On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, February 8, 2010


Yesterday, my schedule called for a long run of 9m.  Not that bad, right?  I did 8.25 two weeks ago and it was as easy as anything.  I did (almost) 6 on Friday and it, too, was easy.

I woke up Sunday morning - well, sort of morning, it was almost 10am.  That was not according to plan.  Then I checked the weather.  Not too bad, 25 degrees.  Wait - wind chill 10, gusts of wind up to 25mph.  I have had enough with the cold, so I decided to do my run on a treadmill.  Sort of just to see if I could do it, I think.  I mean, 9m isn't even a double-digit run; how bad could it be?

I hate the treadmill.  I know this is a common refrain amongst runners, and I'm no different.  It's boring.  It's tedious.  It makes even an easy run feel hard.  Now, I limit myself to 3-4m if I have to use the thing, and I mostly try to avoid it.  I remember a day, vaguely, when I would do runs of 5-6m on it, but even that felt like torture by the end.

But, see, I promised myself I couldn't eat any chicken fingers for dinner unless I finished my 9m on the treadmill.  And I really wanted chicken fingers.

What to say about the run?  I did it, I made it through, it was miserable.  There were parts that seemed to go by pretty quickly; there were times when I was literally counting my footfalls to mete out the mileage and get it through faster.  I watched several episodes of a Jersey Shore marathon and came to the conclusion, based on videos I saw, that recent Madonna is creepy and getting creepier and Kevin Bacon wore really high-waisted jeans in Footloose.

Oh, yeah, continuing on my rant from earlier this week: other gym patrons are funny.  One guy held on to the top console of the treadmill for dear life for a full 5m.  Another woman was singing, LOUDLY, along with the music.  I just kept to myself.   (Except I think I kind of smelled.  Actually I'm pretty sure I kind of smelled.  Sorry, NYSC.)

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