Running with a broken heart

Today was the day that this Modern Philosopher decided it was time to break out of his funk and prove that one can, in fact, run from his problems.

I haven't been running much since The Girl That Ran Away With My Heart moved to another time zone to become a doctor. When she left, I lost my workout partner, my health coach, and my main inspiration to get into shape. I've never said much about The Girl, but she is much younger than I, and looks like a super model. I'm a quirky, klutzy dork who's never going to be mistaken for a model, so I figured I at least owed it to her to get into shape so I looked slightly like someone who deserved to be in her orbit.

With her help and my crazy logic, I lost 50lbs last year. Since she's been gone, I've regained a chunk of that, but honestly can't tell you how much because I refuse to get on the scale and discover the number.

Today, I reversed the trend. We set the clocks ahead tonight, which means it will still be light out when I get home from work now. I love running outside, so with the weather getting warmer, I plan to get back to my regular running routine. I wanted to go to the gym this weekend first, though, to hit the dreaded treadmills and make sure I was still able to achieve the right speeds without doing any serious injury to myself. Plus, I've been a bit reclusive lately, and thought it might be nice to be out amongst people, even if they are total strangers who are covered in sweat.

I have a tendency to push myself too hard on the treadmill (it is a Machine, after all, and we know I don't get along well this those!), so I made it a point to start off slow and to not allow myself to look at the glowing red display no matter how tempted I was to check the numbers and note my progress.

I did my first mile in 12:00, which is pathetic, but totally acceptable given that I forced myself to walk the first couple of minutes. I thought I'd stop after a mile to walk again, but my pace felt good and I kept going. Of course, I could not resist the numbers any longer and allowed myself to get caught up in The Machine's game. I pushed the speed button higher and higher, and then got lost in the calculations of how fast I'd have to go to burn 600 calories in 3 miles. As always, I fell under the treadmill's spell.

I was, however, able to keep things from getting out of control. I turned up the music and let Foo Fighters take me away from the numbers. My legs found a good rhythm and my lungs were not too upset. I told myself I'd be happy if I could do 3 miles in 35:00 given the 12:00 first mile, and was delighted to cover the distance in 33:18. That's a disgusting, repulsive time for a guy who can easily do 5 miles in under 45:00, but I had to give myself a break. Once I factored in that I was running with a broken heart, that time was fine.

It was also fun to discover that my broken heart was giving The Machine a fit. No matter how hard it tried, it could not supply a reading when I asked it to compute my heart rate. I gave the treadmill multiple chances, but it failed. I finally had to put my fingers to my neck and calculate the number on my own.

Victory was mine. Not only had I beaten the treadmill, but I had also found a way to go fifty minutes without thinking too much about The Girl Who Should've Been Running Next To Me. Sure, the first thing I did when I got home was send her an email bragging about my accomplishment, but it was show her that I was making an attempt to go back to the routine which she had to gravely disrupted.

I still love The Girl and hate The Treadmill, but today I shook things up a little and took control of my life again. My gym bag is already packed for a return trip to the gym tomorrow, and I fully intend to beat that sad 3 mile time.

Soon enough, I'll be back out on the streets, running in the fresh Maine air and totally forgetting that the activity really annoys me at times...

Credits - would like to thank the blog The Return of the Modern Philosopher ( for the authorization to reprint the article "Running With A Broken Heart Is A Great Way To Screw With A Treadmill's Heart Rate Monitor" by Austin Hodgens.

Since September 7, 2007 - © Aerostato, Seattle - All Rights Reserved.

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