Can I get an, “Amen!” The snow is melting, and the roads and trails are drying off. The conditions are almost prime for running outside. I don’t know about you but I have been waiting four long months for this.

Running on the dreaded treadmill is just not the same as running outside. The proverbial hamster wheel workout makes me wish I could just hibernate for the winter with the bears. I’m certain it would be easier and less painful to pull out my own teeth than to force myself to run on the treadmill. However, I seem to be able to force myself to do it.

Running outside is heaven compared to the treadmill. The fresh air and the beautiful, ever changing scenery are just a few reasons why running in the great outdoors is so great. It’s also much easier to take your dog along on your jog if you’re outside.

I’ve never run into other runners or my neighbors when I was running on my treadmill. I’ve never felt the wind, rain or sun on my face when I was running on my treadmill. I’ve certainly never enjoyed a good run with a friend while running on my treadmill.

I think perhaps the combination of the mountains of snow, weeks of below zero temperatures, cabin fever, a 15-year-old noisy treadmill and never-ending gray days that have made treadmill runs so painful this winter. I’m definitely glad that it is time to unplug it until next winter. Both it and I could use a good long break from each other.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.