In October of 2019 I experienced Olive Garden like no one else.
The rest of the year was spent mostly on treadmills and vacationing in Illinois. I finished 2019 running 3060 miles. My third consecutive year of running over 3000 miles. I’m on pace for 3800 miles in 2020.
I was mentally prepared for a Boston Qualifying marathon race come December 31, 2019. I ran 10 miles and decided I would run 8 miles every day in 2020, because it’s just another mile…
Worried about the time it would take at work, I decided to get a treadmill for the house. Even without what was to follow in the coming months of 2020, this might have been one of my best decisions I’ve ever made.
Thanks to Black Friday, I found a $230 55″ LED 4K TV and mounted it to the ceiling in our unfinished basement with a $150 Vizio SmartBar system. The back speakers rest on our I-Beam behind the treadmill.
We found a ProForm 2000 Treadmill for $740 and got that installed in front of the TV on some puzzle mat pads. I would later get a Kindle HD 10 as a second screen for $80.
For $1250 I created a perfect workout setup in my own basement.
The key to running on a treadmill is giving your mind a place to go besides the screen that tells you that you have only been running for 3 minutes.
That’s where the Nintendo Switch comes in to play.
The Joycons allow you to have controllers in each hand and play while maintaining your normal running arm swing.
What games to play? I love Civilization as it’s an addictive, “just one more turn” game. It also is a non-real-time game, so you can go as slow as fast as you want. Zelda is another great option but can be frustrating when you’re trying to solve a puzzle and make you want to put the game down.
For a few months, I was actually preferring running on the treadmill as it gave me the opportunity to kill 3 birds with one stone. I could watch/listen to old episodes of The Office, play Zelda and get an 8+ mile run in.
I was getting up early, getting my morning runs in on the treadmill, and heading to work. Come March I was doing the same while working from home. I quickly realized that even though I was running every day, I was not doing much walking anymore. So looking at my normal step count, I did the math and realized the easiest thing to do was just add two more miles on to my daily runs.
As my Dad always told me, when you’re falling, dive.
I wish I knew why I decided it was ok to run ten miles every day. For me it’s a question of, what’s the worst that could happen?
What if I can’t run 10 miles every day? Would my children not look me in the eye? Would my wife drive her car into a ditch? No. I would just adjust. So on March 16, 2020, when TWLO was worth half what it was a year earlier due to COVID scares, I let my pain out on the treadmill for 10 miles, a streak I have now maintained for over 6 months.
The mileage was easy enough at the start, then the reality of the world started to whisper… why are you running 10 miles a day when tens of thousands are dying and you’re trapped inside and your savings are disappearing.
Being trapped inside as an introvert was alright enough, but when you’re mentally prepared to retire early and then you see hundreds of thousands of dollars disappear, you get a little shook. I kept putting the miles in but things slowly got worse. Zelda was now mocking me instead of providing me pure joy.
Then the world realized that Twilio (TWLO) wasn’t going away. It shot from below 70 to above 170. Early retirement was real again and my runs got a little better. But then the basement got warmer and the treadmill was now the sweatmill.
I accepted my new lack of speed and turned the treadmill down, switched to Civilization and then ultimately back to outdoor running at a casual pace. I have now reached 1600 straight days of six or more miles. We’ll see when/if running races continue, but for now my plan is to keep running 10 miles and living the dream.