I've written about treadmills a ton this winter. It is not just because this winter has been a beast, but I also have some treadmill guilt. My ratio of inside to outside runs has been a bit embarrassing. Earlier this week, I missed an outside group run with the Southeast Michigan runners' group. Instead, I ran 5 miles in my basement the next day watching Oblivion on HBO. Oh the shame.
Outside is where the great treasures of running lie. The fresh air. The vast landscape. The arteries of roads and highways through the amber waves of grain, running about where the deer and antelope play.
The air in my basement where I run is stale and sticky. Moisture seems to soak in all the cavernous particles that then get inhaled into my lungs. Besides the TV in front of me, there are white ceiling tiles that sag and show some water spots. Tossed in corners I see discarded furniture we just can’t part with. It’s an underground junk yard and a far cry from a trail run through a state park.
But, God’s creatures are everywhere. There are just as many natural creatures in my basement to appreciate. It is not an area devoid of life. Here are just a few of the specimens who I share a run with in my treadmill basement.
Centipedes – they are at any given moment the fastest creature in the basement. Certainly for shorter distances like a 5k. Natural fartleckers, they stay still until you come by and sprint off, usually trash-talking.
Spiders – Spiders are also intimidating runners and have long legs made for distances. Unfortunately, they often get squashed and never make it out of the chute.
Mice - I have found a dead mouse right next to my treadmill. Not a scary rat looking thing, more like the little mice you see at the pet store. Certainly this mouse was fast, but did not hydrate properly nor follow runners nutrition. Mr. Jingles will be missed.
Gelatinous Cube – if you do not know what a gelatinous cube is, then you need to grab a Dungons and Dragons monster manual and a 20 sided die. They are large, cubed creatures that are transparent/transluscent and fill up the space of a room and suck in and disintegrate all that they encounter. I know they exist in my basement. How else to explain my suddenly weakening legs which feel stuck in some gelatinous gu.
Sewage- it's not alive you say? Then why does it keep oozing out of my sewer lines. Gross, right! Hostile tree roots have attacked my line, and every once in a while the ooze creeps up and we call a plumber. Sewage is persistent but slow. I am becoming sewage. We all are becoming sewage. Such is the circle of life.
Children - a couple of them. Age 7 and 10. They come down to the basement and try to scream to me. My headphones are on and I can not hear them. Perhaps they mock me and just mouth words but are really saying nothing. They run with perfect form, and will soon be faster than all of us and take over the world.