Say It Loud, Say It Proud – I Am A Treadmill Runner!

If you want to start a rousing discussion amongst runners, ask them what the difference is between a runner and a jogger. The responses will fly fast and furious and will likely include the following:

  • The difference between a runner and a jogger is a race entry
  • I’m a runner no matter how fast I’m going
  • The difference between a runner and a jogger is an attitude/mindset (this one is almost always followed by the statement, “I’m a runner!”)
  • I run when I’m training for something, I jog when there’s nothing on my race calendar
  • I never say that I’m jogging!

In the discussion, no one will claim to be a jogger. Everyone is a runner. Some bristle defensively at being called a jogger.

Turn the topic towards running on treadmills and the reaction is similar. The responses will often include the following:

  • I never run on the “dreadmill”
  • I don’t care what the weather is like, I suck it up and go run outside
  • I can’t stand the “dreadmill” – I feel too much like a hamster on a wheel in a cage
  • It’s so boring.
  • I hate it. I’d rather use the elliptical machine.

That last response is a bit ironic, don’t you think? What’s the difference between a treadmill and an elliptical machine?

I participated in a Twitter chat recently where both of these topics came up. I’ve never paid too much attention to the jogger versus runner debate because it seems trivial. Would I get upset if someone called me a jogger? No, of course not. I happily acknowledge that I’m a slow runner and if it makes someone feel better to call me a jogger, that’s fine. It’s merely a label, after all.

However, I do resent the runners who smugly denounce the treadmill. The ones who imply by their denouncements that real runners run outside. The ones who use the word “boring” and “dreadmill” with a self-satisfied smirk. I’m a treadmill runner. I’ve been a treadmill runner for years now. Do I run outside? Of course I do. I enjoy the fresh air and the scenery as much as the next runner.

But for my daily 5 a.m. runs, the treadmill is my friend. And when I’m in a different city on business, the treadmill is my friend. On the treadmill, I don’t have to worry about tripping on something or wrenching my ankle because of a misstep in the darkness. On the treadmill, I don’t have to worry about the weather or my personal safety from running in the dark. On the treadmill, I am in control – of my speed, of my resistance, of the distance, of my workout.

Treadmill runners are often silenced by the smugness of outdoor runners, much like conservative students on a college campus keep silent about their views in order not to be ridiculed by liberal classmates or given a bad grade by liberal faculty. Treadmill runners often are reluctant to admit that they prefer to run on a treadmill to running outside because they’re afraid that the smug outdoor runners will put them down and think less of them.

I run on a treadmill but that doesn’t make me any less of a runner than someone who runs outside. My time running on the treadmill has taught me mental toughness, patience, and makes me appreciate my outdoor runs all the more.

So don’t be ashamed to admit that you, too, are a treadmill runner. Whether you run on a treadmill or outside, you are a runner. And isn’t that the most important thing?

Happy running!

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Race Report – Together with Love 10k

The Together with Love run happens on the second Sunday in February each year – usually before Valentine’s Day – and it benefits the Monterey Rape Crisis Center. This is one of my favorite runs and although I haven’t run it every year, it goes on my race calendar every year and I try my best to schedule things so that I can run it. It’s a favorite of mine because the course is right along the coast in Pacific Grove, the goodies at the end are pretty tasty, and the weather is usually perfect for a run – cool and overcast on the way out with the sun coming out from the clouds on the way back to the finish line.

The race t-shirt was a long-sleeved technical t-shirt with a minimalist design that’s very attractive. I think this was their second year giving out a technical t-shirt and I’m glad that they’ve switched from cotton t-shirts. The t-shirt and goodie bag pick-up area seemed more disorganized this year than in previous years. I had no problem getting my t-shirt quickly but missed out on the goodie bag.

I didn’t run this race last year so I don’t know if they used the D-chip last year but they did use it this year. It was such a surprise to get my race bib and to see the D-chip attached to it. A chip-timed event always feels so official. I know that I’m not the only one who leaves my D-chip attached to my laces long after the race is over! Just one of those crazy runner quirks, I suppose.

The course is an out-and-back course that starts at Lover’s Point. The 5k turnaround point happens just after the Pacific Grove Golf Course. The 10k turnaround point is a little further up the road from the Big Sur Half Marathon turnaround point. The entire course is part of the Big Sur Half Marathon course.

In the many years that I have run the Together with Love run, I have never run the 10k. Yesterday was my first time running the 10k. I’m not sure if my training is better than in years past but the 5k turnaround point came up so quickly that it surprised me. In the past, the 5k turnaround point couldn’t come fast enough!

There were two water stations on the course – one after the 5k turnaround and one right before the 10k turnaround. If I were to change anything about this race, I would change the water stations. I would put the first water station before the 5k turnaround so that both 5k and 10k runners can grab water. I would put the second water station after the 10k turnaround instead of before the turnaround. But it’s really the first water station that I would change because it could do triple duty instead of double duty – water for the 5k runners, water for the 10k runners at the 1.5 mile mark, and water for the 10k runners at the 4.6 mile mark.

