“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
Robert Frost

I have a feeling that this is the preferred quote for blogging runners (running bloggers?) that want to show that they aren’t the meathead athletic type, but in fact have a sensitive side. They may not have actually gone miles and miles before bed, but they’re so well rounded it doesn’t matter. They’ll probably just cook you a gourmet meal with the wild mushrooms they foraged on a recent falconing trip in the Yukon while reciting a haiku until you forget all about that little detail.

Cliche or otherwise, it is a lovely quote and I’m keeping it. It’s also important that I begin this post with it because it precisely sums up everything that my run wasn’t tonight. Which is a shame because I love running in the woods and promises are nice, as is sleeping (still working on loving the miles and miles part).

Tonight there were no woods, lovely or otherwise, because the woods have been hijacked by arctic temperatures and tundra like running surfaces. Instead there was a gym filled with tread mills. And sweaty people. And mirrors. And Adele on the speakers. And golf on T.V. Seriously- golf. So pretty much hell.  Oh, I have nothing against sweaty people or Adele per se but put them all together in a room with golf on T.V. and nothing but yourself to look at in the mirror and the numbers on the machine ticking by in super duper slow motion and you have yourself a pretty dismal running environment. A far cry from lovely deep woods indeed.

Fortunately, today was a short run day (5 km); but still for 25 minutes I had to look at my face fat jiggling up and down with each stride. It would float up and I’d look young then gravity would kick in and I’d look sad and droopy faced. “Young me, old me, young me, old me” started to become my metronome (replacing the  much more riveting “1,2,1,2,1,2”). I stopped when I started to feel kind of nauseous from staring at all the bouncing and trying to decide which one was my normal face (yikes!). That left looking at the numbers on the machine, the tough guys picking stuff up and putting stuff down, and golf. So not a whole lot of options.

My general treadmill strategy is to avoid looking at the digits as treadmills seem to subscribe to the laws of a completely different dimension. It’s a place where time moves backwards, I basically stand still and everything is in imperial.* So I try not to look at the numbers until it is absolutely impossible for me to resist looking any longer.** This is another irritating property of the tread mill dimension. Just one peek at the numbers and I’m forced to clumsily convert the the miles I’ve run at that point (0.01) into kilometers, calories into how many more pieces of chocolate I’m allowed to have and bam! Suddenly doing math has been added to my already dismal running experience.

Then there is the form on the treadmill. I feel like no matter your style or technique, running on a treadmill is going to cause a terrible racket. I’m sure it would be really disturbing to the rest of the gym people if they weren’t so enthralled with the golf on T.V. (serious?!). That being said there are definitely ways of reducing the noise. In my limited experience, the Pose Method is not one of them. Its the method of landing on the ball of the foot instead of the heel and kicking the heels towards the bum. Maybe I’m getting too carried away with the bum kicking part, but this method for me results in hopping from one foot to the other which is extremely noisy on a treadmill. In theory, this method makes a lot of sense, but is not the stealthiest way of moving.

So all in all, it wasn’t the most enjoyable running experience, but at least I’m still on the program. Indian food afterwards tasted pretty darn good as well. And of course there is always sleep.

*Answers.com tells me that the only countries that still use the Imperial system are the US, the UK, Liberia and Burma. Burma- this is telling. Perhaps it’s time to consider switching teams, mmmmm?

**Usually about within 3 minutes and 18 seconds.