The View

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life74 Comments


Roughly 4 days a week, for anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes, all winter long, this was my view.

Last November, I begrudgingly left the paved paths of outdoor running, returning to where it all began nearly a year-and-a-half ago.

Let me begin by saying this: I have no problem with using a treadmill. I know there are so many runners out there who absolutely cringe at the notion of using the dreadmill, and I totally honor your cringey-ness. But me and the treadmill maketh enemies not. In my book, sweat is sweat.

However, last year when I finally made the connection to outdoor running, I absolutely dreaded the idea of ever returning to my basement.

Oh sure, I had Neil there to cheer me on.


And I had my ever present reminder of where I'm from, which also served to help me to imagine what it might be like to head out for three miles in an Emerald City downpour.


And I had easy access to water.


And to Kleenex.


But I knew I would be missing that seemingly spiritual connection to being outside and becoming one and sweaty with nature.

But then a funny thing happened over the Winter. I got used to the treadmill again.

I also started missing something that had plagued me all summer and fall long: heel pain in the form of plantar fasciitis.

I didn't really make this connection until I took my first handful of outdoor runs last month, only to find me limping the next day like someone had beat my heel with a large club.

I realized that the pavement is a lot less kind to my body than the predictable tread of the 'mill.

Last year, as a new runner, I would have never made this connection. True, I may be due for some new kicks, but there is a reality staring me right between the eyes: running inside is easier on my body than running outside.

I'll be honest with you: I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I really like the idea of being an outside runner. I really like the sensation of the sun and the wind and the sweat combining in the great outdoors. I really like the fact that although I'm slow, I'm still out there running.

I guess it's experiement time again. I guess it's time to make smart adjustments. I guess that to predict anything from season to season, especially your athletic abilities is an ever-shifting landscape.

I just wanted to share a story from the Move More side of my life today. It's much less whine-laden.


Cathy ZielskeThe View

74 Comments on “The View”

  1. #1
    katie squires

    I really really like the treadmill too πŸ™‚ Most of if not all of my running no matter what season is done on the mill. I am a stay at home mom of two little girls. I like working out in the morning. If I wait till husband is home and try after dinner I am TOO TIRED to go. So we go to the gym in the am, they go to the gym daycare (which thankfully they love) and I run on the treadmill. I love the mill. I set its speed, its terrain. Water is handy and easy to get to. I mix it up a lot. I mix up the incline, I do hills, I do speed intervals, I run different distances and I do long slow runs. PLus its very motivating to see all the skinny biotechs next to me pounding away πŸ™‚ LOL So far I have been ok each time I have ventured outside…I have run 3 races outside and they have been great. So that tells me that there is nothing wrong with me and the treadmill πŸ™‚

  2. #2

    Maybe new shoes? Maybe a different strength and stretch routine for outdoor running season? I dunno. Whatever it is, I hope you can make some adjustments that’ll allow you to run whenever and wherever you want to run.

  3. #3

    Plantar fasciitis wrote me a one way ticket straight out of my beloved Zumba class! Ouch! Keep on keepin’ on!

  4. #4

    I’m with ya’ all on the mill! I actually prefer it a lot of the time. No rain, no excess heat, no foot pain! My treadmill died a short while ago and joining the gym VERY nearby still hasn’t taken care of the desire to work out early and get it done with

    Like you, Cathy, I’m finding running is starting to be painful – and extremely tiring. If I do my usual 4-5 mile run, I am feeling it in my feet and my hips — and I’m also often exhausted by 7:00 p.m.!

    Used to cycle with my Dad when I was growing up – he’s 75 and still rides 100 miles – and am thinking it might be time to shake up the running routine with a few cycling rides. Great workout, great on the legs and butt, and it’s super fun charting out cycling routes… Hmmm…

    Hey, before I go, would you share what treadmill you have? I’m scouring Craigslist to replace the one that died about 2 months ago. I want something relatively simple (can you say less repairs?) but reliable and sturdy.

  5. #6

    I love the treadmill because the bathroom is always available! When I run outside, my feet love me a lot more if I run on asphalt instead of concrete. Also, I use a run/walk ratio of 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking & it kinda mixes up my muscles & I am not as sore.

