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The Stages of Doing Your Long Run On a Treadmill

There are few things that make your blood run cold quite like looking out the window the morning you have a long run scheduled to see freezing rain, hurricane-level winds, or a blizzard that's dumping feet of snow on the ground every hour. Why? Unless you're super brave and a little bit crazy, those are the only extreme weather conditions that are going to force you to hit the gym—and the dreadmill—instead of the wide-open roads. Slogging through a half-hour run on the treadmill is bad enough, but when you have 13-plus miles on the schedule? Kill. Me. Now. We know your pain only too well. (Plus, long runs already hurt like a b*tch, runners say.) These GIFs pretty accurately depict what you can expect.

Stage 1: "I've got this!"
So you'll be on the treadmill for a couple of hours. That's just like, five episodes of Friends, or one viewing of Bridesmaids. You can read a book on your KindleI You're good. Tooooootally good.

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Stage 2: "I've got this..."
Boredom is setting in. You quickly peek under the towel you have covering the monitor to check how long you've been jogging—and it's been five minutes. That's fine. You're fine. You can turn on the peppy playlist you made for this exact situation.

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Stage 3: "I f*cking hate this."
Nope, this is going to be even worse than you thought. Your legs hurt, your lungs burn, the safety rails on the treadmill are closing in on you... But you can't stop already; the hottie on the treadmill next to you who's casually pounding out six-minute miles saw you come in, he'll know you barely lasted a mile. (Fact: Hot dudes—especially hot trainers—are the best motivation.)

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Stage 4: "I f*cking hate everybody."
Okay, he's hot, but he also has the loudest effing sneakers of all time. You have to restrain yourself from reaching over and hitting the emergency stop button on his machine to shut it up. And don't even get you started on the woman sitting on the hip abductor machine, chatting on her cell phone—does she not see the "no cell phones" signs everywhere?? Just thinking about your non-runner friends sleeping in or making plans for brunch is enough to make you Hulk out...

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Stage 5: "I think I see light."
Okay, there's hope. Your legs have loosened up, you've settled on a happy pace, you've found E! on your treadmill's built-in TV. You're a quarter of the way done! You've got this.

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Stage 6: "I feel amazing!"
The beginning of a runner's high washes over you. (It's no joke. Research shows that the runner's high is as strong as a drug high.) Why don't you run on the treadmill more often? This is amazing—you're sheltered from the elements, you don't need to carry anything, there's eye candy all around you, there's TV... What more could a girl need?

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Stage 7: "I actually want to die."
You make the mistake of peeking under your towel again.You're a quarter of the way done... Still. Is this thing broken?

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Stage 8: "I get to eat when this is over."
Daydreams of brunch bolster your spirits. Your friends will wait for you to be finished to eat, right? You won't even waste time showering, you'll stagger off this godforsaken machine and straight to your favorite spot. Who cares if you get funny looks, you just finished a long run on a treadmill, dammit! (Psst... We decodedwhat to eat after a long run, or any other type of workout.)

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Stage 9: "Remember outside?"
Maybe if you visualize exactly where you'd be on your usual route if the weather weren't keeping you indoors, this will be less mind-numbing. First, you'll just have to check how many miles you've logged...

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Stage 10: "Dammit."

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Stage 11: "Is this chick racing me?"
She's totally racing me. That's not really fair, given that she just came in and I'm more than halfway through a long run, but fine. Maybe I could bump up my speed just a little...

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Stage 12: "Ugh."
Despair. The woman who you were racing is gone. The hottie is gone. It's just you and the relentless, unforgiving pound of your own footsteps on this soulless machine. The TV is blasting a Keeping Up With the Kardashians marathon, and you can't even muster up the energy to change channels. Life is bleak.

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Stage 13: "I can do this."
Finally, a glimmer of hope. You're in the home stretch—justa few more miles and you can get off the treadmill. You resume fantasizing about all the things you'll eat. Bagels and cream cheese and eggs—oh my!

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Stage 14: "I can do this!"
Now you're cocky, even beating yourself up for not running faster or setting the incline a little higher. You're still running, but the pain of the previous two hours is already fading away. (It's not in your head. Science shows that your brain forgets marathon pain super fast.)

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Stage #15: "I can't do this."
It's back. The pain is back. You grit your teeth. Just one. More. Mile.

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Stage #16: *wordless bliss*
You're done! You made it. You can't wait to get off this stupid treadmill, but you don't trust your legs to support you on the step down. You'll tolerate a five-minute cool-down walk.

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Stage #17: "Never again."
You don't care what the weather is like next week, you're not ever doing another long run on the freaking treadmill. Whose idea was this?

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Stage #18: "Brunch?"

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