with the river in the background…I love running. Ahhhhhh, this fresh air is great. How does it still smell like river even though the river is frozen? Hey, there’s purple shirt guy again, we’re running opposite loops! Hi, purple shirt guy! This hill ain’t got nothing on me. Seriously, 7 miles already? I’m totally breaking two hours in D.C. Sooooo excited about daylight savings. Now I can run outside after work carefree! I’m so good at planning running routes. Turn around at that stoplight for the final mile. I should pick it up to practice a strong finish. What a beautiful daaaaaaaay 🙂
Here’s to daylight savings, outdoor runs, and perfect form! Happy running season!