Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm A Cowboy. On A Treadmill Belt I Ride.

Sometimes you tell the day, by the bottle that you drink.
Sometimes when you run 20, all you do is think

On Saturday, I went for a 20 mile run.  The first half hour was spent finishing a book I didn't want to put down called 'Children of No One' by Nicole Cushing. The second part I watched Rock of Ages, which was a good renter, and  a mix of mocking and honoring the music I grew up on and was fun nostalgia.  Having drama and rocking-out cheeseball music to run to worked perfect, and I finished my first of three 20 milers preparing for the Bayshore Marathon.  And now I have 80's rock music running through my head. (Motoring.... what's your price for flight?)
Yes, 20 miles done entirely on the treadmill in my basement.  The weather wasn’t  bad outside. It was mid 30’s with winds up to 20 mph, and if it wasn’t going to be a long run, I would certainly have ran outside. But I have a high treadmill tolerance, I have no qualms about running on a treadmill and don't think twice about it, and I actually find some advantages to the treadmill for a long run.  Here they are:
*I don’t need to worry about mapping 20 miles.

*I don’t need to worry about refreshments and water stops and do-it-yourself aid stations. I lay out the s-caps, the gu, multiple bottles of water, all at hands reach.
*I don’t have to worry about pace, starting out too fast or too slow, just pick my target, and the treadmill does it for me.

* I don't have to peel on running tights. The equivalent of Friday casual days. 

* I can knock out some reading, watch some DVR-ed shows, perhaps a sporting event, and the long hours spent running becomes less intrusive on my life. And all of this lets my brain disassociate while I run. (more on this below)
*Cold weather makes my perpetual injured spot worse. I have this spot on the base of my quad, and the cold air always makes it tighten into a hard knot of evil that eventually comes to life and travels down my veins trying to reach my heart to kill me. (so, see?  treadmills save my life.)
*I'm close to family, and it seems less like I am abandoning them for 3 hours on a saturday afternoon.  Sure, I can't do much, but I am there to answer tough questions like "is the dishwasher clean?"
As for mental toughness, I feel like treadmills are the opposite, and it's as if I am  cheating a bit.  With every long run, there's the danger that I'm going to get ten miles from home, bonk out, and then have to crawl my way back. Not when you're in the samespot the whole time this doesn't happen.  

Still, I don't think the treadmill fully mimics running outside, both in surface and gait, but there are some benefits.
But here's why it works for me and how:
* To have focus and concentration for the whole length of a long run would drive me crazy and maybe even miss my reason for running. I run to get into that dreamy, disassociative running state, kind of like a morning bong hit. Treadmills let me uniquely experience the high and the buzz of a run, but inside on the treadmill there's different media.
*I take my Kindle and put the fonts high enough I can read while running. This only works the first part of a run, the second part I'm a bit too wasted to focus. Still the first 30 to 40 minutes pass by in a blink.

*A good movie, inspiring show, or important sports event often picks up my pace. Horror movies, as long as they're well made, make for a great run. Twice I have watched the movie Warrior and cried and screamed and ran in ecstasy both times.

*You of course need a good treadmill. After many weeks of shopping , I went with a nordictrack commercial 1500, and it's one of the best purchase I ever made.
*You need a nice HDTV, at eye level, and I also use a pair of sony wireless headphones.

*Finally, I don't equate treadmill pace with outside pace. I always find it's easier to run outdoors, and that a 8 minute mile seems harder on a treadmill (perhaps I have to recalibrate) so I add ten  seconds per mile and don't fret about it. 
But for the next 2 twenty milers, I will run the streets, a loaded gu pack by my side... And I'll play for keeps, because I might not make it back.

Jon Bon Jovi, the original Cowboy, is actually an avid runner.


LBTEPA said...

Now I have a BonJovi earworm! Thanks (I think).

Char said...

I think the biggest benefit to me would be always being near a toilet. No more bush bathroom breaks!

Andrea (Beatittreadmillcreeper) said...

Love this post! I sometimes feel like runners are hard on us runners who don't mind the treadmill.

I definitely agree will all of the advantages. For me as a mother who has a hubby who works long and late hours, another advantage is being able to run late at night even if no one else is home. Most of the miles are after little man's bedtime. I can't just leave my 20 month old sleeping in his crib and go out running, and I can't take him to the gym past his bedtime, so it works well. I feel like a lot of my runs would not happen without the treadmill.

I have recently learned not to watch a scary movie, while running... alone... in the basement, makes it hard to walk back up the stairs! LOL

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