Running on a Dreadmill

Running on a Dreadmill

Contributed by
Ashley Reed

I hate running on treadmills to point where I have nicknamed them dreadmills. I love running outside. The feeling of the sun and the occassional breeze, the sound of my sneakers crunching on gravel, the serene feeling of running underneath a canopy of leafy trees. The treadmill may say that I have run 3 miles, but I don’t feel like I have run 3 miles. Listening to a music playlist, alternating between staring at the tv and watching the people lift weights in front me, just isn’t exciting. What makes a run is the little things – trying a new route, seeing a bright red cardinal flutter in the trees, and the feeling that you are making a journey. For my long runs, it is cool to reflect on all of the passed milestones – trotting past the coffee shop, sprinting under the spooky bridge, reaching your turnaround point – it feels like my mind, body, and soul all go through a simple pilgrimage together. The reason I run isn’t to fit into my skinny jeans or keep my heart healthy (although those are perks), I run because it is a meditative activity that I enjoy. It is a release from stress and anxiety, and I have never regretted a single run that I have done.

It is March, and Chicagoland is blanketed in snow. Running while bundled in layers, pushing against the wind, sounds scary. So I sweat in the indoors, complain about the treadmills, and dream of warmer temperatures. The hardest part of running isn’t the physical exertion, it is the mental will to keep going (in my opinion). I keep myself going by envisioning crossing my finish lines (I have a half marathon and full marathon coming up) and knowing that warmer runs are just around the corner.

Until Next Time.

Follow my journey at #AshleysJourney #journeys.

Pay it forward. A small action can have a lasting effect.

Pay it forward. A small action can have a lasting effect.

Contributed by
Ashley Reed

I loved running in high school. Every afternoon when the school alarm went off, I would rush into the locker room to get changed. I didn’t mind the perpetual heat and sticky humidity of South Florida. During cross country season, my team would run from the school to the nearby beach boardwalk, sweating through our miles with the Atlantic Ocean stretching out on our east side.
Running became a spiritual experience for me – one where I could sort through my thoughts and burn through any troubling teenage angst.

When I was in my Junior Year of high school, my cross country coach introduced a new “volunteer coach.” Her name was Elaine, and she was an elementary school teacher who ran marathons and coached other runners. I immediately looked up to her as someone I wanted to be in the future – tan, fit, confident, and churning out races in the middle of having a career and family.

One day, I shared with Elaine my goal to run a half marathon – I was 17 years old, and didn’t know where to start. She showed excitement for my goal, and helped me pick a race. Once I signed up for the Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon (after begging my parents to pay the registration fee as my Birthday present), Elaine put together a training plan that I could incorporate with my track pre-season schedule.

Having never run longer than 8 miles, I dreamed what it would be like to cross the finish line of a half marathon. After attending my first race expo, I almost burst from excitement; I had never known how big the running community was, and how many products were out there to clothe, comfort, and strengthen runners. As the only member of my family who pursued running, and having seen very few others pounding the sizzling sidewalks of my neighborhood, discovering a whole community of runners was like stumbling upon a new world.

Race day finally came, and I beat my goal to complete the race in 2 hours by crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 55 minutes. I was exhausted, but also felt incredibly accomplished. The next time I saw Elaine, she had brought me a gift basket with a 13.1 tumbler, running stickers, and a card congratulating me on my finish.

Elaine was one of the adults during my teenage years who cemented my love of running, and inspired me to check out the world of running beyond high school cross country and track meets. As of right now, I am currently signed up for my first ever marathon this fall. Elaine’s small action of taking an interest in my goal definitely has had a lasting effect in my life. So Elaine, if you are out there, THANK YOU!

Can you think of a time when someone made a small action or investment in your life that had a positive impact? Share in the comments below!

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