My love-hate relationship

This is not how I look on the treadmill. I'm the one you can't see, in the corner, red-faced and scowling.

This is not how I look on the treadmill. I’m the one you can’t see, in the corner, red-faced and scowling. Photo: 10k-running.com

One of my favorite bloggers, Ali of Ali on the Run, wrote a great post yesterday about the runner’s euphoria she recently experienced, attributing it to her bare, sans-tracking-device wrists. As someone currently in training for a seven-mile race – and a total type A who pushes myself to improve with every run – I can relate.

It’s been cold here in Connecticut, so I’ve been resigned to the treadmill, watching my intervals sloooooowly tick by as I huff and puff in the humid, over-heated gym. I’ve tried everything – magazines, audio books, music, watching TV (and combinations of these) – in an attempt to make it more enjoyable. But those harsh green numbers stare back at me, judging me, telling me I’m going too slow or my pace still hasn’t improved or that I’m clearly off today because I feel like I’ve run for an hour and it’s only been 10 minutes.

And don’t get me started on my neighboring treadmill runners, who jump on, kick the pace up to eight miles an hour (or more!) and sprint out an hour-long run without breaking a sweat. It’s a good thing they are focused, or else they’d see my red, sweaty face giving them the evil eye.

I completely admit that most days, I hate running – unless I’m outside. Those outdoor runs are what fuel the dreadful indoor ones.

Forecasters are claiming the weather will be a balmy 50 degrees this weekend. I so hope they’re right, because my Saturday and Sunday morning plans consist of outdoor runs around the nearby lake. I love these runs. I feel like a kid again, running without a care in the world as I take in the water, the friendly walkers and fellow runners, their cute dogs and the random duck or two (can spring ducklings be any cuter?). Sure, I wear my stopwatch/pedometer, but it’s not staring me in the face. In fact, I don’t look at it until after my run, just to benchmark my progress.

Those days, when I can clear my head and just observe my surroundings, I love running.

Which do you prefer – treadmills or the open road? And if you are a treadmill runner, any advice for making them less mentally anguishing is greatly appreciated!

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