Treadmill fail

Out of Order

Last week I joined a new gym. There is nothing more motivating than new windows to stare out. I was eager to get a jump-start on my New Year’s work-out goals. Luckily I wore my workout clothes when I signed up.

While very inspiring, a new gym can be intimidating. You feel as if all eyes are on you, like you are the new, out-of-shape girl who will visit the gym 3-4 more times before forgetting all about her membership. You’ve probably never been on a piece of workout equipment in your entire life and you certainly know nothing about gym etiquette and will walk away from your sweaty machine without wiping it down. In a nutshell, you are an awful person who doesn’t deserve to use a gym…

Geeze. don’t these people know that I’ve been running on treadmills since I was 16. And I  freaking ran a marathon once? (I wore my marathon t-shirt to emphasize this point.)

Also, there was no one there other than the girl who signed me up. Minor details.

I sauntered over to the treadmills. Yup, I’ve been working out on these since 1994 back at the ‘ole YMCA. That’s like half my life. I’m a total pro. I can even tell the difference between treadmills. Like reading a fine bottle of wine. Oh yes, the Lifeline brand, vintage 2003…

These machines require you to put in a weight, so I guesstimated based on my physical two months ago, and set the machine for a manual workout with a speed of 6.0 to start with and a goal of 3 miles. Popped in my i-pod and started running.

It was so nice to have a new view. The treadmills at my old apartment complex faced a little grassy courtyard and there was never anything interesting going on out there, other than the occasional dog taking a dump.

Four minutes in, the machine came to an unexplained stop. “Workout paused” the screen read. Hmmm….this had never happened to me. I pushed the button to resume workout. “Workout was paused due to too much pressure on the belt” the machine read before starting back up.

Odd. Maybe I was pounding too hard in my excitement over a new environment. I tried to focus on lighter steps. (Which is hard because I run like I walk – like a duck. A 130ish pound duck wearing running shoes and spandex pants. Attractive, I know.)

Two minutes later the same thing happened again. “Pressing too hard on the belt.” Ok, now I was getting ticked. I hit resume workout and tried extremely hard not to press hard.

Light ducky steps. Light ducky steps.

Two minutes later the treadmill stopped again. The error message told me I was pushing too hard.

It might has well read, “You big duck-running fatty. Get off my belt.”

Ok, this is ridiculous. I marched up to the front desk. “Um, hi. The treadmill keeps stopping on me. Says I’m pressing too hard. But I swear I’m not. Maybe I’m too heavy? Or maybe I weigh way more than I entered, but I put in my weight from my last physical. And that was a doctor’s scale. They never lie. Oh crap, maybe I have gained a ton of weight from the holidays. Stupid yummy truffles from the fiance’s mom….”

The girl looked at me strange. (I have no idea why.)

Then she suggested I try another machine while she worked on a resolution.

“Oh, yeah. Good idea. Thanks so much. Obviously I need some good workouts. ha ha. Not a good sign when you join the gym and break the treadmill. ha ha.”

So I set up a new workout on a second treadmill. Meanwhile, the gal got on my old treadmill and tried to get the error message to come up.

She pounded really hard. Jumped even.

Nope. No message.

Embarrassed, I kept running.

Eight minutes into my second attempt at a 3-mile run, the second treadmill turned off. All together off. No error message. Just off.


Staff lady (who was still tinkering with the other treadmill) looked at me like, “who are you and why have you joined this gym just to break it?”

“Wow, I can’t believe that just happened. Gosh, you’d think I’ve never used a treadmill before. Um, maybe I’ll just try again…”

Luckily, I finished my workout without any further malfunctions of machinery.

I left with two treadmills under staff review and my tail feathers between my legs.

The next day, I couldn’t help but notice the second treadmill had an “out of order” sign on it. Oddly, the first treadmill still appears to be operable. But not for me. I’m never using that treadmill again.

Not only do my 2010 workout resolutions include longer daily runs, they now also include “don’t break any treadmills.”

Keep it Quacky.


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22 responses to “Treadmill fail

  1. Hey, at least you didn’t fall off! I actually did that once ;). Happy New Year!

  2. momromp

    I agree with the above comment. And I’ll add to that, at least you went to the gym. I’m way too self conscious (and uncoordinated) to work out at a gym. Of course, that doesn’t mean I work out at home that often either. Ugh.

  3. Liv

    LOL, I love the story!

  4. I once had a treadmill at home that tried to murder me by suddenly accelerating to maximum speed in an attempt to throw me off.

    These treadmills can be like wild horses, I tell you.

    I got rid of the treadmill after that homicidal episode…

  5. sarastas

    Wow! I hate that feeling of awkwardness when in reality you obviously shouldn’t feel that way because you have used a treadmill before without it breaking. I have seen people fall on a treadmill and as I run I am nervous I will fall and knockout my teeth. Weird, I know, but it is always in the back of my mind as I up my speed. However, running outside is not much safer, I have tripped and scraped my knee before. Good luck at your future gym visits!

  6. Lol. That’s a great story. I’m glad that you didn’t fall off. I have had a similar experience of the treadmill going crazy. Came close to falling off…..but didn’t. Phew!

  7. I have always enjoyed the way gym employees have mastered the art of making you feel like the fulfulling the simplest request, like checking a broken treadmill, is a huge personal favour they are doing for you

    • Is that better or worse than the feeling one gets at the dentist when the nurse that cleans your teeth talks ever so casually about your life and how many times you floss a day but not matter how hard you try to make your teeth perfect for the appointment, she still makes you feel like nothing you do could possibly be enough?

      Any equipment failure experience probably takes the cake. Spotlight centers on you: you broke it, you know it. ^J^

  8. This is too funny, and all too relate-able. I once got over ambitious and cranked up the speed, only to have my iPod disconnect from my headphones, hit the back of the treadmill and shoot across the gym, narrowly missing a man on the rowing machine. Truly awkward. Happy running, and happy 2010! Great post!

  9. Don

    Too funny 🙂 I hate treadmills. I can’t run on them – I feel ‘wobbly’ when I try. So I just stick to a quick pace with an incline. Good on ya for not giving up!

  10. I hate treadmills. This post only serves to further enhance my loathing. Good on you for keeping it up, I would have just found a jump rope and gotten my cardio in that way after the first fail. Nice post! Happy 2010!

  11. Funny, entertaining, thanks for keeping it clean. Don’t give up.

  12. My friend Jenny

    Stephanie, this is your best make-me-laugh-out-loud story yet. Keep them coming please, it’s a boring week at work.

  13. I walk and vigerously excercise at home. I don’t have the dicipline for a gym, plus I am a little embarrassed about going. Like you said, people staring at the new out of shape girl and wondering if she belongs. Yikes. I loved reading this blog. Murphy was definitley there that day for you.

  14. funny story. Runs almost every morning, I’m sure you would be success on treadmills in 2010.

  15. Kyla

    Love the story! Haha, you handled it better than I would have….I probably would have started crying. Lol

  16. Oh dear lord! You should turn it all around and see how many machines you can actually break! It might make the expensive gym fees actually worth it 😀


  17. Haha omg I love this blog, you are too cute!!

  18. it’s hard to motivate oneself in working out if you rely on those failing equipments.

  19. Humor, a crispy laugh,
    that’s it.

  20. Funny post. Odd things happen to me at workout facilities as well. I would not be surprised if I am on some secret banned list or something.

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