I’ve always hated running on a treadmill. When I’m on a treadmill, I miss the variety that inevitably comes with running outdoors. Even if I run the same outdoor route over and over, there’s bound to be something new — a house getting a new roof, flowers popping up in a garden, a yard sale, a new trampoline in a backyard… even roadkill adds some smelly diversity to the experience.
On a treadmill, however, I’ve always felt stuck. Being crammed into a gym among lots of other smelly people and flashing television screens and a radio blaring and the cheering of a group exercise instructor is not my idea of a good time. But when it’s 34 degrees and the wind cuts to the bone, or when a foot and a half of snow covers the ground, or when the sidewalks are coated with a sheet of ice, or when I get off work at 5:00 and it’s dark by 5:30, I find myself forced to the gym to use the treadmill.
But lately, it hasn’t been so bad.
First, the new YMCA is lots closer to my house than the one I had previously used. It shouldn’t make a big difference, but it does. I like knowing that if I forget to take my clothes to work, I can still pop home and get them and not feel like it’s a big deal to go back to the gym. And I like knowing that once I’m done with my workout, it’s a mere five-minute drive to my house where I can use my own shower and my own towels in my own bathroom.
Also, this new Y is set up differently so that the music and the instructor’s voice from the group exercise room don’t overwhelm the main area where all the treadmills and elliptical machines are. In addition, they don’t have a radio playing over the speakers in the main area. So while I wouldn’t call it quiet, it’s much nicer than the other YMCA that I had been visiting. On top of that, they have earphones available for plugging into the treadmills and elliptical machines so that you can listen to the attached television without having to have your own headphones. That might gross some of you out — using the same sweaty headphones that someone else has used — but I use the disinfectant spray on them before and after I use them. And I am just happy to have headphones. I had a pair once, but the plug wasn’t compatible with the machine, so they didn’t do me any good. Now I can actually listen to the television station that I’m watching. I used to just look for a weather channel because I couldn’t figure out a way to turn the TV off, but it was annoying to watch something when I couldn’t hear what they were saying. At least with the weather, I didn’t really need to hear what they were saying.
But now, with this new YMCA and the positive changes, I’m getting used to the treadmill, and I don’t dread it quite so much. I can still add some variety to my workout — do some hills or speedwork — to avoid getting bored.
And being able to watch Gilmore Girls at the same time is definitely a bonus.
Image credit: yorktownindiana.org