The running protocol was a little mixed up, which I’ve never seen happen before. I think that means that there were some volunteers out on the course not doing their job. The pre-race instructions noted that runners going out were to run on the land side and runners coming in were to run on the ocean side. However, people ran in both lanes going out, not even moving over as the 5k leaders were racing back to the finish line.

The post-race refreshments consisted of banana halves, orange quarters, muffin halves, water, Gatorade, and Vitamin Water. There were clearly posted signs that the refreshments were for runners only but I saw several groups of spectators with grocery bags filled with bottles of Gatorade, Vitamin Water, and muffins. I was happy that there were still goodies left when I crossed the finish line so kudos to the race organizers for making sure that there were plenty refreshments.

All in all, a good race and one that I would recommend. A note on my personal performance: I’m not sure if this was a PR for me but I ran the entire race without walking or stopping. I hope that bodes well for the rest of the year!

Happy running!

Money Changes Everything . . . Or Does It?

My head is about to explode right now. Some people really have a lot of nerve. And it seems that the more money people have, the more cajones they have. As if their money entitles them to something.

In my little world, money doesn’t entitle anyone to anything. Money doesn’t get you whatever you want. If a person has money, I’m not going to treat him or her any different than the way I would treat someone in the same situation but with less money. Sure, money can buy you things, if those things are for sale. I am not for sale. If you can’t show me the common courtesy that I would show you, then your money simply makes you a rich rude bastard.

I’m sure there are nice rich people out there. But when a rich person uses his money as leverage by threatening to take it away, I object to that. If you don’t like how an organization is handling your donation, then stop donating. Donating money doesn’t give you total control over how an organization handles your money. If you want total control, then don’t give your money away.

I’m annoyed when someone with money decides that his time is more valuable than mine, simply because he has money that he can give and take away.  It bothers me when someone with money thinks that I must stop whatever I’m doing to accommodate him, simply because he has money that he can give and take away. I’m irked by the veiled threats to take the money away. Don’t threaten me. Just take the money away and go about your business.

Unfortunately, in this world, there are people who do value people with money. Some of them value people with money because they want the rich people to give money to their cause. Some of them value people with money because they like how they’re treated when they hang out with someone who can buy service. Some of them value people with money because they believe that if they hang out with rich people, they will become rich, too.

It’s interesting that this incident happened just as I was reading a post on values. And I have to ask myself the question that I’ve been asking myself for the last 9 years but have never really taken the time to answer – do my values align with my organization’s values? Would I be better off spending more time finding an organization whose values align with mine? Could I find an organization whose values align with mine? Or should I start spending more time figuring out how to be self-employed?

The thought processor churns on . . .

A Society of Victims

When did we become a society of victims? When did we abdicate our free will? When did we stop taking responsibility for our choices and our actions?

Have you seen any ads from the anti-smoking activists lately? If you watch their ads, you might become irate if you believe in freedom of choice. The people speaking in the ads take no responsibility for the choices that they made. Instead, they blame the tobacco companies for seducing them. They blame the tobacco companies for advertising their product. They blame the tobacco companies for making them sick.

Wake up, people! No one can force you to do something that you don’t want to do. No one. You always have a choice.

Don’t talk to me about the addictive power of cigarettes. Don’t talk to me about tobacco companies putting additives into the cigarettes that make them more addictive. Don’t talk to me about someone else being responsible for your choices.

You chose to smoke. Whether you chose to smoke because all your friends were doing it, whether you chose to smoke because it looked cool on TV or in the movies or in the advertisements, whether you chose to smoke because you were being rebellious against your parents’ rules, it was your choice. The tobacco companies did not hold a gun to your head or your mother’s head or your father’s head and say, “Smoke this cigarette or you/your mom/your dad is going to die.” And even if they did, you would still have a choice to make.

People choose to smoke. If they continue to smoke after hearing or reading about the health risks posed by smoking, then they can only blame themselves for any consequences related to their smoking habit. But some people choose not to accept the consequences. Instead, they sue tobacco companies saying that it’s the tobacco company’s fault that they are sick.

When we as a society start buying into the notion that a company or a group of people can force us to do something against our will, we’ve lost all hope. Our ability to choose – our freedom of choice – is a great thing. Why would we want to give it up? But we do when we buy into ads like the anti-tobacco ads. According to them, we don’t have the power to choose.

When we give up our responsibility for the choices we make and the subsequent consequences, we are giving away our freedom of choice. We are abdicating our free will. We are choosing the role of victim. We are choosing powerlessness. We are saying that we are people who things are done to instead of people who do things.

Life is a series of choices. People need to accept the consequences of their choices. If they don’t like the consequences of a choice they made, they can make a different choice.

Choose wisely, as the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade told Indiana Jones. Yes, choose wisely. But if you find that you’ve chosen poorly, take responsibility for the choice and make another one.

The thought processor churns on . . .