A change of scenery…

messages Jan 21, 2009

It was 23 degrees on Wednesday, so I did my run outside for the first time in a very long time.  It was PAINFULLY obvious that I haven't been road running for a while.  It felt a little more like "lumbering" than running.

I'll be the first to admit that I've been a wuss this year when it's come to running outside.  My rule last year was that if it was 18 degrees or warmer, that meant I was running outside.  (Did I just say 18 degree or "warmer"?!  How can "warm" be used to describe a Minnesota winter?)  It's been a really cold winter this year and even though I said I would not and could not ever do it, I've been running on a treadmill.  In. The. Basement.  Could anything be more boring?

Here's my world-class indoor training facility in all it's glory:


(Yes, that's a partially painted wall.  There was an armoire in the way when I was painting.  God forbid I should go down and finish it.)

Ooooooh... and let's not skip the view from the treadmill:


The "training center" happens to be located right next door to the Hit the Deck "shipping and fulfillment center".  How convenient!

Right now you are wondering how you could get a membership to workout here, right?  I'm still not sure how I got one.  In the past, if you would have asked me to imagine one of the most painful situations I could be in, I would have instantly said running on a treadmill.  Running on a treadmill IN A DARK AND UGLY BASEMENT was a diabolical twist I could not have even fathomed adding.

So why am I doing it?  If you read my last blog posting, you'll know that I've come to realize that doing things that are uncomfortable are a critical element in personal, psychological and physical growth.  If I refuse to run outside when it's cold, that means I have made the choice to have to find an alternative, because not working out is not an option.  When racing season begins do I want to have to start over from scratch because I was too big of a baby to run on the treadmill during the winter?  Not an option.  Do I want to lose all the improvements I've worked so hard to achieve?  Not an option.  Do I want to turn in to a flabby, crabby person because I'm disappointed in myself and am missing workouts?  Not an option.

So what is the option?  Shut up and do it.  It's only 30 minutes.  That's literally 2% of the minutes I have in an entire day.  Really?  I can't do something unpleasant for 2% to get improved performance, better health, increased energy, enhanced mental focus, and a better disposition?  Big picture, the return on the investment is too big to pass up.

Here are some of my tricks for maintaining sanity:

1.  I'll set my iPod to my dance playlist and get moving.  oonsah...oonsah...oonsah...

2.  PodRunner is a free music download from iTunes and a GREAT tool for runners - you can download 60 minutes of continual music at many different beats per minute to match your running cadence.  (I like to use this on the roads in the summer to improve my speed by using progressively faster music.)

3.  In my spare time I'm an aerialist (more on this to come), so I'll make up aerial routines to whatever music happens to be playing.

4.  Interval or Hill workouts - focusing on small chunks of time actually makes the whole session go a lot faster.

5.  If I'm feeling stressed out, or mentally blocked I'll run with just my thoughts.  It's a great time to process and gain perspective.  I've come up with some great ideas and solutions while running.

6.  I'll imagine myself having to run a certain distance for a reason - kind of like a super hero.  ie:  If I don't make it to the speeding train in the next 10 seconds someone will get hurt.  Yes, I am a dork.  A dork who exercises.

7.  If I'm doing an easy run, I'll listen to a podcast like This American Life or something else entertaining.

8.  And sometimes I whine.  Out loud.  For minutes on end.  Waaaah, woe is me, why do we live in this evil climate, why do I have to do this, why, WHY, WHY?!  Then I shut up and get on.

Moral of the story:  trudge on.  Whatever you do, trudge on.  If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, right?

You're not everybody.  You're different.  

You make the 2% investment in yourself.

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