No Love For The Treadmill

You can’t outrun a fart on a treadmill.

There’s a myriad of reasons not to run on a treadmill, that being the least of them. I hate running on a treadmill. I even hate the word ‘treadmill’. It sounds like some medieval torture device. Even Sisyphus would decline the maddening punishment of a treadmill. At least he gets to play with a rock.

Training for 1/2 marathon number two began New Year’s Day and I’ve yet to find the courage, or clothes warm enough, to run outside. Time to go shopping because I simply can’t endure another night of this self-inflicted hell. There’s really no mental distraction good enough to occupy my headspace during these sessions. Believe me. This, coming from the king of the wandering mind.

I can endure about 3-5 miles on a treadmill, not a step more. I routinely do twice that distance outside with zero complaints. (Perhaps not zero… but I’ve come a long way and now even enjoy running outside, occasionally.) So I watch movies on a laptop, propped up on a makeshift entertainment center… a plastic Sterilite bookshelf, stacked upon an old TV stand. Even that little escape is no match for mind numbing, destination-nowhere treadmill work. Of course our unfinished, concrete-walled basement doesn’t offer the greatest aesthetics either. Fitting really, the prison-esque backdrop of the torture I’m about to inflict on myself. Should there one day be a leaky pipe that drip, drip, drips on my forehead while I run, I won’t be surprised.

Typically the 3-4 minute mark begins my decent south. My mind and body start playing little tricks…

“You’re too tall, you’re gonna step off the back and face-plant on moving rubber.  You’re drifting right, or left, and your foot is gonna miss the tread and you’re gonna face-plant onto moving rubber.”

And often times, because of my stride, I will kick the plastic covering on the front on the machine. That will, I’m certain, cause me to stumble and face-plant onto moving rubber. We’ve all seen the videos. I don’t want to be that guy.

Damn you treadmill. Get out of my head.

The problems don’t stop there. It’s inevitable. I will, at least once or twice during the course of a run, inadvertently jerk a headphone free from an ear prompting a blind rage semi-silent expletive-laced rant about the treadmill’s birth mother. Typically 5 or so minutes after this transpires, and for no good reason whatsoever, the elevation will rise unexpectedly on its own. I never program that to happen. I never select any course to include elevation. I always choose “Quickstart”, bypassing any course selection, to specifically AVOID ELEVATION RUNS. So why, oh WHY, would the elevation begin to rise?

Spite. The treadmill hates me back.

Most times I prevail over this spawn of Satan, she-devil dreadmill, stealer of souls. (Don’t ask why it’s a ‘she’, I don’t know, but it is.) Occasionally it does get the better of me and I’ll quit in frustration, stomp upstairs and blame my wife because somehow she’s responsible. (Clearly it’s not MY fault.)

So it sits, waiting patiently for our next encounter, taunting me from it’s basement cell. And each time I foolishly expect a different experience, knowing full well Lucy’s gonna move that damn football, and I’m gonna face plant on moving rubber. It will always be my nemesis. My arch enemy. But I will press on. As the scriptures say: “I will run with perseverance the race that is set before us,” because clearly God loves me, and He hates treadmills.

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