Last night, the weather was not that great; low 40's and misting. I was tired of running the track at ARC, so I decided I would try the treadmill. I had seen any number of runners really enjoying plugging their headphones into the consoles and watching TV or listening to their MP3's while they careened on what seemed like an endless loop to nowhere, so I thought I would give it a whirl. My headphones are on the fritz, so until I get new ones, I decided I would run and just look around. After about the first half mile, after I had finally figured out how to get the treadmill at the most comfortable speed, I was cruising along and it finally hit me... I don't get the point of treadmills. Maybe not enjoying the full "treadmill experience" (not being "plugged in" to the TV) kept me from fully savoring the total lack of feeling the wind (or at least slight breeze) through my hair while I ran, the entire absence of change of scenery (at least on the track, the view changes every now and again; which in and of itself does not compare to road running) or maybe it was just the whole "hamster-essence" of the experience that put this at pretty close to the bottom of my training options.
But after thinking about it a little more, I started viewing running/training as metaphor for life (Why not? It's more than just running.). Maybe my reaction to the treadmill represented something deeper. I want to keep moving forward. If I put in the effort, I want to see some results; distance covered, sights seen, things accomplished; not just a lot of sweat and not getting anywhere. It has seemed that in putting my life together, lately, that I have been on a treadmill; lots of effort with no real traction. The challenge for me has been that while I have seen a change in me; a real positive development in who I want to be while not discarding all the good stuff that has always been a part of me, I am the only one who has seen it. Some have not seen it due to distance, some due to not wanting to see it because of pain I had inflicted in the past, some not wanting to see it because they just did not want to put in the effort. Again, a lot of effort with no measurable progress. The treadmill of life...
However, now that I have discussed the grey cloud, let's look at the silver lining. The work on the treadmill helped me maintain an 8:30 pace (within :30 of my goal), so I was able to keep up on my speed. Likewise, I can see that the work I am putting into other areas of my life will pay off when it pays off; in its own due time. In both areas, it has to do with consistency of effort and being flexible. I need to keep running, but weather is bad and the track is crowded, so go use the treadmill. I feel I need to keep trying in my relationships, but I am getting little or no response; so keep trying, send letters, continue to do what I say I am going to do. In both scenarios, I am faced with situations that are not optimal, but I make lemonade out of my lemons. With patience and humility, I am enjoying my lemonade and I also like the guy I see in the mirror.
By the way, when I got done running on the treadmill, I was not sure how to turn it off, so I kind of jumped off it and ran into the elliptical machine behind me; almost twisted my ankle! I think I'll stay off it for a while, anyway.