Interesting little known fact about the elliptical exercise machine - the resistance can be set from low to high.
Now I know. (But I didn't know the day before yesterday, when I just hopped on a vacant machine in the gym downstairs. Although I wondered why I couldn't make my machine go as fast as the one my neighbor was using.)
So. It turns out my machine was set for 'up a steep hill'. My first time using it. Owww-www.