I have no qualms about running in a freezer, but running in a giant Slushee is another story. The weekend’s snowstorm, while nothing to write home about, was enough to make me want to put my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs plan on ice. (The lack of available events at the right distance didn’t help.)
But this is my challenge and I can set my own rules (such a rarity). Savvy readers will recall my original 52 Weeks, 52 Runs post, in which I outlined “The exceptions to the rules that I’ll make up as I go along.” In this vein, I give you:
3. If no runs exist, I take to the treadmill, or do one of the virtual runs that abound on Twitter. I will donate the equivalent of an entry fee to charity.
Hence this weekend, I invoked made-up rule No. 3 and took to the treadmill …
Give me a pepper mill any day
Like many gym-goers, my relationship to the treadmill is shaky. While I can appreciate the machine’s eagerness to submit to my every will, it sorely lacks in the charisma department. For me, crushing boredom usually sets in at about minute three. By minute five, I’m ready to commit to a life plan of couch dwelling and Die Hard re-watching.
It wasn’t until I started running road races recently that I realized how much I truly dislike engaging with this cardio troublemaker. There’s no atmosphere, no silly costumes, no human dodgem, and no matter how much you sweat, there’s no beer at the finish. And you have to make your own T-shirt.
The treadmill even makes me miss surprise hills of doom. Now that is an accomplishment.
A false start
But I was determined to get in my weekend 3.1, so I agreed to suppress my inner rage and run the Quincy YMCA Treadmill Torture 5K (funnily enough, I was the only registrant. All proceeds – $25 – were donated to the Smile Train, a charity Hubby and I have long supported).
I guess the damn machine must have sensed my hostility, though. After 4.45 minutes at an 11-minute pace, I pressed stop in disgust. I was bored, had zero energy and my lungs were exhibiting new levels of hostility.
This is what I hate so much about the treadmill. Had I been outside on a “proper” run, I never would have given up that easily. The internet would have noticed.
I adjusted my pace to something less ragey (a 12-minute mile), but I clearly needed something to focus on. Cue the awesome power of the Lifetime channel. Who needs beat-appropriate music when you have terrible made-for-TV movies? (This one was called “Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story” if anyone wants to add it to their running playlist.)
I have run to treadmill TV before, but usually with my music. This time, overwrought drama in audio and visual form somehow pulled me through. I still struggled at the start, and I kept sneaking peeks at how long I had left (which just made the torture last longer) but I conquered the 5K. It was the longest I had ever run on a dreadmill.
Snow, please stay away so I never have to do it again.
The event: The Treadmill Torture 5K (participants: one)
The location: Quincy, MA
The date: January 22, 2012
My time: 37:30 (not including the false start)
Hubby’s time: No “official” time, but he did what I refused to do the day before and ran in the storm. Half-marathon distance. Kudos.
The cause: Smile Train
The T-shirt: Nope
The aftermath: Macaroni & cheese and a toasted sandwich at Panera Bread