One day, on a treadmill

I am running on the treadmill in the gym. While pacing at 12km per hour, I stare at the music videos on the array of monitors in front of me. They feature mostly half-naked female “artists” performing suggestive gyrations, while doing very little of actual singing. I wonder at what point did the music industry turn into a semi-pornographic peep show for the masses.

No peeking at your neighbours!

No peeking at your neighbours!

A fit-looking guy without an ounce of fat gets on the treadmill to my right. He starts running. I sneak a peek at his display panel and see that he’s running at a brisk 13km per hour pace. The competitive instinct kicks in and I amp up my speed to match his.

5 minutes pass and I notice that his strides are faster than mine. Another peek at his display panel reveals that he is now travelling at 14km per hour. Not to be outdone, I also increase my speed to 14km per hour. “Come on! Let’s get it on, buddy” I secretly throw down the gauntlet.

While this imaginary contest is unfolding in my head, a pudgy-looking fellow steps onto the treadmill to my left and starts running. Unlike the guy to my right, this man has plenty ounces of fat and doesn’t look like someone I need to throw another gauntlet down against. So I ignore him.

30 minutes later, the fit guy to my right and I are both sweating profusely. He finally stops, gives me a nod and walks off, leaving a trail of moisture behind him.

I take satisfaction in having matched step for step with the guy. As I was just about to ratchet down my speed, I suddenly notice that the treadmill to my left is making a whirring sound of an almighty decibel. I turn and see the not-so-fit-looking guy on the machine nonchalantly staring into space while running at a pace that somehow seems at odds with his physical appearance.

I sneak a peek at his display panel to see what speed this mysterious man is travelling at. 15KM PER HOUR! And he doesn’t look like he will blow out a candle, such is his breathing composure!

For some imbecile reason, I boost my speed to match his. I last 2 minutes and press the big fat emergency stop button on the machine. I pant heavily and try to catch my breath.

As I stagger off the treadmill, I cast a glance at the guy with plenty ounces of fat and give him a nod of respect. He gives a smile and says “Nice morning for a run, ain’t it?“. But, to me, it sounded more like “I whipped your ass REAL good, didn’t I!“.

The moral of the story?

One, thou shall not judge a runner by his cover.

Two, when running on a treadmill, thou shall not peek at another man’s display panel. Better to just stare and enjoy the semi-pornographic music videos on display – they are there for a reason!

Keep on pounding.


31 thoughts on “One day, on a treadmill

  1. mummyflyingsolo

    LOL oh how I look forward to your posts and this one did not disappoint. Don’t dudes already have that no looking rule at the urinal? This seems to be a sorta similiar situation don’t you think? 😉

  2. TIA

    I think this often as I’m running half marathons. Elderly people, obese people, and children fly by me! I feel like I should at least be abele to match them…. But as you say don’t judge a runner by its cover. Some of those cats are tough!!!

  3. Pandora Viltis

    I figured this one out not too long ago. In fact, maybe a month ago I saw a rather large woman running 16k/hr on the treadmill. She was relatively composed… except that she had worn what I considered too small spandex shorts that kept riding up her butt crack. All I could think was how much faster she could’ve run if she hadn’t spent the whole time plucking her shorts out from her rear.

  4. teachermumwife

    I loved this….. I challenge anyone who says they don’t look…humanly impossible. I have a running enemy… We have nicknamed her the
    ‘r-enemy’ she comes out of nowhere and belts past me like her ass is on fire… Then disappears over the hill…one day it’ll get her! Hahahah

  5. Kelly M Hibbert

    Semi-related in nature: I’ve had baby dressing races with other parents after swimming lessons, unbeknownst to them. ‘Yeah, I whooped your ass getting that nappy on quicker than you.’ For the love of competitiveness!

  6. Dad, It's OK!

    I’ll tell you what… that competitiveness is the only reason I finished my first 5k as quickly as I did, and for the exact same reason. A gentleman probably twice my girth decided he was going to breeze right past me in the beginning, I decided I wasn’t going to let him finish before I did. I ended up loosing sight of him around the halfway mark, but I’m pretty sure he probably zoomed right past me while I was panting along the way.

      1. davehuseman

        It appears that, much like me, learning takes you many, many lessons. Nothing worse than being passed at mile 20 by that geezer that you passed at mile 10 who looks twice your age, or weight, or body fat. Or even worse, ALL OF THE ABOVE! And then trying to catch them only to find yourself gasping harder for air and running even slower. That’s when I like to pull the ‘turn around and look for your imaginary running partner’ trick!

  7. Momshomerun

    This post made me smile. The same thing applies to parenting! Don’t start comparing yourself to other parents. That’s the quickest way to stressing out.

  8. strawberryquicksand

    I use the gym at work, at which there is only the ONE treadmill, so luckily for me I am not challenged by other joggers and simply run along at the punk rock pace dictated to me via my iPod earbuds. 😀

      1. strawberryquicksand

        The beauty of the gym at work is that it is pretty much always empty and when there is more than just myself in there, they are all big guys who are humping weights around! I love it!

  9. The Guat

    HA! Yeah that competitive edge sometimes gets us in trouble…better to keep staring at those Daisy Duke music videos. This one was funnier than the encounter on your regular running routine.

  10. Anna Lea West

    “I suddenly notice that the treadmill to my left is making a whirring sound of an almighty decibel.” LOL. I got my butt WHIPPED on the racquetball court by a woman who was 5′ tall and 5′ wide and have never forgotten how badly I judged the player by the cover. Aren’t lessons fun?! 😉 (ps. thanks for the follow!!)


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