Locker room selfie, pre-run. I'm wearing a totes awesome sweat shirt from Mark and tights from Kohl's. Mark calls them my body electric pants.
The rain was steady and the temperature registered in the low 30s. Though I'd like to consider myself a four-season runner, I had no desire to brave the elements for a few miles. The YMCA, with its relatively new treadmills and locker room where I could shower without interruption, seemed much more inviting.
On my way to the Y, I was going back and forth about just how far I should run. I did 5 miles on Tuesday, also on the treadmill, logging negative splits and a strong last mile. On Thursday, I met BRF Tami for a run. We did 5 miles at a surprisingly brisk pace as I was not feeling it and was, admittedly, a bit of a hot mess. (Recommitment to a healthy diet = lots of vegetables = well, you can guess). My long run will be Saturday, and I'm joining a speedy-ish group for 8 to 10.
If you got through all of that, the gist was I needed to be smart. I needed to get over myself and be OK with running 3 to 4 miles at an easy pace. I don't always have to run far or fast, especially as I'm in the off season. If anything, I should probably step back until I kick off training for the half at the Carmel Marathon.
And I started out OK. I set the treadmill at 6.1 and went. Yes, I fiddled with intervals and increasing speed but it was nothing crazy. I listened to my audiobook, "The Lake House" by Kate Morton, so I didn't get the adrenaline of a good song. I focused on my display, not everyone else's, and watched the minutes tick by.
I was in the middle of an arbitrary interval when I hit 3 miles, and I decided that I had to get through that. Finishing that interval would mean, though, I'd be at an uneven distance and thus was going for 4. But just 4 miles, I told myself.
At 3.5, though, my silly (read: effing annoying phone) stopped playing my book because ... why not. I stopped the belt and fiddled with the screen. I decided that I had had enough of the story and needed some music. I opened Google Play and there it was. The album cover. "The Science of Things" from Bush. Without thinking, I touched the album and "Chemicals Between Us" came on.
I want you to remember/ A love so full it could send us all ways/ I want you to surrender/ All my feelings rose today/
The '90s girl in me can't run slow to that song. And I was bored. So I started bumping up the speed. At first, 0.1 every minute. Then it was 0.1 every tenth of a mile. And then it was 0.1 every hundredth of a mile. Soon, I found myself going beyond 4 miles at a sub-8 pace.
My short run was no longer short. My easy run was no longer easy. Yet, I let my legs fly.
As my pace dropped, I started to run farther up on the belt and closer to the display. It was instinctual. I got even closer to go faster.
Bang. Bang. Bang. My elbow, the left one, hit the display.
I didn't think anything of it. I was only thinking about getting through the 30 seconds at 8.0. I was thinking of finishing at 4.3 miles.
When I did that, I pressed the red button and hopped onto the rails. I looked down to see my stats.
So gross. So, so, so gross.
But it was fine. I mean, I got everything cleaned up, connected with a wellness assistant to dispose of the towels and got a bandage.
The not fine part? Had I actually done what I was supposed to do – run easy, stop at 4, I wouldn't have done this. As my grandma said later in the afternoon, when I had relayed the story, it was one of her guardian angels smacking me for doing too much.
"Don't worry, Grandma," I said. "I learned my lesson."