Treadmill Tales

This post is solely meant to be humorous.  It is in no way meant to seem mean spirited.  My husband and I have laughed the past few months about my many treadmill experiences at the gym.  He always says I should be writing these stories down.  I absolutely recognize that I am by no means perfect and I am sure that when I walk into the gym there is someone who crosses their fingers hoping that I won’t pick the mill next to them.  My apologies if that is you!
However, it seems that despite my best efforts to pick a treadmill that seems as isolated as possible, I tend to have a giant sign that says “If you do something crazy/annoying/strange come run by me!”  Below are a few of the most recent examples.
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The Stretchy Runner.
This is the runner who comes over to the treadmill and after perfectly placing their water bottle, phone, iPad and plugging in their headphones they go to town on the stretches.  Usually the first red flag is their leg up on the console of the treadmill.  Yes, leg all the way up on the buttons you plan to use later.  They stretch out their hammies, one leg and then the next.  Then they go into a fun rendition of dancer’s pose from yoga class.  One hand is on the console.  The other hand reaches behind them to grab their ankle, followed by a full body tilt into a version of dancer’s pose.
Both of these stretches usually grab my attention regardless of how hard I to try to focus on the “Today Show” or “Ellen.”  In my many years of coaching, I have yet to prescribe either version and recommend that you refrain from doing so as well.
The Manic Runner.
I have a love/hate relationship with the manic runner.  This is the person who usually comes in and starts out like the stretchy runner.  After several minutes of doing this they turn the machine up to a pace that would be considered by most to be a jog.  But they hit it with high knees and arms flailing and it looks like they are sprinting.  My favorite version of this was a super cute girl who started this way but also ran with her hands wrapped around the back of her head.  She would “sprint” for 1-2 minutes and then keel over panting.  Then she would repeat this two or three times before heading back to the locker room.  I was exhausted just witnessing this.  Honestly I thought I was on a hidden camera show.
The Backward Runner.
Sometimes when I go to the gym in the late afternoon I come across a guy who wears a very large backpack and walks backward on the treadmill.  I am always incredibly impressed by him (because with my lack of coordination I have no idea how anyone can do this) and I often wonder what is in his backpack or if he is training for something.  Perhaps a long backwards trek?
The main reason I bring him up is because he falls off of the treadmill a lot.  And he tends to yell at people around him if they ask him if he is ok.  This is a situation where it is best to keep focusing on “Ellen” and keep your mouth shut.
The Stinky Runner.
When I worked in Central Park at the ice rink there was always a distinct smell as you entered the park.  Remember those horse drawn carriages that Kramer drove people around in on Seinfeld?  They are pretty, they are nostalgic and they are stinky.
The other day I was 3 miles into a 7 mile treadmill run, also known as “torture.”  I don’t mind treadmill running, but let’s be honest, I would much rather do 7 miles outside and vary my daily routes…..or even better, breathe the fresh air.  Suddenly I started to get that distinct smell of Central Park.  Horse poop.
At first I was confused.  It must be a strange scent that wafted in from outside.  Right?  It went away and then a few tenths of a mile later it was back.  Horse poop!    It finally dawned on me.  Someone on either side of me was passing gas, and bad gas!  It was terrible and it began coming in waves.  The person on the left kept looking at me and then I realized they thought it was coming from me.  This situation went from awful to embarrassing!
I considered stopping and going to another mill but at this point I had 2 miles left and I didn’t want to stop the machine, wipe it down and find another.  So I kept pushing on.  And let’s face it.  I didn’t want to leave and let the person think it was me.  So I kept going……In conclusion, it was terrible!
The Time I Was Rained On.
Soon after the gas experience I was having a pleasant run when a gentleman ended up on the machine next to me.  I immediately noticed he had body odor.  Nothing terrible, but just noticeable.  I chose to ignore it and push through.  The scent stuck with him and as he started to run, it seemed to get stronger.  I kept reminding myself that this wasn’t nearly as bad as the other situation and I needed to choose my battles.  “Just pretend it isn’t there Sarah.”  “Focus on the television.”
But it wasn’t the B.O. that made this one of the most annoying runs I ever had.  During one of his walk breaks he popped open his water bottle and did a squirt into his mouth.
But he missed!  Yes, he missed and it hit me on the shoulder and chest.  As one would normally do when they are suddenly hit with cold water, I jolted and almost fell off of the machine.  I looked at him and shouted, “Hey!”  And wouldn’t you know it, he looked at me with the most confused stare.  He had no idea why I was upset.  I don’t think he even realized that the water hit me.  I have no clue where he thought that water went.
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How about you?
Maybe it is just the gym I go to that seems to bring out the best in people.  I know I am certainly not a perfect runner myself.  I sweat excessively, hog the machine for a long time, and tend to have a runny nose.  But I do have to ask, have you ever come across strange treadmill (or other machine) behavior at your gym?

