Let’s just get this out of the way first:
HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT!
There, feel better already. But seriously, people actually run on these things all winter without losing their minds??? I have done three treadmill runs this winter and have not enjoyed a single moment. This is definitely not one of those things that will get better as I get used to it. Quite frankly it gets worse each time. I managed 9 km the first time, the next two times only 7 km. Each time I felt like I had been running for hours. To top it off I run slower on a treadmill, so even short runs seem to last forever. And it is hot in a gym, really, really hot. If you can bear with me, a couple more complaints. The treadmills I use (I bought a 10 pack pass for the local rec centre) don’t have fans. I need a fan, I probably need an industrial fan come to think of it but I would take a little one. The t.v’s are very high on the wall and off to one side of the machine. I feel like my head is tipping backwards and as I turn slightly to see it I am afraid I will leave the centre of the track and fall. So instead I am stuck looking out the windows that overlook the gym space. Last time I watched kids climb the rock wall. This time I watched a Muslim prayer service. Either way I feel like I am watching an event without an invitation.
Today when I was taking one of my many walk breaks (did I mention it was freakin’ hot???) a guy came up to me and asked if my calves tightened up. I was wearing my compression socks so I thought he was wondering about them. When I said I never have any issues his reply was, “Oh, because you really run on your toes, even when you aren’t running that quickly.” Huh? Not sure how to take that one. And what did he mean when he said I wasn’t running very quickly? I replied that I have always been a forefoot runner and don’t have any problems. I assume he wanted to be helpful and was ready to give me advice as to how to change my gait. Personally I can’t really imagine asking a complete stranger that question but maybe that is just me. Afterwards I did wish that I had replied by saying, “No, they only get a bit tight in the last few kms of a marathon,” just in case he thought I was a total beginner.
After that I was thrown off a little. I wasn’t sure if he returned to a machine behind me (for all I know he works there?) and all I could think of is this stranger is analyzing my gait. Then I started thinking about the fact that maybe I was up on my toes too much. And wait, maybe my calves are tightening with each step! Of course they weren’t, but I was so self aware that instead of just feeling my usual treadmill awkwardness (not a km goes by without me picturing myself flying off the machine), I was now feeling like I had become the picture of bad treadmill running form.
So why am I running on a treadmill? Since the 10 pack was a fairly cheap option and the centre is only 5 minutes from work , I figured it might be worth it for those days that are just too cold or slippery. My other thought was that maybe by running once in a while indoors I would find the transition to warmer weather easier come spring. Today was -25 degrees with the windchill (a temperature I don’t really mind) but with significant wind gusts. I am tired of fighting the wind or trying to find routes to hide from the it. I thought indoors would be a good alternative. Honestly, I wish I had stuck with the wind!