Monday, December 6, 2010

a winter song + ode to the treadmill

tonight i headed straight for the gym after work.  I knew today was going to be a blistering 32 degrees outside (dropping to 27 tonight), and since I don’t typically leave work until after 5pm, it’s most definitely dark.  So, unless I’m meeting Pois on the river, it’s tough to go home, strap on the winter gear and head out into the wind alone.  
But as I climbed the stairs from the Copley T stop and headed up Boylston to my brand new gym, I tasted the sharp, sweet ice of winter.  It caught me right between the tonsils.  It was lovely.  I was tempted to turn on my heels and beeline it to the apt for some my first bitter cold run out on the river, but beat back the urge and thought maturely, “right, just get in the doors, find a treadmill without one of those stupid tv screens and you’ll be in the clear. it’s too dark and too cold and you’re too alone for a river run.”  Smart Kay.  Tonight’s workout was an easy 5mi (easy is NOT typically the word I would use to describe a treadmill workout because all my mind wants to do is be entertained and after watching skinny legs and faceless arms pumping for the better part of 35 minutes, it gets o-l-d).  But I had a solid play list and my mind actually wanted to not think for a while. So I zoned.
I feel like this time last year I wrote a lot about my “dready tready” workouts.  How annoying-yet-necessary the gym was in the cold, short days of winter.  Wow, how time flies!  On the coattails of being thankful, I need to give some credit to the treadmill - more specifically, The Woodway, “For the Long Run”.  This sucker is made up of slabs of rubber tread that “give” a bit when you run, making it feel like trail but without all the obstacles.  I love them.  So while my heart beats for the outdoors, on the days I need four walls and an electronic machine to make my heart race, I will head to the gym, and I will honor the belt of tread.
Ode to the Treadmill
As much as the day’s cologne from the hairy man beside me burns 
my nostrils and perms my hair, you’re not so bad.  
You keep me honest, but I hate it when you tell me 
I’m running a slower pace than I expected.  I think sometimes you’re lying.  
But you’re a computer, so probably not.
You set my pace - for long runs, for tempos, for speedwork.  
And though I know my limits, your “+” button gets me excited.  
I stretch those limits with you and feel accomplished 
when I can round off the minutes on the clock.  
And even when I crank you up to 2.5%, you don’t mock me when I start wheezing.
I throw my feet off either side of your belt a lot and you don’t judge me, 
I set goals and break thresholds and you don’t second-guess my actions.  
You don’t ask me where I am when I opt for the outdoors
You’re not jealous, but you kick my ass with no strings attached and
you do the job well. and when i hit stop, you boast my stats for a hot minute 
and i feel like a champion, or
i feel that i have moved well, and the sweaty cologne man is sideways glancing at our air-high-five. and he thinks it’s crazy but
he doesn’t know how i just ran up God’s mountains in my mind and raced 
cheetahs with my lungs and opened up in a hard rain while 
fluorescent lights tried their brightest to remind me the that I was 
on a treadmill.  But tonight, I was on stage with Phoenix when my run was written.
and it’s those rare occasions when I go there, go anywhere, that I love you most.
tonight's best:  "right where it starts it ends, oh! and then we start the end..." ilovethissong. 6:14....wait for it.

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