Lately, I've not felt like much of a runner. I'm too concerned about hitting a patch of ice to brave the outside, and don't like the much narrower sidewalks. So, instead I've been hitting the treadmill.
And, it's not nearly as fun and it's hard to get entirely motivated. On a real run, there's a destination. Running five miles in one direction means you have to travel at least another five miles to get home. On the treadmill, it is key to have something to listen to or something to watch.
Except, the other night I had to turn off a showing of the movie Waiting on the treadmill because I was laughing so hard. It's been a long time since I've worked in a chain restaurant, but the movie hit home, so I had to turn it off. I don't think it's good etiquette to laugh hysterically while running in a crowded gym.
It's also hard to listen to radio comedy, so I've stayed away from that. What usually works is something from the BBC for the first 30 minutes before I switch to music.
Today I was listening to "Start the Week" from Monday, which has a fascinating discussion about the role of the Home Office in the United Kingdom in contrast to the role played by the Foreign Secretary. Perfect to accompany a two-mile warm up, treadmill or otherwise. The discussion wrapped up with a conversation about Emily Dickinson.
This was around the time I was trying to hit my ten-miler pace. I'm trying to practice doing it for as long as I can. Today I wanted to run at that speed for four miles, but learning about Dickinson's epilepsy was kind of distracting. Without a destination in mind, on a real course, I couldn't quite get there.
So, when the show wrapped up, I checked out the Radio Clash podcasts I've downloaded and came across this gem which kicked me into absolute overdrive.
Oh, such a rush. Such a feeling, to know I can run fast if I'm motivated. I don't like to run with music outside, but at the gym, it's a necessity. It feels like dancing to turn the pace up as fast as I can when I'm warmed up and ready to go. I lose all sense of etiquette and smile uncontrollably.
I had so much fun, I forgot that I was training. I forgot I was burning off some stress by working as hard as I could. I ran faster and then slower and then faster and then walked for a few minutes to cool down, having met my goal of "running" 7 miles in under an hour.
Any of us can push it if we're sufficiently motivated. These days, it seems like so many problems are intractable. Are they? Maybe there's a narrative that hasn't been crafted yet for each on them. Telling stories is hard. But, to tell a story is to push through until a message has been delivered.
So, I've just written a story about a mundane experience, but yet, in doing so, I feel like I've better connected myself to that hour spent at that time, in that place.