Tuesday, April 1, 2008

the agoraphobic runner ...

i received my yellow half-marathon confirmation postcard in the mail today. after running in circles and waving above my head and chanting "i got it i got it i got it!" like a randy teenagers relieved of a pregnancy scare, i looked at the bugger and was reminded that this whole free t'shirt business has a six a.m.ish shotgun start.

what nonsense.

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.


L Sass said...

Hooray, half marathon!!

Is it Grandmas?

CDP said...

If it helps, I can tell you that walking really fast is pretty much the same inside and out.

christina said...

yeah, it's grandma's. ... i was supposed to do the full last year, but that fell through. this year i've taken on something more manageable.

Miss Kate said...

Without trying to sound like a snot, you are so blessed to be able to run in Duluth. You can run hills if you want a kick, you can run parallel to the lake if you want to stay relatively flat. There are so many neighborhoods to explore and so many nuances to discover!

feistyMNgirl said...

nice job getting into the race. i chickened out further this year- only dee 5k.

i prefer running outside for the exact same reasons you hate it. i like not knowing my pace or distance (besides mile markers).

i prefer to think that running outdoors is "harder", but i think that's bull.

Maurey Pierce said...

C, treadmill running tends to be easier for all the reasons you mentioned. I'm always ridiculously sore the first few times I get out, even if I run a shorter distance. The 'mill is easier on your joints than pavement, and of course no road course stays so beautifully, perfectly flat.

That said - I agree with Feisty. I LOVE running outside. My trusty Garmin keeps me on pace if I so choose, and the scenery is a lot more interesting than an unchanging view of Huie's.

Good luck!