Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh Treadmill, How Do I Hate Thee?

Let me count the ways.

I used to love my treadmill.  Really, I did.  In fact, I couldn’t conceive of running outdoors, so pleasant were my indoor walks, during which I passed the time watching DVDs of my favorite old shows (Dallas, West Wing, Sex & the City and Beverly Hills 90210, in case you’re wondering; yes, I have eclectic taste.)

But Leo and I can’t run at the same time on the treadmill, so we’ve taken the majority of our training runs to the street.  Last night, though, I returned to the treadmill when faced with a torrential thunderstorm.

It sucked.  I always read that running on a treadmill is supposed to be easier, thanks to extra cushioning and having a belt do a little of the work for you.  My treadmill clearly hasn’t read the same material.  First of all, it’s almost 20 years old and has never once been serviced.  It’s also very, very low-tech; it does have a motor, but that’s about it – no digital anything, just a slide to control speed and an old Timex-like display that shows speed, mileage and calories burned.  It’s like the Honda Civic of exercise machines – cheap, simple and reliable.

But I question that last part… just how reliable is ol’ Bessie, as I’ll now refer to her?  Because, according to Bessie’s display, I was walking and running at exactly the same speeds, at the same intervals I’ve been doing outdoors – but it was way, WAY harder than anything I’ve done for weeks!  Burning muscle pain.  Lungs gasping for more air.  Knee pain, ankle pain, even shoulder pain.  40 minutes on Bessie was pure torture, while I'd set a new personal distance record only days earlier, doing 4 miles with a 15:11 mile pace, outdoors and could have easily gone another few miles.  I strongly suspect that Bessie’s settings are highly inaccurate.  I also think she has zero amount of cushion and all the DVDs in the world won’t make up for creating my own cooling breeze by actually moving forward through airspace.

I’m beginning to dread the long, hot Florida summer, when daily thunderstorms and heat indexes in the 100s will render outdoor running impossible on a regular basis.  And I’ll need to be putting in more and more long runs in training for my first half-marathon... I barely made it through 2.5 miles last night – I can’t fathom 7 or 8 with Bessie!  Stay tuned to see if Bessie gets the boot in favor of a fancier apparatus, or if I can rig her up to meet my new needs…

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