Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Man and Machine

Well, I caved.

Thinking back, I realize that it’s been a couple months in the making.  
First, there’s this perpetual race/recovery cycle.  Since the NJ Marathon at the beginning of May, I’ve been in a bit of a running rut.  With all the ramping up and cooling down, I just haven’t been able to find a rhythm.  When I go for a run, my body feels jerky, flailing, uncoordinated.  I sneak glances at my reflection in car windows and know that I look reasonably normal, but it just feels funny.  Unnatural. 
Compound that with my go-to running buddy skipping town a few weeks ago, and the fact that my schedule isn’t linking up with the schedules of my other running friends.  All of a sudden, after months of constantly keeping pace with a partner, I’m finding myself a lone wolf.  Brent keeps saying that we should run together, but I’m in dissertation-completion mode and he’s (a) done with teaching, and (b) deep in the throes of taper, so we’re never home and ready to run at the same time.
Then there’s the schizophrenic skies here in Philadelphia.  One week it’s stormy for days on end, the next the temperatures are rising into the low 90s with 100% humidity.  Where did summer come from, all of a sudden?
Plus, this week marks the start of training for October’s Steamtown Marathon.  There’s no time for out-of-sync-ness.
And the kicker – the spate of middle-of-the-day armed robberies that suddenly has everyone in my neighborhood on edge.
So, this afternoon, I cracked.  After enjoying five months of treadmill-free running, following a day of dissertation boot camp, I walked out of the library, hopped on my bike, headed to the fancy gym in the trendy neighborhood a few miles from my house, and signed up for their $20-for-30-days special.  
It’s not that I like running on the treadmill.  In fact, if today’s four miles are any indication, it’s going to be a long few weeks of gym-dom.  But I do find the treadmill to be oddly comforting – sometimes, with enough external stimulation (read: Runners World and cable television), it’s a lot easier to push out a handful of mindless miles than it is to go outside by yourself, in the 90 degree heat, with gun-toting teenagers on the loose.
Riding home after the run, I passed by two town-watch members patrolling the streets at 3:30 this afternoon.  Though it’s upsetting that these guys have to be out during the day, it made me happy to know that I live in a neighborhood where people care enough to organize at the first hint of problems.  It gave me hope that maybe our blocks will feel safe again by the time my 30-day membership expires and my running rut subsides.

9 responses to “Man and Machine

  1. Angela and David Kidd June 26, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Hope the gym does the trick. I've actually gotten where I know some of the characters on a soap opera that is always on when I run on the treadmill at lunch. It's great because I only need to see 45 minutes of it once every couple of weeks and I'm all caught up. It's a nice mental break from work.

  2. I Run for Fun June 26, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Enjoy the treadmill…it's really not as dreadful as we make it out to be…and can be a real friend in emergencies.Hope your neighborhood becomes safe again. It's terrible that it's unsafe to run in broad daylight!

  3. Natalie D June 26, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Hope this helps with the rut! Sorry that our schedules aren't matching up!

  4. marty June 26, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Treadmill v writing-up? I'd choose the treadmill any day)) Good luck with the writing-up (and your viva…)

  5. RunningLaur June 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    $20 for 30 days is a pretty awesome deal. I think I'd opt for the treadmill for a little while too. Punk kids.

  6. RunToFinish June 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    wow armed robberies that's scary, good call on the mill for a bithopefully once you get in to training things will sync up

  7. aron June 26, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    yikes thats scary!! i hope you can hit the streets again after your 30 days too. even though the TM does suck, sometimes its just easy, and sometimes thats what we need!

  8. Denise June 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    What's going on in the neighborhood? I really like the treadmill. I used to get great workouts in on it and miss it now that I don't have one.

  9. Kristin June 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    I am also in a running rut, I hate it. I just dont feel good when Im out on a run. I think my problem is though that I just need to get back into a regular rhythm of it.

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