Now I’m done with my last indoor tempo workout of this marathon training cycle and will likely not be around your parts until next winter again, there are just a few things I want to say before we conclude this chapter in our relationship.
Both you and I know that our times together have been nothing short of tumultuous. At times, it seems as if we could never settle on a speed or incline setting that were to our mutual liking. Yet, through it all, I’ve always considered you more as a sparring partner than a foe, more as a teammate than an adversary. As I’ve improved in fitness and endurance, you’ve also adjusted your velocity and grade to fit my training. Although our fierce competition on the rubber belt have become legendary to those who’ve witnessed them first-hand, I’ve never at any point doubted your dedication as a training partner or questioned our friendship. (Case in point. When others would refer to you by using derogatory term such as “dreadmill” or “carousel of boredom” or “human hamster wheel”, I’ve always called you by your rightful name, or sometimes “the ‘mill” for short.)
That all changed exactly one week ago today, when a certain incident occurred in the middle of a crowded gym left me paralyzed with fear, afraid to be recognized by anyone and forever scarred. I was sick back then with fever and chills a few hours before. Yet, you took no pity on me, and even though I dialed you up on for an easy 5 miler at Random Incline Setting 4 at MP pace (6:52), you spat me out on to the carpet less than a half mile in and made me the laughingstock of the whole entire gym. I don’t know what got into you that day and wondered aloud what others might have done prior to my arrival that incurred such wrath, but that kind of behavior is absolutely inexcusable. Not only might it have caused serious physical damage, but the psychological trauma was pretty debilitating as well. Because of you, I was this close to calling off the whole sub-3 marathon plan for Boston.
So, be honest, how did you think I was going to respond? Did you think I was just going to sit back and accept your punishment like you’re my daddy? Did you think I was going to call Boston and cancel just because YOU think my running 6:52 is pathetic? Well, guess again. I don’t think the B.A.A. invited me to run in their marathon because I am a pansy and I certainly didn’t get to where I am in this sport by being so easily dissuaded. So when I got off work today, saw it was raining and read a 4-mile tempo run at 6:27 pace on the schedule, I knew I’d get my revenge. You and me, one last time, before Boston. Only this time, I wasn’t sick (or as sick as I was last week). And this time, I was prepared for your random incline-shifting antics. So,even though I cranked the random incline setting up to 5, which is more than what I did last week, guess how the score came out?
Do you want to tell everyone, or should I? Silence? Okay, don’t mind me then. Mile 1 – 6:19; Mile 2 – 6:19; Mile 3 – 6:17; Mile 4 – 6:18; Avg HR – 164. In other words, I TOTALLY OWNED YOU TODAY. Did the whole blogosphere here that? No? Okay, with feeling this time. I rocked the treadmill so hard he had tears spewing from his envious red eyes! Not only did I accomplished my scheduled goal of 6:27 miles, I ran the fastest tempo run I’ve ever done indoors! How do you like them apples? Oh and yes, I took an extra long walk break so everyone around can admire my accomplishments. And oh yes, I took even longer to wipe away the watery tears on your display and handrails. Revenge never felt so freakin’ sweet!
I hope there are no hard feelings going forth after this little exchange. After all, I was merely throwing a brush back pitch after taking one for the team in our last meeting. And if one of your brothers or cousins expresses even an inkling of repeating your past transgressions, let them know the Laminator is not to be trifled with, especially when he’s running! Have a great time the rest of this year catering to the uninspiring crowd who walks on you while reading a magazine or hangs out talking longer on the cellphone than they do running. I’ll remember you when I’m marathon training again. Hopefully by then the salt from my sweat will have wiped away any remaining bitterness left behind from our fierce rivalry this spring.
Until we meet again, old friend.