Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reality Check

I warm up, starting the treadmill at 2.5 mph, then 3, then 3.5, then leveling off at 4 mph for the next 45 minutes, until cooldown. Toward the end today, I'm feeling rather smug about my accomplishment, when into the gym bounces a ponytailed high school girl with no cellulite or wrinkles ~ anywhere. I can see this because she is wearing really short running shorts and a tight tank top. If I see tanned skin that smooth in a magazine, I take comfort knowing the photo has been retouched. But here is Missy in all her un-PhotoShopped, youthful glory. Thank God I wore heavy blue jeans today, so only I know what's jiggling. Next to her, I have a reality check: My little "pooch" is more a paunch, less a Tinkerbell poking its teensy black button nose out of Paris Hilton's Prada handbag, more an entire L.L. Bean canvas tote bulging with Twinkies.

In addition, my cheeks look like they've just been stung by whole hives of poisonous bees. Missy does not look at me with alarm, as most adults do when they see my aerobically puffed, red face. She's probably too young to worry about anything more than her next math quiz, let alone some old lady collapsing while simply walking. She smiles sweetly at me as she hops up on the next treadmill. When I hear a loud pound-pound-pound, I cannot help but glance at her machine's readout. She has begun her warm-up at 6 mph. Six miles per hour! In a few seconds, the pounding gets faster. Now she's at 7.5 mph!

I amuse myself by recalling once in a while in the past when I've increased my speed to 5 mph, it quickly became more of an arm exercise holding tight to the handles so the conveyor wouldn't shoot me off the back of the machine. After 30 or so seconds at 5 mph, just after one lung lodged in my throat and just before my arms got yanked out of my shoulder sockets, I'd slowed back down to 4 ~ still clinging to the handles though. Missy, however, is not holding on to anything. She runs at 7.5 mph with gay abandon, ponytail swinging to her strides.

Laughing at the contrast and I admit, at her wonderful freedom, which I too must once have had, though I no longer even believe photos of me as a smooth-skinned teen, I disembark the treadmill and turn it off. I ask her if she'd like me to reposition my big floor fan to blow on her. "You don't look like you need it," I add with admiration. She laughs and nods, yes, she'd like the fan. Leaving the gym, I wonder with some pleasure if perhaps she nodded because she was too winded to speak. :-)

1 comment:

tandemingtroll said...

I am glad you changed your title because you weren't REALLY being snarky. My daughter now can outpace me easily in running. I have to use "dirty trick" to catch her in a game of tag, like have one of her younger siblings slow her down. She can also outpace older boys in tag, for which I am truly grateful. I hope she keeps that mentality for many years, or at least a decade.