Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hamster Training

We were chatting last night about running on treadmills. The C/H was relating the story of her recent first experience with a treadmill at the local gym. It sounded pretty much like something out a Chevy Chase Saturday Night Live opening scene. But it also got me thinking about the difference between runners and riders. Now I used to say that the only thing that would make me run is if something was chasing me. However in the pre-diagnosis months where my body was deteriorating one of my goals became to run with out pain. It is still one of my goals. But for all intents and purposes I am not a runner. I am a rider. Running bores me, it hurts, you don't go very far, and it is hard on your body.

I do have lots of friends who are runners some of them very accomplished runners and I have the utmost respect for runners. I am married to one. I do appreciate the simplicity of running. It is the way that the original humans got around when they were in a hurry. You don't really need any special gear and it is ultimately pure as a form of recreation. It just doesn't float my boat.
However it seems to me that runners are more likely to be willing to or even enjoy running indoors on a treadmill while listening to their Ipod. The cycling equivalent of this is riding rollers or a trainer which is a different story all together. Most of the complaints that I have about running, indoors or out, are the same complaints about riding indoors. It is boring, you don't go anywhere and it hurts much more so than a regular ride because you sit in the same position for the whole "ride." Now I have spent more than my fair share of rime on the trainer. After all I am an avid enthusiast who cant stand to get out of shape in the winter months so usually around Mid December I start building base miles on the trainer and work up to my first round of intensity traning by early February all on the trainer if weather doesn't permit. But I will bend over backward to ride outdoors even in the winter. I don't mind riding in the cold or the wind. I like riding in the rain but I cant do it everyday. I am usually limited by daylight hours in the winter. But come this time of year, the trainer is put away and I gets my mile on the road.

But then there are those runners, who continue year round, to run on their hamster wheels at home and in the gym as if being outside is a problem. Seeing the wildflowers bloom is a drawback and staring at a wall and having nine inch nails blaring in your ears is the shizzle. I don't get it. What is up with that? Do you not want to be outside because you might sweat. Or because someone might see you? Or you are too tempted by running past the Starbucks? Perhaps because running is so damn boring to begin with, it doesn't really matter if you are staring at a wall or running around your neighborhood.

OK I've lit the fuse let the debate explode. Comment below.

But First: check out this link about How to talk to people who have cancer . Most of what it says is right on the money. I've got to say that insisting that everything is going to be OK is really annoying. It is already way not OK but it is what it is. And unsolicited advice can be really frustrating as well, I cant physically do all of the things that I have been advised to do, there are not enough hours in the day. I love you all and I know that you are well meaning and I would rather have all that than no communication. I know it has got to be really hard to reach out to someone like me because it brings you up against your own fears and discomforts but I appreciate any and all communication. I read all of my email even if I don't reply and if you make a gaff, I wont hold it against you. I love you for trying, that is really what counts.

Now chime in: trainers vs. treadmills, indoor vs. outdoor.
Thanks for reading


Anonymous said...

I was at the Gym a while back. Riding the Exercise bike. There was this girl probably high school age. She was going around trying all of the different types of machines. Eventually she went to this area that had about 14 treadmills and there were about 10 being used. So she decides to get on a vacant one and I could tell she hadn't done that before. She starts messing around with the controls and starts running. She figures out how to control her speed. Every now and then I could see her messing with the controls and her speed would increase slightly. Eventually she had it under control, looking confident. She was running at a decent pace. I was thinking good job, this could be intimidating for someone. Then she decides to go faster. Every now and then she would bump her speeed up. She got to a point where she was really hauling butt. Then she decides to maintain this pace. I am thinking I wonder how long this will last? I see her feet out of phase with her pace ever so slightly, she was really moving. But she is still hanging in there. She just wasnt in sync with the treadmill. I looked away for a minute and then heard this crash. I looked back at her treadmill, she wasn't on it. Then I see a few people helping her up-she was fine. She was completely spit off the treadmill and there were plenty of people there to help dust her off.

To answer your question outside work out would be my prefrence any time. Mountain Bike preferably or paddling my Longboard. Running or hiking would not be my first choice either.
The gym does have certain qualitys.

Mike D

lil blue schwinn said...

Alas, neither rider nor runner do I claim to be-
Am I still part of this family tree?
My instrument of torture by choice you see,
is an eliptical machine-
that works for me!

My photo is merely my disguise
An attempt to fit in with you
burley guys.
No that is not entirely true-
I love to cruise the boardwalk
by the sea so blue.

On a little blue schwinn,
I commit the cardinal sin-
I ride towards no goal,
and have no desire to "win."

Anonymous said...

