I’ve been in a long-term abusive relationship for many years. Things had been pretty good between the two of us for almost two years because my husband and I have been siding and renovating the house, chopping and splitting firewood, and doing a lot of landscaping on our property, but now that most of it is over I am back to being mistreated. You see my treadmill has been sitting in the corner gathering dust for these past two years, mainly because she hasn’t had access to power, but also because I was too busy to pay her much attention, but no longer. She is back with a vengeance. Yes, Matilda and I have a love/hate abusive relationship that’s been going on for ten years now.
Prior to me getting this instrument of torture and torment I used to do all of my running outside. No matter the weather, no matter the day, no matter the circumstance. Whether it was blazing heat, icy winds, soggy grounds, or balmy skies I would tie up my laces and hit the great outdoors running. I splashed, I followed trails which I knew had kilometers of shade, I squinted at blurry shapes which morphed into moose, I threw rocks at bears, and hollered at coyotes. My running partner Wendy and I would wade through waist-deep snows, scale the sides of mountains, splash through creeks and rivers, run on hot dusty highways, all the while thinking that we were having fun. Eventually Wendy quit running, so I was left to run with my dogs.
Then came the sad day when the winter’s ground was no longer safe for aging legs and weak ankles; that is when Matilda came into my life. Matilda and her tread belt of doom. She is a mean and unrelenting taskmaster. But when the roads are ice-covered, or so deep with mud that the runners would be sucked right off my feet, I plug her in and turn her on. Over the years I have run hundreds of kilometers on her but have never been able to leave her behind. I complain, I pant, I sweat so much that her tread belt looks as if it’s been whirling around in a shower. She doesn’t care, she just spins, and spins, and spins. She never talks to me, never tells me that we are having fun, and doesn’t ever get tired. Bitch.
The other day during a snowstorm I was running along, going nowhere at a steady pace. The music was blaring, my window was wide open in the hope that it would cool some of the sweat running off of me in sheets. I was watching snow-devils twirl across the lake as the icy winds scraped the birds right out of the sky, and was grateful for my treadmill of doom.
“dog on treadmill” by normanack. Creative Commons Flickr. Some rights reserved.