Yesterday I was cruising along on my treadmill, trying to rack up the rest of my 10,000 steps quickly with a faster run than usual, when I hopped off for a sec and left the treadmill running to turn on a secondary fan, such was the sweat being produced off my brow… Then I totally spaced out as I went to get back on the treadmill. I had a television show playing on my iPad, I got all involved in the narrative of Chandler and Monica for just a second and then casually stepped onto the treadmill while it was whizzing along at 5.5 mph (yes, that is whizzing for me). Sideways. With both feet.
What happens next is consistent fodder for America’s Funniest Videos. My feet went flying out from underneath me, my right hip slammed onto the belt while my right hand reached out and caught the handle above my head. My other arm flailed about while I thought to myself, “This is why there’s a safety magnet on this thing!”
I haaaate the safety magnet. It’s this little magnet that has to be on the treadmill to make it work. The other side connects to your shirt or whatever, and if you fall, the magnet gets yanked off the machine and it immediately comes to a full stop. I don’t like it because when I run I constantly, accidentally, pull it off, and the belt stops so abruptly that I almost slam into the control panel time after time, losing my stats and disrupting my run! No safety, however, meant the belt was just cruising along, so I knew that if I let go I would just get pushed down to the bottom of the treadmill against the garage door while the belt continued to turn and turn and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get out of that position before I was given a pretty nasty friction burn. Instead, I just hung on. And as I hung on, I realized I had control of my body and I very calmly started problem solving my way out of this predicament. I was able to flip my body over, grab the handle with my other hand and then I was able to pull myself up and plant both of my feet on the sides of the treadmill!
I know that might not seem like such a big deal to some people, but when you’ve weighed over 300 pounds, upper body strength is unreliable at best. My arms were not made to support 340 pounds. 199 though? Apparently I can do that. I tell you what, I felt like Tom Cruise from that Mission Impossible movie where he was hanging off a cliff backwards and flipping around and other such insanity. I felt tough and capable- capable of saving myself! That’s a pretty big deal.
After I righted myself, I paused the treadmill and stood there all breathless for a second, assessing my body, assessing my ability to continue. I wanted to stop. It seemed appropriate to stop, but instead I pulled up my big girl pants – you know the ones, thick with polyester, elastic and pull up to your ribs! Yep, those ones. Then I flipped the treadmill back on and finished my three miles as fast as I could.
I feel proud. Like, stupid level of proud. I’m as proud as I was the first time I ran a mile, as when I reached my first weightloss milestone, as when I ran my first 5K. I proved something more important than running far or fast- I proved that I can protect my health with my strength. That’s new and it’s quite thrilling.