I'm not a competitive person, really. I never have been. I'm pretty content to not be the best at anything. I like to be as good as I can be, without going through too much trouble to get there.
Anyway, I went to the gym yesterday, as I have every day since I joined, in my quest to become Linda-Hamilton-in-Terminator-2 in time for my wedding. I was on the hamster wheel -- I mean the elliptical, Wu Tang in the headphones, zoning out. About 10 minutes into my workout, a 50-something man gets on the machine next to me. He starts moving and I SWEAR TO GOD we were synchronized. Then he started stealing glances at the display of my elliptical so that he could go faster than me. Whatever, I thought, maybe I'm being paranoid. I'm self-conscious almost to a fault, and I always think people are looking at me when they are not. Why would this old man need to one-up me on the elliptical? There were plenty of fitter people there if he was looking for motivation.
After my 30 minutes were up, I moved on to a treadmill. I picked the last one on the end, closest to the fans. I got myself situated and started to do some walking uphill / jogging intervals. Guess who ended up on the treadmill next to me, despite the line of empty treadmills? Guess who started running backwards on the treadmill next to me?
Suddenly, I felt like a flabby, out-of-shape loser. This middle-aged man was running backwards at the same speed which I was running forward. He wasn't one of those super tanned and muscular middle-agers, like you see in Just For Men haircolor ads, either. He looked like my dad, for god's sake. He was wearing tube socks.
Just when I'm feeling pretty good about myself, having gone to the gym four days in a row, someone comes along to remind me that I have a long, long way to go.