Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ode to my treadmill

Today, for the first time in 10 months, I fired up the treadmill. After 17 years of moderate use (less the last couple of years), I'm always surprised, amazed, and relieved when it starts up. My geriatric treadmill has seen thousands of miles and is on belt #2. I'm not shy about my dislike for running inside. But there are days when safety must come first. Today was one of those days. The temperature was -2F, there were 3 fresh inches of snow on the ground, and my run needed to be done by 730am. My biggest concern wasn't the cold or the snow, but my safety. I was worried about a car sliding into me while I was running. So I stayed inside. It was boring as usual, but I got it done.


I listen to music when I run on the 'mill, just like I do when I run outside. I've tried watching TV, but I had trouble concentrating on both activities. Plus, to me, I felt like I was cheating on my workout. I know a lot of people watch movies while they run inside, but one thing I like to do when I run is really focus on my workout and how I'm feeling. Today I felt bored. I also felt winded, running 9 minute miles. I read a couple of articles on comparing treadmill running to outdoor running and learned that there may a couple of reasons for this. #1: boredom. #2: my treadmill might not be calibrated correctly. #3: I'm using longer strides to run. I'm pretty sure it's #2.

This guy! Is 17 years old now. Sigh...
The treadmill was a gift to me from my mother-in-law after the birth of my oldest son. My birthday was a month after his birth, and she asked me what I'd like for my birthday. I joked that I'd love a treadmill, so I could keep running. Surprisingly, she gave me a wad of cash and told me to buy one. I went to Service Merchandise, which at the time was THE store where you could get anything. They had a ProForm treadmill. There wasn't much of an internet at the time and checking product reviews wasn't a thing back then. This baby was a fold up model and had a digital display. I bought it on the spot and we brought it home. I remember running on it, with my oldest son in his bouncy seat next to me. I'd sing to him to keep him entertained while I pounded out the miles. There were times when he let me know that he'd had enough and cried while I tried to eake out one more mile. I pleaded with him to let me finish. Poor kid. No wonder I'm having issues with him...scarred for life...


We got a hamster when my oldest was in second grade. His first grade teacher had a class pet, the hamster, and we watched him over the summer. Both of my boys loved him so much that they begged me for one of our own. Against my better judgement, we headed over to PetSmart to pick out a rodent hamster. The first one we brought home we named Scabbers, after the pet rat that Ron Weasely had in the Harry Potter books. Scabbers gave my son a lot of scabs--he liked to bite--and so back to the store he went. The next one we brought home was a screamer. He was white and we named him Stuart Little. After a few months with him, we realized we should have named him Houdini. He kept escaping from his cage. Even wrapping the cage in duct tape wouldn't stop him. At the time I was working evenings, and when I got home at midnight, quite often Stuart Little wouldn't be in his cage. Usually, I'd find him sitting in the middle of the family room, nibbling on crumbs. "Hellloooo", I imagined him saying. "How was your shift?". Then I'd have to pick him up and put him back in the cage. Ewwwww. One night he was no where to be found. I was so tired, I just went to bed. We searched the house but we couldn't find him. I figured he was gone and felt guilty to feel so relieved. About 2 weeks later, I needed to run on the treadmill. I pulled the bed down and stood on it, ready to push start. I heard a scratching sound coming from the motor. Oh no....I got my husband and when he took the cover off of the motor, yes, there was Stuart Little, covered with black grease. Next to him was a pile of dog food. Oh my.

A few years later, the belt started to fray. I headed to the internet and found that I could order a replacement belt for my ancient treadmill! I was so excited. And now, it became a quest. A quest to keep the 'mill going. My husband replaced the belt. At first, the belt would occasionally slip. I had to be on my guard at all times. Last winter, it started spitting out pieces of plastic at me. I don't know where they are coming from. But let me tell you how unnerving it is to have a piece of plastic shooting out from under you when you least expect it! The other thing that the mill does is randomly speed up and slow down. There is no warning. You just have to be prepared for it. Certainly helps with the boredom factor.



