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Running on Treadmills December 17, 2007

Posted by rengawman in Humor with a point, life, Motivation, running.
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I am a wimp.

 It’s official.

It is something that I have to admit to myself, my family, and complete strangers on the interweb… I am a wimp.

I took up running about 11 months ago or so on a dare… a bet… a challenge?  Someone told me that it would be possible for me, Joshua Wagner, to run a half marathon- 13.2 miles.  I scoffed and I sconed.  Wait… a scone is a pastry.  I may have had one of those though when they told me, as a reaction to the scoffing.  I have scoffed with a scone, and I have sconed with a scoff.  What the heck am I talking about?

This lady is so sconed…. dude…

So I began to train- training was a great experience of my life because I found out that I am not physically incapable of running.  I hadn’t done that since my triumphal days of winning the 5th grade high jump competition in Mrs. Thomas’ gym class.  Sure it was tough at first putting one dainty foot in front of the other- ok my feet are anything but dainty, but you get the point.  I had to start training indoors though because of the affore mentioned wimpyness.

See, I hate the cold.  I was never a big fan of it, even growing up on a farm in the frozen tundra’s of Lima, Ohio.  The only good thing cold is good for is bringing snow and cancelling school.  That’s it.  Otherwise it just makes me downright irritable.  and cold.  It makes me cold.  Now that is not to say that I don’t like crisp- crisp is good…. I like being crispy in the fall when the wind is still, and you can wear a sweater.  I just like to avoid being cold.  Believe me, Phoenix, Arizona looks pretty good after about December 3rd.

I know Crackle!

So when I started training for the Marathon last year, I had to start training indoors because it was January- on treadmills.  That was alright because I never knew any better- previous to January of last year, the furthest I ran was when Pizza Hut began their all you can eat Pizza buffet.  I was customer number 3!

The nice thing about running on treadmills is that you can watch TV.  I watched a whole season of Thundercats, the greatest cartoon of the 1980’s on the treadmill.  It is always good to have someone to run with, and my running partner was often Lion-O, leader of the Thundercats.  Snarf. (Hey the spell check actually knows the word Snarf!  That’s just Smurfy!)

Talk about a motivating partner…

Then I got to go run on a track!  WOW what an experience.  It was like I was unfettered, unbridled, and free as a bird!  The track I ran on seemed like I had been able to wake up from a long nap, after a cup of Hybernol, and be liberated from the incessant hum of the treadmill track.

Plus I could watch other people work out and play in the gym that I was running at.  All was good with the world, and as April approached, so did the warm weather.

I began to run outside.  There is nothing better than running outside- especially in the city.   I prefer city running to forest running because there is always something new to see as you run in the city.  To me, trees begin to look alike after awhile when I am running and I get bored.  I would often run with my arms stretched out toward the heavens, and hum the theme from “Chariots of Fire.”

Now that it is getting cold again, and January is quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about getting on a more rigorous training schedule again.  But that means running on treadmills again while it is cold, and that is tough.  After about 3 miles I just want to scream.  Sometimes I do, and it freaks people out in the gym.  (They asked me not to do that anymore.)

It made me realize that running is much more than just putting one foot in front of the other- it is a whole experience, body, mind and spirit.  I often saw running journals on the racks of news stands, and I couldn’t figure out how someone could publish a monthly magazine about something we do almost naturally.  Running was one of the best things to take up, because I believe it is more of a mental sport than a physical one.

All sports are like that though- heck, anything is like that.  The problem with treadmills isn’t that it is physically harder to run, but that it is mentally harder to run- you aren’t going anywhere it seems- that is hard to  take psychologically I imagine, and I believe that 3 miles on the treamill is always going to be harder than 10 miles outside.

One of the great lessons that running has taught me is that if you believe that you can do something, you will probably do it.  If you think you will fail, you will probably find some way to do it.  In some areas of our lives we need to re-tool the way that we think in order to achieve the good in our lives that we want.

When I run on treadmills I have to fool my mind by various tricks that I have learned.  I cover the time and the distance with a towel, I play inspiring music, I envision myself running outside… although I would never recommend running on treadmill with your eyes shut for more than about two seconds… yikes!


Running on cobblestone August 31, 2007

Posted by rengawman in philosophy, running.
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So a few months ago I took up running in order to prepare for the Columbus Half Marathon which was April 14th of 2007.

 Turns out I hated running.

 I went ahead and ran anyway, starting off slowly, one mile at a time.  Then I added two miles and so until until the week of the half marathon.  The marathon itself was cold and somewhat rainy (although Marshall McPeek, our local weatherman and Dungeon and Dragon’s champ, was wrong about how cold and wet it was going to be.)  Despite that, it was one of the best things that I have ever done with my life.  I cant believe I ran, let alone 13 or so miles!

 Turns out I like running.

 So it is something that I have continued throughout these last few months.  I even ran and ran during my 30 days of silent retreat in Morristown New Jersey.  What a great way to get to know that delightful city.

 Now that I am back in Columbus I am running through her streets, and find that the cobblestones in some parts of the city are presenting a new challenge for me… they are certainly not the smooth sidewalks and paths that I am used to running in these past few months.  I have to watch and compensate with every step that I take while running, but it keeps me more aware and alert at every step too.  I am not an experienced runner but I am sure that running on cobblestones is probably not the best thing to do, but it is a great analogy for those times and parts of our life in which the path may not seem as smooth as we have been used to in the past.  During these times we have to think about every step, the big ones and the little ones, as well as looking ahead to see what might be in front of us.  It certainly presents a new and exciting challenge than we have had before!  Realistically though, whether running on smooth ground or cobblestones or mud or whatever, the way to the finishline, that is, whatever personal goal we are currently trying to achieve remains the same: one cautious step at a time.  Short term, easily attainable goals!  One step at a time!!!