Thursday, January 27, 2011

Treadmill 1 - On the bus...Running 0

Slight lag between when I finished the post and actually posted since we lost power last night...and this morning.  Back up and running now (so to speak)....
I’m coming to you live from colonial times, well, that is if they had computers in colonial times.  I’m typing this post by candlelight as this winter’s “storm force” lands a substantial blow on the D.C. area.  I was fortunate enough to flee work at 3:00 today before the mass exodus began.  Mrs. Onthebusrunning has been on the road for four hours now.  It took me 1/4th the time to cover nine miles last night in my tempo then it has for her to cover the same nine miles by car tonight...but I won’t bring that up.
Anyway, because I was lucky enough to get out of work today, it afforded me sufficient OCD time to get my run in.  Normally on days like this, I’m the first out the door to take to the golf course and tackle my run in the snow storm outside.  Tonight was a little different.
First off, my knee felt the effects of yesterday’s run and the sharp incline/decline on the golf course hills has beaten me up lately.  Rather than combat the slippery roads and sidewalks, I decided to take things inside and onto the treadmill.  
I’ve made it clear how I feel about the treadmill.  Lately, however, I’ve had pretty good success on it.  Other than not being able to spit, and the odd feeling of wearing shorts and t-shirt while watching the frigid wind rip through the bare trees outside, it’s been just fine.  
So I had few reservations about getting on tonight to crank out five miles.  Instead of driving to the gym, I decided to fulfill my appetite for running outside in the snow by taking the golf cart path that was rapidly disappearing.  Roundtrip, this would give me 6.5 miles for the day.
I pulled on some wind pants, an old pair of running shoes, stuffed my ipod and gym card into a zip lock baggy, and trotted outside.  
The solitude is really what draws me to running in the snow.  The storm pulls a white blanket over the world that stills the ambient noise and settles in the silence.  It’s one of those loneliness of the long distance runner moments where you’re slushing along by yourself, just listening to the snow pack under your feet, and the tinkling of sleet skating over the snow.
Contrast this to the harsh fluorescent lights and thumping music at the gym, I don’t think there’s any debate to be had.  But that’s just me.
When I got to the gym, I was shocked to see other people as stupid, I mean as dedicated, as me already there.  Including on the treadmill.  I nearly lost it when I looked over at the treadmills and their users just whirring away.  On second glance, I saw that there was indeed one open.
I shook the snow off, tucked my soaking winter garments into a cubby hole and went to work.  The stream of thoughts went something like this:
Yes, sir.  5.4 miles, 40 minutes.  Piece of cake.  What’s on TV?  Oh, yeah, the storm.  Huh, 4-11 inches, way to narrow things down.  $%^&* Oops, don’t drift and fall off. Ok.  How we doing?  1:37.  Ok, stop looking at the clock.  Lot of snow out there.  Is that woman looking at me?  Why is she looking at me?  I didn’t fart.  I could, but I won’t...on purpose.  Crap, I didn’t bring any water.  Whatever, it’s only 5.4 miles, that’s now 5.2 miles.  Hmm, wonder how much time has gone.  2:45.  Don't be a clockwatcher. Oh, I like this song.  You can look at the clock again when the song is over.  Ok, just a quick peek.  3:20.  Huuumph.  
And so it went.  Fifteen minutes in, I took a look around and noticed that I had the whole gym to myself.  It’s as if everyone came to their senses at once and split.  You can guess the first thing I did.
Secondly, I discovered the pause button because I became very aware of how thirsty I’d gotten and the large amount of sweat I’d flung onto the screen.  I hopped off, took a couple gulps of water, then got back to it.  Slowly.  I felt exhausted and the clock seemed to be turning backward.  If it had been a nightmare, I also would have looked down and realized I was naked.
I slogged through the second half of that workout.  When the clock mercifully hit 40:00, I pounded the “stop” button and teetered back to the aerobics area for a quick stretch and to let some of that sweat dry.
When I did finally leave, I half expected to come out of the gym and have it be the next day because I’d been at it for so long.
The best part of the trip was of course running back through the snow.  It had gotten significantly deeper, so much so, that my original tracks had already been covered up.  The sleet and wind intensified, which stung my face.  I ran a good portion either turned to the side or with my eyes closed.  But I relished it.  I felt better in the snow for those 10 minutes than I had on the treadmill.  
Go figure.  

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