    Plantar fasciitis is not fun at all. I hope you can find some relief.

  6. #7

    Do you find you still have the pain if you run on a dirt path? Even when I walk, I try to avoid the cement sidewalks and the asphalt because my hips hurt. If I can find a running path, I’m much better off.

  7. #8

    I LOVE running outside! My knee not so much. I would love to be out there in the sun but I would rather be able to simply run so I love the treadmill It makes it possible for me to run without destroying my knee. No matter where, at least you are running πŸ™‚

  8. #9
    Nancy McM

    Oh my goodness Cathy, my husband and I had a similiar reaction! We started last summer with C25k, running outside. Once it got too cold/dark in the morning we joined the gym. At first hated the TM… fast forward to last Saturday, first time running outside in 6 months… it was like I had never run before, we are so used to the TM now. It’s so much safer, more controlled, etc. Not sure how we are going to proceed. I like what Angela said, at least we are running.

  9. #10
    Christine Guest

    My podiatrist has me keep a 2liter bottle in the freezer so I can roll it under my feet when I sit at the computer (my last one leaked, so I need a new one, we don’t drink soda though so I’ll have to dig through the recycling) It sooths and stretches at the same time.

    He also says new sneakers ever 3 months, but I wore mine apple picking, so they must be older than that.

  10. #11

    You said it: Sweat is sweat. Lee Anne only runs on the treadmill for just that reason – and honestly, 2 outdoor runs this week have me feeling full of pain, even running with good form.
    My knees hurt, my ankle hurts…and I got a sunburn! LOL

    I actually prefer the ‘mill – I think running outside is boring. On the treadmill I can prop up my iPad and read a book, which is way more entertaining to me. Then I can sit outside on my deck and enjoy nature. Or go for a walk.

  11. #13

    Yep. Same thing here. Outside = pain so I simply don’t do it. Sweat is sweat and calories burned = a good thing no matter where it’s done. πŸ™‚

  12. #14

    I’ll echo the dirt path (or sand, grass etc.) I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. My teenager is though. He had some feet issues when he ran track but not a one during cross country (and during CC he ran longer distances). The only difference was what he ran on.

  13. #15

    That’s the great thing about running…it can take so many forms and we can adjust it to our schedules/preferences/like and dislikes! I’m an outdoor runner year round 100%, and for me the occassional run on the dreadmill actually changes my gait in such a way as to cause discomfort I never get while running outside.

    I say do what ya gotta do to keep moving, whatever form that takes!!

    P.S. I spent Mother’s Day running a full marathon with my great hubby (my 2nd full, his 10th)…..I could have been home getting breakfast in bed instead at 8am I was at the start line filled with joy!!and at 12:26 I was at the finish line filled with even more joy!LOL

  14. #16

    Do you have a bike that you like to ride? Maybe you could still do SOMETHING outside, just not the running part. Just a thought… TanyaS

  15. #17

    love the treadmill too… I did a run on a concrete path the other day & my calves were killing me for 3 days! since I work from home & have my kids at home as well, it’s just easier to sneak in a run on the fly w/ the treadmill too. I figure running is running & if it feels better on the treadmill & keeps me going, that’s where I’m gonna do it.

  16. #20

    I know it helps. There is a worn dirt path next the the paved one on this route around the lake by my house. Lots of runners are the reason for that and yes, I try to hit the dirt whenever I can.

  17. #22

    I do. I haven’t yet gotten my bike out. It only warmed up here two weeks ago. That’s Minnesota for you. But yes, I will be riding again hopefully next week.

  18. #25
    Debbie S.

    Argh! Plantar fasciitis! I have it, too. I ended up switching to swimming for 2 years when I could barely walk. I got custom insoles made but it didn’t help. Now I am running again, but smaller amounts, mixing it with walking, and trying to employ some Chi Running techniques. I’m not a big fan of treadmills, though I have spent months on one. Good for you for dodging the foot problems! (And I don’t mind the whining…comes with the territory and really gets me thinking. Which is good, right?)

