Monday, January 23, 2012

Thoughts on the 'mill

This morning, I did the unthinkable.  I stepped on the treadmill.  (GASP!)  Even more unthinkable, I actually hit the “quick start” button and put one foot in front of the other quickly.  (DOUBLE GASP!)  For those who don’t know me well, let me preface this by saying that I DESPISE the treadmill.  I don’t like using the word “hate” because it’s such a strong word, but in this case, it’s not strong enough.  I really can’t stand the thing.  Alas, it was pouring this morning – the only chance I had to run today while the child was in school – and being on day 6 of antibiotics for a sinus infection, I didn’t want to subject my poor sinus cavities to the miserable weather.  So there.  I did it. 

As I did it, I noticed a few things I hadn’t noticed about the dreadmill before.  The last time I set foot on one was February 2011, so yeah, it’s been awhile.  First, I tried a little tip I read in a magazine that said to set the incline between 1 and 3 to more closely mimic running outdoors, because even when you’re running on a flat road, it’s not 100% flat all the time.  I set mine to 1.5 and liked that much better than leaving it on zero incline, because sometimes that makes me feel like I’m running downhill.  And I’m about to fall on  my face.  Even though it’s supposed to be flat.  Go figure.

I also noticed that I could pay slightly better attention to my form than when running outside, because I don’t really have to look out for anything – changes in the terrain, puddles, cars, wayward children on bikes, small animals in my path.  I tried to focus on aligning my legs directly beneath my body rather than using a long stride, and keeping the top half of my body relatively still rather than bouncing up and down.  I was able to keep check on my midfoot strike and make sure I wasn’t pounding too hard on the treadmill.  I was also able to sneak peeks at a woman down the way from me who was running with, in my opinion, near perfect form.  She also had a near perfect body, and really shiny hair, but that’s beside the fact.

Because my training calendar had “INTERVALS” on it for today, I discovered how easy it was to do those on the treadmill: 3 minutes of running hard - I put it at level 6.8, or about an 8.39 min/mile pace, followed by 2 minutes of fast walking, times 6, followed by a 10 minute cool down.  My only problem was that at the end, I was so excited to get off the cursed machine and go upstairs to the indoor track to do my cool down, that I got dizzy when I hit “stop” and stepped off, and had to sit down on the *%&$ thing to regain my balance.  Yep – probably looked like an amateur.  Well, I AM a treadmill amateur and not afraid to admit it!  The streets, now that’s another story.

Perhaps the most insightful thing I learned on my ‘mill adventure today was this: the time we spend staring at the nice, bright flat screen TVs attached to the top of them MAY not be the best thing for our form.  Well, it may be okay for the average sized runner, but for pint sized ones like me, craning my neck to watch Kathie Lee and Hoda (KL actually let someone cut her bangs right there on the set today!) probably isn’t good.  In fact it’s downright painful after about 30 minutes, as I discovered.  Curses.  I didn’t even LISTEN to the TV, rather I had my music blaring from my iPod and turned the TV on for another distraction to keep my mind off the fact that I was running on a machine, not the ground.

All in all, I’m just happy that I survived, lived to tell about it, and didn’t get too irate over the experience.  It just felt good to SWEAT, albeit indoors.

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