39 thoughts on “Treadmill Tales

  1. This is hilarious! The backward backpack guy sounds FANTASTIC! I have one fascination with a lady who leans at a 90 degree angle on the stair machine. Her ENTIRE front half is bent over leaning on the machine while her bottom half gets a really nice workout. Everyday. how? why?

    • The nosy part of me so wants to tell people that is not the right way or explain that they aren’t getting a full workout. But like you I am also just fascinated by some of the behaviors (obviously since I had to write them down!).

  2. This post is hilarious! haha I used to run at the gym and had so many of those type stories too. Also in the weight room! haha I am glad I have a treadmill in my basement. I just couldn’t handle it. Workouts/running usually destresses me but not when I go to the gym. I come home wound up tight! haha I enjoyed the post. 🙂

  3. This made me laugh! Especially the stinky one! I run occasionally with a girl who passes gas at least 20 times on our run, but neither one of us says anything. :/ it makes me smile every time I hear it. I know… Immature of me.

    • Ha I think that’s funny too. I know a few running gas passers too but I don’t mind outside. I saw the guy at a weight machine as I walked to the locker room and he gave me the biggest grin. That made me so mad and feel a lot less guilty blogging about it 🙂

  4. Oh man, I love these treadmill stories!! Especially because I’ve experienced the same/similar situations. The bad gas and body odor ones are terrible and make me want to jump ship. I’ve also seen people do lunges while walking on the treadmill and side shuffles. Like you, I do not have the coordination for anything other than normal walking/running on a moving machine! And one time, I saw a girl running while keeping her arms straight down at her sides and not moving them at all (she just moved her legs). I wanted to tell her that was probably not a good or efficient way to run, but she was actually pretty fast so then I thought maybe she was just working on something I just had no idea about. Either way, it looked really strange and I was super distracted running next to her. I also hate when people talk on the phone while exercising and you can hear about ALL the drama in their life – UGH!
    Great post and so entertaining! 😀

  5. I too have made the switch and have my treadmill at home now but I must confess that as a previous gym-goer, I was the occasional smelly person… we like to eat garlic at my house. And when you are sweating it out the next day, the garlic smell comes out too. I’d be “holy crap, what’s that smell”… then I’d realize it was me, lol!

  6. Love. also the POUNDING WITH EVERY STEP runner. And the “trudger”–either running or walking. If you can’t do high impact exercise, can I suggest the elliptical or bike! It might better for you!

  7. There is a guy I’ve run next to on a treadmill that literally sprays sweat. It shoots off his body and hits anything in a 2 foot radius. I’ve been hit with his sweat before. I will move if he ends up on a treadmill next to me….I feel terrible, but I just can’t stand it.

  8. LOL! I love reading your blogs!! I don’t always comment, but I do really enjoy then!! This is too funny!! I suppose all the funny people come to my gym later than I. I’m normally the only there at 4am lol…. Maybe “I’m” the crazy one??? Haha!

    • Ha fascinating is definitely one way to put it. The funny thing is that you just never know what you will end up with. I need to head to the gym soon and I am starting to dread the surprises 🙂

  9. So funny! There’s one chick that jogs with almost straight arms – it’s the weirdest thing ever. I think that she thinks she is burning more calories that way. People are crazy.

  10. Oh man, there was this one girl at my old gym who would sort of stand on the elliptical while it went around. She’s be talking loudly on the phone the entire time, never breaking a sweat… One time my husband and I were doing a bunch of boxing drills and sparring, totally killing ourselves, so we turned on the fan because our old gym had no AC… She interrupts us and asks us to please turn the fan off because it’s making her cold!!

  11. My favorite treadmill story happened with what I like to call the “One Upper”. This guy climbed on the treadmill next to me and decided to turn his machine up super fast (to obviously go faster than anyone else running). 5 minutes later (I was wearing headphones), I hear this loud “Whomp!” and look over. Said person just flew off the back of the treadmill and slammed into the wall. He then tried to walk away like it didn’t happen. It took alot of good balance on my part to not fall off the treadmill laughing.

  12. You go to an interesting gym! I did see two girls on adjacent treadmills walking backwards on a super steep incline. I thought it was a little weird but figured they were training for some top secret super spy type race. I’m fine with whatever weird stuff you want to do on the treadmill but I think BO is where I draw the line. And also wearing too much (i.e. any) perfume or aftershave – ugh!

    • I completely agree. I actually used to take hot yoga and there was the cutest girl that would be next to me with super long hair. She obviously smoked and every time her hair moved it smelled like hot cigarettes. Not a good smell for a yoga class!

  13. This is hilarious! I don’t run on the treadmill often for these exact reasons. I did though have the pleasant experience of running next to someone last week who was blowing snot rockets on the treadmill. That is probably the worst thing I experienced.

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