I started running 3 years ago.
On a treadmill in my basement in January. I didn't venture outside until a few months later. It was horrible. I had no idea how I was going to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K a few weeks later. I didn't run on a treadmill at a gym for a very long time.
When I first started running on the treadmill I weighed I think around 200lbs (still that today!). Every ounce of fat I had jiggled when I bounced up and down on that treadmill. I was even self conscious of myself when I ran on my own HOME treadmill. I didn't even like my husband watching me.
During that time what I had to remind myself was that everyone has to start somewhere and this was my starting point. My speed on the treadmill, now brace yourself was a whopping high of 2.6 mph. I used to be so out of breath with that. I ran/walked my way through C25K. Then somehow meandered my way through the finish line of the Shamrock Shuffle a few weeks later.
But nobody said that to me. At least to my face that is.
I continued to move forward. A few more 5k's that year and then I set my eyes on bigger things. I did start to run outside more. I still was very self conscious of myself. Thinking that people wouldn't think I was a real runner. What is she doing here on our trail? She is so slow, why is she even bothering?
When I finished Chicago in 2010 as the last female to cross the finish line that's what I thought. That people would think I wasn't one of them. That I didn't deserve my medal. After 8 hours and 29 mins I still remember to this day of the comment of a woman walking with her boyfriend as I struggled those last few miles, "But she's walking".
In 2011 I wanted to do the Wisconsin Half Marathon. I had to train for it on the treadmill. My husband worked weird hours on the weekends and slept when he could. I had to be at my house on the treadmill while he slept because we have two little girls. I would wake up at 3 or 4 on a Saturday and get through my miles on the treadmill. My slow, slow miles. I still finished with a 22 minute PR from my previous half marathon. I kinda of looked like this:
Those are thoughts that dogged me 2-3 years ago and they still dog me today. I run outside but I'm still self conscious about my body. I do now run at the gym on the treadmill occasionally. If that doesn't put my fat jiggling on display I don't know what does.
I do about 60% of my running on the treadmill. I live in the midwest. It's either balls hot, or nipple freezing. I don't do well with either. When it's perfect outside that's usually when my life is not perfect and I have to run on the treadmill. Also since my orthopedic dr would actually prefer for me to NOT run at all, the ease of bouncing on a treadmill for 3 miles is much more easier on my feet, knees and my hip.
Deena Kastor came back from an injury while training mostly on a underwater treadmill to win the 2005 Chicago Marathon. Did she not deserve her medal because she mostly trained in a pool? Would you tell Deena she wasn't a real runner or winner after that?
I used to have a boss that would give out compliments like this: "That's good but..." that's how it was all the time. Would you tell that to someone that just finished a race "That's good but imagine what you could do if you didn't run on a treadmill."
I understand that for some people running on a treadmill aka the dreadmill is a horrible thing. It's boring, it's repetitive, it's not your thing, it's the last resort for many runners. That's fine. Running on the treadmill is not the end of the world though. It serves a purpose. For those who either are starting to run or need to it to keep running it's an available option.
My grandmother lead a pretty darn sedentary life. In the later years of her life she was overweight and due to her inability to move and keep active she had to have both legs amputated at the knees. Anybody want to wonder what kind of life that leaves someone? I remember though being at her house and watching Ironman World Championship in Kona before the amputations. It's hard to believe but here was this very inactive grandmother watching all of these super athletes doing something that she would never be able to do. Was she thinking I wish I could do that? Was she wishing she grew up in a different generation where women weren't just told to be housewives and mothers? Or was she thinking I just wish I could walk?
When I run though I often cry. I often think of those who said I could
never run. I also think of those who can't run and would give anything
to be able to even walk even if it was on the treadmill.