In the event that you missed every person on your Facebook page complaining about the snow and cold, it snowed...like, a lot and it was flippin' cold! With 14" of that white stuff on the ground I found myself in a bit of a marathon schedule shake-up. I was unable to run my short distance on Thursday due to the storm, so I ran 3 miles on Friday, leaving me with a Saturday rest day and a Sunday long run. Unfortunately, the city of Melrose is pretty horrible at clearing sidewalks, so I was forced to climb aboard the treadmill.
For me, running on a treadmill is so much harder than running outside. The scenery doesn't change, it gets terribly boring and I am forced to keep the same pace, rather than allow my body to adjust naturally. So, there I stood on a treadmill at the Malden YMCA (which by the way is WAY nicer than the Melrose Y) with 10 miles ahead of me. I was hydrated, fueled, and strapped in with my new Amphipod water bottle. I was ready to go...or so I thought. Miles 1-4 were solid, but once I hit 5 and realized I had 5 more to go my mind started to wander. My body grew tired, I realized I had to pee, I got completely bored with my view and to make matters worse, the lady next to me needed to be wearing more deodorant. By the time I got to mile 7 I had to quit. I tried playing the mind games, but I just couldn't continue. Frustrated with myself, I did what I have learned to do when in a running predicament: text Coach Pamela!
Pamela recommended that I hop on the elliptical to finish my miles and end with a 5 minute fast-pace run back on the treadmill. Being the good student that I am, I climbed onto the elliptical, still angry with myself for giving up, and rode it out for 2 miles. Once I hit 2, I quickly jumped off and started back to the treadmill. I was determined to finish my miles...and RUN them! I ran the last 2 miles at an 8:30/9:00 pace. I had something to prove to myself and pushed it until I literally couldn't stand it anymore. Satisfied, I sent Pamela a text and re-read some of her other motivational comments that I quickly glanced over while in my tizzy.
I focussed in on one very important statement that my dear Coach made: "Think about all the people that don't have the option of suffering thru a crappy run on a treadmill..." In that moment I realized why my run had been so terrible. I lost sight of why I was running. I was too busy trying to play the mind games that everyone tells me to play to make the time go by faster. I was focussed on my awesome pace. I was thinking about other things than the task at hand. I've said it before and I'll say it again: running, at least for this marathon rookie, isn't about pace, distance, time, cute running clothes (ok, maybe a little) its about purpose. I needed to bring myself back to the reason I embarked on this journey to begin with. I was too busy being a runner and not being ME: the non-runner who accepted a number to run for those who can't.
You better believe that when I strap on my shoes next week and hit the streets for 11 miles I will be thinking of those who can't. In fact, next week I dedicate my run to Nicholas, a former Spaulding patient, my Coach's brother and someone who 9 years ago today lost his ability to run and complain about those crappy encounters with the treadmill. Next week is for you, Nick. You're a fighter and so am I!