I don't consider myself a runner nor a cyclist yet since I just barely started both. However, I have to admit that the thought of running on either the treadmill or out on the road was always intimidating until last year. I started slow, a mile, two miles, three miles, 4, and now my highest 8. I have come to the realization that I love running. I love the peace that I feel when I am outside or on the treadmill (on snowy days). When I am running, I am out on my own, my children are at home and I have this time all to myself...time to listen to music or to just think. My legs hurt after a good run but I have come to love the hurt and to look forward to it.

As to my hamster wheel...well, I do have one at home but to tell you the truth I don't very much like it. I feel that I am being punished when I have to go on it. I prefer to run outside, I like the feel of the warm sun, the wind on my face, and seeing different people outside doing yard work.

My riding...I am still coming to terms with my biking skills. I learned only a year ago to ride a bike and I worry too much about drivers and their lack of willingness to share the road. I have a hamster wheel for my bike too but this one I really do not like it (while I tolerate the treadmill) sitting on that hard seat for hours on end without anything to entertain is no fun. The outdoors is a must for my bike and I.

Sorelegs said...

Great Poem Cris. You are inspired!!!

Isela you made me want to say that: When i do ride indoors I am very very maticulous about making it fun. I rent videos, I watched the full last season of The West Wing on dvd while riding the trainer, I have watched and rewatched countless Tour de France and PAris Roubaix tapes I also watched the directors cut 5 hour versions of all the Lord of the Ring series while on the bike hamster thing. And I am way into certain podcasts that I love to listen to when I ride the trainer but I will also liten to the Ipod while I am on my bike but never where there is traffic. Only on trails and then with great care.

Anonymous said...

the fact that you said you watched the lord of the rings and bike racing on t.v. pretty much makes my point. damn, spencer, i'm feeling the controversy. your post was the battle cry of the incapable, and please don't tell me how hard running is on your body-i never had a sore knee until riding (yes, i know, i should go spend hundreds of dollars for a precision fitting from some bike dork). i said it last summer and i will say it again-as a veteran of many marathons, completing 26.2 miles on foot is way, way more difficult than the death ride. we don't stop for lunch (5 times), nor are the downhills free miles like they are in biking. hell, on these epic, long rides, you can take your pick of who you want to tuck in behind and reduce your work load immensely-none of that in running. ah yes, the beauty of tactics, the game within the game...please, there is nothing more pure than people lined up and seeing who can get from point a to point b-no mechanical advantage, no drafting, no bib overalls, no camel toes (not even the men). the quality of one's mechanic has no bearing on the outcome, and a bad day for the domestique doesn't impact anyone.
as for the treadmill, i am guilty. it is the only time, literally, that i watch t.v. i can also put my kids in the play room while i work out. i am curious as to your need to call out runners when you are not one yourself?
i hope you are well, you sounded great tonight,

Heather Brooks Freer said...

Running is my meditation, my thinking time, my time to challenge myself. When I have children with me and want to run, I have the gym and the treadmill. Rather than see it as a tool of torture, it is a fantastic tool for challenging myself in specific ways - running intervals, powering the speed up or the incline up and working myself to a point of absolute fatigue, jamming on the "down" arrow until I can breathe and get my heartrate into an acceptable zone, and then jamming the "up" arrow again. Much like, let's see, spin classes!

iPod? Yes, sometimes. Beats overhearing some of the conversations that happen that I don't want to hear, draws focus from the banks of tv screens, gives me a chance to listen to podcasts or music, to be in my own space which as a parent can be a rarity. I've had plenty of conversations on treadmills with fellow runners - so it's not necessarily a solo activity. In fact, Tom and I had a good conversation about child rearing on side by side treadmills the weekend before last.

I am not a road rider, maybe someday. Not to say I haven't been, or don't love to bike outside, I do. Not with cars, thanks very much - mountain biking for me. In Chicago and LA I was a bike commuter and loved that thanks to bike lanes. But I enjoy the heck out of a good spin class every now and then and see far more similarities than differences between a spin class and a treadmill session.

Above all else, those on the treadmill (even if they never get outside) are gettin' their exercise on, and god bless 'em for that. Everyone's got their fears, phobias, comfort zones, incontinence issues, and if it kees them inside but on a treadmill or elliptical or bike or rowing machine or tae bo tape or whoop ass strip aerobics class or swim lane it's a far lesser evil than on their tush. It doesn't stop the sun from shining outside where they can hopefully enjoy it in their own particular way when it's time to hit the stop button.

We're all on the same team. Worshipping with the same prayers of elevated heartrates and sweaty pits. So run on, bike on, dance on, row on.

