My treadmill died last night.
His name was Wes (short for Weslo Cadence, 340 CS the Third). He was a good treadmill.
I bought Wes eight years ago when I first entertained the notion running might be a fun thing to do. I didn't spend a lot of money on him since I wasn't sure how much time we'd be spending together. In fact, I think I even bought him on clearance, knowing I'd feel less guilty about wasting the money on him when he turned into a storage shelf within three months.
Wes never did become a storage shelf, nor even a clothes hanger. Wes lived out the days of his life being precisely what he was meant to be.
At first, I didn't put many demands on Wes. We were just getting to know each other, after all, and I didn't want to scare him off prematurely. I'd go for a trot a few times a week and call it good. But as time went on, Wes and I became much more intimately connected. Soon we found ourselves spending hours upon hours together. We were like Bonnie and Clyde, except there weren't any bank robberies involved. Wes never complained and he never failed. He just kept churning away as slow or as fast as my legs demanded.
Wes's demise came on suddenly. In retrospect, I believe it was an act of mercy as I think he knew I wouldn't be able to handle watching him suffer for very long. We were halfway into an hour-long tempo run when he started coughing and sputtering. I was surprised and confused but after a few minutes, I knew what was happening. The sorrowful gravity of the moment I had long dreaded gripped ahold of me. I was going to have to put Wes down and I was going to have to do it within the next 27 minutes.
I spent the final minute of Wes' existence gripping the handrails, dripping sweat on the console and breathlessly expressing my gratitude for all he had done for me. When I mercifully turned him off and unplugged him for the last time, my heart runneth over as I imagined a host of little naked, winged angels carrying him away to a happier place.
Thank you, Wes. I am a better runner because of you.