I think something…unsavory happened on it yesterday.
As you know, we invited a treadmill inside of our house. We hear groans, the spasmodic random whirring of the belt, and an occasional shriek from the basement at odd hours of the night but we chalked that up to “owning a treadmill and having it in the basement”. The devil inside us, remember? We expected some devilment coming from the area. It’d be like bringing an ancient mummy into the home. Of course it’s going to come to life and walk around the house attempting to eat our brains. Of course. It’s not just going to stand in the corner, leaning against the wall, harmlessly wrapped in gauze.
So we have basically ignored the portal to hell – and all its tomfoolery - positioned near the rear corner of the basement pointed towards the TV. I’ve used it on only a few occasions but when I do there is always something strange that happens. Last evening as I beep the Start button to life at 4:45 PM and the slow, accelerating turn of the belt begins, time seems to stand…still. Or, at least, move extremely slowly. Four seconds seems like four minutes. Four minutes seem like four hours. When running outside, I’d easily knock off a quarter mile between glances at the Garmin and that quarter mile would seemingly go by in just a few seconds. Inside on the treadmill, that same quarter mile ticks away one hundredth of a mile at a time…second by second…minute by minute…hour by hour…damn was that a quarter mile or a 10k?!?!? I stare at the display with disbelieving eyes wondering how exactly 1/100th of mile takes that many seconds.
The rules of time no longer exist. I tell myself I won’t look at the display. I’ll just watch TV and forget about it. So I watch TV until the next commercial break and then, suspiciously glance at the display and…I’ve apparently only gone 2/100th’s of a mile further. Now how is that possible? I must have watched
The plan was to go five miles. I’m just in ‘maintenance’ winter mode still so I wasn’t busting too hard of a pace. But after what seemed like an hour on the thing, it appeared as if I’d only gone 37/100th of a mile…I think, I was getting delirious. I decided to speed things up to get it over with as quickly as possible.
7.6 speed was nudged to 7.7….then 7.8…every few minutes, I’d increment a little further.
By now, I’m at nearly a 7 minute per mile pace. The treadmill shudders and squeaks. I look down at the display. I’ve gone 39/100th’s of a mile now. Total. Now, how is that possible?!?! The mill continues to mockingly chortle and spin away as my arms fling sweat and my legs struggle to keep up.
This was way more effort than I wanted to get into for a “maintenance” run. We have a little license plate on the back of the ‘mill, for fun, that says OUTATIME. It begins rattling with hard metallic clanks threatening to fall off. I’m in full on speed work territory now.
The display blinks rapidly 8.8…8.8…8.8.
I don’t know how fast that is in miles per hour but as soon as I obtained this speed, the license plate zipped off the back and spun around in frenzied circles. I recall a blazing fiery path zooming out in front away from me and then a kaleidoscope of colors…closing in….narrowing…then darkness…and the mesmerizing whirr of the belt….
I came to a while later. I have no idea how long it had been. The distance display said 5.0 miles on the nose. But I was not sweaty. I was not in shorts or a wicking shirt either. I was seated. In a folding chair. In the middle of the treadmill belt. The mill was still on, humming serenely, but the belt wasn’t moving. The clock on the wall said 4:45…the exact same time I started the run.
I looked down at myself sitting in the chair. I was wearing a nurse’s outfit with a blond, curly haired wig capped by a little 1950’s style nurse’s cap. My lips were streaked with fire engine red lipstick, smeared seductively in one corner. What in the hell just happened? The fish net stockings, the only thing I remembered wearing when I actually started the run, were torn and destroyed.
I don’t know what happened when I hit 8.8. Did I run the 5 miles? Can I record it in my running log?* Why is my lipstick smeared? And why am I wearing lipstick? And why do I have this letter in my pocket addressed to myself warning me never to start a blog "in the future"?
There’s just something altogether unusual about the treadmill. And, apparently, paranormal as well. Time and space do not exist in the way we are accustomed. There is simply no way you can run for 4 ½ hours @ 8.0 speed and only go 47/100th’s of a mile. Whatever happened during that lost run, I hope I didn’t screw up my future. This level of mediocrity is hard to obtain.
I turned off the mill and headed back upstairs to fix my make-up in a dazed confusion. I could have sworn I heard the thing laugh at me as I closed the basement door.
* I’m going to record it. Paranormal or not, I must have logged the miles.