typically, six a.m. finds me yanking the last bits of lime-flavored tostitos from my molars, turning off the tv and congratulating myself on another successful day of encapsulating pure, unrefined leisure. hours in the sixes, eights ... hell, even 10s, signify ends. not beginnings. i've barely shaken the eye boogers and learned to respond to verbal cues before noon.
there is a very real concern that i will oversleep both the start and [the people who did start's] finish. i may wake just in time to hear, less than a mile and a half away, the sound check for boogie wonderland's annual beer tent performance. that will mean another whole year of me casually mentioning the [altogether now] time i came in sixth to last place at twin cities marathon.
we'll file that as a secondary half-marathon concern.
the bigger issue, presently, is that i am unable to coax myself into running outside -- where, you know, half-marathons happen. so i should probably test out actual pavement before mid-june. i can't decide if i am addicted to the treadmill or an agoraphobic runner. all i know is that while the rest of minnesota was bitching about today's snowfall, i was greedily pleased that it gave me another excuse to not run outside.
rationally i don't actually prefer the treadmill. up until this recent return to running, i've always run outside and enjoyed running outside and associated the smell of baked pavement and bus exhaust with cross country captain's practices; puddles and wet grass with track practice in the spring. and once i get myself outside, i know i'll prefer it.
but a treadmill has a water bottle holder, a mileage counter, a built-in clock and everything else i need to feed, water, love and nurture my neurotic counting of strides.
what about my sweaty friend in the headband, the one who looks like a bona fide member of a eugene, ore., track club, cranking away on doe-sized legs?
what about the handful of women in the locker room, saving spots for each other and gossiping before boot camp?
these are my people here inside.
outside in the world, there are hills and rocks and temperature changes and i have to manually adjust my speed and hope its right. i have no idea how many more steps until i hit another mile. outside i need to find different routes for different distances and an array of weather-appropriate running clothes with spots for hiding my ipod and house keys. outside there is a real danger that i will happen upon a five dollar bill just as i'm striding past the portland malt shoppe and that will ruin me.
most importantly, i'm not sure how the past four months on the treadmill are going to translate to being on an actual road. will i have to just start over completely? i've heard running on a treadmill is easier than running outside. i've heard running outside is easier than on a treadmill. i've heard that every three miles covered on inline skates are the equivilent of a mile run. i've heard that one year is seven dog years.
i imagine it will be like traveling to a different country, going for a six-mile run, taking a shower and burning my sweaty socks for the greater good of mankind. then finding out that here it only counts as two miles.