Just don't get me started on water aerobics. (kidding)


Traci said...

I'm definitely not one of those runners -- I can't balance on a treadmill and literally have to hold the sides to stay on, balanced, and moving my feet forward. (so i have bad balance, weak core muscles, and....) best to stay outside where I don't need to see what's happening to my body(!)...

If I have to, I can stand a windtrainer, with a lot of distraction i can probably ride for 20 minutes, tops. but of course, my windtrainer is outside on the deck.

I'm a runner and outdoor person, and lately, despite all I've said, I'm thinking about a treadmill. why? because I have to RUN!

I think there is something that seperates runners and bikers... and I don't know what it is..... I love mt biking, but it will never replace a long, slow-paced solitary run. (although some bike climbs up Mt. Tam have come close(!). I know that running will always be in my blood! I'm sure that you get the same way when you leave for a ride... At some point in the run I literally feel like I'm following my bliss.

I can't tell you how mnay times I've heard from people who feel that they can't run.... mostly "it hurts my body..." "it's not right...". That's fine. It does hurt, but eventually that goes away. It's part of the whole reward! In the beginning you feel like you can't move, but after a few days, weeks, months, it all shifts, and then suddenly, you are literally flying. what a feeling -- to be flying UP Prospector. of course the flying was all in my mind :) (and I'm fine with that!!!)

not sure if i'll ever fly on a treadmill..... but it will keep me in shape for prospector! (as will some biking!)

follow your bliss!

Anonymous said...

I am cracking up for many reasons at this moment. #1 - this is why I love you Spencer (you pot stirrer you) and #2 - I was there the first time Chickenhawk got on a treadmill at the cutting edge Millenium Sportsclub and it was frickin' hilarious. I can say this with the utmost respect because what most people don't know is that Chickenhawk was an accomplishedrina in her youth. You wouldn't have known this the first time she hit the treadmill but it was one of the funniest things I had seen in a LONG time. Funny because as a neighbor I watch C/H run on an almost daily basis and she runs FAST and has a natural stride. I envy her and her runners' body. But she looked like Elaine from Seinfeld dancing.

Yeah, gotta say the running thing isn't really my gig. But it certainly got me in shape a year+ ago and I got to spend some serious QT with Heather F. (the wind beneath my running wings). The treadmill in front of the glowing blue box while listening to gangsta rap was my zen for a good year or so. I think the key there is the daycare perk. You can run for 2 hours (unless you need to change your kids' diaper)and take a shower with not a single "Mom!?!?!?!" That was my little running secret....peace.

But now the body has failed me. We have spent a lot of time discussing our frustrations with bodies that won't go where our minds want to go Spencer but I am hopeful that you and I will be able to go do the Olmstead Loop some day. For I am a mountain biker. Probably contributed to my pain issues but I will get back on that bike. With you. With my boys. For I fell in love with my husband mt biking in the Santa Cruz mountains.....I will. Even if I have to connect that mini-bike to the back of your bike, I will.

It has been a rough week for you Spencer. I am sorry I don't have the fairy dust to make it all better but I am relieved you are experiencing all of your emotions. You own them and I am blessed to have the opportunity to read about them and learn. Feel it and breath Spencer, we are here for the ride. I'm just looking forward to our day in Cool. I'll bring the snacks!!

Ride (don't run)on,

Anonymous said...

Ballerina...CH was a ballet dancer. Somehow I didn't write it because I was giggling too hard at the memory.

Sorelegs said...

Yo Freer, i'll give you that in a heart beat. 26.2 has got to be waaay harder than 130 death ride miles. At least from where I am sitting. Running is harder and more punishing.
Noey and Heather-- makes sense. You cant drop the kiddos at the gym and go for a run on a far away trail so the treadmill is a convenience thing. I get it as a tool for training. That is soemthing that I like about the trainer. Precise interval work outs. I am never as good at watching the clock and timing intervals when I am out on the road.
Noey, I didn't know you were there. It must have been a sight.

Matt said...

you never see a runner smiling when they run,

Judi said...

Matt, you are wrong, I have many smiling pix of me running. :)

Spencer - the farthest I have run is 26.2. I love love love it. I am going to be running a 50k (31 miles) in Oct - a trail run. I can't wait to start training in the woods.

I'd rather run outside in the rain, sleet, snow, and ice than run on a treadmill. I hate the treadmill. It's pure torture to me. I will if I have no other option though.

Riding on the trainer was ok, I sweat a lot but my butt gets sore on the trainer.

Hang tough Spencer!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so i did have a bad moment on the treadmill, but my bad was surpassed by the poor gal at the gym last week....

