Friday, September 26, 2008


I don't mean to harp on this new gym hobby, but I have one last complaint regarding the running machines. As I’ve said before,* I run for distance every other day. I should use the word "endurance" instead of "distance". My lacking any real ability renders these less than tantamount. To keep myself within the appropriate zone regarding pulses, respirations, and pressures, I walk one quarter kilometer between every three-quarter run. Last night I repeated this formula for two miles (the infuriating playlist included: walking--Queen's We are the Champions anthem; running--Cyndi Lauper's sleepy True Colors; walking--the Stray Cats strutting; running--Ella bemoaning the regrets of Miss Otis). This process keeps me working usefully toward building cardiovascular tolerance. It's a process necessitating frequent slowing-down and speeding-up maneuvers while I'm still moving on the treadmill. My complaint is about the crappy buttons controlling the machine's speed. They are Star Trek-style buttons: futuristic flat and high-contrast pictographs easier to see than feel. They depress only very slightly. When activated, they work like clock radio alarm controls: press once, and the digital readout ticks along by one increment; hold the button down and the digital readout scans slowly forward, speeding up one gear if pressure can be maintained long enough. It's difficult to do this when my hands are slick with sweat. An even pressure is difficult to maintain on the arbitrary pictograph while moving. It's especially tricky at the dog-tired end of a three-quarter k run. My hand might wobble slightly while I decrease my thumping headlong strides, the button speed gearing down again and again, slowing the belt over intolerably longer periods, eating away that brief walking respite. Frankly, it's infuriating when I'm already keyed-up. There has to be some better kind of button for this machine. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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