Tuesday, March 27, 2007

That Settles It: I’d Rather be a Hamster

Thunderstorms were rolling through Kent when I headed to the rec. center this afternoon (I had been staying on the weather up and up all week; that’s why I went swimming yesterday), so I headed inside to run. It was my first time running on a treadmill. As you know, I have only ever gone flying off a treadmill.

My goal was to run a 10K around 8:30-9:00/mile, so I stepped on the machine, pressed the large “ON” button and chose the 10K option. Seems straight forward, right? It always does.

I’m running around 6.7 mph for close to a mile when the treadmill suddenly slows to walking pace. It had been my understanding that running machines with large buttons were intuitive and easy to use, so I blamed this gaffe on user error. I must have done something wrong. So, I start over with my 10K, enter my weight and begin running again. And the same thing happens. Then I just restarted the machine and ran on manual around 6-7 mph for 1.5 miles. But not without incident.

When I first started running on the machine, it felt a little strange having the ground moving beneath my feet. I couldn’t quite get comfortable with moving my arms, so I held on for dear life for the first couple of minutes. Then I let go and tried to allow myself to drift back enough for room to move. And then I stumbled. It wasn’t too bad a stumble, but loud enough that Jeff, who happened to be at the weight circuit behind me, jerked around and gave me the good old ‘L’ sign to the forehead. I kept hearing the word “loser” repeated for several minutes, but that may have just been in my head.

Until it happened again.

This time I definitely tripped over the clean air and the next time I stumbled on a stubbed toe. The third time, however, was the charm. I jumped off the treadmill, walked over to Jeff and swore for several minutes when I saw the sun had come out. So, I took my anger outside and ran the remaining 3.1 miles of my 10K in the beautiful weather.

It was really difficult to run at first: running feels different when the ground is just standing there, waiting to be traversed. But I took the run at a healthy pace (8-9 min./mile) and even considered whether I could sing the national anthem while I was running—but I sang “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” instead ;-)

My only regret was that I hadn’t started my run outside, but I was able to get my mind off the fact that I couldn’t manage to complete a task regularly performed by hamsters. Even on my second and third tries.

So, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you what I looked and felt like on the treadmill today. This video actually features the exact treadmill I was using at my rec. center in the exact location I ran this afternoon. I was not, however, wearing a squirrel costume.

Apparently, squirrels aren’t as adept as hamsters either.


miss petite america said...

i'm sorry but i just had to laugh.... the treadmill has tripped me up on several occasions too...usually when i'm in a deep day dream **BAM** i just lose my footing...

Jim said...

Hmmmmm, that squirrel looked mightly familiar, G. Could it be, oh, I don't know - Iron Squirrel? :)

I've never been a fan of treadmills and when I have to run inside I always make a B-line for the eliptical machines. (Actually, it's more like a lower case "l" line becasue I go there straight away)

I like the fact that there is steady resistance throughout the entire rotation. Plus, it's easy to run backwards on them to change things up and work your muscles a bit differently.

The Salty One said...

"Gettin' Jiggy with it!" Heh! Treadmills are hard to get the hang of, for sure! They're all different. Some of them seem like they're calibrated to be faster than the display says and some of them seem slower. Some of them do just stop for no reason, or at least seemingly so until you realize you pulled the emergency stop thingee accidentally which happens to me all the time--ugh!

PS It was nice at lunchtime, I swear!

JenC said...

I hate the dreadmill too. Glad you were able to recoup and run outside.

The squirrel video is hilarious!

Joe said...

It's not easy to get jiggy with a treadmill, however I have found some helpful treadmill hints in the book ChiRunning. The best tip I found was to set the incline a bit (I usually use a setting of 1). This makes it easier to get a forward lean and also may reduce you chances of injury.

Anne said...

I think most of us can relate to your treadmill tripping. It really is a weird experience and you feel foolish that you can't master a machine. But I'll take terra firma any day.

TriShannon said...

I am usually okay while running on the treadmill, but walking... another story. That is when I tend to trip. Not really sure why. I must not pick up my feet enough, or maybe I am just tired from running? :)

Glad you were able to get outside to finish off your run. Way to "Get Jiggy With It!"