This is not so much a confession as a fact, because labeling it a confession would suggest that I harbor feelings of guilt surrounding this proclamation:

I love the treadmill.  I would rather run on the treadmill than run outside.

There.  I have no shame in this statement.  However, I will say that my proclivity for that wonderful mechanical belt machine does create a mental distinction between myself and who I consider to be “real runners.”  But?  Treadmills don’t make you change direction, they tell you exactly how fast you are going, at HW they have lovely televisions to provide distractions, and they shelve my ipod which provides the soundtrack to an awesome run.  Plus, the gym environment assures that bathrooms are always nearby, you will be sheltered from the weather (snow, rain, hail, extreme temperatures), and there is a water fountain at your convenience.

However, I recently made the rash decision to sign up for a half marathon .  While this prospect terrifies me, my fear stems mainly from my history of injuries and so I have been taking the training fairly conservatively.  In the process of returning to running post pubic bone stress fracture, I closely adhered to the “10% rule” that my orthopedist prescribed.  This is to say, that I started running 1 mile, every other day.  Each week, I could increase my distance by 10%.  It may have seemed excruciatingly slow progress, but I now think that this is the way to ease into running and increasing weekly mileage at a safe rate.  In any case, with the help of a friend who recently ran the Boston marathon and who will also be running the ½ marathon, we devised a plan that would allow me to keep to my only-4-days-a-week running schedule and gradually increase my distances.  The major difference was that my weekend runs would increase in length to get my legs used to longer distances.  And, I decided that these runs should be outside to replicate possible rqace conditions.  So, a couple Sundays ago, I set out, with trepidation on a 10 mile run.

Observations on my first 10 mile outdoor run (and my inner rebuttals):

I. Hate. The. Wind. 

—–I will have to get used to the wind.  See, I’m running this race where there may be wind.  Just sayin. 

 Hills are tough.

—–Again, I will have to get used to hills.  Also?  Hills are awesome in that they go both up and down.  Downhill running makes me feel superhuman.

 You can sort of cheat your distances.  Cutting corners?  The treadmill won’t let you do that.  The treadmill is a stickler for precision.

—–However, ultimately, you really cannot cheat.  Once you go out, you have to somehow get back home.  Quitting in the middle of a 10 mile loop is not really an option.

 I have no idea what my pace is.  (I covet Garmins, but cannot afford one.)

—–Not knowing my exact pace means I am listening to my body and going at the pace I can handle.  This feels good.

 Over the course of 10 miles, though, my angst towards outdoor running dissipated.  I didn’t need the distraction of my ipod or the television, because the scenery was constantly changing.  I was surprised at how much the scenery could affect my attitude and run.  Instead of fixating on the numbers on the treadmill, I was awaiting whatever was around the next corner.  I also loved seeing other runners and feeling a tacit camaraderie.  Finally!  I could count myself among them.  Towards the end middle of the run, I felt strong and internally triumphant.  At the end of the run, I felt utterly accomplished.  The one downside, I will say, is the bathroom issue. Let’s just say, a detour was necessary.  But now I know that on race day, I will have to be more mindful of my pre-run fueling.

 Bottom line: I will still be doing my week-day indoor runs, in the name of convenience and efficiency of time (I go to the gym before work), but I am thinking of keeping those long weekend runs.  I’m definitely an outdoor running convert.

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