She was an older gal, first time on the treadmill. I was crusin along on the (SAFE) elliptical trainer whilst pearl jam rendered my brain numb, when i smell burning rubber. No shit! There was this poor old girl hanging on to the side support of the treadmill with all her strength while her sneakers were literally 'burning rubber' at high speed! I would have helped her, but my nose clued me in to the predicament quite a while after her high pitched screams, so someone else got to be the first responder.

i believe those treadmills are not safe, physically or emotionally. For example, after entering my age, weight, desired workout and sexual preference, (just want to see if you're paying attention) I was shocked to find the machine clipping along VERY briskly. After I adjusted the speed slower, my self-esteem plummeted when I discovered that I run (or shall i say saunter?) a 15 minute mile.....!
the sauntering chickenhawk

bikesgonewild said...

...i think triathlons are great...except for that damn running & swimming, so it's le velo pour moi...
...i used to enjoy trail or track running but logging on the pavement miles always tore up my legs big time...
...i found no comparison between running & riding over the same individual courses day after day...like you sir, the running got boring fast yet riding was always good...something about that machine just works for me...
...wanna ride but feeling mellow ?... hey,riding easy is still enjoyable & energy to burn speaks for itself on a bike...

...trainers, as i get older, hold great but often unfulfilled potential which prob'ly sez more about me than my liquid trainer (nice & quiet)...coupla days & ohh, that nonsense gets old...music helps but dare i say, i don't even own an i-pod, so that might make a difference...almost forgot, neoprene saddle cover for indoor stuff...
...years ago, we rode rollers & they definitely improve your supplesse on the bike...used to ride no hands for ages, cranking out smooth circles w/ the big speakers blaring & a fan cooling it all down...

...but indoors compared to outdoors ???...thats not a serious question is it ???...
...stay good, both you guys...

Anonymous said...

Alright, my turn:

I don't care what you do, or how you do it, just get out there. By foot, wheel, swimming, or anything, I appreciate and admire all of those who just get out and do something. Inside excercise is the result of a good addiction to the outside stuff as far as I am concerned. I guess I am just a freak that I like running and swimming as much as cycling (and I too smile while running), its kinda rough on family life to like them all.

There is a great article in the latest edition of runners world. It details a middle school principal who weighed in at about 400 lbs. Took one look at himself and said, "this has got to end". Two years and 200+ lbs later he as set an example for all the students in his school that getting out and doing it, whatever it may be, is a great thing to do.

Sometimes my best outing is short, end of the driveway or something. But its sunset or foggy or whatever, and its just nice to be outside!

Cheers all
Matt B

Anonymous said...

i can't bench press...it hurts my chest,

bikesgonewild said...

...it's not yer chest that's the problem, tom...you just keep grabing hand fulls of goatee when yer pressing...

...just sayin'...

Tourmaline OTC said...

Welcome back Spencer. This post was written by the shit-kicker I know. And Freer's a sissy. Death ride is way harder because it's not about the legs, it's about the electrolytes. 10 hours is far harder than a measly 4 and having done both, that's my two cents.
p.s. Clarification: T Freer's a sissy. H Freer is an animal.

Anonymous said...

I hate treadmills. I like to bench press yah. I put 400lbs on the Bar and I just start repping for 45 minutes straight for a warm up. Then I run out to my Hummer and smoke a cighar. After a few reps on the cigar. I try to manage Khalifornia, Wow, now that is a work out. Anyone who cant bench press is a girlie man. I have tried roadrhiding but my legs get stuck on the top tube It feels tingly so I quit doing that. Get well soon, Sorelegs. I have been reading your blog. Your one crhazy Kalifornian. We need more nuts like you.
Dont worry I am in charge.
Your Friend
Ahrnold S. (The governator)

Steve H said...

I am a runner, albeit a slow one, and do both indoor and outdoor running. I generally get one or two outside runs a week, and I do so for the freedom, challenge and beauty of it. Nothing like running the Folsom trails, with wild flowers, birds, the occasional snake or lizard, the hills, a human or two, and the semi-fresh air.

When I do it indoors, it's usually for comfort or convenience. For example, when temperatures are in the extreme, I'd rather the comfort of running indoors. When I have limited time, I might do the treadmill at home, while watching the news or a game.

2 or 3 days a week, I hit the gym. After I get my stretching, ab work and weights done, I usually finish with about 3 to 4 miles on the treadmill.

Another advantage of the treadmill is that it is easier on the knees than the ground is.

So there.

Anonymous said...

so if my pet hamster only eat raisin and drink milk if and only if i feed him or else my hamster just sit in a corner wat does that mean ?
Ps:my hamster is named Whity