Today, though, the mill behaved. I set it to 6.6. I don't know what that means, in treadmill speak, but it usually translates to 9 mins/mile.  I listened to my music. A couple of songs were the perfect cadence for my pace and that was fun. I mean, as much fun as you can have running on a treadmill. I looked at the numbers on the panel. Oooh, 12.34 minutes! Oooh, I'm running 6.6, its been 16.6 minutes and 1.66 miles. Lots of 6s! The windows started to get steamy. And at the end of 36 minutes, 4 miles, I was done.



I hope the 'mill keeps going for me.

23 comments :

  1. LOL.. I couldn't help but snicker when you said it randomly speeds up and down. I suppose that would help with the boredom factor! I can't watch a movie while on the mill. I usually have the TV on in the background and occasionally I'll watch a half hour show. But I prefer to have the music blaring. I can usually tolerate a 3 mile run, maybe 4.. I've done a 14 mile run before on the TM, but I usually struggle with anything over 4 miles. But I agree, safety first. And I'll do the same thing when I'm cleared to run. If it's just too bad out then I'll hit the treadmill. I'm glad you have a long history with yours :)

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    1. The most I've done is 11 miles..when I was training for the WDW half. I had no choice with the cold, icy winter we were having that year! but oh, was that tough!

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  2. I'm amazed to see people READ on the treadmill. The pages bounce up and down, don't they? Or, is that just my eyes doing that? You've definitely gotten your money out of it. What a sweet gesture from your MIL. My hubs gave me one that I only use if there is ice outside - rare in Dixie. My pace/speed on it is nothing like my outside pace/speed. I guess it isn't calibrated properly. Or, I actually thought one time that I take bigger steps on the treadmill. Anyway, I do run differently on it. It's too funny your hamster was hiding in it with food. Busted!

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    1. I barely use mine and I live in the Midwest! We have pretty bad conditions in the winter, but I'm usually able to get out there most of the time.

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  3. Oh goodness Service Merchandise. What happened to that place? Hilarious that Stuart Little set up shop in the mill. My mill is 14 now and, knock wood, going strong. Hoping for many more years of loyal service.

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    1. Hurray for the old mills! Now I'm on a mission to see how long this thing can last!

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  4. Great post. Always makes me smile. :) I did not get on the mill today...:( I needed a rest day. Stay warm tomorrow. School was called off here.

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    1. Sadly, I still have to go to work. Seriously, who would bring their kids to the clinic in this cold? You'd be surprised...

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  5. Great job, Wendy! My mill is a good 20 years old, and we hate each other. I can make it 2-3 miles tops before I want to pull my hair out and jump off promptly. LOL!

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  6. My tm at home has died. I have one at work. I use it rarely. I hate it but watch tv when I do use it. I ran outside on Monday and almost froze to death. Today I may have to stay inside. -10 windchill

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    1. Yeah, it's COLD here too! I'm glad to have a backup plan.

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  7. Scabbers!! I love that! I also love that "Houdini" was sitting in your family room, eating crumbs, when you got home from work...that is TOO funny. I am cracking up, imagining this in my head; thank you for the comic relief!Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with the 'mill, too; I want it to work, when I need it, and I don't want to have to need it. My PR is 11 miles; I'm hoping for the best this winter, along with my new Stabilicers. :)

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  8. That's about how long I can last on a treadmill before hopping off. Not the same at all is it?

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  9. Great job on your workout. Doesn't matter how or where you do it as long as you doit. I am actually a huge fan of the treadmill. Even though I do not feel like I get as good of a workout in as I'd like I surely grt caught yp on my shows. -L

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    1. I'm glad to be able to get a run in no matter what!

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  10. I want a treadmill soooo badly, but I can't convince my husband. There are so many times when I can't make it to they gym because the kids are sick or it's a snow day or a delayed opening and it would be so helpful to have one...I need to work on a list of reason to convince him. I actually love the treadmill believe it or not!

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  11. I was going to comment on this, I ended up doing a whole blog post. Thanks Wendy.

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    1. Heading over to read it. Now that I figured out who BRYCEDADDY is... LOL!

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