Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Olfactory offensiveness, a downside to the treadmill at the gym

Apologies for the rant that follows; I know that no one is to "blame" here, and no doubt there's a reasonable probability that I'm as much of an offender as the guy I'm writing about, but when it comes down to it, we only have our own subjective experience of reality.

Today I went to the gym for my long run (delayed from Monday due to my schedule this week as Mr. Mom). It turns out that I could've run outside, but the weather forecast had called for afternoon rain, and the skies were looking ominous.

I got on the treadmill in the middle of the row, with at least two empty treadmills on either side of me. Six minutes later, a guy started setting up on the treadmill to my left.

He smelled really bad! Not in the "having taken a bath in a week" kind, but the heavy smell of rank sweatiness.* And this was before he ran a single step. . . .

* Correction: Sweat doesn't smell; the bacteria that feed off sweat do.

What was especially annoying was that (1) he could have taken a treadmill two spots to my right, where he would've had no one on either side; and (2) the treadmill he took indicated that it needed to be lubricated, but he started it anyway.

He then proceeded to jog along at a 10 minute/mile pace. He looked much more like a weightlifter than a runner, so I was hoping that he would warm up for a mile and then go lift heavy things. I also thought maybe I would get used to the smell and stop noticing, but it didn't work like that. It seemed like the smell would fade, and then I would be blasted by a fresh wave of it.

Ten minutes passed, and he stepped off the moving belt and manually slowed the treadmill to a walking pace. Excellent, I said to myself.

But after a bit of walking, he sped the treadmill back up to a 10 minute/mile pace!

Okay, maybe he was going to cover two miles . . . .

50 minutes!!!! I ended up enduring 50 minutes of olfactory offensiveness before he finished.

Pepe Le Pew.jpgThe worst thing is that, of course, I realize that there's nothing reasonable that I could say to him. I mean, if I'd said, "Dude, you smell really bad," what response could I really expect? It's not like he had slathered on way too much cologne or anything. When we exercise, we sweat - some more than others. And for all I know, I might also have a Pepe le Pew-like effect on those around me after I've gone running (though, I think, not before I've even started). In my defense, I do try to avoid taking a treadmill next to other runners if possible.

UPDATE (6/26): Apparently this may not be an uncommon problem....

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