Everyone tells me that running on the road is not the same as running on a treadmill. And they are right. I am trying to transition to hitting the pavement, but there are many factors that keep me going to the gym to hit the Star Trac. I don't want to have to choose at this point, and I can't afford to have the question distract me from the key reason I'm exercising - to get my head straight.
When I first started at the gym over two months ago, I was terrified. Sweating in public? Ick. Who wants to see that? Of course, I've realized the answer is and should be "no-one." When I realized it wasn't a scary place, I was able to turn my daily visits into my daily medication while I tried to avoid the pitfalls of self-destruction.
But, as I've been upping my miles people have been saying I've got to hit the road soon if I have any hope of completing the ten-miler. People have been very kind by suggesting trails, suggesting routes, and so on. They say that running on a treadmill is too boring and doesn't provide real-world conditions by which to train.
And, they're right. But, they're also wrong, given that my main goal is to give myself an hour of exercise every day. I don't run every day. I lift weights three days a week, and take one day off a week for total rest. I'll be the first to admit I don't know what I'm doing, but I've set modest goals for myself and don't want to get discouraged.
I've been discouraged from running this week because of these questions, but also because I've been worried about my right calf. It seems to never fully recover and so I've been trying to stretch it out more. I need to get to Ragged Mountain Running Shop to get some customized inserts, but that will cost money, and my resources are currently devoted to getting myself out of a deep financial sinkhole.
But, today I went in and hit the treadmill and blanked out all the questions and just ran. I took my brother-in-law's advice and began switching up the pace and incline on a more frequent basis to emulate the unpredictability of the road. I listened to BBC Radio 4's News Quiz for the first half hour and switched to music for the second half. When I do this, I always speed up and I can always feel the adrenaline pumping. I think about all the pain in my personal life and I feel like the anger and the sadness and the bitterness gets transformed into something life-affirming.
Whether that happens on a treadmill or the road doesn't really matter. What matters is that I can heal.