An update, complete with disorganized thoughts on treadmill running and the myth of “too busy to…”
When people sigh importantly and tell me, “I’m just soooo busy, too busy to [blog/run/do X],” my eyebrows tend to blast off with invisible rocket jetpacks straight into my hairline.
I try to control this reaction, but it’s practically involuntary.
It’s my eyebrows yelling silently, “Be honest: how much busier than the rest of us can you really be? Life is busy. If you’re “Too busy to [x],” that just means you don’t value it enough to make time for it. Don’t use your packed schedule as an excuse. We’re all busy. We also live in a first world country and are probably privileged enough that we get to make our own decisions about what we do with our time, whether we realize it or not.”
I would be poker champion of the world if only I could get rid of my rude and overly expressive eyebrows. They give everything away.
This is a way to say that my recent failure to post, comment, and respond to comments is not due to being overly busy. My excuse is that I don’t have internet at home yet, feel like a jerk posting on my work’s dime, and am not inclined to drag my computer somewhere with Wi-Fi specifically to write a blog post.
In order to stay mildly relevant here in my messy hovel-like corner of the internet, I present a smattering of noteworthy events from the past month:
To start, I lost my cellphone in the woods this week while playing Tree Tag with a group of screaming children.
Now I have no internet and no cell phone.
You know what else my roommates and I have been living without? A microwave. You’d think this might force us to become more creative cooks, but instead it’s mostly resulted in us eating lots of cold dinners — cereal, crackers and peanut butter, and… wine. Because we’re grown ups. Grown ups who are still on their parents’ health plans. And who still ask their dads to help fill out tax forms. (Now you understand my inability to fathom other peoples’ busy-ness: I’m completely naive about life.)
Running is going a little shakily, but things are turning in the right direction. I’ve experienced some knee and hamstring pain in adjusting to my new shoe inserts, which are both equipped with metatarsal pads meant to redistribute the weight of my footstrike. The foot pain is still present, but it’s not scaring me anymore and has held up solidly under increasing mileage.
I’m trying to be patient. I’m trying to be smart. But running is simply mentally easier and more enjoyable than any of my other options — even running on a treadmill is leagues more fun than anything else.
Which reminds me: On my last post, there was talk that 12 miles is a hefty chunk of time to be spending on a treadmill.
And I agree — it’s not my ideal running situation.
But understand where I’m coming from and why I can tolerate that much treadmill time:
I spent four years doing a sizeable amount of training on the ergometer. You know, that unpopular and weird little machine in the corner at your gym? There’s a reason you never see anyone on it. It’s kind of a drag.
My first two years of college rowing, I hated erging more than anything. I was a complete headcase about it. I cried myself to sleep over it. Erg tests on this machine caused me a great deal of mental anguish; there were days that I’d let myself nearly get eaten alive by my dread of them. It impresses me still today that I stuck it out all four years and didn’t quit. (I know that I act laidback and cavalier on this blog about my running, but the reality is that I’m extremely competitive with myself and do take it seriously. Perhaps these stories from my halcyon days of college rowing are sufficient evidence of this approach toward athletic pursuits.)
Anyway, yeah. Erging, the necessary evil of winter rowing training, made me completely miserable — parallel to the way the treadmill makes many runners miserable.
And then during my junior year, something clicked.
I learned to get my head around the endless minutes and meters on that machine.
Either due to maturity, accumulated exposure, or maybe getting struck by lightning and suffering memory loss about how much erging stinks, I had a mental breakthrough and 20 KM on the erg wasn’t so bad anymore. (For context, a 20 KM steady state row takes me a little under 90 minutes, just a few fewer minutes than a typical bread-and-butter paced 12-miler.)
So in comparison to erging, where I’m still in the mindset of having to hold competitive college-level splits, 12 miles on the treadmill at whatever-I-want pace is truly a treat.
Sparknotes: The gauntlet of college rowing endowed me with a mental callousing effect that makes long periods of time on the treadmill possible.
No, it’s not as enjoyable as running outside, but on the other hand, all of my runs are in the dark right now, so there are actually days where I look forward to shaking things up with a treadmill run inside. Inside! Where there are lights on. Where there are no cars, ice, poor footing, or confused and bleary-eyed bears who are stumbling around after a premature departure from hibernation due to the 40*F temperatures we’ve been enjoying here in southeast Alaska this week.
Stay tuned next week for a better post than this. I might have my internet, my cell phone, and my funny bone back by then.
In the meantime:
What are your thoughts on “I’m too busy to…” ? Are some people far busier than others? Is anyone really “too busy to…” or is it just a matter of values and time management?
Longer runs on the treadmill: love, hate, tolerate? How do you get through them?
What’s your favorite flavor of Quaker chewy granola bar? I ate two entire boxes of these bad boys for breakfast recently. Can’t decide if I like the peanut butter flavor or the chocolate chip flavor best; need more input. More to the point, I can’t stop thinking about how funny it would be to photo-log a full day of my eating. The poor lighting, gigantic portion sizes, and bad habits might make the heads of Healthy Living Bloggers explode.