Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004
Dear Diary:

Before the treadmill and I could begin our trial separation, there was one last step in my 10K running program to complete today--run for an hour.

Oh yes, I am All About The Closure.

I have never, ever in my life run for that long. Never. But I figured what the hey, and keyed in 60 minutes at 5.5 mph. My somewhat murky reasoning here was that I have been running most often at 5.8 mph so dropping down a bit should leave me with enough stamina to gut things out for an hour.

Now the more astute of you will notice that if a treadmill is set to run at 5.5 mph for 60 minutes then by golly when that 60 minutes are over the person on said treadmill will have run 5.5 miles. The most I had ever run in one piece before today was a tad over four miles. So how did I propose to cover 5.5 miles?

Ah, now, this is the beauty of your liberal arts degree. See, I studied journalism and English. Words, they are my friends. Words I understand.

Numbers?

Not so much.

So I began that run utterly cocooned from the harsh reality that I would have to run 5.5 miles to complete it. Mentally, I was breaking it into ten minute chunks. I wasn't watching distance, I was watching time. If ignorance is bliss, then I was in running nirvana.

Every time someone gives me a new workout CD I find My New Most Favourite Song in the World. Today I was listening to Ealasaid's Hardcore Workout, skipping around the songs, and near the end of it I stumbled into a very odd combo that for whatever reason really resonated for me--TaTu's "Not Gonna Get Us" which is dance music, coupled with "Born to Raise Hell" by Motorhead with Ice-T and Whitfield Crane.

Just wipe that judgmental smirk right off your face. I can't help what I like.

It takes about ten minutes to play through these two songs together. It was such an odd pairing that I played through the combo a second time, which meant that over 20 minutes had elapsed. I was so absorbed in the music that I stopped obsessing about the treadmill panel. When the second run through finished and I glanced over, the clock at the treadmill announced I had run over 55 minutes. When the glowing red numbers on the odometer sank in I almost fell over.

And I immediately felt exhausted. No kidding. One minute I'm running with some effort, but it doesn't feel impossible or anything, and the next minute a few numbers completely psyched me out. A quick glance at my heart rate monitor told me there was no way I should feel exhausted. Completely a head thing.

You have no idea how much this kills me.

One last play of "Not Gonna Get Us" and that was it. The hour and 5.5 miles were mine. The treadmill I use has a safety feature and immediately cycles into cool down after an hour's run which kind of disappoints me because I think I had enough juice left to run a full 6 miles, which is almost 10K.

(Which is easy to say, of course, because I don't have to back that up by actually running that extra half mile or anything. Plus, let me point out again that I was running it a 5.5 mph which is only slightly faster than a 200-year-old turtle with a walker.)

I'm going to take at least a week away from running now before coming back into the next stage of the program, the push for more speed. It's not that I'm not going to keep up my cardio, it's that I'm just going to do it with the rowing machine, the elliptical machine and exercise bikes.

I'm burned out. Running on a treadmill has stopped being fun and until it stops feeling like an obligation, I don't want to go back to it.

I think this will be easier come spring when I can start running outside again along some of the beautiful back roads we have in this valley. Nature. Pristine air. Serenity. The great outdoors.

Mosquitoes. Black flies. Deer flies.

Oh man. I am so doomed, eh?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 149.82 miles. Ten percent there rubber duck.
Oh man. This is going to be hard
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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