Again. It happened again.
Fort Wayne saw another near-crippling round of weather Wednesday - rain turned to sleet turned to ice turned to snow ... and more snow. In total, we got 7 inches of snow plus an inch or two of ice and another day of school canceled. It might have been pretty, maybe even welcome, during another winter - one where every snow wasn't a big one and life didn't change. But I pretty much spent much of the morning grumbling and pouting and maybe saying a few choice words.
When I realized bitching wasn't going to melt the snow, I tried to be positive about it. Mark was home, and I could surrender Miles duties to get to the Y early for a treadmill run. I had intervals on tap that were supposed to get me to 5 miles. Even at a fast pace, I would need an hour when you factored in clothing changes, showers and pee breaks. Mark's help might mean I could do all of those things and still arrive at work on time.
Or so I thought. As I have learned this winter, nothing is that simple. I got stuck in the middle of my street, requiring Mark and the neighbor to push me for a good 15 minutes. I had to dig out a parking space at the Y, as the lot hadn't been plowed. I stayed upbeat and considered it a warm up. Upon leaving, I had to dig out some more and only got out - a half hour later - thanks to three guys who pushed my car the entire way through the lot.
Oh, winter. You are a gem. And here are a few from this winter on the 'mill.
1. I used to think running on the treadmill was the easy way out. You were inside in a climate-controlled environment, could watch TV and wear shorts. You punched in some numbers and the treadmill made you do the work. This winter, though, I've been following a training plan that calls for some pretty intense workouts. No matter where I do them, they are going to be hard. It's true the treadmill sets the pace but a) I'm running it; and b) I'm selecting paces that are challenging and sticking with it. It's hard to maintain that level of intensity consistently outside and rather than sputtering the last 15 seconds of an interval, I'm staying strong all the way through.
2. Slower, faster ... whatever. I used to whine that I was faster outside than I was on the treadmill - and that could very well be true - but what I've learned is that I didn't know how to push myself on the machine. I had a predetermined pace for the treadmill branded into my psyche and anything faster just felt hard. This winter, I've consciously tried to bump up my starting pace, about the faster end of what a long run should be, and just dealt. Surprise of the century, I didn't somersault off of it and managed to run just fine. As a result, I'm getting faster - on the treadmill and outside - and I even set a PR pace on the treadmill Wednesday during my interval workout.
3. There seems to be this obsession with finding a distraction on the treadmill. It's too boring, it's too hard, it's too ... blah, blah, blah. What I've found, though, is that if I am focused on running, which is what I am supposed to be doing, I don't need the other things. Don't get me wrong - I totes watched "The Walking Dead" during an easy paced run where I didn't need to adjust the pace or incline. For interval runs or tempos, I find things like ear buds, bad songs and commercials a way to give myself an "out."
And, the overriding lesson here is that I don't need one. An out. My winter on the treadmill has taught me I'm strong, able and willing.