Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Off and Running

This is it people, training for Race Season 2008 has begun. Last week – otherwise known as Week 1 – started out a bit rocky, but ended up in a triumphant recapturing of… um… something.

Here’s what…

Running has been tough lately. Like, really tough. If you live in Chicago, you know it’s been a particularly gray, wet, and “balls” cold winter. In a word: shitty. Running outside is rarely an option, and when it has been, the path/sidewalk/road is often riddled with treacherous ice patches, puddles that resemble small bodies of water, and/or piles of snow (which are nearly as hard to run on as sand). I’d like to be the first (or maybe millionth) to say, “Thanks city of Chicago for not actually doing anything about clearing this nastiness away from anywhere.”

Anyway, trusty running/workout buddy Meg and I have largely taken it inside, reclaiming our respective relationships with the torturous treadmill. I do not exaggerate when I say that two miles (two little, itty, bitty miles) has been excruciatingly difficult to complete on the ‘mill, if not soul crushing at times. I had gone so far to start questioning my ability to train for another distance race. Maybe, I thought, I’m just not up for it again.

On Friday, I had a much needed breakthrough. According to the training schedule, I needed to run four miles. Four. I’ve considered promising my firstborn to the gods of running to get through just two miles, how in the hell am I going to do four?

Determined to mix it up a bit, I decided I would run to the gym, approximately one mile, hit the treadmill for two miles, and run back home. Phase one (run to the gym), went smoothly. But, as soon as I got on the treadmill, the familiar dread crept over me. That’s when I noticed the television screen attached the to the treadmill.

Granted, I’ve been well-aware of the fancy “Cardio Theater” at my new gym since day one -- it's been right in front of my face every minute of every run. But I’ve avoided it. No need to get used to watching television while working out, right? Truly, I’m not sure why I decided this. Maybe the exercise purist in me objected, or perhaps I thought that if I started watching TV while on the treadmill, I would be lost without it once I resumed running outside.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I gave in. Besides, Neil Patrick Harris was sitting in for Regis as co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly. If that’s not incentive to turn on the television, I don’t know what is. He’s just so darn funny and charming, but not in a cheesy way. I decided then, after watching Neil and Kelly banter for 20 some odd minutes that if I was ever asked that ridiculous question about inviting guests – anyone in the world, dead or alive – to a dinner party, I would answer “Neil Patrick Harris.”

The two miles went by quickly, and I headed back home. Sure, running back in the freezing ass cold was not pleasant, but I did it. And it made all the difference. Game on people!

So what have we learned today? All together now: Television (or Neil Patrick Harris) is the thing that’s been missing from my run.



Kendra said...

Good for you! I don't even like to let the dogs out when its below 50. I can't imagine running a mile in the Chicago weather.

L Sass said...

The television is the only thing that helps me survive on treadmill runs. I recommend Jeopardy! and America's Next Top Model.

Lindy said...

I have been wondering the same thing about running...contemplating NOT running Chicago this year, just stick to the half marathons. I dunno. ALl I can say is that this weather has beaten me down into a submissiveness I've never seen before.

I'm sure I will feel better come the first inkling of 50 degree weather.

Jaime said...

I'm so jealous that our gym has TV screens on the 'mills. I have found that showtunes have helped get me through the worst.

Roisin said...

I'm not a fan of treadmills either, or gyms, but I think I might get a month membership in the interest of not wiping-out during my weekly runs.