I was thinking about my treadmill the other day, and it got me to thinking about the first time we met, a treadmill and I.
It was a long time ago. I was still in college, and in order to fight the freshman fifteen I registered at the local gym, which ironically was the third level of the local hospital.
I had no idea how to use any of the equipment. If I wanted to go for a run back when I lived at home, I would have just tossed on some tennis and found a field to round or a gravel road to tour. I was fearless. When I moved out, I just hit the streets, no biggie. But at college, I worked 30+ hours per week while taking a full time class load, the only times available to exercise were before or after dark, so I tried the gym where there was at least decent lighting.
That’s what I told myself the first day when I rode the elevator up to the third floor (looking back, I don’ t know why I didn’t find the stairs). I stepped off to a flurry of activity, machines whizzing everywhere. I signed up for the least intimidating piece of equipment, and when my time rolled around, I walked up to it, the treadmill. I had no idea how to work it. I pressed a few buttons here and there and figured out the speed controls and the emergency stop, (which I clearly was never going to need).
I found a light jog and felt good about it. Oh yes, treadmill, we will be friends I thought joyfully to myself.
That was until this tanned underwear model jumped on the treadmill next to me, replacing the 80 year old I had previously been embarrassing with my speed and agility.
He picked it straight up to about 8 or 100, somewhere in there, and I didn’t want to be outdid, so I cranked it up to 8, too. I ran track for one season in Middle School, I knew I could do this.
I at least wanted to outlast this guy, so I gave it my all.
I nearly died. I was breathing so hard it was embarrassing, my body was burning, but I kept on.
Then I didn’t keep up. I kept floating further and further back on the treadmill and became kinda weak. The treadmill had tricked me and was now humiliating me. My friend the treadmill and I did not start off on the greatest of terms.
I decided to screw my dignity and slow the speed a bit, but I couldn’t reach the controls, and I was too gassed to speed back up.
I nearly died for real this time, horror striking richly through my veins. I wasn’t sure how to recover – I think I was too oxygen deprived to even think clearly.
The underwear model on the treadmill next to me must have noticed my struggle and gave me some mercy. He looked at me long and hard, saw the terror in my eyes, reached over and slowed mine to a 2, and then finished his exercise wordlessly at break neck speed as I slinked quickly and quietly back to the changing room, thankful to still be alive.
A while later I peeked out of the changing room, checking for any remaining witnesses of my earlier ineptitude. Coast was clear. I speed walked to the elevator, hopped in the first available car, and to my horror the underwear model came jogging over and caught the same car as myself.
Only modeling must have been his side job, as he was now dressed in the white doctor’s coat complete with the stethoscope wrapped around his neck.
Well, good to know for the next time I run into an enemy treadmill that tries to kill me…