February 5, 2008

Treadmill Trouble

When I run, I like to control the road. The road should never control me. Which is why I abhor treadmills. A rubber strip (or whatever material), a constantly rotating, unnatural road. So what if I can determine the speed? I am determining the speed that has been predetermined by Life Fitness or whatever that brand is called. You must always run according to your speed and if you falter a little or trip, not only could you fall, but you could fall on a still moving road. I've seen treadmill slips. They are not pretty. In fact, they are horrible scene to watch.

One time, this girl fell and her laces were caught in the edge of treadmill, which pulled When you are on that treadmill at the gym, there are all these people around you, running and sweating, at different paces. I often feel the pressure of others working out around me. It is not that I am intimidated or feel competitive (well, perhaps sometimes), but I see running as such a solitary act. I am at my best, feel my best, when I am running down a lonely dirt road in Maine or up Heartbreak Hill on a quiet weeknight. It is peaceful and freeing. I find that I can finally think straight and run even better.

On a treadmill, you have this constant stimulation of the televisions, your neighbor's music and flipping through the latest issue of People, and just the general movement of others constantly around you. I cannot concentrate. I have a developed a mild form of ADD, living in a generation of multi-tasking and multiple stimuli like iPods, TV, and the Internet. A noise, and I am distracted. All I want is a consistent frame of thought which always eludes me at the gym.

I feel a hollow, artificial pace as my sneakers pound against treadmill. It is not a satisfying tread. I do not feel the firm foundation of the pavement. On the road, it feel like a true mile earned, something that I took all on my own. You can't run marathons on a treadmill. Well, I suppose you can, but it certainly does provide you with that same sense of success as you cross the finish line on a hopefully sunny April afternoon.

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