Tonight, I found it incredibly difficult to maintain the Run Smiley attitude on the treadmill. Not because it gets horrendously boring, I mean, they don’t call it the dreadmill for nothing, but because the red digital indicators blaze into your soul from the faceplate of the treadmill.
I hesitated before stepping onto the textured belt. I didn’t want to exhaust myself too quickly which would be easy because of the lack of running I had done lately. I wanted to run at a zen-like pace that would allow me to run for endless hours. even if I was only going to run 30 minutes. My hesitation was the cue for the red digital indicators on the faceplate to squint at me as though they were thinking, “Zen? We’ll see about that!”
Almost immediately that treadmill started to taunt me in a passive aggressive manner. 5.0 mph flashed at me. I swear I heard it sigh. I tried to focus on my form. I thought about short strides and forefoot landing but I heard it sigh again. I adjusted the speed to 5.5 mph after justifying that I had only been easing into running, a warm-up, if you will.
The treadmill bided its time to to see if I would increase the speed on my own. When I failed to react to the flickering 5.5 mph that I’m pretty sure spelled out “snail” in morse code, the treadmill gave up on passive aggressive tricks and upped the ante. A perky little 20 something climbed aboard the adjacent treadmill. I glanced at the blazing red 5.5 mph on my treadmill wishing I had a sweaty towel throw across the faceplate to prevent anyone else from knowing I was a snail.
Of course, I had no qualms in peaking at Miss 20-something’s speed. It was 5.7 mph. My 5.5 mph blinked “s-n-a-i-l” at me again. I was still wishing for a towel.
Undeniably, I subcumed to digital, red indicator pressure. I’m pretty sure I saw a smirk on the computerized face of my treadmill when I reached up to increase my speed to 5.6 mph. The smirk was then replaced by perma-smug as I raised the speed to 5.8 mph a minute later. I’m not certain, but I think I heard the faint starting tones of We Are The Champions as I beeped my way up to 6.0 mph a short bit later.
I might have let those red digital numbers goad me into going faster than I had meant to go but one can’t deny that it felt good to flex and contract those running muscles. I barely had any belt burns on my toes to boot.