  19. #26

    I found relief from my foot issues with barefoot running. I love the Vibram shoes for this but I’m feeling that my 40 year old knees need a little cushioning so I also wear the Nike Free shoes.

  20. #28

    This comment isn’t in regards to a treadmill, but a post from several days ago. I was reading Melody Ross’ blog this morning and thought of you and your mental struggle with weight, eating, etc.

    see her blog post from May 11:


  21. #31
    Kathy in San Antonio

    Just a thought, but have you thought about have your running stride evaluated and corrected? Not that it will cure the plantar fascitis, but it may keep you running for many more years.

    I’m 4 months away from my 50th birthday, have been an athlete for much of my life as well as heavy for much of my life. I didn’t listen to things I was told along the way (wear better shoes because you over-pronate, get arch supports, etc.), and now I’ve got severe arthritis in both knees, one kneecap is held in place with tape, and am using a cane to get through my day. Facing knee replacements when I’ve lost enough weight.

    I’ve learned the value of good shoes (my latest find is a New Balance shoe called Aravon Robin Women’s Thong – such good support and so comfortable) and stretching (Giam’s DVD on Strong Knees is excellent for prevention of issues as well as making some go away).

    So, looking back and wishing I’d done a few things different. For me, there was always something about the speed of running outside and feeling the movement as you passed by trees, etc.

  22. #32
    elise blaha

    hi Cathy,

    Have you tried forefoot running? Landing on the ball of your foot instead of your heel? I started that in February. It takes awhile to get used to (lots of mild calf pain as your stride changes) but overall it’s supposed to help with injuries – I’ve felt much stronger since starting. Could be something to ease into if you haven’t already. Good luck!!

  23. #33
    Kirsten J

    I’m a walker – I can do 30 minutes on the treadmill when it’s pouring rain or miserable outside (Seattle), then I get bored to tears – but I can walk for 1 1/2 hours easy outside, love to walk through neighborhoods. And you can totally walk at 4 mph, which works up a sweat, but is much kinder on your heels. And hips. And back.

  24. #36

    i’m no runner, but I put my elipitical trainer on my back porch. I love it there (except for the fact that it is ugly and clashes with my patio furniture)!

  25. #37

    I don’t have a ‘dreadmill’ but I do have an elliptical. I don’t particularly care for it, but it’s great for a low-impact workout when my knee/groin injury flairs up. I run in all sorts of weather and prefer long loops that force me to go the entire distance rather than risking the temptation of thinking, “30 minutes is still a good workout. I know I was planning on doing 45 on the elliptical, but 30 is still a respectable workout…”

    I think the most important thing runners can do for themselves is to take care of their bodies. It won’t do you any good to go injuring your (insert body part here-there are so many to choose from when you are a runner) and then not be able to run AT ALL while you heal. I’m not a fan of my elliptical but I’m thankful to have the option to give my knee/groin a break and then get back on those long loops I love.

    Listen to your body. Respect its ‘limitations.’ Be the tortoise, not the hare. LOL

  26. #38

    You’re my hero, whether you’re running inside or outside, whether you’re scrapbooking, or playing your guitar or sharing traveling tips in your own YouTube videos. You just rock.

    Here’s an idea to take your indoor (heel-friendly) run outside…if you don’t have a sun porch, build a little green house in the backyard and put your treadmill out there. I admit that idea has it’s flaws however. πŸ˜‰

  27. #40
    Lori N

    I’ve been getting into running by running outside, but the other day it was just too wet so I did some time on a mill — LOVED IT. Ran for 30 minutes while watching Eat, Pray, Love thanks to Netflix & had not a single pain when I got off. Lovely. I may start putting at least 1 mill run into my workout week just for the fun of it. πŸ™‚

    p.s. I’m keeping lower leg pain at bay & managed to run 2.83 miles this morning after a week off. Yay me! (Sorry — I have to share my successes because this is such a new thing for me.)

