Friday, June 6, 2008

Dusting off the treadmill

The diagnosis is in -- I still have the running bug. Even with the heat and summer vacation forcing me to run on our at-home treadmill.

After spending the past seven months running outside and on the higher-quality treadmills at the gym in preparing for my first half-marathon last March, I'm relegated back to my treadmill that sits in our bedroom. I know -- not very romantic, but for some reason, our master bedroom is humongous and there's plenty of room for it.

So about a week ago I dusted it off, made sure it was stable, and grew frustrated when it wouldn't start because the annoying safety key wasn't engaged properly. All the while, I'm thinking there has to be a better alternative -- maybe I should just force myself to run at night. It felt like being 19 and reuniting with a boyfriend you hadn't seen all summer -- you're just not sure if that feeling is still there.

But after a good five minutes of fiddling with this silly red piece of plastic that controls this $600 piece of equipment, it finally clicked just right and away I went. Even with its flaws, I still love running. But I quickly became reacquainted with the challenges of running on a treadmill at home.

First, in a room facing the East and being a morning runner, it's HOT. I turn the ceiling fan on high and kick the A/C down about 4 degrees lower than normal while I run, but it's still not like the air-conditioned gym.

Second, I actually attempted it one morning with all four kids home. Just a note to anyone who tries this -- it isn't very relaxing and your mind can't wander freely. You know when you have your IPod cranked up and Elton John is screaming "Bennie and the Jets" in your ear and you can still hear kids crying/shouting/fighting in the background, you're going to have to hop off to get your kids to chill out.

And then there's Zach and Allie, wandering into the room and posing inquisitive questions. "Mommy, can I run with you?" "Mommy, can I put on my swim soup (yea -- Allie says soup instead of suit ... so cute)?" "Mommy, why is there lemonade on the floor in the kitchen?" Ugh! Another day I ran at about 6:00, before the kids (well most of them) woke up. No interruptions, but I'm not an early-morning runner. No food, no coffee and three miles was grueling.

So, yes, it can be challenging, but it's doable ... and definitely a requirement for me to keep my sanity around here.

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