Okay, so you’re all going to laugh. You’re going to laugh hard. I am actually ashamed to admit this: Until Wednesday of this week, I had never before been on a treadmill.
I know – I have the audacity to consider myself a runner, and lately a gym-body, and I have the never once stepped foot on the machine that combines the two. Should I have my self-proclaimed titles revoked? Maybe. But hear me out.
See, I have something else to admit: I have been judgmental towards treadmill runners (imagine me with my head in my hands. Or in one hand, and me typing with the other. Flush is running over my cheeks, and I swear it is not my lingering raised temperature). I have looked at them and scoffed a little bit. Why run nowhere when you can run everywhere? Why be stuck inside? Why be stuck on a machine for something our bodies want to do everywhere?
I know. Trust me, I know.
But the good news is that I have changed. Tonsillitis knocked me down hard last week. Hard enough to even stop my running. Seriously. Stopped me in my fitnessy tracks. I pulled myself to the gym on Sunday, and then Monday and Tuesday did not even bring thoughts of anything but trying to breath without being pain. I did not even care that I was not running. That’s how sick I was.
Wednesday, after three total days of bed rest and three trips to after hours care and urgent care, I finally had the frame of mind to think, “Holy Bologna, exercise.” And while maybe I did not feel the most centered or in the best of health, boyfriend agreed to take me to the gym if I promised not to act like….well, like I had not worked out in three days. After a firm handshake, we got in the car.
I got on the treadmill mostly because my boyfriend got on one, and I wanted to at least try to workout with some sort of impact. It took literally two minutes to figure out how to use it; the buttons are the same as the elliptical, but they are sort of mean different things. Plus, I set up the television to a basketball game before I started the ‘mill because changing channels while attempting to stay on the darn thing seemed dangerous for a klutz like me.
Here is what is kind of glorious about the treadmill:
You can go at any speed you want. There is a button that lets you push up your speed or lower your speed – and you don’t even have to think about it. Really. Yes, this takes away some of the neurons I usually use when I run. But I also thing it made me run faster for longer because of all the dials and gadgets that were keeping track of time and speed. So I could say, “Heck yes I’m running at X speed for not just two minutes, but five minutes!” (I know, I geek out on this stuff.)
The television wasn’t in the best condition, so I turned it off pretty quickly, and was plunged into silence and complete lack of stimulation. This concerned me, seeing as how as an outdoor runner, I at least always have traffic or trees to keep me company if my iPod goes kaput. But at the gym, there was nothing but the stomping of my feet on the treadmill. Eerie.
If you must know, of course I did not just zone out – I ended up singing “The Rain in Spain” from My Fair Lady on repeat in my head. Because zoning out is impossible in my world. I thought about running, I watched my reflection on the screen ahead of me and practiced my best “Runner’s World” face, I watched the really tone girl who was booking it on the treadmill across the room from me, and I sang “The Rain in Spain.”
The really tone girl across the room was another tidbit of wonderful about the treadmill. She was inspiring. She had these incredible legs, this incredibly body, and she was fit and Faster than greased lightening. If it wouldn’t have been creepy, I would have wanted to walk up to her and tell her she was my hero. Often my running efforts are solo, to the point of not even seeing another runner on the road. But at the gym, there one was. Two, if you count my boyfriend (which I totally do, but I refuse to watch him workout for fear he is watching me work out. I just passed gas in front of him on accident for the first time; I am so not ready for the sweating bit, or at least the watching me sweat bit).
My only treadmill quandary is this: what happens if you fall off? I am not known for being able to run in a straight line, or for paying attention to what I am doing with more than a scatterbrained fleeting thought when it comes to things like foot placement on a machine. It took considerable brainpower to keep myself on the ‘mill; which I suppose I cannot complain about. At least I was using my brain!
So while in no way do I believe the treadmill can replace the great running outdoors, I have to say that I’m not opposed to the little guy; plus, it’s a great way to make me practice sprinting.
And yes, I work out when I am sick. Unless it’s a damn bad illness, I give myself that luxury. Sweat it out, I say!