Long Islanders love to get outside. They go to the beach, play volleyball, ride their bikes and more.
I’m a runner, but unlike most, I prefer using a treadmill indoors to running outdoors. This helps me keep a steady pace, and there’s no car exhaust, bad weather or stray dogs.
Now, I’m not saying I love to run. It’s just something I do to stay in shape mentally and physically. And I have to prepare both mentally and physically before each run.
After stretching, I have to approach the treadmill with the proper frame of mind. I liken these thoughts to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. I utilize the stages each time I climb aboard the old ’mill.
1) Denial. According to Kubler-Ross, this is actually a healthy stage. So I guess it’s OK to try to block the impending workout from my mind. I think, “Seven miles? Uh-uh. I really don’t think this is gonna happen!”
2) Anger or resentment. Blame is a key component. I blame my parents for not giving me the stamina of English long-distance great Paula Radcliffe and the speed of America’s Deena Kastor. I blame myself for having very little control over my daily chocolate intake. I blame Ben, Jerry and the staff of a certain Vermont ice cream company for getting me hooked on its products.
3) Bargaining. Kubler-Ross calls this stage a truce of sorts. Basically, I adjust to the fact that I will be exerting myself and sweating a great deal. But I don’t have to be passive about it. I am allowed to bargain with the running gods. Example: “Hey running gods, it’s me, Robin Ames. Listen, I’ll put in some serious effort here, but you need to do me a solid in return by giving me a respectable finish at the next Cow Harbor 10K in Northport. Deal?”
4) Next is my favorite stage: depression. I am painfully aware that this treadmill thing is really going to happen.
5) Finally, there is acceptance. I mournfully change into my running clothes and lace up my Mizunos. I climb onto the beastly contraption, hit start and begin to run. Approximately 54 minutes pass, and then ... it’s over! I realize that it wasn’t so bad after all.
Feeling strong and accomplished, I know the run gives me the energy I need to get through the day. I’m proud of myself for having the discipline to do this four or five times a week.
So with a clear head and endorphins coursing through my system, I jump off and head to the kitchen. Time for some Phish Food FroYo.
Reader Robin Ames lives in Coram.