Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Treadmill, I Beat You

I loathe treadmill running. So much, in fact, that I tend to run as fast as I can just to get off the damn thing. Not wise, I know, but I do it anyway.

Over the past week, however, late nights at work, my everlasting hatred of getting up early to run and a winter blast over the weekend led to far too many miles on the mill.

Today after work I headed for the gym for four miles. As I shed my work clothes and pulled on running stuff I realized I forgot a headband. Fortunately I just got most of my hair chopped off so I decided I could handle a few sweaty strands in my eyes.

Then I reached for my iPod. Dead battery. Unacceptable. I depend on it to make the miles tick by. Depend completely. After contemplating bailing and going home to eat some chips and slug some beer I decided to do a two-mile time trial and then get the hell out of there.

Hopped on, cranked the POS up to a barely tolerable speed and stared at the clock on the wall in front of me. After a mile I was surprised that I felt like I was jogging -- I was running comfortably and my breathing did not sound like the normal sweaty beast I turn into. I picked up the pace a bit more. As I neared the two-mile mark I decided to go for a 5k treadmill PR. I was well on my way when I hit the 2.5-mile mark.

Then the gym started looking bizarre. A bit foggy. Smoky, you might say. "That's weird," I thought to myself. "Runrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunihatethetredmillhatehatehatealmostdonealmostdone."

And then, a smell. Sawdust mixed with campfire. Followed by quite a sound -- a squeal of brakes mixed with dial-up-modem.

The treadmill came to a grinding halt. Because it was on fire. Not a complete inferno, but smoke was pouring out from under the belt.

Hmm.

I looked around. People were looking at me. I pretended that nothing was happening. The treadmill screen alternated blinking "fatal error" and "no signal."

I hopped off and headed to the guy at the front desk. "The treadmill third from the end is ablaze," I said. But he knew that already. Ok, ablaze was overstating things, but there was some serious smoldering action happening.

Unsure of what proper gym etiquette called for in such circumstances, I thought about grabbing for the sanitizing wipes and making sure my sweat was off the machine. But that seemed dangerous. Instead I grabbed a magazine and hopped on the elliptical for a bit. While I ellipticalled I watched the guy at the front desk unplug the treadmill, squirt it with water from a squirt bottle, scribble "Out of order" on a post-it and stick it to the machine. I started to giggle. Then laugh. A lot. Like a weirdo. So I went home.

And yes, I am fully aware that the fact the damn thing caught fire had nothing to do with me running -- I am not so fast at all -- and everything to do with the fact that my crazy inexpensive gym is so cheap because the equipment is junk.




8 comments:

Kate said...

Oh, no, you totally ran that treadmill into the ground. I think you should definitely stick wtih that version.

I hate the treadmill, except for speedwork. Once when we were out of town for one of my son's volleyball tournaments, I had to run 14 miles on the TM because Chicago had had a ton of snow and I didn't want to leave my kid alone in a hotel while I went out adventuring in hopes of finding a clear enough stretch of path to run 14 miles. It was the longest, most unpleasant run ever...and I say that having run a marathon where every 2 miles I had to stagger to the bathrom. I wouldn't have been surprised to find the treadmill in flames since it was pure hell anyway. :P

Laurie said...

Yah, Kate! You are right! It ignited because treaemills are from hell.

Lia said...

YOU CAUGHT A TREADMILL ON FIRE THAT'S AWESOME.

Own it, girl.

greekmelie said...

you killed it! literally :-P

Abby said...

"Fatal error?"

That's sort of fantastic.

Mallory said...

That is AWESOME (obviously because you didn't get hurt)!!!!!

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ratherthecouch said...

I disagree. I think it's totally your fault the treadmill caught on fire. I also think you should get a medal (and maybe some prize money) for running that fast.