March 3, 2014

March 3

Total time: 20 minutes
Total distance: 1.36 miles

Remember that really warm spring day we had back in January? Yeahhhh, it was definitely a fluke. Since then, we've barely kept the temperature above freezing (and rarely above zero, which, in Fahrenheit, are two completely different levels of cold), the awful wind chill of the polar vortex keeps sweeping its way back, and we seem to get a fresh batch of snow every few days. Now, sure, part of it is just winter. But not only have we not had a winter this bad in a long time, but we're setting all sorts of records for cold lately. It's unpleasant.

It's also making it really frustrating for wannabe runners such as myself. I probably wouldn't have qualms about running in the snow, per se, but it's the dangerously cold temperatures where I draw the line. Frankly, if it's not above 35 degrees, I'm not even going to consider it. I've been browsing treadmills online, even though I have an incredibly small apartment and nowhere to put one. There are a variety of cheap space-saver models that can fold up, that I've been hovering around, but the reviews are pretty hit or miss. Either you luck out and get a great machine that survived the shipping process, or you don't. I don't want to throw money at a potential dud. Especially a potential dud that has the potential to take up my entire living room.

I've been getting so desperate I've actually thought about joining a gym, even though the idea of paying money for an incredibly awkward experience doesn't sound like a good investment to me. Gyms intimidate me. I don't know the culture and I don't know the "rules" and frankly I know that everyone starts somewhere but I am in terrible form right now. I think I've finally crawled back to my heaviest weight again. It's not important. I just have crippling self-consciousness sometimes. Fortunately, it occurred to me that a lot of apartment complexes have gyms or fitness rooms or whatever they call them, and that the man-friend's apartment complex is one of those such places, and they have treadmills, and it was so obvious that I really don't know why this didn't happen sooner.

It's been a really, really, reallllllly long time since I've spent any time on a treadmill. After running outside for every single run of 2013, running inside on a treadmill is, well, pretty boring. There is no change of scenery. There is no real change of pace. It's just kind of plodding along on a moving band, staring at the wall (or window) in front of you. I'm glad I had the foresight to add a few new songs to my playlist before I left, just to mix things up.

Despite this, I could not have cared any less that I was stuck inside on a treadmill, it just felt so damn good to be running again. I was going to walk for fifteen minutes, run for a bit, then walk some more, but I got bored of walking after about seven minutes and after fighting off the itch to start running, I went with it. I set the machine for twenty minutes, figuring it was as good a place as any to (re)start. I'd slogged through twenty minutes back in January... maybe I could do it again. It felt much better this time. More solid. My pace was slower than last year, but faster (and more consistent) than in January. I was running at an average pace of a 15-minute mile (4 mph, if you're interested), which is a lot of people's 2-mile time, but whatever. I've run twice since winter started, I'm just happy to be moving at all, and I really do not give a crap how slow it is right now. I'm not racing anyone. And even if I was, I wouldn't expect to win. Speed so does not matter right now. Endurance and distance. I'm signed up for two 5Ks in April, though at this rate, we'll probably still have snow on the ground, so who knows if they'll even happen.

I'm a little nervous about being 5K ready in a month, but looking at last year's progress, I ran a 5K equivalent on my sixth run of the year... and I'm hopefully starting in just as good a place, if not better, assuming I didn't lose all my progress from last year. I mean, I'm about halfway there already! I didn't quite make it a mile and a half tonight, but I was close. So I'm hopeful. If I can get back in and run fairly consistently over the month, I should be ready to go in April. Right? Right. Let's hope.

Also, I tried to stealthily take a post-run selfie immediately after, but there was some dude there on the elliptical and I have some degree of pride. So it had to wait until I was in my car. I don't know how this little ritual got started (no, I do: the first time I used Runkeeper it prompted me to take a picture after I was done, so I did, and here we are)... I guess I'm stuck with it. Oh well.

Thanks, Treadmill. You too. High five.

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