Sunday, November 28, 2010

Treadmills: Goin'Nowhere Fast

Each morning when I leave my building, even in the summer time, I notice our small gym facility to be in use. Not the nautilus weight unit, or the glorified Tony Little-style Gazelle ( I think it's actually an elliptical machine). It's the tread mill. That thing is running 24/7. These people don't look like hamsters, so why do they want to go 'round and 'round. Are they allergic to fresh air and sunlight? Let's get'em one of those see-through balls that hamsters go in. We can tint the plastic to protect these athletic vampires from the light of day. At least they'll get outside.

Pardon me, I just don't understand this. We live in one of the most wonderful parts of the world - British Columbia. There are trails within 15 minutes of most people's door steps. Even during last weeks deep freeze, these folks could have gotten outside.

Two Christmases ago it snowed a significant amount in the Vancouver area and then froze. It made the trails pretty challenging to run on so I decided to try a treadmill run at the nearby gym. I got there about nine and signed my name to the little white dry erase board. I had to if I wanted to reserve myself a spot on this go-nowhere machine. In fact, I signed my name to three white boards because I was only allowed 20 minutes on each machine. The machines were humming along and the pitter patter of each expert runner created a sort of non-rhythm rhythm so I waited my turn on the stretch mat. I didn't know what the hell else to do with myself. There I sat with my ass down on the blue mat and touching my toes a little and #4 machine came available. The runner's workout had beeped her off that machine and prompted her to start wiping the sweat off it. She walked away pretty proud of herself and I jumped on and quickly poked the start button. I pushed the up arrow and started going nowhere fast. Looking out the window I was feeling weird. I was looking over at other peoples speeds and distances, reading the signs on the walls, observing some really huge dudes, and suddenly I realized I was bored. I'd been running for 6 minutes. I didn't know how I was to survive the next 14 minutes and get off and move to another two machines for 40 more minutes. I couldn't do it. I hit stop, didn't wipe my machine down, erased my name from the other two white boards, and went home.

I don't know how you do it Treadmill people. Perhaps it's mental fortitude? Perhaps you enjoy the controlled environment? Knowing your time, pace, calories, target heart rate zone? Maybe it's like a quicky, not a great, but better than nothing when you're in a rush?

Whatever it is, I admire your will to survive such a work out in the interest of your own health. I suppose it's a LOVE/HATE thing. I love that Treadmills keep people active and ultimately healthy, but I hate thinking they're making people bored like I was.

I saw this video a few years ago and I think this is the only way I could avoid feeling like I'm going nowhere fast.

If you frequently cruise the treadmill strip I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

After not running this weekend I knew I needed to get in a run early in the week. The trouble is that I work until 3:30/4:00pm and by the time I get home and changed it's getting dark, especially in the trees. I think the official time of sunset is around 4:30, so you can imagine how the blackness sets in rapidly after that.

On Monday I raced home, pulled the zips tight on my Speed Cross II and headed out toward Capilano Canyon. I didn't have my Apex headlamp on right away, but by the time I crossed the river I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Being in the dark, I find to be quite exhilarating, particularly when I'm alone. I have to admit I get a bit scared. Not enough to stop running, but enough to get myself moving faster. Every little crack and breeze seems to create enough noise to sound like Godzilla is after me. I'm that guy running through the dark forest shouting the occasional, "HELLO!", and constantly shoulder checking to see what beastly organism is chasing me. So far nothing has ever chased me, nor have I ever seen anything, but I suppose I'm better to be cautious rather than ignorant.

I'd had a particularly ugly Monday so when I got home I found it hard not to venture to the comforts of my couch. In hindsight lacing up and trotting into the black was the best decision I made all day. After a burn in the dark I arrived home elated...high on smiles. I really needed to get out there and turn the legs over.

Last night...the Lazy Trail Runner and I hit BCMC and cruised to the top of Grouse under moonlight and headlamp; just his headlamp though, mine had died and of course I didn't figure that out until I needed it. Thank god for the reflective capabilities of snow and moonlight.

It wasn't quite dark at the start, but withing 15 minutes we needed to slow a bit and take more care with each step. Believe it or not, it was darker at the bottom. I guess the lack of snow and the angle of the suns light. Who knows? (Bottom of BCMC)
As we got further and further it became evident that Grouse had received a significant amount of snow. We overheard they got close to a foot yesterday. There was a lot, but I'm not sure about a foot.
(Top 3/4's of BCMC)
I'm loving these afternoon runs that are becoming dark while I'm out there. It just makes me feel that much more alive when I'm done. Maybe because it's snowy or maybe because there are way fewer people out. Whatever it is, it's the perfect way to enjoy daylight savings time and more fall running.
(On the deck of Grouse Chalet in Fast Wing Hoody)
One piece of fall running apparel that has been ideal for me these past few weeks is my embroidered Fast Wing Hoody. In the spring of this year Salomon sent us a Flight Crew embroidered jacket. It's a super light weight windbreaker that packs into it's own pocket. Kinda' K-Way-ish, but cooler. It manages to hold some heat in so it's perfect after a run as well, especially when downloading on the Grouse Tram. It does tend to heat up during exercise, but that's okay on those cooler days of winter. I was so glad to have my Fast Wing II yesterday. The Lazy Trail runner and I are sporting them in the pic above.

Hope you're all out there enjoying the fall and the variety of weather it's bringing us. It makes every run interesting as long as you're prepared.