I love/hate my treadmill

Yes, it’s boring, and I’m much rather be running along a summery-warm, calm, tree-canopied waterfront trail seeing and hearing waterbirds, harbor seals, and the parade of passing ships. But it’s not summer, it’s not calm, and there aren’t enough daylight hours to do much running here during the work week this time of year.

My treadmill is about as basic as they get. I had a tiny space to work with (a space that had formerly been occupied by a small refrigerator), and I had to measure carefully and buy the smallest compact treadmill I could find. That’s one of the reasons why my running stride is so short, and hence why I’m slow. I learned to run in a very small space. I can’t vary the incline; it’s either dead flat or propped up by a few degrees, and it must be set one way or the other in advance and then left that way during my run. I usually leave it dead flat, as it tends to wobble a bit when it’s propped up.

Still, when I get to the point that the itch to run outweighs my boredom with the silly thing — when the itch becomes greater than the anxiety that had me feeling too tired and shaky yesterday — I can still get on my treadmill and feel better a few miles later.

I did 4 miles tonight and feel refreshed and alive again. As it happened — not that I’m OCD or anything (it’s a great thing to have a good running plan/spreadsheet that will keep me healthy en route to my running goals) — when I finished those 4 miles tonight I had run a total of 1,312 miles since my first tentative little treadmill jog just over three years ago. I have now run the equivalent of 100 half marathons (or 50 marathons, for the truly math-obsessed). I’m on track to complete my first 500-mile year in 2011, a feat I never could have imagined three years ago. I’ve now run further than the distance between Port Angeles, Washington and Palm Springs, California.

It’s amazing what you can do if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, finding and re-finding the strength to take the next step, while always keeping an eye on the horizon unrolling itself out there ahead.


Posted on November 14, 2011, in Running and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Awesome!!! Do you foresee being able to carve out a larger space for a bigger treadmill? I do the majority on mine, and without music, I think I’d have gone crazy. Moving is better than not moving, so it’s good that you have an option. Good for you for documenting it all, too. I was really bummed when I lost a year’s plus worth of data in a computer crash…. what a reminder to back-up more!

    • I have thought about putting a treadmill in front of the gigantic TV in my family room — which has only been turned on twice since Kurt died — but that feels a little weird to me. I think I’ll stick with what I have, especially as I only use it when I can’t get outside. I agree, I could NEVER use a treadmill without loud music, as I hate the trundly motor sound on mine.

      My running log has been indispensable, as it allows me to see progress, helps me figure out when I should buy new shoes, oil the treadmill, etc. Most important, it keeps me running more or less to my weekly running plan. And I use an offsite backup service so I’ve never lost any data — yet!


  2. 500 miles?!? *eyes wide open* WOW! =)

  3. Treadmills. YUCK. I avoided them in my gym days. Went straight to the more excting, fun elliptical.
    A treadmill is becoming more of a necessity in my life every day. It is PITCH BLACK when I’m walking home from the bus stop after work. There’s no way I can safely run. I really detest this time change. I don’t get the point at all.
    Anyway, I’m working on getting a car. It’s taking very long since I don’t have the money or the necessary support to get one. I’m in limbo, and don’t really know what to do. Keep pushing for a car? Get a treadmill for dark days, busy times, and less-than-great weather? *sighs*

  4. I have a love-hate relationship with the treadmill, but maybe if I set goals as well as you do, I’d have a better attitude! What a life-metaphor your running practice is, huh? There are times I do feel like putting one foot in front of another is just about all that is required! Good job, Lori! You’re doing great! Debra

    • Debra, thanks for the positive feedback and encouragement. I tend to think sometimes that anything can be viewed as a metaphor for anything else, but yes, running has carried me through some very tough times and is becoming something almost like a philosophy of life. Sometimes one foot in front of the other is all we can do, but it sure beats standing still — even if we don’t know yet what may lie beyond the next bend.


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