Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reduced to a Treadmill in Sea Ranch

It’s Thanksgiving time again, and that means I am out of town enjoying the holiday with my family in Sea Ranch. But even though I was unable to join my Team toEnd AIDS pals in Griffith Park for this week’s 5 mile run, I wasn’t about to slack off on training. If nothing else, I needed this run as I had a ton of calories to burn off after a delicious meal of Thanksgiving turkey, creamed corn (that stuff is addictive), greens, stuffing, and a desert of mixed berry pie (the crust was to die for). Of course, I needed to survive another case of infinite heartburn. To that I say, thank god for Alka Seltzer.

My dad is always dragging to the gym to exercise (can you blame him?), and on Saturday afternoon we drove out to the Physical Gym in Gualala, California. While he huffed and puffed away on the cardio and free weights equipment, I did my 5 mile run on a Landice Executive Trainer treadmill. Now I know that running on a treadmill is not the best way to train for a marathon, but the weather in this part of Northern California was actually quite cold and rainy.

At one point while I was in the car with my sister-in-law, she looked down the road and saw two people jogging while it was pouring like crazy and said sarcastically, “Wow, this is a great day to go jogging.” I then reminded her that this was exactly the kind of weather I ran in during the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon. That’s right, we run the marathon come rain or come shine, but on this day I preferred something dry.

Now I have run on Landice treadmills in the past, and they are the ones with those digital displays that have the man and woman characters who look at me as if I have no reason in the slightest to ask them out on a date (the woman especially). However, this was the “executive” edition of the Landice treadmill, so the setup was slightly different. There was no digital character staring at me with a somewhat unconscious and completely misplaced disgust. Instead, you got to watch a digital character run through different landscapes like Yosemite, Las Vegas or whatever location you want to run in. I went with Yosemite because Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was still going through my head even after last week’s run. That movie opened with Captain Kirk climbing that mountain, and Spock ended up having to save him after he lost his grip and fell. Furthermore, Spock had to save Kirk with the use of some pretty crappy special effects.

Now when I do my maintenance runs, I usually don’t follow the 3:1 pace, so I wasn’t planning to do it while running on the treadmill. Speaking of which, I have to confess that I didn’t do any maintenance runs this week. At the same time, I did go on some very long walks with my dad who moves at a steady pace even at the age of 70. This may surprise some, but keep in mind that this man lost 90 pounds in two years. As a result, it was a bit of a struggle trying to keep up with him.

I started off walking for the first few minutes on the treadmill to warm up, and then I started to run as fast as I could. When I entered the gym, I saw that there was a sign-up sheet to use the treadmills (there were three of them), and no one had signed up to reserve a spot since 10 am that morning. So as a result I didn’t have to wait to use the treadmill, but I did get concerned that a line would soon form behind with angry people looking to unleash their wrath on me for making them wait.

For a time I tried to increase my pace to a 12 minute mile so that I could finish as I started to think my dad would finish his workout before I finished my run. However, it didn’t take long for me to remember why I was in the 13 minute pace group; running that fast wasn't going to do me any favors. I ended up running at a pace of 13:02 a mile. That’s what the treadmill’s digital display said I was running at anyway. Although I didn’t run at a 3:1 pace, I did alternate between running and walking throughout. As much as I wanted to finish at lightning speed like I was The Flash, I owed it to myself to take walking breaks.

Throughout the run I tried to get into my “meditating while running” stance as I kept wondering if I had the correct posture throughout. I made the stupid mistake of leaving my cheap headphones back in my apartment, so listening to music or a podcast on my iPod was unfortunately out of the question. Instead, I had to stare at the television set in front of me which was set to The Food Channel. I ended up watching an episode of Kitchen Inferno and several episodes of Chopped: After Hours with only the closed captioned subtitles to give me any clue as to what these aspiring super chefs were saying to each other. Seeing all of those episodes left me with only one belief: my father and brother could out cook all of those fools any day of the week. Both were responsible for the beyond tasty Thanksgiving dinner I was lucky enough to eat this year. Trust me when I say that it was more than worth the heartburn.

The whole time I was pounding my feet on the treadmill, I feared that more and more people would enter the gym to where my run would get cut short. I know there’s a 30 minute time limit on cardio equipment, but how many of these people are training for a marathon like me?

There was one guy who jumped onto the treadmill behind the one I was running on, and he kept increasing his pace to where it sounded like he was galloping like a wild horse. Then there was a middle-aged woman who came in and started to run on the third treadmill, but she said she would only be using it for about 15 minutes (PHEW!). Meanwhile my dad is, as he always says, “beating himself up” on the gym equipment, and I become concerned he would finish his workout before I finished my run. When I was going to get another chance to do my run? I had a 350 mile plus drive back to Los Angeles, and that didn’t leave much room for exercise.

Well, not to worry folks. I did complete my 5 mile run with no interruptions, and I burned off a lot of calories that, thanks to the abundance of turkey leftovers, will be going back into my body in before I know it. Next Saturday I will be back in Los Angeles with my fellow Team to End AIDS runners as we enter double digit territory. That’s right; we’ll be running 10 miles come rain or come shine. The easy stuff is over.

Oh and by the way, I did want to point out that I played 9 holes of golf with my brother and father a few days before. Granted, we did use golf carts, but there was still a lot of walking involved (mostly by me). How did I do? I don’t have to answer that…

FUNDRAISING UPDATE: December 1 was World AIDS Day, a day of awareness about this terrible disease and a day to mourn those whose lives were cut short by it. This was followed by Giving Tuesday which is a national day of giving which comes the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Although those days have passed us by, there’s still time to give. It would mean much to me if you would take the time to make a donation to AIDS Project Los Angeles so that those who are suffering from this disease can still have a very merry Christmas. Thank you for your attention.

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