I go to the gym at my apartment complex everyday around noon. I'm a slow starter in the morning so by noon I've had enough caffeine that I think I won't fall asleep on the machines. Around the same time a male resident who is a little younger than me comes in and runs on the treadmill. We exchange pleasantries, claim our machines, which thanks to the layout of the gym are right next to each other, put in our iPod earbuds, and begin our workouts. I slowly begin my 30 to 50 minutes pushing myself on the elliptical at a 3-5mph rate, while he begins running at what I can best tell is a 7mph rate for around the same amount of time. With the machines being right next to each other it is kind of hard not to look over and see how far he has gone. When he finished his workout before me yesterday I couldn't help but look over at his workout summary when he went to get a rag to clean the machine off...8 miles in 45 minutes...a 6 minute mile! Now most people who know me know that I am not a competitive person, but looking down at my own machine and my 3 miles in 40 minutes I felt defeated. Granted he is about the size of a twig, and I'm about the size of the trees trunk, and he looks as though he's been running his whole life, and I only began a few weeks ago...but still. After I finished my own workout I walked back to my apartment and wrote an imaginary letter to him on my Facebook status..."one of us needs to change our schedules. I think it should be you. K thanks. =)"
Don't get me wrong I'm not upset that I can't run that fast that far, I just started, I'm not going to be a marathoner right out of the gate. It just feels a little embarrassing, and because of that I would rather work out in the gym alone. When I lived in Louisville, Kentucky I joined a gym that had a "Cardio Theater" where they had basically a movie theater set up with treadmills, elliptical machines, and bikes instead of seats. I loved that, not because I could watch a movie as I worked out, although that was nice, but because they kept the room dark, and no one could see me as I sweated like a pig, or hear me as I panted.
As I was "running" on the elliptical yesterday I leaned down and pulled the bottom of my t-shirt up to my face to wipe the sweat out of my eyes, this exposed my stomach. I didn't think about it as I did it, I just wanted to be able to see, but after I did it I realized what I had done. At first I was embarrassed, I'd just done something I never would have dreamed of a few weeks ago. I did something without thinking about it, and you know what, the guy didn't even seem to have noticed that I had done it. If he didn't notice that, why should I notice or care how fast he is running. I'm not in a race competing with everyone around me, I'm running my own race with myself. Myself yesterday ran 3 miles in 45 minutes, myself a month ago could only go 2 miles in that time. I'm getting healthier and that's the only competition I need to be worrying about. =)