I bought my treadmill four years ago with no intention of running on it; I bought it as part of a dramatic declaration of war I issued against the five inches of flab around my belly. I had lost twenty pounds through Weight Watchers, but when I laid in bed at night, on my side, there lying next to me, was my blob of persistent abdominal flesh, like a perverted skin baby. I hated it. I told my husband I will give exercise one year to whittle away the perversion. I was very self-conscious of my stomach, even though I knew my husband loved me, that men that love women have build in Adobe Photoshop erasers for blotting out the negative. He said I looked fine, that I was beautiful to him, but this wasn't enough. If I met with failure, then I was getting a tummy tuck; I didn't care the cost. All that I read, said exercise AND diet were key to successful transformation. We bought an inexpensive bare bones treadmill, no bells and whistles, just arrows for speed up and speed down. I was only going to walk on the thing anyway.
It's hard to know which moments in our life will turn into those forever burned in our memories, but the day I ran, not walked, for twenty minutes straight stands out. The feeling I got was so profound, my first runner's high, I suppose, since my track days in middle school. Our modest treadmill sits in our dank basement, I look at grey cement block walls as I run, but that day that I ran 20 minutes straight, I swear I felt spiritually connected again, that I must keep at this...that it was key for me to finding myself again. I am not a religious person, but felt something that day. I felt pure joy. Treadmill rat running boils the act of running down to its elemental components, since neither scenery, wind, or weather can distract from the rotating legs, sweat, and hard breathing of the run. I'm a social runner; I love running with people, but I save a treadmill run once a week to keep in touch with the soul of running. It's a treat to me. I can't help but bristle slightly when people so fervently express their disdain of treadmill running. It can be immensely boring, but I've had some of my greatest "Ah-ha!" moments running in place; I've stood at the crossroads of a dilemma, pained at what direction to take, when suddenly the solution becomes apparent. Why didn't I see that solution before? Treadmill rat running, for this runner, clears the cobwebs and the clutter, to reveal the answers. Sometimes I'm not as apt to see the answers when I'm running outside with my group. I love to run with them, but I'm focused on them, the scenery and the general camaraderie of running. Treadmill running is my mystery cracker.
Several months ago, I thought I wasn't happy--that I had to leave my current situation to find it, when it suddenly dawned that I'd be taking me with me wherever I went. Happiness was right under my nose. I just needed a change of perspective and patience with myself to achieve it. I get mired in the knotty details of living, that I can't see all my blessings. Treadmill running strips all this away, so I can see again. My treadmill is like the good loyal mutt found unexpectedly at the pound. My husband and I have run this $350 dollar treadmill into the ground, in fact, is nothing short of a miracle that it still runs at all. A good loyal mutt...ugly as sin, but ready to service.
I've been sentimental about my running lately. My husband would offer that this is the direct result of reading too many hippy dippy follow your bliss type books, and he's probably right. So, I'll get to a lighter tone. OK. I ran off my abdominal fat baby much faster than I expected. The fat literally melted off, then I spent the next year toning up the midsection calamity with intensive core work. Running toned up the midsection and gave me back my ass of my youth!! This was totally unexpected, and now I can't let my husband see me naked, or I usually end up bent over something. It's not a bad problem to have, so I deal with it happily bent over.
I can't tell you how many times, I've gotten up and said, "I have nothing to post today on my blog...my head is an vacuous vessel." Then I hop on my loyal treadmill and suddenly after reving up that puppy to level 6, the ideas start to flow... Most of my better posts have started while running like a rat on a wheel, going nowhere...but my mind goes everywhere, and most importantly...my heart opens. I never thought this stupid man-made devise for running in place would become so important to me. If it broke tomorrow, I don't know what I'd do...grieve awhile, I suppose, and head off to the pound to pick out another one.