Friday, April 30, 2010

Hold on, Treadmill.

Yesterday I "ran" 7 miles in about 50 minutes, which is a great pace for me. But I don't really think I can accept this award - I cheat on the treadmill. I hold on and I KNOW that skews the results. I hold on because I don't want to fall off, and because I've gotten used to the treadmill telling me I'm a 7 minute miler. I know it's lying. I know I really run about an 8 or 8:30 minute mile. And I know when I step off for just a few seconds to switch something on my ipod or ipad (can't do it while bouncing on the treadmill), that I really should stop the treadmill for those few seconds. But I don't. I stand on the side (really, it's just a few seconds) and the treadmill tells me I'm still going strong. I figure I won't rain on its parade. Or mine. I like to see the numbers going up and going up fast. And I've gotten used to it.
But I know we're both lying. I know when treadmill tells me 7 miles in 50 minutes, and my eyes say 7 miles in 50 minutes, that I didn't really do it. I adjust it in my mind and say, well, I probably did more like 6 miles. I don't say it too loudly, just loud enough to assuage my feelings of guilt at deceiving myself. And that's enough penance for me. Besides, I figure as long as I'm getting a really good workout, good sweating, increasing incline or speed, it doesn't really matter that I hold on and that the treadmill's end tally is off. The thing that matters is I ran, I sometimes had fun, I pushed myself, and that's that. When I go on the road and find I'm slower than what my friend Treadmill says, it's at first disappointing. But think how much slower I'd be if I didn't do the treadmill at all? So I don't mind holding on. Better than falling off.
Now the very best workout EVER is running with my kids. They hop in the double jogger stroller with lollipops and water bottles in hand, blankets and books in tow, and off we go, running with 100+ pounds up steep hills into hard headwinds while singing the ABCs and counting fire hydrants. I'm just so darn thankful when those runs are over that I don't even care how fast I went. Nothing builds my endurance and strength like a stroller run. I wonder if I could invent a treadmill that mimics a stroller run? Pushing on the run. You'd have to hold on, of course...

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