  28. #41
    c@rol w

    Cathy, in St. Louis, MO, we have a store called the Good Feet store. They specialize in orthotics that will cure you of plantar faciitis(sp). Supporting your arch is the key to success. My girlfriend had horrible foot pain along with back pain. We went to the Good Feet store and they had her walk onto a special paper that shows you where the issue is when you step. She was fitted with a custom orthotic to goes into ANY SHOE and within minutes (in her case) she received relief. Do yourself a favor – check into it. Here’s a link: See if there’s a store in your state. Good luck!

  29. #42

    I didn’t know you were from Seattle! We are having a sunny day today – third one this week. Which means you know it will rain for a month now!

  30. #43

    I have that video! : ) And I do pay attention to form, which is why my knees dont hurt at all. Chi Running has helped a lot for my knees.

  31. #44

    Elise, YES! Thats what Ive based my entire illustrious running career on. ; ) The whole POSE, or Chi form. Totally. It basically helped my knees to not hurt much at all. But, I have some pronation issues which has led to the PF thing. But, its definitely manageable. : )

  32. #45

    I know that walking is so good for you. I should mix in some walks. And for the record, Im jealous of where you live. It will always be home to me.

  33. #47

    I have worked elliptical into my regime, or at least I did last fall. I need to mix in a day of that at the gym, and maybe drop a run.

  34. #50

    Yep. Couldnt put it down. I briefly considered a pilgrimage, you know, to run with the Tarahumara… ahem, but I decided Ill just stay here in Minnesota. ; )

  35. #51

    I have heard of this store, and i think we have one about 25 minutes from where I live. I need to explore this. Its just time.

  36. #52

    I might be in the minority here but I love the treadmill. Granted, I have not really tried running outside but I don’t see any reason I need too. First off, I paid for gym membership..LOL! There are many advantages to the treadmill which I think have been mentioned before: A/C for when it’s hot as hell outside, the bathroom, easier on the body and I can watch baseball AND jam out to my tunes at the same time!

  37. #54

    Having fought the PF fight (and won, finally) my suggestions are:

    1. Spenco 3/4 length inserts for your shoes.
    2. Socks with a good arch support
    3. Stretch your feet BEFORE you get out of bed.

    That last one was the key for me. Since your feet are pointed down all night by the weight of your covers, the arch muscles get tight. If you hop out of bed and put your weight right onto that tightness, it makes your previous PF condition even worse. Once I started stretching my feet every single morning before I get out of bed, my PF finally began to go away! Now if I could find a similar magic solution for my plaguing ITB, I would be a happier runner. πŸ˜‰

  38. #57

    Cathy, I got the Spencos at a little mom-and-pop pharmacy here, but I’ve seen them at REI. I don’t run without them, but I don’t put them in all my shoes…but I do keep an extra pair to slide into my Docs (my favorite boots but they would probably be unbearable without some kind of arch support). My podiatrist warned me that if you wear inserts ALL the time it actually makes your arches weaker because they’re never supporting themselves, so I go for a balance…

  39. #58

    Well, I live in San Diego where a person can run outside in perfect weather every day of the year. But, ya know what? I was Born To Run on a Treadmill. And believe me, I get plenty of “bleep” about it from everyone. But, at 43, I finally decided that the only person I have to listen to is myself. I’m just running for my health and sanity, and I’m really in this for the long haul. I don’t like pain — and the last thing I need is an excuse not to exercise! — so the treadmill and I have become friends. I also don’t like a drippy nose, bugs, direct sun, or people when I’m running. And I have an overwhelming fear of tripping and falling down. See? My Sole F80 and I were simply meant to be! Golf balls, ice bottles, and possibly new pair of shoes? Hope the PF goes away soon!

  40. #59
    Nan C.

    I envy all of you who run…for me, it’s my elliptical…I love it and it works for me. I’d love to run but my body seems to have an intolerance to it…or an aversion…probably a bit of both. Hope your heel feels better and that you’re able to run outside again. Being a fellow Minnesotan, ya have to get out there while you can! Btw, LOVE your Current water bottle…we’re lucky to have a radio station like them.

