Today, a friend (Jesse Smith) and I decided to take on a running bucket list item of mine, to run a marathon on a treadmill. I have rarely had a hard time running a marathon since my first, but the fact of the matter is this: I have not been able to run more than 10 minutes on a treadmill since I began running. Why? I can’t explain it, to be honest. It could be anything but I just have not been able to do it. I hate it. It is somehow the only thing in life I can easily say is boring to me. Add the need to change stride due to the floor movement and I have a recipe for disaster. Therefore I should definitely do a marathon on one! 10 minutes? Hell no. Over 4 hours? Duh. Oh, and to add an additional challenge, neither Jesse or I have run more than 2-3 miles at any time since Halloween of 2013, or 4 months ago.
So, upon completing this nightmare, I can say it was worth it completely in its agony and I learned a bit as well. It was as hard as I expected, with time crawling as my distance number and time number barely moved. Jesse and I did the banana thing the entire run, and in the end we both had to walk here and there until we finally finished, both of us looking like Han Solo in Empire Strikes back after he was tortured.
The interesting thing is how I generally view running was disabled during this entire marathon. Going nowhere presents very little in terms of memories or short distance goals. I never realized I unconsciously looked ahead at a next point to get to when needed on road and trail running. I wasn’t able to do this here, which made getting over each hurdle much harder. And that wasn’t good when running on treadmills just doesn’t feel right for me wearing sandals or Five Fingers. I also tried music for the first time ever, and I can safely say while I am fine with it, I automatically, no matter how hard I tried not to, would push it to background music I could barely pay attention to. So that didn’t help my plight at all.
The big thing, though, was this run gave me very few memories upon completion, which I now realize is a major issue that I have with a hamster wheel. When going nowhere, we are only allowed what is within our sense distances; what we can hear, and see. So, being in an open gym I only saw some people here and there, whom were working out or walking or working for the gym, with no interaction with anyone sans Jesse. Removing this added to the boredom. It made it overwhelmingly dull. But it also, upon completion, left out much chance of the many great memories I generally have during runs, even if small and often forgotten. To be honest it was kind of sad: running a nightmare difficult 26.2 miles and having little mental stimulation. And I was mentally exhausted afterwards. Once finished, it was almost as if I was suddenly sore and worn out, but didn’t do anything except know that the clock was 5 hours later.
The major benefit I found was that in the torture, there was, well, torture. This run seemed faintly familiar. It was very similar to many times I have run near the end of a long distance. Time doesn’t move, I feel like I am going nowhere, and nothing seemed to be happening. In future training I may consider the treadmill due to this, as with practice it may help mentally overcoming the placidness of some races late.
So, one running bucket list item down, many more to go! Thank you Jesse, for joining me in such an endeavor and beating the cramp demons to the finish. How hard could a treadmill marathon be? The hardest for me.