Zen and the art of treadmill maintenance

Today’s run: TBD

I’ve been meditating lately (yep, hot yoga last week, meditating this week: I’m that girl). Specifically, I’ve been working through Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Experience: Manifesting True Success.

Each day, a link to a new guided meditation shows up in my inbox. I barricade myself in my office, light a candle or some incense, sit cross-legged on my dog’s bed, and let Oprah and Deepak guide me from “limiting beliefs” to discovering that my successes can be “infinite.”


“You’re stealing my bed to do what?”

You may think this sounds ridiculous. And if you could talk to 19-year-old me, she’d agree and you could conspire about how lame and new-agey I’ve become over a pitcher of Alpine.

Historically, I’ve been a firm believer in the glorification of busy. I’ve equated success with being constantly on the move or, failing that, at least having a brain that was operating at breakneck speeds.

I’m starting to figure out there’s little glory in dashing through life like it’s a race to the finish line (ironic coming from a runner, no?) and that a few minutes of stillness, deep breathing and turning inward is way more fruitful than several hours with a mind so busy its focus is split in a dozen different directions.

I’m in Week 2 of my meditation experience and we’re starting to focus on making SMART choices. Yep, that’s an acronym. And yep, I’m aware of how super-dorky it sounds, but bear with me.

SMART choices encompass the following:

S – Stretch more than you can reach

M – Make everything measurable

A – Agreement with your inner self and those around you

R – Record your progress

T – Time limits for acting and getting a result

I’m still new to the SMART doctrine, In fact, so far, I’ve only been introduced to S, which essentially just asks that I move beyond my comfort zone and familiar boundaries.

And that’s how I found myself here yesterday:

I’m fortunate enough to have a treadmill in my home gym. I’m also fortunate enough to have a husband who is rather handy and generally takes care of the related maintenance. Not because I can’t do it. But because I don’t wanna. And because that’s just one of the benefits of having a husband.

This past week, my treadmill started skipping. At best, it was super-annoying. At worst? Kind of dangerous. I let dear hubby know that the belt needed to be tensioned and lubricated. And he promised he’d get to it.

But then, of course, life happened. He worked a week of 14-hour days, coming home just to sleep. On Friday, as he was running late for an out-of-town, all-weekend engagement, he gave me a call to let me know that, once again, he wouldn’t have time for the treadmill.

“I’ve got a great idea for your blog,” he said. “Write about fixing your treadmill. It’s something every runner has to do at some point, right?”

Well-played, sir. Well-played.


Tools of the trade (including what would turn out to be the wrong T-handled thingy)

So trying very hard to stretch more that I can reach, I marched into the gym, busted out the owner’s manual and got to work. I learned a couple of things:

  1. Read the instructions. Read all the instructions. I did pretty much everything wrong because I gave the instructions a very casual perusal and then just did what I thought should be done. This included loosening the belt, even though it didn’t need to be loosened, trying to run the treadmill while the belt was still loosened, and doing the exact opposite of what I should have done to center the belt. Essentially, not reading the instructions turned what should have been a 15-minute job into an hour-long one. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the necessary tools. I also wasted a lot of time trying to adjust the belt using the wrong T-handled thingy. The treadmill comes with two T-handled thingies. I don’t know why. I don’t care why. But this would have been handy to know from the get-go. I was also using a new-to-me piece of technology called the Lube-N-Walk. It’s designed to simplify this process because you can just slide it under the belt, saving you from loosening it in order to apply the lubricant. I didn’t know this. So I wasted a lot of time (see above).

In the end, the mission was (mostly) a success. I took my freshly-lubricated, newly-tensioned treadmill for a 6-mile trial run and it worked. Only had to readjust the belt once.

Today I might take it for another spin and enjoy the fruits of stretching beyond my reach. But not until I do some meditation because after that nonsense, my state of zen is in need of some serious restoration.

Namaste, y’all.

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