  41. #60
    lara jane

    I’m going to against popular opinion and recommend that you see a chiropractor. Ours has “cured” my husband, my MIL, and one of our friends of PF. He also strongly advises AGAINST orthotics and any kind of arch support, so obviously his way (I forgot the name of it and can’t figure it out by googling, my apologies!) goes against most chiropractic. My husband runs in Five Fingers but he’s also looking into Luna Sandals or Huaraches — not those fabu sandals we wore in 80s, but the “Invisible Shoe.” (You can read about Patrick Sweeney’s 10k win in “barefoot” sandals on his blog, which I think is called Bourbon Feet.)

    I wish you luck! You’ve been such an inspiration and I want you to keep going! πŸ™‚

  42. #61

    Put your treadmill outside πŸ™‚

    and get some Strassburg socks…that will cure your fasciitis.

  43. #62

    I love the Current too! Finally last fall i got tired of being guilty and became a sustaining member. Ergo, the water bottle!

  44. #63

    I’m a gym treadmill runner right now because my outside running lead to Achilles tendonitis. It took 6 months to heal. I started up at the gymn this winter and I feel safe, secure, and happy on the treadmill. I can turn up my iPod without looking over my shoulder. (I love my neighborhood, but there are occasional sketchy characters roaming about.) I miss many aspects of my jogs around the school track two blocks from my house, but my family history of ruptured Achilles has me cautious. Better to “wog” my way on the treadmill than haul a twenty pound cast for weeks and a year of recovery. As has been said by many others, whatever works and keeps you moving, do it. You’ve inspired me. Thank you Cathy!

  45. #64

    have you tried a spin class? that’s what i do on my non running days. done right, it’ll kick your rear and it’s not quite as hard on the joints and feet.
    oh and i think of you every time i pass the skate deck.

  46. #65

    I was the same way…I am now the proud owner of the Current tote bag! Yay for sustaining members!

  47. #66

    Have you tried the foot brace for Plantar Fasceitius (or however it’s spelled…)? I got that in January and a friend told me about this brace she used to wear at night. She only wore it a week and the pain was gone. I thought she was smoking something but I bought one at Target (also at Walgreens and I would assume CVS). One week – since January I’ve never had the pain again. It’s $30 so kind of pricey, I guess, but totally worth every penny.

    Maybe you should put a fan up on the wall and then you can at least have the wind in your hair. Then install a sunlamp and you’re good. πŸ™‚

  48. #67

    You know, this speaks to me. I mean, I like to get the runs in. I dont like the pain issues from being out on the pavement!

  49. #70

    Kathy over the winter I became a friend of the treadmill too. I do like it and seem to continue longer than outside before I walk, if I walk at all on the treadmill. I love the outdoors though…so I am in the same situation. I am wondering if we just take our treadmills outside then you can get the elements of the outside with the less pounding on the body with the treadmill. Just a thought =) They do have treadmills that move quite easy.

  50. #71

    if you find a good instructor, it can be very motivating. it takes a little time to make some friends, but there is usually a core group that goes consistently…and in my experience they’re typically very supportive! i find it’s a good supplement to running-helps my cardio, but of course swimming does that too. i just find breathing for swimming so different than breathing for running/spin. you can do this cathy. keep it up. there are no rules. run wherever and when ever you want to.

  51. #72

    Unfortunately, the way most people run, it is very hard on their bodies. In fact the way many people walk is also inefficient. Check out this video for a look at how form effects the end result (whether it be speed or injury).

    Of course Terra Planna has a commercial interest because they make shoes that allow you to run with better form, but hopefully this will be helpful. I’m lucky enough to live where I can actually go barefoot most of the time. My feet have thanked me.

  52. #73

    Cathy My feet are a complete wreck so I know what you mean. I wear custom-made orthotics and toe socks and it works! Now if I could only fix my neck and back!! Geez! But onward!

  53. #74
    Katrina Kennedy

    Do what works for you but PLEASE get fitted for good shoes for your feet. My brother is a crazy long distance runner/manager of a running store. A good fit makes all the difference in the world. Sounds like an ad, but if you have a local Fleet Feet, they know the science and fit.

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