Last week at the gym, I was ‘briskly walking’ as a warm up for my run. I was strutting along on the treadmill; listening to a song called “I Got A Man“. It’s about a guy who is trying desperately to pick up a girl and won’t give up. I distract myself with songs that make me laugh to make the time go by faster. Sample these lyrics:
I got a man
You got a what?
How long you had that problem?
I got a man
I’m not tryin’ to hear that see.
Running has been an emotional journey right along with the physical one. The program I am using increases time and distance gradually, but it’s still scary. My husband pointed out to me that for four weeks straight, I told him that I couldn’t possibly do the next week’s workout – and then went and did the workout. I have finally let myself feel some pride and entertain the possibility that I might just run the whole race I am training for. I’d rather run slowly than walk; so run slowly it is.
So there I was; just getting ready to bump up the speed on the treadmill when I heard (over Positive K), “See like her. She’s not going fast enough”. It took me a second to realize that someone was talking about me. What the French toast?
I looked over at the two rudest people in the world who unfortunately, were occupying the treadmills next to me. They were laughing. At me. I got defensive and said “I’m just warming up”. They laughed again. One of them said “Still, you got to go faster. You’re not going fast enough”. I explained that this was my workout – I had it under control. They laughed again. I gave them my “mean” look, and they laughed at that too. “Ooh, she’s getting mad!”.
I don’t know these people. I have never talked to them before. They both have about 15 years on me and seemed to be unlikely candidates for random meanness. I finally ended up just moving to another treadmill. If they thought I walked slow they would fall apart laughing at me when I started running.
You know what I wanted to do? Leave. Cry. Give up. I get wonderful support from my husband and the other women in my running group but two complete strangers came dangerously close to shutting me down. But they didn’t. I ran. Slowly, but I ran. And two days later I ran a little faster, a little further, and for a little longer, just like I was supposed to.
My silly music can block my mental whining out (my knees hurt, my lungs hurt, my feet hurt, I’m bored) but it couldn’t block out the two bullies next to me.
I thought I would turn it into a teachable moment for my daughter. I thought we would have a discussion about how to handle it when people are not nice. I thought I would tell her that sometimes you just have to move away from people, and if that doesn’t work; tell someone in charge. But when I told her about it, she said “Well, how fast were they running?”
She wasn’t even there and completely caught what I missed – they weren’t running at all. They were just hanging around being jerks. Am I really that fragile? Is my four year old daughter really that strong? I’m glad she has enough of her Dad in her to respond with “Oh yeah? Well whachYOU got?!” instead of getting defensive and derailed. It was definitely a teachable moment, but this time, I was the one who learned a lesson.