In Which Jenn Bites It Off the Treadmill


Oh, hey! Jenn here. Again. Remember that time I said that for the next post Moon would be back? I swear when I said it I wasn’t lying, but I’m afraid she’s out of commission for a bit longer. She’ll have a triumphant return, that much I can guarantee!

In the meantime, I’m afraid you’re going to have to hang with me a little while longer.  But fear not; I am more than willing to expose myself to ridicule for your entertainment.

I’ve mentioned that the apartment in my gym sucks, right? I’m pretty sure I have. It’s small and the equipment is limited, but I can live with that; the biggest problems are the lack of water source, bathroom, and, oh, the automatic lights.

Sounds like a non-issue, right? The lights are on a sensor that is tripped by movement. So what? Saves in light switch flipping time and wear and tear. Unfortunately, there is a swath toward the back of the gym that is out of the trigger range of the sensor. This is also where the second treadmill lives. If you wind up on the second treadmill and then everyone else leaves, the lights will go out after about twelve minutes. The only remedy (short of pausing your workout) is to grab the machine’s arms, let yourself drift backward just a bit, and then kick out slightly behind you to get a toe back in range and turn the lights back on.

I think you can see where this is going.

So, I’m running. (I run sometimes.) I’m on the second treadmill because the well-placed one seems to be stuck at a steep incline for some reason. I’m about twelve minutes in and the lights go out – while I’m in the middle of choosing a song. I’ve got an okay groove going and I take my music selection very seriously, so I reason: first I’ll pick out my song, then I’ll do the kicking thing.

This was a solid plan. What was NOT a solid plan was, experimentally, kicking out behind me a bit to see if I could trip the sensor without the lean. I could not. This, however, did not unseat me. What it DID do was divide my attention between my legs and iPod juuuust enough that, in the dark, I did not notice that I was drifting to starboard. My right foot hit plastic machine exoskeleton and I went down and subsequently back followed shortly by off.

And then I bounced up, tried to jump back on immediately because I was an idiot in shock, fell off again because, ooh, hey moron, maybe you should SLOW IT DOWN first, so I did that and got back with my run, decidedly sans groove but I HAD A RUN TO FINISH and I was NOT GOING TO LET THE MACHINES BEAT ME.

I was fine. I am fine. Finer, perhaps, than I have any right to be – I have one sore spot on my arm and two friction burns of varying sizes right under my knees, but otherwise I suffered no ill effects. This is good. What is better is that THE GYM WAS EMPTY AT THE TIME. Of course, if other people had been there the lights never would have gone out in the first place, but I’m stilling chalking this one in the win column for Team Serendipity. And that, my friends, is what ultimately separates the humiliating experiences from the amusing anecdotes.

Speaking of amusing anecdotes! A couple years ago, back when I was not really a runner so much as an occasional casual jogger when the elliptical was broken, I went for a run outside, tripped, and ate it on the concrete sidewalk. Once again I got up and finished my run, and was pretty much okay aside from the scrapes, but I realized afterward that a) I had passed several people on that run and b) the wounds on my knees, while superficial, gushed enough blood to pretty much obscure the skin of my kneecaps. I’m sure I was a delight to behold.

And now for your discussion questions:

  1. Have you ever eaten dirt/rubber on a run, indoor or outdoor?

  2. If the guy next to you flies off the treadmill, do you preserve his dignity by ignoring it or do the empathetic thing and ask if he’s all right?

And just so Moon isn’t left out: read her rubber-eating story here.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. This has happened to me, but fortunately I was alone in the gym when it happened so if anyone asks it didn't happen. I think the person who watches the security cameras saved it and watches it when she needs a laugh and oh my god it's going to end up on youtube.
    I have also fallen outside and on the one hand I'm hoping no one saw that, but then I was also bleeding from my knee kind of obviously so when no one said anything I was all, "I'm DYING here and NO ONE CARES!" So yeah.

  2. Haha, you're right! No one expressed any concern about my bloody knees either! Maybe they figure it serves us right for not investing in knee pads and helmets.

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