Soon after I began running again in Fall 2013, I came across a working treadmill at a garage sale in my neighborhood, which I immediately purchased for a mere $20. I then flipped it up on its wheels and pushed the treadmill almost half a mile back to my house. A couple months later when the coldest, snowiest winter of my life, the worst Indiana had seen in half a century, hit hard and did not slow down, that cheap treadmill proved to be a huge blessing in my life. I truly had stumbled across someone else’s junk that became my treasure.
As I was early in the stages of transitioning my life from obesity to healthy, and still quite a distance from running my 1st marathon, that treadmill was key to maintaining my workout routine. Last winter I ran outside as much as I could, but when temperatures dropped into single digits and eventually below 0º, I had little choice but to stop running outside. The -30º windchills were unbearable just walking to the car, much less running outside for an hour. The frigid temperatures were on top of the 100 inches of snow we received that winter, and running on thick sheets of ice is never fun either. As we could not afford a gym membership, my only option was to run on that old treadmill in the garage.
I noticed quickly that it was hard to breathe in my garage because of poor air-flow, but I accepted that and just kept running. I had to run slower and walk more than I wanted, but all I had to do was survive that long winter in my garage. I eagerly awaited spring when I could run outside again, and while things were not ideal, I truly believe that treadmill was a gift from God to get me through that 1st difficult season of the new, healthier life I was trying to live. If I had not found it at that garage sale, I would have had no options to keep running. I knew that I had to keep moving forward, or I would undoubtedly move backwards. If I had to take 2-3 months off from running at that point, it most likely led to yet another short-lived running career.
A year later, as temperatures have already reached negatives during the 1st week of 2015, life has changed quite a bit. Running has become firmly implanted as a part of my identity. I have run one marathon and just started training for another. We also have a family membership to the Kokomo YMCA now, and I have been able to run quite a bit on the nice treadmills there in recent weeks. The air flow in the large, open workout room is much better than my garage. The treadmills run smooth, and I have found that I can run paces and distances very comparable to my outside runs. Plus I can swim or do a few weight machines after my runs at the Y. Jennifer has started working out there too, and she has already come a long way in just a few weeks. It has been great.
Today I did not have time to go to the Y, and the -19º windchills made it too cold to run outside. I had planned to run 10 miles today, but that was seeming unlikely. For the 1st time since last winter, my only option was to run on the old treadmill out in the garage. I had to move a baby pool full of summer toys from the treadmill and wipe off the dirt, mulch, dust and cobwebs that had accumulated over the months of non-use. Suddenly the treadmill that got me through last winter looked so small. It looked so flimsy. A quick test run proved that this treadmill would not get me through a winter of marathon training.
While I had planned to run 10 miles today, I only lasted 5 on the treadmill. I actually only ran 1.1 slow miles, and I fast-walked the other 3.9 miles. During that very short run, both my feet hurt, along with my shins, my knees and my back. I tried to get a strong walking workout by cranking the incline up to 10%, but then the treadmill was making such loud cracking noises that I thought it was literally going to break into pieces under my feet. So I just walked at a normal 2% incline.
We now officially have a walking treadmill, not suited for running anymore, at least not for a grown man. What was once someone else’s junk became my treasure last winter. Now my own treasure has become my junk. At least it got me through a season of life when I really needed it!