16 January 2010

Apples and Oranges

The intent of this blog post is supposed to be to document a light-hearted comparison between treadmill running and outside running. But, I can tell you right now, that it will most likely end up being all about how I never want to run outside again.

I started my stringent workout/running regimen this week. It consists of alternating nights between running and "fun cardio" for six nights, then taking Sunday off for Yoga or Pilates. I decided that since I am training for a half marathon I needed to run outside at least once a week. This is what my week looked like so far:

Tuesday - 5 miles on the treadmill - one hour - 12 minute pace
Wednesday - Zumba class
Thursday - 5 miles on the treadmill in one hour - 12 minute pace
Friday - Zumba class
Saturday - need to run outside!!!

My plan was to wake up at 7:00 and get those five miles out of the way. Yeah, that didn't work. Jocelyn and I both woke up right at 7:00. Brad slept in. I was going to go as soon as Brad woke up, then I figured that I might as well wait for Sam to wake up, so I could feed him before I left. Then I got hungry and didn't want to run right after eating. Long story, short: my 7 a.m run didn't happen until 3 p.m. Running in the afternoon instead of the morning pretty much doubled the amount of misery that I had to endure to survive this run. Time of day was not the only thing that I forgot to consider. There were many things that I didn't think about while planning my route. Here are some examples:

Bladder and Bowels
When I run on a treadmill in a fitness facility, and nature calls, I can usually push the pause button and walk down the hall or around the corner to answer. Unfortunately, bathrooms are not so conveniently located when you run outside. This might be TMI, but instead of being grossed out, choose to get a laugh out of my misfortune, or at least take a moment to be happy that this did not happen to you. All I had to eat before my run was oatmeal for breakfast and a PB&J for lunch. I only drank water and OJ. Somehow, these things really upset my bowels. I set out for my run and about five minutes into it, my tummy started to get really mad at me. I headed straight back to the house. I made it, yay! I spent a little bit of quality time with myself in the bathroom, then thought I was good to go. Off I went. Almost two miles away from the house, it hit me again. Ack! I was running down a path between a golf course and a highway and was searching for friendly bushes with serious consideration. I took off in a sprint to make it to the shopping center at the end of the golf course. The first place I could spot, that I knew would have a bathroom, was KFC. You should have seen those people's faces as I sprinted to the door of KFC like I was going to die if I didn't get some Colonel's crispy strips and a biscuit RIGHT NOW! :) I spent a few minutes at KFC, then felt like I was okay to continue my run. The person behind the counter had the nerve to ask me if I was going to buy anything. Uh, hello what does it look like? No! I responded with, "I've purchased enough food at the drive thru to have earned a turn at the toilet. Thank you." I headed back to my planned route, and got a twinkle in my eye when I finally saw the street sign to turn back into my neighborhood. I was no more than half a mile from my house and, crap! Well, almost crap. I ended up having to make another pit stop at the bathroom in the fitness facility (where I should have been running), only two blocks from the house. The good news is I made it home with no accidents, thinking of how ironic it would be for me to mess my pants after counseling Jocelyn on not peeing in her panties all day today. :)

There is no hot sun or nine MPH wind inside the comforting walls of the fitness center. Though the first half of my run was completely in the shade of the H-1 highway, and blocked from all wind by tons and tons of concrete, the second half was in direct sunlight with the wind blowing HARD in my face. It was brutal. At least it didn't rain.

When on a treadmill at the gym, I cannot usually smell yumminess everywhere! Though I wasn't too focused on the smell of KFC when I got there, it seemed as though everything after that was just trying to lure me away from my run with very pleasant aromas. Passing a Jack-in-the-box, a McDonalds, a Taco Bell, a Ruby Tuesday's, two Korean BBQ places (have you smelled those places? Yum!), and at least fourteen back yard cookouts is NOT conducive to my running motivation factor. At least the drool wasn't too obvious with all the sweat on my face.

How did I overlook this? On the treadmill you can adjust the incline to what you can handle, if you desire to handle any incline at all. When I mapped out the route I was going to follow, I completely forgot that the world was not flat. OUCH!! There was even a part of the run that involved such a steep incline that there were stairs on the other side to get back down to street level. I thought the uphill part was hard until I almost died trying to go down the stairs with jello legs!

