Four years ago today, I learned that my treadmill had died. Or rather, that I had killed it.
This is what I posted on Facebook about it.
It’s official. I’ve killed the treadmill. It’s not only really dead, it’s really most sincerely dead. We took the cover off the treadmill today and ran it to failure and we could see what is happening. Turns out it’s not the walking belt or the drive belt, it’s either the motor or the motor control board. This just brought the cost for a repair closer into the range for the cost of a new treadmill. I am proud to say that I have actually used a piece of home exercise equipment to death– unlike most home exercise equipment, which are probably sold or given away before the end of their natural lives.
A few days later, I found a way to make its death a little more dignified. A charity would come and take away the treadmill, and they would use it to train people how to repair electronics. They were especially excited to get a broken old treadmill, because treadmill donations were so rare. After the final arrangements had been made, I wrote a eulogy for my dead treadmill.
Born in China, 2003
Adopted August 15, 2004
Died March 10, 2012
I’ll never forget the day I first laid eyes on you. With Google as my matchmaker, I studied a lot of treadmills that were looking for a forever home. You had a 2.75 horsepower continuous duty motor that offered speeds up to 10mph. You had a 20 by 54 inch deck and a soft drop folding frame. You had an incline that varied from 1% to 15%. You came equipped with a heart rate display and a chest strap, and importantly, you promised that my satisfaction was guaranteed. You were the one for me.
The day you came home, the man from the brown truck delivered you to my front porch. His dolly stopped at the front door, and I spent the rest of the day dragging you, still partially in your box, across the living room and down the hallway into your room. You were so heavy that I could only move you a few inches at a time. This was the first day you challenged me, but it was only the first of many challenges.
We counted every minute that we spent together, and we counted the seconds, too. You logged the miles in quarter-mile increments, blinking red lights traveling around a quarter-mile track. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times the lights circled around that track.
In the beginning, I was satisfied to merely walk. In 2006 I signed up for my first race, a half marathon, and that was when we started spending significantly more time together. It wasn’t long after that race when you and I started walk-run intervals. But things really heated up in 2010, when I ran a mile for the first time in my life. We began to spend more and more of our time together running. Running! I’ll bet you were surprised. When you first met me, I didn’t believe I could do that. But you always knew I could, and were continually supporting my efforts.
You were there for me as I trained for more races. I was running mostly outside during last year’s 10K training- but you weren’t offended, you were still there for me when I needed you. You were there for me during the seasons of ice and snow, when it was too cold or dangerous to run outside. You were there for me during last summer’s forest fire season, when running outside was impossible. Our last adventure together was last winter, when we embarked on the Holiday Running Streak.. We ran at least one mile together every day from Thanksgiving until New Years, a total of 55.5 miles.
I didn’t know it, but that was the beginning of the end. You were starting to show signs of your age during the Streak. It started with barely perceptible pauses, slight slips in the regularity of your performance. Those brief slips progressed into more significant pauses. After we completed the Streak, the pauses grew more frequent, and eventually led to situations when you would abruptly stop before I would. I worried that you might hurt me. Our relationship grew cautious. Several consultations with repair technicians suggested remedies, but the pauses didn’t stop. Finally, one repair technician confirmed our suspicions: your demise was fatal. You died at home, surrounded by family.
We spent nearly 8 years together. With your help I lost over 50 pounds, and I learned to run. I have worn out innumerable pairs of shoes, but I never imagined that I would wear you out. Some people might be impressed to hear that a girl wore out her treadmill, but I will see it differently. I will always remember that it was you wearing me out.
You died doing what you were born to do. Every piece of exercise equipment aspires to such a noble end. I won’t forget you.
Nope, I’ll never forget my first treadmill. I’m also not the kind of trainer who would issue a Kill Your Treadmill Challenge. But if you’re the kind of person who would take up such a challenge, I want to know about it.