Man vs. Treadmill

Dan here today.  About a year ago, Beth decided to get a treadmill for the apartment to make it easier for her to work out.  When she was shopping for them, she made sure to pick one that was fast enough for me to use as well.  As a longtime runner, I initially scoffed at the idea of ever using it.  However, last month when the temperature dropped below zero and the National Weather Service was issuing warnings that exposed skin could suffer frostbite in 30 minutes or less, I decided that maybe the treadmill wouldn’t be such a bad idea.


Unfortunately, the treadmill wasn’t ready for my onslaught.  For the first week or so, things went fine, but then the belt started to gradually drift toward the right.  This culminated when I was about 5 minutes away from finishing a tempo run and all of a sudden the belt started rubbing against the side of the treadmill, making a noise like a dying cat (not that I know what sound a dying cat makes, but I imagine it would sound something like that).  I quickly hopped off, discovered the problem, and attempted to rectify it by grabbing the belt and pulling it back to the center.  Sadly, I was unsuccessful, and the belt kept drifting back to the right. I called customer service who directed me to the manual, and sure enough, there were some bolts you had to tighten at the back of the treadmill to recenter the belt.  I should probably make a habit of reading the manuals that come with complicated pieces of equipment.  Once I did this, the belt recentered and the treadmill and I got along again for a little while.   I must have stripped the bolts in my futile attempts to tug the belt back into place, however, for one week later, the belt was once again rubbing against the right side of the treadmill.  At this point, customer service directed me to replace the bolts.


Now access to these bolts is somewhat restricted by the foot of the treadmill, which is a large plastic cover attached to the rest of the treadmill by two small screws.  After a washer went missing somewhere in there, I realized I would have to remove the cover.  Whoever designed this particular piece of the treadmill was clearly not thinking it would ever have to be taken off, for the screws were recessed into small, deep holes.  After about a half hour of jamming the screwdriver in there and hoping for the best, I succeeded in removing the screws, taking the cover off, and replacing the bolts, thus ending my long national treadmill-rubbing nightmare.  However, now I had a second problem.  Unless I was Edward Tweezerhands, there was no way I was going to reinstall the screws and get the cover back on.  I tried for about an hour, and finally I gave up.  And that’s why our treadmill is now held together with duct tape.