I used to consider myself the treadmill queen. I would get to the gym, turn on the tunes and rock out with my ... well not exactly. But I do think that I rocked on the treadmill.
I really couldn't imaging working out in any other fashion. I liked my treadmill - fifth one from the left; strategically placed directly under the air conditioning vent; on the old school model that most gym-goers shied away from, but was perfect for me.
I'm not really sure what happened, but I have pretty much done a 180 (or is the expression 360 ... well whatever) since then. Through the past month, over 50 miles (by the way, expect to hear that number a lot ... I'm pretty proud of it and plan on throwing it in as many conversations as possible) I have run only 4 of those over 50 miles (told ya) on a treadmill. The rest have been run on the pavement around the neighborhood. And not only have I been running outside, but I've enjoyed it. Enjoyed it, so much in fact, that those four miles that were run on the treadmill were hell. They weren't even done consecutively. They were done in two, two mile increments. I wasn't on my beloved treadmill from the old days. And things just weren't quite right, but considering what running is like outside, this change is quite shocking.
Let me detail some of the regulars I experience out on the road: one day last week, as I was just getting my run on - feeling the rhythm, feeling the rhyme - I noticed that along my route was a homeless man meandering along. I am not a judgmental person, but put me face to face with someone I don't know, someone who could be dangerous, with nothing to help me should this person decide to hurt/steal/rape/whatever me, I get a little uneasy. This sounds like a pretty negative experience ... one that could have made me want to jump right back on that treadmill, but there was a positive aspect of this experience. I had the fastest run I had ever had.
Another regular ... at least once a week I get some jackass who decides he wants to see how fast fast-drying polyester bend running shorts actually dry. And you know how he conducts his experiment, he proceeds to drive as fast as he feels comfortable toward me, apparently pretending that he is going to run me down, then at the last minute, of course after I have peed a little, he veers back to the road. Let me tell you, those fast-drying polyester bend running shorts didn't get that name for nothing. Remarkably fast - let me tell you from first-hand experience - remarkably fast.
Want another one ... did you know that Las Vegas has horses? Yep. Straight up horse back riding, stable living, hay eating horses. Want to know how I know this. Every morning, as I pass oh about every 10th house, I get hit, smack dab in the face with the smell - the smell of horse dung. And by the time I feel like I'm finally breathing clean, fresh air again, I get hit with it again. It is extremely unfortunate, and it leaves my already hard to breath body gasping for anything but horse manure contaminated air.
So you may be wondering just why in the hell I enjoy running outside more than a treadmill. And honestly, after putting these experiences in writing, I am asking myself the same question. But what I can say is that I have accomplished so much more outside and pushed myself so much more than I ever would have in a gym on a treadmill. Even if it was the most perfect treadmill, located in the perfect place with fresh air constantly blowing right on me, I don't think I would have challenged myself to ever run as far or as much (over 50 miles) in a month.So I'll take the horse dung while pushing myself to run 60 miles next month.