Saying good-bye to an old friend

Our treadmill had sat in the basement for the last twelve years. It is mostly dark down there, except when my two daughters have friends over, my wife is tidying up, or when one of us is working out. Looking back on it, it must have been a pretty thankless existence for my metal and rubber companion. Long periods of dormancy, were punctuated by intense periods of pounding and abuse. During the dog days of summer, it got pretty musty down there. Then there were the countless indignities my belted friend endured when my girls were little. To my chagrin, my daughters and their friends often covered our treadmill with blankets to make a fort. During birthday parties, kids used it as a trampoline or junglegym. Gummy bears were inserted under its belt, and pizza was smudged on the control panel. Nevertheless, my Landice L8 Sport never flinched. It stood firm, poised for the next 9 mile tempo run coming its way.


As expected, our treadmill never complained. Aside from a devoted wife, a handful of good friends, and my two Wheaton terriers, the treadmill is the only entity that gives to me unconditionally and asks for nothing in return. But unlike the Wheatons, the L8 never dropped a deuce on the oriental. Our treadmill has not been picky about television entertainment. Courtesy of me, it has seen a full complement of ESPN and CNBC. No doubt the treadmill has been tortured by an endless stream of “chick flicks” which are standard operating procedure during my wife’s workouts. My two-railed pal has kept the antics of my post-teenage girls and their friends in strict confidence…what happens in the basement stays in the basement! Nothing enhances an indoor recovery run (the day after my older daughter’s High School Girls Cross-Country team sleepover) more than the smell of spilled beer covered up by Lemon Pledge. As the father of two girls, I appreciate that the treadmill doesn’t share what it witnesses when the boys are over. My L8 never flinched when I needed to do a 21 mile long run indoors because of snow drifts or sub-zero temperatures. It just kept humming along, as I slowly went insane.


Our treadmill has made all of us better. But all good things must come to an end. Signs of failure had recently emerged. The cold –hearted decision as whether to fix or replace was thrust upon me one morning when my long time friend couldn’t answer the bell. Sadly, it was time. I made arrangements to have the latest iteration of the L8 Sport delivered. However, I knew that this treadmill could never truly be replaced. I had trained for twenty something marathons with its assistance. It helped get both of my kid’s and wife into running. It was one of the anchors that helped see me through mid-adulthood. That L8 was special. The day we took delivery of the new model, I was a bit excited but mostly sad. It wasn’t so much the 4-large I had just dropped on the purchase. It was more about turning a page in my running life and my life in general. As the delivery guys heaved my old friend out of the basement bulkhead, my old treadmill saw the light of day for the first time in 12 years. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t the bright sunlight that caused me to well-up a bit.