In my last post, I whined about being stuck inside because of this miserable winter but admitted to dragging myself out to run. My running has mostly been inside, on a track at a gym, because even when it’s not painfully cold outside, the sidewalks and roads have too much ice for me to trust a run in a neighborhood. So in addition to whining last time about the weather and my declining mood (blah, blah, blah) and then imploring you to practice gratitude (ahem), now I’m going to whine about running, and in particular about running indoors. To keep with the farming theme, I’m going to compare my issues to horses, as I do most things in my life.
Using the track at the gym is a lot like riding a horse in a 4-H warm-up ring. There are way too many people, most of them don’t know what they’re doing, no one bothers to look behind them before they step out directly in front of you at a slow crawl while you’re barreling down on them, and the children are completely out of control. I was in 4-H, and I/my horse was completely out of control, so I feel like I can make this comparison fairly. Really, though, if you’re walking on the track, and you’re about to step into the outside lane, clearly labeled “Running Lane,” you have to realize that if you don’t look behind you, you might get clobbered. And if you let your kid run onto the track and make a sport out of darting back and forth across the lanes in front of a runner, there’s a special place in hell for you.
My second complaint about running indoors is that it’s running indoors. I hated riding a horse in an indoor arena for too long or for too many days in a row. It was so monotonous for me, I could only imagine how bored the horses must get. And we wonder why our horses develop terrible habits or get sour. Running shorter distances–3ish miles–is OK inside. It’s not great, but it’ll do, especially if I have hope that the next run might be outside. I’m up to running 6-plus miles now, though, and that is really difficult to do: round and round for 70 laps. I feel a bit like a caged hamster on a wheel.
And finally, the third thing I hate about running indoors is the fact that it’s still running. I don’t actually like running, which sucks because I do it a lot. I run because I get antsy without exercise, it often offers a bit of clarity, it gives me an excuse to listen to terrible pop music on my running playlist, it’s inexpensive, I can do it with people or by myself, it’s the same everywhere in the world, I like to eat and imbibe and need a way to work off those calories, and I love hashing (the running and drinking beer thing that I do). It hurts my back and knees, though, and it’s hard, and I like to whine.
I got in great shape while apprenticing on the farm last year, and I hoped running would help me keep some of that fitness over the winter. Running is not nearly the same as farming, but it’s at least something physical to keep me occupied. Just to ensure I’d stick with it, I signed up for a 10-mile race in the spring. I like the idea of pushing myself to this point–really, I do–but it requires a lot of running to get there.
That “Earn It; Don’t Expect It” post title came from the shirt of a guy playing basketball at the gym. I saw him on a 5-mile-run day–just half of what I’ll be expected to run in a month–and I appreciated that thought. My horse trainer and friend Linda talks about “stealing a ride”–essentially riding a horse you have no business being on. My upcoming race is just 10 miles, but I am trying to earn every step (not stealing it, like I have so many rides on so many horses), as long as someone on the track at the gym doesn’t take me out first.