bricks_and_bones: (Eggs)
Distance: 6.25 miles
Terrain: Treadmill. :|
Pace: FAST.


I always prefer to run outdoors, but since I have to go into work tonight and I don't otherwise have any way of getting out to run with Mairead around (she is at the age where she wants to get out of the jogging stroller and push it herself at a very slow rate of speed), I decided to work out at the gym this morning on the treadmill. Convenience trumped not working out at all.

Now, I am usually pretty averse to treadmills for two major reasons: they are BORING as hell, and I get seasick on them. However, the pros of the treadmill are beginning to stack up for me:

1) Free childcare at the gym. I was on the treadmill for an hour today without worrying about getting back to the baby or finding someone to watch her. Easy!

2) You can record your workout in detail: calories burned, time, distance, pace, heartrate (51 resting heartrate, got up to 169 after 8mpm hard intervals, 69 while running 10mpm).

3) I can also see this coming in handy during severe winter or summer weather when it is just too hot or cold to run outdoors. (This from the girl who, while training for the Boston Marathon one year, ran in weather so cold that the crystals in her Indiglo Ironman watch froze, and who regularly runs in +90 heat in the summer.)

I liked recording the workout. I pretty much EASILY stuck to 10 minute pace for the hour, which goes to show how much more difficult trail running is than running on a treadmill. In fact, I had to up my speed and incline several times just because my hands kept crashing into the console. Last year at Ravenswood I met and fell into conversation with a very fit-looking woman who had only run on a treadmill. It was her first trail race of the year. She suffered. So I wouldn't want to run on the treadmill all the time, but once a week? I am thinking of making it a part of my routine, especially since I managed a very fast pace and even a couple of 8-minute-miles. It is worth it for speed workouts and to keep tabs on progress.

The BOREDOM of the gym is unbelievable, though. It took a lot for me to focus on the run because I was absolutely driven to distraction by the dullness of running in place for an hour. Part of my love of the trails stems from exploring them and seeing all kinds of different and amazing things with each run. In the gym, I had the option of watching a TV with captions I couldn't read or people walking half-heartedly on elliptical trainers. So boring. How do people do this every day?

(Also: how in the hell do you work out while READING A MAGAZINE? There were folks on those ellipticals or on recumbent bikes sort of pedaling along sedately and reading Vogue. If you are reading a magazine while working out, protip: you are not really working out.)

I finished off with crunches and some pilates on the mats. That was nice: usually I do this on an old picnic table in the park (to keep off the ground -- we have Lyme disease ticks everywhere in our woods) and as a result my back is pretty bruised up. Doing sit-ups and crunches on the mats was a nice luxury.

So while I can call this a "workout," I am going to stop short calling it a "run." I burned a lot of calories, I sweated buckets, and I pushed myself hard, but it wasn't the same as going running in the woods. And when I stepped off the treadmill after an hour? Yup. SEASICK. I actually walked sideways into the wall like a tool. So, yes: once a week or if I'm desperate in bad weather or if there is no other way to get a workout in with the baby around, but no more than that. It really takes the fun out of it.

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