To the lady using the treadmill next to me the other day:
Sometimes when I run on the treadmill, I think of it as racing the person next to me.
Do you know this Geico commercial?
But the other day when you were next to me, I didn’t feel that way.
In fact, I didn’t even want to glance over to your display screen because it reminded me of keeping my eyes on my own paper in school.
It seemed like cheating. Your work is your work and mine is my own. It shouldn’t matter what the other is doing nor should it influence us in either direction.
I felt a little bit bad when I saw you glance over at my screen.
I don’t know for sure what you were thinking but please allow me to vent anyway:
Running next to me on the treadmill and seeing my pace as double your own (I know, I glanced and didn’t mean to) doesn’t tell a full story.
Believe me when I say, running was not always my thing.
It may appear as though I am always doing it so effortlessly but it’s not easy.
Even the easy runs aren’t easy.
Every step requires effort. Every time I push the arrow up to increase my speed takes determination and it has taken me years to get to where I am, to develop this stamina where I can run loop upon loop around our neighborhood and get all speedy on this treadmill without falling off flat on my face.
I grew up with doctor’s notes to get me out of gym class along with plenty of back-up notes from my mother as to why I couldn’t run and to please allow Meredith to rest if she needs to.
I fainted and threw up on my gym teacher (true story, ninth grade, she never made me run again) when I forgot those excuse notes at home and was subsequently forced to run the required class mile.
When I decided to finally move myself one day and figure out how to run, I eased into it by setting the treadmill to 4.5 and that was my best speed for the longest time.
When I got a little better at it, I would call my dad all excited because I was able to bump up the speed button without fainting.
You won’t believe it! I ran without dying at 5.0, 5.5 and even 6.0 for a few seconds!
Nothing happens overnight. Speed, endurance, distance — it takes time.
They shouldn’t even be worked on at the same time because doing too much too soon can lead to injury and I am super afraid of that.
This exercise stuff? This running thing? It’s all about dedication, not giving up and learning to respect and understand what your body can do.
And really, none of us should get competitive on the treadmill because we just never know the agenda of the person next to us.
We are all running for different reasons according to training plans (or lack of in my case), strategies, abilities and moods.
It may be a speed day, a recovery day, a long run day, an easy day, hill day, tempo day or the first day back to running after an illness or injury.
It may be your first day running ever.
So thank you for making me realize that one cannot race the person next to them on the treadmill unannounced.
It’s an unfair silly sort of competition.
Except when there’s a man running on the treadmill next to me.
That’s when I can’t help myself.
No way he is going to be beat me.
Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!
If you are on the treadmill, do you ever glance at the person’s speed next to you?
How old were you when you started running?
Did you like gym in school?