Stop lights and traffic
On a treadmill, I never have to break my pace for a DON'T WALK sign or because a driver doesn't know how to yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk. I mapped out a five mile route, thinking it was going to take me about an hour, as I have been easily maintaining a twelve minute mile pace on the treadmill. After the first couple of intersections slowed me down, I started to get frustrated with what this would do to my final time. Brad started the stop watch on his phone as I stepped out the front door. I just knew he was going to laugh at me for thinking I could run outside in the same amount of time that I could run on the treadmill.

Lonely, Boring, and Quiet
I didn't stop to think for a minute how boring this would be. It's hard to find someone who is comfortable with the same pace, so I will almost always have to run alone when I run outside. On the treadmill, a friend can be on the treadmill next to me, going as fast or slow as they wish...and we can still chat. And, even if nobody wants to go with me, the treadmills have TVs on them. I don't even have a cable at home, so the treadmill actually encourages me to run for longer if I am in the middle of a show that I like. I actually considered talking to myself or singing as I was running down the street today.

There are so many horrible things about running outside that I am going to have to adjust to over these next couple months, unless they decided to conduct the Waikiki Hibiscus Half Marathon on treadmills this year. Still, I shouldn't overlook the good things. Wait, I have to think of some good things. Give me a minute.


Oh, okay. This doesn't really even count as a good thing because hardly anyone reads this blog, but running by myself and being bored will most likely result in more blogs! All that time with random thoughts flowing through my head is really conducive to blogging. I pretty much had this blog written before I got back home. In fact, I was in such a hurry to get this stuff written down that I reminded Brad, whilst perched on the porcelain pedestal once again upon my return, that I needed a new laptop (you know, so I could multitask).

Another good thing, for me anyway, is that I passed four other people who were also dumb enough to be out running at 3:30 in the afternoon on Saturday. I was greeted by each one of them with a wave and a smile (one guy even gave me a high five as I passed. It was awesome! I felt like I was part of an elite group of runners who communicated secret messages though waves and high fives, that non-runners would not be able to decrypt. It was seriously an amazing and motivating feeling.

Okay, this blog is turning into a novel, so I am going to end on a really good note! Guess how long my five mile run/walk/climb (with two pit stops)actually took? ONE HOUR, ON THE DOT! One hour, with bathroom breaks, sun and wind, alluring smells, hills, and stairs. This means that without the treadmill pacing me, my actual running was much faster than a twelve minute mile pace. This is good news because I felt like I was running slow the whole time! I couldn't believe it when Brad told me the time. I was sure that it was going to be closer to two hours. Anyway, go me! I'm a totally motivated to keep up with this torture. I can do it (as long as I don't have an IBS attack on June 13th)! :)



Erika said...

LOL... if anything Amy, you can fly out here for your training. The only smells you'd have to endure is farm smells! And, lucky for you, "fertilizing time" won't start till March..you wouldn't have to deal with the over whelming...gagging smell of super fertilizer being sprayed everywhere while you're running :) As for pottys... you couldnt get away with those here. You HAVE to pay before you "spray", lol.

Kaysie said...

Here's two, very big thumbs up to you! Oh, and I hate when stomach issues creep up on you like that. Way to push through (no pun intended haha!)!

Stacey said...

Running outside is WAY easier! That danged treadmill always has those big ol' numbers staring you in the face. And, you are always staring at the same thing! I can run faster on the treadmill because I am just trying to get off that thing. I can run farther when I'm outside because there is so much more to see (and I have to keep going if I want to return home!)

Good luck sister! I might just go run outside tomorrow since you have inspired me.

Abby said...

This had me laughing and I felt your pain at the same time (though I'm not a runner, driving also sucks with tummy issues haha). Oh, you crack me up!

Hey..did you mean a 12 minute mile pace instead of 12 mile per hour pace? 12 miles per hour would mean you were running each mile in 5 minutes WITH bathroom breaks? That's insane..time for you to sign up to be a superhero with those legs!

Team Hayes said...

Yes, Abby. You meant what I knew! :)

Rachel said...

I depsise outdoor running as well. I have a beautiful jogging stroller and have yet to use it for jogging. I love walking, unfortunately it doesn't burn as many calories! Oh well, good for you for getting the run out of the way!

Anonymous said...

OMG is this hilarious, I finally came around to reading it.. hehe =D Keep up the good work hehe