that time an old man unplugged my treadmill

The last time I got a really good sweat in was one week ago Monday, right before I kicked off my week of sluggishness.

Looking back, with the benefits of a fully rested mind and body, I am beginning to wonder if my last run may have been so traumatic that it left me a little gun shy.

On the Monday in question I headed out to the small gym at my condo complex. The gym features 3 treadmills, a stairmaster, an elliptical and a variety of weight machines, along with some free weights. Of the 3 treadmills, only 2 appear to be of the gym-quality variety. The other one looks a little flimsy, and like it was manufactured in 1942, so I never opt for it.

When I arrived, the place was empty. I jumped onto my regular treadmill and hit the Quick Start button.


The machine was ON, but it wasn’t moving. So I tried to program a run in.

Still nothing.

Rather than futz with it forever, I gave up and jumped onto the other treadmill of the same make.

All good. Did my warm up and then settled in for a 20 minute run. Somewhere around the 12 minute mark, an old man entered the gym. There are plenty of old men there, so this wasn’t news. The residents of my condo complex tend to fall into two categories: retired couples – OR – single strippers (male and female). Of course, I’m totally guessing on category #2 – but based on their slamming bodies, and the hours they keep, I think it’s fair to assume that they work in jobs where physical appearance is important. And where the work is primarily done at night.


The old man comes in, says something (presumably good morning/afternoon). I nod in acknowledgement (earbuds in; Katy Perry telling me to Roar), and get back to my pounding.

I notice he heads to the treadmill that I had originally tried. He punches a few buttons. No dice.

He dismounts and begins poking around the front of the machine, and then starts handling power cords.

And then proceeds to unplug the cord from the wall outlet.

The cord that was powering not the sleepy treadmill but…THE ONE THAT I WAS RUNNING ON.




I wish I could tell you that I went flying off the machine. That would have made for a great blog post. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. When a treadmill is abruptly turned off, by some geezer who pulls the plug, the belt slows down – but is still rotating based on the previous velocity.

I figured out there was an issue only when I realized my legs were getting slower and slower. DOH!

Okay, so I didn’t get hurt, or even that scared, BUT, I did lose all my workout information (distance, pace, etc.) – which, as we all know, means it didn’t happen. The run didn’t happen! Which made me want to hurt this old man. Badly.

uma - kill bill

Don’t make me go all Uma Thurman on your ass.

I momentarily considered bitching him out. But then I remembered that he’s old. And probably senile. And definitely blind. So I let it go.

Yet another benefit of more regular yoga practice: the ability to fight off the urge to maim the annoying elderly. Score 1 more for yoga!

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

69 thoughts on “that time an old man unplugged my treadmill

  1. see…treadmills are terrifying!
    and that gif…that right there is the reason I am not running on a treadmill, not ever!

    also…well done for not grumping at him 😀

  2. Yup – that’s worse than accidentally doing it to yourself when your hand catches the emergency power cord in the front (at least that’s how my treadmill works).

    I have a nagging suspicion that the annoying elderly person will be me sooner than I’d like to believe possible :/

    • Yes! I’ve accidentally pulled the emergency cord while running, too! At least that doesn’t erase your run history/data.

      Is like to think that even as I grow older that I wouldn’t become so careless. There were lots of gym machines plugged into various outlets. He could have followed the cord from the machine in question to the wall outlet. Instead he just decided to randomly guess. Not cool. Ballsy, but not cool.

  3. One of my twins inexplicably decided to stop running on the treadmill while it was going. He doesn’t like treadmills anymore. 🙂

  4. This was like a daily occurrence at my local YMCA. For whatever reason they don’t plug all the machines in. Then the old people get confused and start touching things that they don’t understand. Either that or they hover over you in their Jean shorts waiting for you to get off the treadmill so they can stand on it and talk to someone across the room. I’m pretty jaded about the gym. I could probably go on an enormous diatribe right now, but I will just stop before I get myself all riled up this morning 🙂

    • OH GOD YES!!! It was remiss of me to have excluded the outcome of all his fumbling and cord pulling:

      The old man got onto the treadmill and walked at 2.0 mph for exactly 5 minutes. All that effort to walk at turtle pace for FIVE MINUTES??? What in the, for real, fuck?? He got more exercise walking to the gym from his condo (and back) than he did ON THE ACTUAL TREADMILL.

