Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Confession of a Rebel Recovering Runner

I don’t follow the rules of the faux road. That is to say, the treadmill. Let me explain. I am on my second return from injury/to running in as many months. Unlike the last one, this one is a fault of my own stupidity, impatience and immaturity as a runner. Also, unlike the last injury, I am coming back from this one slowly. While I thought I was being conservative in February, I was in fact, not. That brings us to this week. Following a week of nothing (literally, nothing. I wrote a blog entry called “Living Lethargically: A Non-Training Log,” but decided not to publish it) and a week of biking and pool running, I have advanced to a run/walk every other day schedule. Jay from a month ago would have scoffed at the mere suggestion of such a pedestrian program. But this is a new me. This is a me that has spent the last three Sunday mornings at physical therapy, learning must-do daily strengthening exercises for my weakened left muscles. This is a me that has spent one hour a week on an acupuncture table, needles sticking out of my head, arms, legs and feet (a practice I was previously skeptical of). It’s worth noting that none of this was free.

Pride be damned. If I’m told to walk/run, I’m going to walk/run. If I must do it on the treadmill, I’m going to do it on the treadmill. Monday was the first day. The plan was 10 minutes run, 5 minutes walk times four. It was raining Monday, so the YMCA was particularly busy. I found an open treadmill and hopped on, adjusting my speed to a 7:15ish pace. When 10 minutes was up, I reluctantly cranked down the speed to a brisk walk. I looked around to see if anyone noticed. I wanted to explain to everyone what I was doing and why I was doing it, even though they definitely didn’t care. As the end of my second walk approached, I ran into a problem I have never experienced before (because my rule in the past has been, unless there is a tornado outside, don’t run indoors). My 30 minute time limit was about to expire and there was a line forming to the left. People had written their names on the white board to secure a spot. Heck, there was a sign on the treadmill that clearly stated I had 30 minutes. Of course, I wasn’t going to quit my run halfway through. I hadn’t run in three weeks, and I wanted to take in all I was allowed to take. I started thinking of ways I could fool people. Once the belt stopped, how long could I run in place before someone noticed I was running on an non-moving treadmill? Would it be enough time to get it started again?

As the belt slowed, people began to perk up. They could sense the silence of my treadmill. Slowly, they got out of their stretching positions and moved toward me. My legs kept moving. I was furiously pushing buttons. The stupid screen kept flashing “Great workout!” and “Workout summary…” I tried to clear it. It wasn’t working. There was a guy next to me now, waiting. I kept my iPod on, pretending to be oblivious to anything but the music and the movement. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he moved on and I finished my run.

Why am I writing all this? I guess it serves as a confession. I feel guilty about acting so inconsiderately and wanted to get it off my chest. The happy ending is that the gentleman that so patiently waited for my treadmill didn’t have to wait much longer. Scarred by my actions, I decided to alter my schedule. This morning when I was unexpectedly woken up at 4:55am, I decided that since I was up, I might as well just go run then. In another hour, the crowd would filter in. So I did, and there was no one waiting.


  1. haha.. "how long could I run in place before someone noticed I was on a non-moving treadmill?" funny stuff man.. Peak Fitness had 60min treadmills but that perk doesn't out-weigh the Y's perks by any means.. get well soon, we need you on Wednesdays!