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.