I live in New Jersey right on the ocean. Long runs in the winter are not ideal as I am a big baby when it comes to cold weather. I know that your body heats up enough to make it feel 20 degrees warmer- so according to the math, I should've run outside today. 42+20=62 and that's not so bad. But I pushed myself in through the gym doors and onto a treadmill. Today, Hal Higdon says a seven mile run is in order. Prior to committing to a marathon and becoming pals w/ Hal and following his program, I did not run in place for more than 45 minutes. It's boring. It's torture. It's endless. But a commitment is a commitment, even if it's all of those things. Yes.

I do not know how on earth people run at a consistent pace on a treadmill for any real duration of time. I am constantly messing with my speed. I can't just set the speed and run that speed for even 20 minutes. So many things cause me to speed up or stride wider or slow down. How can I not run sprint to the chorus of certain songs? How can I not slow down if I have to scratch my butt or pick a wedgie? How can I not run faster to empowering lyrics? If anyone has input on this or information on why this is ok or not, I welcome it... Spending time on a treadmill is a true test of patience and will. I have to constantly ask myself how bad I want to keep my commitment to myself. If a stint of boredom and strain is enough to make me break my commitment, then I am lying to myself- and I really don't want it. And I have no commitment. If resigning to sit on my butt at home and surf the internet (or whatever) is more important than the goal I set for myself, then I really don't have a goal.

During the difficult part of every run, I remind myself: THIS WILL END. It is not forever. It is not undefined. There is an end. If I dare start feeling disdain or regret over the suffering I CHOSE to put myself through by CHOOSING to run, or if I dare allow the word "can't" to enter my thoughts, I remind myself of the suffering of others that are close to me that they did NOT choose yet had to endure. And it makes me feel strong and foolish at the same time. I have family members that endured abuse, oppression, poverty, homelessness and deep loss... my VOLUNTARY suffering is a freakin' walk in the park compared to their suffering. And all at once, I man up and I finish my run. I wonder how this tactic will work when I run 26.2 miles...

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