In Which Jenn Runs OUTDOORS and Makes Her Own Pocket Shirt

Treadmill broken


The end.

Oh, I kid, I kid. But seriously, I do almost all my training indoors on the treadmill. I know that’s not considered the world’s best way when races are, y’know, not, but I like the climate control (to a point) and the quantifiable data and the way you can regulate your speed and the fact that at the end I can maybe watch some TV and the machine holds my water bottle and my energy chews and it just works for me.

Unfortunately for me, a tragedy occurred on Sunday: I went down to the gym for my start-the-week-warmup walk, and just as I was turning on the treadmill the entire gym’s power shorted out. No lights, no TV, certainly no machines. And this being Sunday after hours, no help coming from management.

There was nothing else for it: I was going to have to run outside on Monday. So I performed a scouting walk around the neighborhood and found this:

Bethesda Trolley Trail

It’s not ideal. It’s short, for starters, so to make a long run out of it you have to loop multiple times or take your chances out on the streets. But it’s got some nice wooded areas, is mostly comprised of softer asphalt, the hills aren’t TOO bad, and it’s well-trafficked enough to seem pretty safe. And sometimes you run across dogs, which is always good for a shot of cuteness.

Still, it’s outdoors. I don’t do outdoors unless I’m racing or at Disney (preferably both). But it was either that or forgo the run, which was of course unacceptable.

Weather forecast for the day: high of 90 degrees and humid. Sigh. It would have to be an early run to take advantage of “cooler” temperatures, then. So I set my alarm for 6AM, lay out my running gear, and resigned myself to my fate.

Here is the most valuable portion of the blog! If you, like me, find yourself suddenly in need of one of those running shirts with pockets but do not possess such, here is a viable alternative: put your energy gels or whatever in a plastic baggie, then pin the baggie at all four corners to the inside of your shirt, either the front or back to keep things balanced. For easiest access, and assuming your fuel isn’t near the lip, leave the top open. Worked like a charm for me!

Anyway. It happened. I got up at 6AM as planned, saw it was still pretty dark, dozed for another twenty minutes, got up, geared up, and headed out. Here are my impressions of the experience:

  • It was hot and sweaty.

  • It was harder than being on a treadmill, I think because while the inclines weren’t super steep, they existed; they know better than that on the treadmill.

  • Point in the outdoors’ favor: the passing scenery was admittedly engaging. It made the time pass rather more quickly. Nothing spectacular, but flora and fauna and passing other people and the like. At one point I even ran on a covered bridge over a highway.

  • I kinda ran/walked the whole time and my time wasn’t great. I just wasn’t in the groove. Maybe because it was early morning, I’m not a morning person, and I had no race adrenaline to help me along?

  • BUT I DID IT. And it’s good practice for races, which, as you might have noticed, tend to occur outside.

So. Generally people in the running universe say: I hate running on the treadmill. How can I make it suck less? And so I say to you, good people: I hate running outside. How can I make it suck less?

After runnin
When I got home, I found a tiny brachiosaur in the kitchen.
Either that or Nessie has made landfall.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. The humidity was killing me outside so I went inside where I could watch Sixteen Candles and the Food Network–leaving me wondering how I could ever hate the treadmill. BUT, if you want to give an outdoor long run another try, feel free to join the group I run with on Saturday, we meet at Dupont Circle. (And by "run with" I mean they all run ahead of me and I'm just like, "okay, cool, if you need me I'll be at Krispy Kreme when I'm done…")

  2. Nice! I have 3 weekend races this September, but I think come October I'm going to need to check this out… gotta improve my time for Tink! 🙂

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