I rarely have altercations with mechanical things. I tend to be a fairly logical person and, if there is a problem with something mechanical, I look for someone who can fix it. That’s because, most of the time, I do not believe that mechanical things have it in for me. All that changed last week. When my friend, Beth Roadarmel, left Thailand, I inherited her treadmill. She used to run on it for several minutes each day after work. While I cannot run (thanks to the condition of my knees), I do walk and wanted a way to walk even during the rainy season. While it was a huge hassle to get this large piece of equipment from Beth’s home to my home, I thought it would be worth it. Of course, for the first six months it lived in my house, it just sat there, taking up space. But just before Christmas, I plugged it in, programmed it, and set off walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes each morning. That lasted for three days. What happened next is inexplicable!
On the fourth day, I turned it on, programmed it, and stepped on the belt to begin my walk. When the machine hit two minutes, it suddenly began to pick up speed. When I had to begin jogging to keep up, I stepped off the belt onto the frame of the treadmill and watched in amazement as the belt continued to pick up speed until it hit 16 mph!! I used the emergency stop to shut it down. Then, I turned it off, unplugged it, plugged it in again, reprogrammed it and turned it on again. This time, it went from 0 to 16 mph in record time! I repeated the same sequence several times and, each time, the machine went from 0 to 16 mph as soon as I hit “Start.” I reported this to Julian and, the next day, my son took on the machine. It treated him in exactly the same way. He worked with it for a while and finally discovered that there was only one program that would not cause the belt to accelerate to its maximum speed – the “you-must-program-everything-you-want-it-to-do-manually-as-you-go” program.
Julian had to return to the USA the following day, but I rose early on Monday, determined to give this “Treadmill from Hell” another chance. I plugged my earphones into my iPad Mini to listen to the NBC Nightly News and hit the “Start” button on the treadmill. Sure enough, I strolled along at .8 mph until I manually increased the speed to 4 mph. Even when I took it up to 6 mph, it came right back down to 4 mph as soon as I wanted to change it. That worked for three days. What happened next convinced me that this machine was out to get me!
On the fourth day, I plugged in my earphones and began listening to NBC Nightly News on my iPad Mini. When I hit the “Start” button, the belt began to move a .8 mph, as usual, but without any warning, the incline on the machine went from 0 to 15. Nothing I could do would make it return to 0, until I shut off the power. I went through the same ritual: turning it off, unplugging it, plugging it in again, turning it on and hitting “Start.” Each time, the pace was slow, but the incline moved from 0 to 15 and stayed there. I managed one workout at 4 mph and an incline of 15, but my left knee was in agony the next day. Perhaps there is a solution to this problem as well, but for now, I am walking on the concrete road that circles through my neighborhood, wondering what to do about this possessed treadmill. Does anyone know a treadmill exorcist??