The dreadmill

I wore my cold weather tights while walking in the “feels like 16 degrees” sunless snow flurries on Monday. My legs stayed warm but the rest of me, including my lungs, froze. I only did half my usual distance and I was wheezing like a rusty accordion. Cold weather walking isn’t going to work for me.

Once upon a time, I bought a dreadmill. I mean a treadmill. For a long time, it hung out in my dining room, multitasking as a coat rack and a, well, place to pile stuff. Perhaps I should have called it an open-air closet. Does that sound better than an unused treadmill buried in junk? When I decided to move it to the basement, to what I hoped would become “exercise central”, there was a bit of dust on it, so I got out the shop vac and dealt with it. Two days into my archeological expedition, I unearthed the camouflaged treadmill. I also found an empty (thank goodness!) hamster cage, a hoodie, a six pack of Snickers (brick hard, but I had to check, didn’t I?), four jigsaw puzzles, three empty boxes, two paperback books, and a thong that had been missing for years. I have no idea how the thong got there. The only thing that I can guess is that it had fled my lingerie drawer in self-defense and hidden in the place where detection was least likely.

Drumroll…..On a Tuesday morning, at 7 a.m., I stepped onto the bumpy, unending road to self-improvement. I fired up my new best friend. The engine of the treadmill sluggishly began moving that narrow bit of torture track. Maybe I hadn’t gotten all the dust, or perhaps it needed oiled, but it sounded as if it were as out of shape as I was. I stepped on and managed not to stumble. Graceful for once, but that could be because I only had it set at one mile an hour. I think a Granny with a walker could have handled that pace.

I learned something new about exercise that morning. Did you know that it’s possible to sleep while walking on a treadmill? At seven a.m., following a restless night, my legs were moving, but my mind was in a fog. I dozed off and on for a bit, and I must have forgotten to move, because the next thing I knew, the treadmill had spit me off the back end. I remember this happening in the past. Have you ever tried that? It’s not a pleasant sensation, and I often wonder if my repeated experience of hurling backward off the treadmill qualifies me for the job of human cannonball in a circus. I was never graceful when I landed, but it always woke me up. This fright flight has not stopped me from snoozing while walking, however, I am the only person I know who has the floor around her treadmill lined with bean bag chairs. It’s just a few steps beyond normal, but it’s better than hitting the floor.

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