I have an idea for treadmill makers. Treadmills would be SO much more entertaining if the ground were constantly changing. How about if there were slippery places to avoid, frozen single-track, rocks sticking up, and various hills with the aforementioned terrain? Wouldn’t YOU want to run on this? I do, I do, pick me, pick me!!!
Treadmill manufacturers: you have my permission to take this idea and run with it (sorry, couldn’t help myself. Pun intended!). People get bored doing the same activity on unchanging terrain. No wonder people plug their ears with music and podcasts, or even watch TV while running. None of these things leave you satisfied after an hour on the treadmill, no matter how the number of miles covered or level of aerobic activity.
So what WOULD satisfy the need for a challenge? A trail run. Barring that, a treadmill that mimics a challenging trail, like, oh, how about Marshall Mesa in January???
Was I there today? Why yes, yes I was. Funny that you asked. How was it? Well… challenging. There was ice, frozen single-track, divots in the mud from multiple sets of bike tires, cow patties, and rocks sticking up at odd angles. In a nutshell; challenging and perfect.
We stayed on Marshall Mesa the entire time because we were worried about encountering even MORE ice on the trails lying in shade on the north side of hills along Community Ditch. The past two months have been cold, and the layer of permafrost on the ground is hard-core. The ice doesn’t melt in shaded places, even after weeks of above-freezing temperatures. The ground thaws in exposed areas, leaving deep footprints and tire tracks that re-freeze each night. Amy hiked Chautauqua yesterday and told us that it’s a sheet of ice. We’re not even attempting Eldorado Canyon because of the large stretches of shaded/icy trail. So, this was it.
We criss-crossed the hill going up to the top, and I heard a huge gathering of coyotes howling a little farther on. Their voices were incredibly beautiful. I was worried that Lucy, Sarah’s little go-getter, would take off after them, but she stayed close and left all the little critters alone. What a good girl, Lucy!
Our group stayed together almost the entire time because we all had to take such short strides over the ice. The bonus was that we had great conversation with so many of us participating. Towards the end Sarah and I led the group on a little extension run that gave us an extra 1.5 miles. On the way back to the trailhead we hit a patch of ice that was sheer. I immediately slowed, Adriana slowed, and Sarah took about two steps before her foot went out from under her. She did the classic “banana peel slide” and landed square on her tailbone where she proceeded to hit her water bottle before coming to land in a nice sideways twist on her right side with her arms extended in front of her.
It took a few minutes for her to get up and moving again, and the other girls caught up to us. We all picked our way through the rest of the minefield and jogged back to the car. Sarah’s a trooper and ran the last little bit. We assembled in the parking lot and then headed out to Vic’s on Table Mesa where Kathy was waiting for us.
So, what do you think? Would YOU like to run on a treadmill in the temperature-controlled indoors, dodging ice, running on the sides of your shoes as the terrain changes, hoping you don’t go down? Or, is it better to save this sort of paradise for the great outdoors?