My dearest treadmill,

This is a hard letter to write. You and I have had so many wonderful times together — helping me get back in shape after Will was born, training for the ten-miler, listening to Britney Spears … even when times were tough, I always knew you were there for me. You really mean a lot to me, treadmill, so what I have to say is painful.

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You see, I’ve been cheating on you.

It started innocently enough, as these things do. You see, my new job comes with a fantastic perk — a discount on a gym membership! The gym. My old gym. My second home throughout 2011 and 2012. You know how much I have missed my gym membership since I stopped working, and Steve and I went to meet with the membership team over there one night a few weeks ago. (This doesn’t mean you were a second-rate gym replacement, treadmill! I love you for you, I promise.) Sure, we signed some papers and got keychains for the whole family, but it didn’t have to mean anything.

A few days later, I brought Will to the child care area while I — I’m sorry, but I have to say it — ran on the treadmill at the gym. Will it help if I say it was a really crappy run? (That’s a lie. It was a great run. Those treadmills have TVs, and built-in people watching. Is it my fault that my usual treadmill view is this?

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I’m sorry. That was harsh. It’s not your fault either.)

But here’s the thing — Will had a great time in the child care area. They had different cars and trucks, other kids to stare at play with, and lots and lots of room to crawl. Can you offer me that? Sure, running during naptime has been great this last year, but Will is down to one nap a day now, which means that naptime runs cut into naptime chores a lot more than they used to.

Though it may add insult to injury, I also have to confess that … I haven’t even been running much at the gym. I mean, they have yoga. Yoga! The thing I have missed so much since Will was born, the beloved practice I have struggled to maintain — it’s suddenly all available to me again. My gym has an amazing yoga program and I can take a vinyasa class almost any day of the week. I’ve been working on arm balances and challenging myself with new binds and deeper backbends. (I am sure you can appreciate with me, treadmill, the answer to prayer that this new job has been. Meaningful work + flexible schedule + great pay + regular yoga practice with child care included? It’s over the top, really.)

So yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga again and it feels so great. But it doesn’t end there. I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sorry — but I’ve discovered spinning.

Please don’t look at me like that.

You see — can I navel-gaze a minute? Will you indulge me? — you see, my heart just hasn’t been into running these last few months. Ten-miler training was really difficult for me both physically and mentally; you may recall that I found out at the end of January (six weeks before the race and at the peak of training) that my thyroid had gone from mildly hyper to wildly hypo, thanks to the fact that I apparently no longer needed my hyperthyroid medication. (Normal TSH levels are something like between 1 and 3; mine was over 7.) I felt terrible and run-down and miserable and tired and unmotivated nearly all the time, and I found training in general very tiring. I haven’t run further than four miles since the race and my weekly mileage has often been under ten miles total. Before the weather got really hot I was doing a lot of stroller running, and my speed is actually great these days (I think because my runs are so short I can go all-out with speed more often), but even though my latest bloodwork showed normal (and unmedicated!) thyroid levels, I’m just not in love with running right now. Like homemade yogurt, we are on a break.

Enter spinning. I hate to have to tell you this, but I’ve been to a couple of spinning classes and it is really fun and definitely just as hard as running! (I’m sorry. Again, I’m sorry. It’s just the truth.) I am headed back for another class tomorrow morning and I will definitely be pretending I’m climbing the Pyrenees in my red and white polka dot jersey.

Now feels like it would be a good time to start a new paragraph with the phrase but it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Except — I can’t. It has been all sunshine and rainbows. Will loves the child care area, I love my workouts — they even have a rooftop pool, though that has little to do with working out — the routine is great and it’s so much easier to take Will to the gym on Saturday morning while I go to spin class instead of trying to figure out when to fit in a run around Steve’s tennis matches. I lost a lot of workout motivation this spring after I finished the ten-miler and I’m glad I’ve got it back, even if I’m not running as much.

I just hate that it’s come to this, treadmill. I promise I’m not leaving you forever. You’re not destined for a yard sale. I still love you and you were an integral part of Will’s first year. I am sure you will continue to be irreplaceable during times to come as well, when the gym isn’t a part of our everyday lives. Take heart! I can’t bring Will to child care when he has a runny nose, for example, and some days a naptime workout will make the most sense. I still love you.

But I had to come clean. I’m a cheater. I am.

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