Sunday, February 27, 2011

Treadmills and Triumph

This week, I've been working through the tired. "The tired" is probably what many people feel in the last weeks of February because of the grey, the cold, the old snow. Teachers and students feel it exponentially increased because we're halfway through the semester. Some of us also feel tired because of the constant polemics in Washington and the constant struggle to maintain rights, education, and access to  services for those who are disenfranchised in this economically segregated country. See, for example, the recent op-ed by Charles Blow in the New York Times and New York Times editorial on the Republican assault on women's and children's health.

Today I'd like to offer some hope to get us through winter running, as well as the current onslaught against the poor and particularly, women without financial or educational resources. We can triumph--with consistent hard work.

My running metaphor for the political situation is this: Sometimes the best workouts happen when I really don't want to work out. For example, three times this week I went to the gym instead of running outside. I preferred a treadmill to dealing with even the piddliest of snowflakes on the ground, grey skies, and temperatures that at 7 am did not make running outside sound fun. I am probably one of the very few people who don't get bored on treadmills--in fact, once I'm on a treadmill, I get in a better workout than I ever would running by myself outside. This is because I push it. I'll do intervals to keep the monotony away. It's mentally easy for me to run hard for 3 minutes, and then appreciate the minute-or-so recovery pace, and do it again. I like to do ladders...3 minutes on at faster-than-race pace, 1 off (x2 or 3), 2 minutes on, 1 off (x2 or 3), 1 minute on x 4 or whatever feels good. I did the ladder workout Monday, and 7- two-three minute intervals Thursday, and a short 16-minute "tempo" run Friday (10 K race pace).

Most people think of treadmills as running in place. Boring, monotonous, and horrible. But I use them to get better and faster, and re-energize my running. Sometimes the horrible (treadmills, legistlative inequities) is what pushes us to do more and build our endurance to win in the end.

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