Running Backwards

Running Backwards

by eli soto

This is a real-life story of this idiot thing I did once…

Have you ever been running on a treadmill and thought to yourself, “Gee – I’ll bet I can run with my eyes closed”  If the answer is no, consider yourself in the better part of the gene pool and feel free to reproduce.

It had been 30 mins and it occurred to me that running on a treadmill is like watching old people screw.  It’s not exciting and even though there’s movement, nothing is really happening.  Most people would plug in tunes or watch the news while running on a treadmill.  Not me…I made a plan to close my eyes and run for as long as I could.

Safety checks – I didn’t just do this thing blindly.  Well, yes…I mean…I did but…you know what I mean.

  • Hand rails:  I can hold onto them for a little bit while I Stevie Wonder this epic idea
  • Keeping Pace:  There’s a dood next to me running in earshot, so I’ll keep pace with him
  • Timing:  After I let go of the handrails, I’ll run for 2 mins and open my eyes real quick to status check

There are a few memories in my life that cause me to drink until I black out–this is among them.

After about 2 mins, I think, “I’m rocking the shit on this man!  Let’s open the eyes to see how easy I make this look.”  There was one variable I didn’t account for – the elevation function on the treadmill.  I had picked a hill terrain.  Sure, I kept pace with my neighbor, but didn’t realize that I needed to run faster…much, much compensate for the incline.

I open my eyes. First thing I see – my foot taking its last step at the end of the treadmill.  Welp…fuck!

I shoot out the back like a hedgehog and slam into a stationary bike, rattling the lady that was using it.  Shell shock!  I’m hyperventilating. Everything is moving in slow motion.  I’m back on my feet.  Darting my eyes around the gym, I see the awkward stares hitting me – waves of WTF.

“Get back on that horse Eli!  Nobody saw that!  Nobody saw that…just get back on…”  Yeah – everyone saw that.  And they were about to get an encore.

This particular treadmill didn’t have that sensor that shuts off the belt when nobody is running on it.  In my anxious haste, I planted one foot on the treadmill then shot up in the air. I hung horizontally in the air like I was in the Matrix!! For a brief second I thought FML before slamming down on the belt and was conveyed off the back…again!

This time, my sweat pants snagged in the belt and one pant leg rips off.  Somehow my shirt also gets stuck.  I’m at the end of the treadmill, body pinned to the floor while my face gets sand belted.  Pushing up, I rip my shirt and manage to free myself.

Back on my feet.  Blood, sweat, and literal tears.  Sans one pant leg and a shirt sleeve, I look around to assess my future psychological damage.  Every single woman in that gym was now on the floor holding their stomachs because they were laughing so hard!  Their laughter still haunts me, echoing in the deepest parts of my subconscious.

I pull what’s left of my shirt over my head and run straight out of the gym.  I wanted to trade places with an insect and crawl under a piece of shit to hide.  I considered moving to Chad, Africa, and also changing my name to Chad.   Never again did I step foot in that gym.

Some people have phobias of heights, snakes, even clowns.  Now I can’t look at a treadmill without shelling out a couple hundred bucks on a therapist’s couch.  If my only options were working out on a treadmill or getting diabetes…I’ll take the insulin.