January 23, 2009

Why I'm Not A Runner

I was reminded of this incident, which occurred in college, by my mother as she read my 16 Things and again this week as my students started writing their narratives on childhood memories.

So, I'm not a fan of working out. I wish I were, but I've never liked it. In college, though, my roommate, Amy, convinced me to tag along with her to the fitness center several times a week at the fitness center. 5:00 PM was the perfect time for us because it was typically pretty empty as most students on campus were headed to dinner in the cafeteria. If I'm going to work out, I certainly don't need witnesses. I liked being able to get in, get on my bike, and get it done.

On this particular day, however, my jaw dropped as I walked through the squeaky doors. "What are all of these people doing in here?" I wondered. Apparently I had walked into the Twilight Zone because the room was packed. Only two machines were available: a stair stepper and a treadmill. I hate the stair stepper, so my dear friend suggested I take the treadmill while I wait for a bike to open. Reluctantly, I climbed onto the machine.

Under normal circumstances, I would power walk on a treadmill. That's more my style, but the Barbie dolls on either side were running full speed (without breaking a sweat, of course), so I wasn't about to let them make me look like a fool. I immediately amped up the speed and began moving my feet in great strides.

Withing about two minutes, I was fully aware that I wouldn't last much longer. I could feel the heat on my face, though I wasn't sure if it was from the stress of exercising or the embarrassment I felt. The treadmills, you see, were at the very front of the room, and I was convinced that everyone was watching me from behind, waiting for the impending doom. I turned my head to glance at the stationary bikes, praying for an opening to come to my rescue.

Clearly, I am incapable of turning my head without disrupting my entire body, because this simple motion caused me to lose my footing. When you're on a treadmill and you lose your footing, there is only one place for you to go: down. Hard! It didn't help that I yelped like an injured dog on my way down, smashing my chin on the belt.

Keep in mind, dear Readers, that when you fall on a treadmill, the belt still moves. Oh, yes! So, not only did I faceplant on this machine, but then it proceeded to roll me off the back, where I landed, feet over head, on the ground. This is when the Barbie on my left shrieked, "Oh my God! Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," I assured her as I jumped to my feet. Trying to be inconspicuous, I found my way to the open bike and began to pedal. I was completely mortified, but I hoped to save face by continuing my workout as if nothing had just transpired. Within minutes, I was all too aware of a throbbing pain in my knee, and when I pulled up my pant leg, I saw the blood streaming down. I decided to call it quits and hobbled back to my apartment for ice.

I sported some nice bruises for weeks following my event, but I also learned an important lesson: don't let others pressure you into doing something if you don't want to do it! This, my friends, is why you will never again see me running on a treadmill.


  1. i remember that! ha. i hated working out in that horrid, horrid gym - i can't believe how nice the new one is. it's not fair, really. though, those blonde barbie swedes are probably even more intimidating in there than in the old place.

  2. I'm not going to lie...I'm laughing as I'm reading this...replaying the whole thing in my head. I love you just the same!

    Your favorite roommate ever!,
    Amy : )

  3. Haha. I'm so glad you two are enjoying a trip down memory lane!

  4. Oh, sad Erin! I understand the pressure to keep up with the people next to you though...the other day at the fitness center the girl next to me LITERALLY ran twice the distance I did in the same amount of time. Talk about discouraging...