I don't know how or why runners do it, jogging outside with other people and crap all around. Just about any time of day, there are runners here -- everyone from Buff McFit to Lardy McChafenthighs. I watch them as I zoom by in my car, weaving around walkers, dogs, strollers, and something that really irritates me: when they jog in place waiting for the walk light to turn. I just don't get it. When I am in run mode, I don't want anything at all to stop me, get in my way,or annoy me any way.This is why I do not run downtown with all these other folks. They can have their lovely lake views and mile markers and rain and traffic and dog leashes that trip them and leave them lying bloody and NO LONGER RUNNING on the sidewalk. Bah. Give me my treadmill.

I love my treadmill. It does exactly want I want it to. It has no weather issues and also has a small fan to generously cool me. This is another reason I don't want to run outside with crowds of people, because I SWEAT when I run. Who wants to see that, some old beeotch slogging along all nasty and salty and probably red-faced and mouth-gaping too? I look ridiculous anyway: headband for sweat so it doesn't run into my eyes and all over my glasses; wrist bands to stop my hands from getting all wet; fingerless exercise gloves to further stop sweat hands, the mono-breast sports bra, a coolmax shirt, and black spandex capris. I look like a reject from Fame or a Jane Fonda workout video. Oh, add the pink iPod clipped on to the bottom of my shirt and we have nothing that anyone needs to view. I can be as sweaty and fail-looking as I like in my own home, thank you.

With my treadmill, I can focus on the whole point of running, which is GO. I feel efficient and goal-oriented, and never will stop at the coffee shop with the delicious strawberry-rhubarb bars because there is no coffee shop in my bedroom. Just the tread and me and a bottle of icy cold water, which my treadmill thoughtfully holds for me so I can sip it down in the course of my hour.

The thing that I like best about it, something that makes me smile, is the tread itself. When I am GO, and especially during a sprint song, sometimes I feel like I am not going to finish the song without dropping the speed down. I am the unlikeliest runner ever anyway -- it isn't my design nor nature to do anything that takes effort. Ha. But sometimes when I am flagging, I look down at my running feet and watch them going in time to the quarter-beat of the song: puh BAM puh BAM puh BAM. I see the tread speeding along in its circle, and it reminds me of sitting in the backseat of my parents' car when I was little, watching the gray road whizzing by and me counting the white lines, one after another, steady. It felt zoomy and exciting. It felt like I was somewhere, exploring, out in the world and going. How can I stop? And before I know it, I have finished the faster song, bring the speed down a bit, and it feels good.

You can't do that outside because you would eventually run into a tree and the City would sue you for Damaging Public Property Though Severe Lameness and Sweat. Lots and lots of sweat.