      It’s a good thing I’m so zen these days, I tell you.

  5. Oh no! Why is it when we lose the tracking data, our workout didn’t happen? I left my fitbit at home one day last week and totally panicked. I even tried begging Ryan to put it on and run around the house every hour to keep the stats where they should be but he thought I was nuts. 😉

    • Yeah, I was actually hoping for a more dramatic outcome, too. Would have made for blogging gold. Then again, I likely would have gone all Uma on his ass had that happened, and then I might be in jail. So all’s well that ends well, I guess.

  6. OMG, Nancy! That took a lot of control not to whack him! 🙂 We could all benefit from Yoga if it means we are not going to maim anyone – especially the elderly. That GIF is crazy! Can you imagine that happening? Thank God nothing like that occurred to you. Ha!

    • I’ve tried to analyze the physics of the situation. I think that when people fall off a treadmill (or go flying off, as it were…) it’s because they either go too slow, or stop, while the treadmill continues to run (no pun intended).

      In my case, the treadmill stopped (well slowed before it stopped, based on momentum), and I kept running. The only danger I faced was banging into the front of it (me moving forward faster than the belt was moving backwards).

      No harm done (other than my lost run data) – and the yoga indeed zenned me out enough to prevent pummeling the old coot. Although I did give him the stink eye, I’ll confess.

  7. I’m the same way with the data, Nancy. It’s all part of those blasted machines. Glad the guy’s not maimed, and you didn’t fall off the backend of the thing and hurt yourself.

    • The guy got off way too easy, considering all that effort ended in him climbing on the treadmill for 5 minutes exactly. Seriously? You just HAD to use the treadmill for 5 minutes??? REALLY??

  8. Totally a score for yoga! Yoga has helped me not to kill my husband a few times. I think I even wrote about that in a post last year. haha! So, the sad thing is I have a kind of similar story. I was running at the gym years ago, hit pause to grab my water bottle left on a bench across the room. In the meantime an older retired woman got on and hit start and immediately was on the speed I paused it at which was like 5.3 or something. Oh I felt so bad!!!! It was awful!! She totally face planted but was fine in the end. Oh my gosh, still turning red with shame just writing it! 😉 poor lady.

  9. So if you’re like me, you finished out your twenty minutes when you got plugged back in . . . right? Did the old guy grunt an apology or just shuffle away? John

    • I absolutely did, and then some. I knew I was at 11:something when he pulled the plug, so to be safe I did another 11 at jog speed before I started my cool down.

      And no, he barely acknowledged what he’d done, other than a shrug and an I’m-old-don’t-be-mad-at-me smile. I was less than impressed.

  10. That yoga really is being put to good use, isn’t it! You’re going to send everyone to their local yoga studio looking for “I want some of what SHE’s GOt!” Hahaha! But what in the heck was he thinking? I did believe that an abruptly unplugged treadmill would send you flying…so I’m glad that isn’t true. 🙂

    • I know, right?! Who knew the power of the yoga?? 🙂

      It was a good physics lesson. Me going forward + treadmill slowing down/stopping results in me propelling to the FRONT of the unit. Me slowing down/stopping + treadmill continuing to move = flying off the back. 🙂

  11. Pingback: weekly workout recap: aug 3 – 9 | my year[s] of sweat!

  12. UGH! Nancy, I feel your pain–the mental anguish pain part. I hate, hate, hate when that happens. That information is vital–it’s what gets me through my treadmill torture.
    Same thing happens to me when I accidentally switch off my electric toothbrush mid brushing routine. (well, maybe I don’t go quite that beserk, but anguish is anguish, right?)
    Love that gif.

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