I’m working on pacing, and so I’ve done a couple of this week’s runs on the treadmill at my gym. The treadmills are in an upstairs cardio area that is usually fairly empty. Tonight there were six people in there which is unusual. They all also seemed to be part gazelle – they must have been going 50, 60 miles per hour on their treadmills.
Having long ago lost any sense of embarrassment at not being good at running around people who are, I set into my run – five minutes running, two minutes walking, lather rinse repeat.
This was the first time that I had been surrounded by this many fast runners on the dreadmill, so instead of them just coming up, passing me, and then being out of my view in minutes leaving me to my plodding, we were together for over an hour. They were all done at the same time and everyone slowed down to cool down and then they headed out, except for one girl.
One girl made a beeline for my treadmill. I braced myself, silently reminding myself not to make assumptions about the interaction that was now imminent. The last time someone approached me when I was on the treadmill (when I was doing short interval speedwork) it was to say “The reason you’re not losing weight is that you are doing these intervals, don’t worry about speed and just go as long as you can.” I gave my best confused look and said “Why would I want to lose weight?” (Some days I have it for the teachable moment, and some days I just don’t.)
So that incident was fresh in my mind as she came over. I paused my ipod, took off my headphones, smiled (which may well look more like a terrifying grimace while I’m running, I’m just not sure) and said “What’s up?”
She said, “If you like running solo that’s totally cool, but if you’re ever interested in joining a group we’re all part of a running club and we’re always looking for new runners!” and then she gave me their website, said “Check it out if you want. Have a good run!” and left.
It shouldn’t be news that someone interacted with a fat person at the gym without stereotyping, assuming, or fat shaming. But I spend plenty of time talking about the people who get it very, very wrong, so I wanted to make sure to take some time to talk about someone who got it right. I’m probably not going to join the club, but it was really nice to be asked.
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