Today On The Run #18 Ultra Realistic Treadmill Courses

Recently, I was on vacation and forgot to bring my cold/wet weather running gear.  After running in sunny weather in 70s, 80s, and 90s for the last few months, mid 40s and rain wasn’t my jam, so I decided to head to the workout room at the hotel and pound out 10 on a treadmill.

I was pleasantly surprised to find an open treadmill.  Better yet was that is appeared to be an almost new machine.  I think it was one of these.  Gigantic HD touch screen and loads of entertainment options built right.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my workout headphones.

Oh well, let’s just stick to the video running courses.  A few minutes in and I was pretty impressed, the overall quality and variety is better than expected.  But as things went on, I noticed some problems:

  • The source material is shot a few different ways.  I’m guessing a steady cam on someone walking, some from a bike, and some with a drone.  With the latter, the illusion of actually being there kinda falls apart when the distance to the ground gets higher than eye level.
  • I can’t tell for sure, but I think that the video is supposed to be speed synced to the treadmill speed.  Most of the time, it appears to be close enough.  Sometimes, you’re cooking along in real life, but the action on screen is too slow. There’s one segment where you pass a biker who’s moving along at a pretty good clip; pretty sure he was doing better than 8.1 mph I was managing myself.
  • Some of the courses mess with your head.  Running trails with a steep drop off to one side, lots of blind twists and turns, or crazy stuff like rope bridges are convincing enough to make you lean to adjust your virtual balance.  I didn’t really have any issues, but it took a lot of concentration to convince my body that I wasn’t gonna drop off a cliff mid run.
  • In the too real department, there are some sections where you run through populated areas like city streets and beaches.  Just like in real life, people in the videos don’t yield space, or obliviously cross into your path.  There are even a few random yahoos that intentionally jump in front of you or try to high five you maliciously. I seriously wanted to punch something after those sections.

All in all, the videos did make the treadmill experience less annoying than just staring at the wall, so I guess I can’t complain too much.  But, after a few runs back in the outdoors, I’m thankful that I can run outside all year round.

Today On The Run #16 Peace, Love, and Respect

I don’t follow the professional running scene much, but congratulations to Desiree Linden, the first female American Boston Marathon winner since 1985!   The weather was completely bananas; I’m pretty sure I would have hung it up in the first few miles, myself. Des almost quit herself!

Runner’s World has a great write up on how her helping a fellow runner might have been the boost she needed to carry her through.  Amazing stuff.

Speaking from my vast experience of races (which consists of couple of dozen races in half a dozen years, resulting in two 3rd places in my age group. #sadtrombone) I can totally see how making connections during the race helps both sides.  At my earliest races, I got nothing but love and respect from everybody, probably when I needed it the most.

I always tried (and still try) to pay it back at other races and pretty much anytime I meet up with other runners.  Everybody who has the guts to show up at any race, 1 mile to Marathon, earned the right to be there and is no less deserving than anyone else there that day.

Today On The Run #15 Cheating

Stepping into the confessional…

The majority of my miles are done with the company of my trusty MP3 player.  But, I rarely listen to music;  I’m big time into podcasts.  I’m less likely to zone out listening to podcasts and they don’t completely block out ambient noise the way music does.

But, sometimes, I drift back to music.  I load up my podcasts once or a week or so, and throw a few albums on the player to have as a fall back if I run out of new podcast content.  I normally try to keep a good mix of tunes loaded up, but lately, I’ve been into metal.

After a relatively low start to Wednesday’s run.  I cut over from a podcast to some Avenged Sevenfold.  Mercy, that album is pretty much like a shot of adrenaline.  There’s almost way to not to pull out all the stops when its blaring in your ears. It makes the running feel so easy its like cheating.

The rest of the run was pretty much just a blur.   It was just a feeling either, an average 8:05 pace is pretty impressive compared to lack luster mid 9s I’ve been stuck in lately. I don’t think I can pull that off every day, but its probably worth trying once a week and calling that my speedwork.

Today On The Run #14 That 10 Degree Difference

Things are finally starting to get warm again in Brentwood.  The day time temps are in mid to high 70s.  More importantly, the morning temperatures have been in the mid 50s. After an eternity of cold and wet (by California standards, sorry my east coast friends) it feels good to lose a few layers and be able to use my fingers after getting back from a run.

Its pretty amazing how different 45 feels than 55, given they’re not all that far apart.   At 55 degrees, I’m almost thinking about ditching my light running gloves.  I think I’ll stick with long sleeve but light tech shirts for a few more weeks, then with any luck it will be back to short sleeves again.

In the sad, but true category.  I realized that a fair number of my running shirts pre-date my kids. I’m slightly amazed that my 2007 Mountain Goat race shirt (which I happened to run in for my one and only marathon) still looks pretty good, even it has some serious permafunk baked into it after 11 years of service.  I’m kinda surprised that its pretty loose these days; I’m not sure if its because I’m smaller now or its just super stretched out.  Probably time to drop some bucks on new shirts.

Today On The Run #13 Gobble Gobble

Running up on wildlife in my early morning runs is nothing new.  I see and hear all sorts of critters skittering off into the shadows as I plod my way along.  Thankfully, I still haven’t met up with any coyotes or mountain lions that supposedly lurk just beyond my normal running routes.

Yesterday morning, I was cruising along the second half of my route. Not particularly motoring along, but still getting by at a comfortable pace.  One podcast had just wrapped up and there was a few seconds of dead air before the next one started up.  In this brief interlude, I somehow spooked a turkey and pretty much jumped out of my skin when I got an angry gobble in return.

I’ve spooked turkeys before, but normally you can get pretty close before they fight back. The turkey in the instance was off in the shadows where I couldn’t make them out at all.  I quickened my pace a bit fearing for an ambush from the rest of his pack.  With a sigh of relief, I made it away unscathed.

I ran through the same area about 20 minutes later on the way back to home and braced myself for another barrage.  But, the turkey had moved on.