I could run just as fast as you if I really wanted to

I’m at the gym this morning. I am wearing baggy purple shorts and a pink tank top. My hair is frizzy from sleep, so tangled I could not get my fingers through it this morning so I just bunched it up into a high ponytail. I’m carrying my phone, though thankfully I do not have it stuck to my ear and am not speaking into it very loudly to, say, a boyfriend while we argue about who drank too much last night and why he didn’t call earlier. I am not chewing gum, but my overall look suggests that I might be inclined to do so. That, or smoke a cigarette. I could go either way in this outfit.

I get on the treadmill and push Quick Start, and I am off and—not running—but walking. For being in my mid-40s, I am kinda proud of even being on this thing and being in good enough shape to keep up with it. Okay, so I am only going 4 miles an hour. It’s better than 3, right? So I tell myself as I walk walk walk.

Then he comes in. Actually, I have no awareness of his entering the room. I only become aware of his presence when I hear grunts from behind me, where the weights are. “Ugh” and “ugh” emerge from behind me, groans and grunts that make me glance back. There he is, a petite man, and yes, probably thinner than I am (aren’t they all?) and totally all muscle. He is bench pressing enormous weights, weights that are almost bigger than his head and body combined. Then he sets the weights down and jumps onto a neighboring treadmill and ramps it up within seconds to a faster pace than mine. 

Like, a lot faster. 

Like, three steps to every one of mine. 

He is sprinting and putting me to shame. He runs runs runs, then hops off a couple of minutes later. Ha! He can’t keep up! But no, he is doing intervals and he pumps pumps pumps, grunts grunts grunts, then races back on the treadmill and runs runs runs. I’m wearing out just watching him dizzy back and forth between the weights and treadmill. I press the little arrow that increases my speed. I’m jogging now at 6 miles an hour. Not bad, right? I start counting how many times he steps when I step once. It isn’t pretty. 

I’m ok. I’m in pink. I’m in my mid-40s.

Who’s comparing anyway?

And hey, I could have been smoking a cigarette in this outfit, but I’m not. So there.