Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another new treadmill record falls, so does treadmill

Again, desperate times call for desperate measures, so Friday afternoon I headed down into the cave with a liter of water, a cookie and The Hangover. A colleague, Bill, helped me set up the movie projector so I popped in the Hangover, turned the volume up loud enough so that the guards and neighbors could surely hear it from above, and jumped on the treadmill.

The Hangover is 90 minutes, and was funny enough so that when it started over automatically, I just let it play a second time. The first time through I missed some great lines, as I couldn’t make out the words due to the echo in the cave. By the second time, I was able to hear the dialogue through the echo, and any entertainment is better than staring at a blank wall. Occasional fits of laughter would start a fit of coughing, so were ill-advised. I’ve been coughing continuously for 10 days now. I caught a cold on the way over, and the air in Kabul doesn't seem to want to let it heal.

After 100 minutes, I dialed Bill on his cell phone and asked him to deliver me a coke, and some more water, which he was very kind to do. I didn’t feel like heading upstairs, fearing that once I stepped off, I might not step back on. By the time the movie ended a second time, I managed 3 hours and 3 minutes, which was good for just over 20 miles. I wasn’t moving that quickly, 9 minute pace, but it counts for this week’s long run. I've heard of 24 hour efforts on treadmills....why? I'm satisfied to let my 3 hour and 3 minute record stand.

Apparently the treadmill didn’t enjoy my 20 mile run nearly as much as I did. The treadmill, which has been acting funny for the past week, is dying a slow death. There is now a groove running down the middle of the band, which when stepped on, causes the whole thing to jerk. It feels kind of like running across a snow-covered icy never know when you're going to start sliding, which is what the jerking motion feels like--sliding across ice. So, I'm getting in my share of what feels like winter running. I managed 60 miles last week with one off day. Averaging 10 miles a day on a treadmill is not bad considering it's really not that much fun.

So, to replace the soon-to-be broken treadmill we went out shopping today to see what's available. Just in case one didn't already feel inferior as a female in Afghanistan, the treadmills that can be purchased here drive the point home again. Check this out, it's a photo of the control panel on the treadmill.....anyone care to interpret?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New treadmill record

Yesterday, I set a new personal treadmill record for the most boring run in the history of treadmill running. 17 miles in an underground room staring at a blank wall. I tried to set up a DVD on my laptop, but technology failed me, and I was left to stare at the wall and think. I wanted to get in a long run and 17 miles is the lower limit of what I allow myself to call a long run. But it's enough lest I begin bashing my head against that blank wall at which I was staring.

For the most part, I avoid running on treadmills. Why run inside when you can run outside? Unfortunately, I'm spending 5 weeks in Afghanistan for work, so I cannot run outside. There are few places I've traveled to where I feel like I can't run outside, but Kabul is definitely one of them. Things are a little tense over here at the moment, and a foreign woman running down the streets scantily clad, would probably not help matters.

I'm still having ankle issues, as I've been dealing with some posterior tibial tendonitis. I was told to take 2 weeks off running following Laurel Highlands, and I did, but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. One good thing about the treadmill is that running on flat surfaces doesn't seem to bother it, but at the same time it's not necessarily healed, as it still feels stiff if I turn my foot inward. I'm hoping that it will clear up in the next few weeks, as trails are what really seem to irk it, and there's definitely no chance I'll be running on trails until mid-August.

I'm signed up to run Where's Waldo in August, but it's not going to be pretty. The combination of a couple of weeks off, and now a fairly crappy training environment, along with having gotten fairly sick in the last couple of days and in danger of hacking up a lung, are not leaving me confident that I'll be that fit come mid-August. I have considered bailing, but the trip is also tied to seeing some friends from Peace Corps that I haven't seen in ages, and I've never been to Oregon, so don't want to cancel. At least the scenery will be nice, and I will be running freely in the mountains.