The treadmill and me; well, we tight. Through dark mornings, late nights, snow outside or any other reason, I have little to complain about the treadmill. I mean, I even wrote a post defending it as a viable aid in the quest for running, and even more specifically, marathon training.
While I do have some allies in this adoration for what some think of as the human equivalent to a hamster wheel (see Colleen’s post here, Tina’s here and heck, about 95 percent of blog content from the amazing Emz) it definitely has its share of haters – but apparently, not in my condo complex!
See, we only have one treadmill at our community “fitness center.” I use quotations because it really is pretty small – one treadmill, one elliptical, two stationary bikes and a few weight machines. As one would guess, it is unstaffed, but has what I call unofficial hours of 5:30 AM to 10:30 PM (which are posted, and we signed an agreement for our key card that states we understand the operating hours). I have been politely asked to leave around 10:33 PM before, but I often arrive around 5:15 AM and have never encountered any opposition to that.
So, I ran 4 miles of intervals last night, and planned 6-7 easy for this morning. Woke up at 5 AM, and was down at the gym by 5:15, ready to run! I set the speed to 6.5 and the incline to 2, popped in my headphones and my Pandora station and took off!
Around 5:30ish, a man walked in. He was wearing technical clothing (shorts, tank) and was wearing Brooks PureFlow (we were kinda matchy). However, he also was carrying a Blender Bottle and gloves (like for weight lifting) and immediately walked toward the weight machines.
Since I’d only been going 15 minutes at that point, I assessed my options. There are no (written) rules about time limits on machines, but I for sure knew that I didn’t want to cut off my run before hitting six. But…what was the “right” thing to do?
I tried to think back at other gyms that I’ve seen with time limits for cardio equipment. 30 minutes, maybe? Okay, well then I could speed up my time a bit and hit 4 miles, then do 2 or 3 later. No…I have class tonight, I don’t really want to do a double…but…wait…he walked in at 5:30, so technically, he had no idea how long I had been on the treadmill at that point, I could have just stepped on it when he walked in, which would buy me until 6 AM.
Meanwhile, he lifted weights. I tried to zone out a little, and had a string of thoughts:
- “This guy is ripped…and well, a guy…so if he really wanted to run, he could run outside.” (one of the reasons I run on the TM early AM is that I don’t really feel that safe running alone in the neighborhood)
- “He hasn’t shown any interest in using the treadmill.” (I know that if I get there and someone else is on it, I [not so subtly, sometimes] look over and try to gauge the situation)
- “Hey, didn’t I just read some PureFlow reviews yesterday about people who wear them for gym workouts, not running? Maybe this guy wrote one of those.”
- “Hmm, I think he might run though…those shorts look like running shorts.”
Eventually, I had ticked off about 5 miles and was on track to hit 6 at that rate by a few minutes after 6 AM. Man in question had transitioned from the weight area to a mat across the room and was doing pushups, planks and other core exercises. He never looked over (like I know I do when I want to use the TM) but I still gave him the benefit of the doubt. I pushed out any doubts at that point, ending the run strong, and opting to cut out my usual walking cool-down…just in case.
The ticker hit 6.00 and I hit stop. I hopped off, grabbed the cleaning wipes and walked over to the water fountain.
About three full minutes later, the Man looked up, then started walking over. I commented on his shoes, and he said, “yes, aren’t they nice, so light!” with a slight African accent…okay, pretty sure this guy’s gonna run now.
He set his stuff down by the treadmill, then started up, as I waved and said, “have a good day.” He smiled and said, “you too!”
So, yes, he was gonna run.
I was glad that did the 6 (instead of 7) but also wondered if I would have done anything different in the situation…and with 7-9 on my schedule for tomorrow, should I have a plan of action in place for a similar occurrence? Are there unwritten laws of treadmill etiquette, and if so, is it my duty to obey them?
What would you do?