Wednesday, August 6, 2008


The gym I have joined has only two elliptical trainers, and they are side-by-side in the midst of all the other stair-climbers, treadmills, and whatever-they-call those seemingly frivolous air-walking dealios (I'm certain they work something - I just can't tell what it might be, except for an excuse to get into cute exercise clothing, look like you're working out but not having to sweat at all).

So whenever I climb onto the elliptical (and because of my knees and ankles, that the only cardio thing I do anymore), there is usually someone already on the other one, or if not, someone will mount it while I am working out.

Now, I am a fifty-three year old white woman. In addition, I know that I look like a fifty-three year old white woman. I also look like a mother of three, possible a grandmother of two to eight, someone has a deep and personal relationship with both ice cream and pizza (and, as I am discovering while writing this, I also seem to have an annoying inclination to write out numbers when it isn't necessary).

I don't think my exterior (i.e. body, physical appearance, 45% body fat poured into spandex) could be intimidating to anyone else under the age of 114 (it was an effort, but I did not write that one out, did you notice?), so when I scrambled onto trainer next to a twenty-something young woman (notice how I said 'young' woman instead of just a woman? That's age showing right there), I was certain I posed no tangible threat or any sort of challenge to her. I would huff and puff while keeping my rpm under 85, my heart rate around 160, and the weight/pressure/whatever on the stride around 2.

So, with my faithful iPod in my ear, I begin my normal slow, gradual, 50 year old lady (hey, I'm on a roll now) warm-up. My partner next-store, meanwhile, is perhaps slightly condescendingly glancing over at my dashboard/read-put/whatever you call the thing and keeping her steady and obviously faster pace going.

But, as with most exercise things I do, I begin to gradually to speed up - just a notch or two at a time. It's nothing to alarm anyone, and it certainly does not quell my young companion's enthusiasm, who is still keeping a gleeful eye on this middle-aged woman next to her (sidebar here - why is it called middle-aged? I'm not planning about being around when I am 106. Middle age should be when you're 35).

After about 6 minutes, I am actually matching my travel companion's speed, and she is becoming slightly concerned. However, confident that this is only an old lady's desperate and last-ditch effort to somehow show her up, she does not increase her speed.


Okay, actually, I don't speed up at all. But I lasted for 24 more minutes - and my 'buddy' finally gave up after 20 (tee hee!).