Marathon Update – Join the Club

Club Fat
Art courtesy of

I’m working on pacing, and so I’ve done a couple of this week’s runs on the treadmill at my gym.  The treadmills are in an upstairs cardio area that is usually fairly empty.  Tonight there were six people in there which is unusual.  They all also seemed to be part gazelle – they must have been going 50, 60 miles per hour on their treadmills.

Having long ago lost any sense of embarrassment at not being good at running around people who are, I set into my run – five minutes running, two minutes walking, lather rinse repeat.

This was the first time that I had been surrounded by this many fast runners on the dreadmill, so instead of them just coming up, passing me, and then being out of my view in minutes leaving me to my plodding, we were together for over an hour.  They were all done at the same time and everyone slowed down to cool down and then they headed out, except for one girl.

One girl made a beeline for my treadmill.  I braced myself, silently reminding myself not to make assumptions about the interaction that was now imminent. The last time someone approached me when I was on the treadmill (when I was doing short interval speedwork)  it was to say “The reason you’re not losing weight is that you are doing these intervals, don’t worry about speed and just go as long as you can.”  I gave my best confused look and said “Why would I want to lose weight?”  (Some days I have it for the teachable moment, and some days I just don’t.)

So that incident was fresh in my mind as she came over. I paused my ipod, took off my headphones, smiled (which may well look more like a terrifying grimace while I’m running, I’m just not sure) and said “What’s up?”

She said, “If you like running solo that’s totally cool, but if you’re ever interested in joining a group we’re all part of a running club and we’re always looking for new runners!” and then she gave me their website, said “Check it out if you want. Have a good run!” and left.

It shouldn’t be news that someone interacted with a fat person at the gym without stereotyping, assuming, or fat shaming.  But I spend plenty of time talking about the people who get it very, very wrong, so I wanted to make sure to take some time to talk about someone who got it right.  I’m probably not going to join the club, but it was really nice to be asked.

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10 thoughts on “Marathon Update – Join the Club

  1. (boogies happily)

    Totally awesomesauce!

    As sad as it is that a fat person being treated like a person is a cause for celebration, I’m still going to celebrate.

  2. Hey, that’s a considerable reason to grin! I wonder if she had to, you know, work up courage to approach someone who obviously knows what she’s doing, but is physically, um, Not Thin? I think if a thin, fit person had ever given me that kind of invitation – or, indeed, a friendly acknowledgement that I even existed – when I was working out in the gym, I might well have kept on going there.
    Yay for nice friendly people!

  3. I’m proud of you Ragen. When I hear stories like this my first assumption is that she is setting you up for bullying and teasing.

    It’s awful how living for 46 years in a culture that hates fat people sets you up to mistrust nearly everyone.

  4. Ragen, I read every word you write on both blogs but rarely comment, but I have to say this one nearly brought me to tears. When I took my first parkour class, I felt a lot of shock/joy/amazement/disbelief when I realized that the coaches were treating me the same as they were treating everyone else. It’s still sad that this is the anomaly, but I’m glad you had a good experience with this woman. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Wow. Late to the comments but this post actually did bring me to tears. Which kinda pisses me off because it should not be the exception that someone should treat a fat person just like anyone else! A lot of people would be shocked that we’re just like everyone else! (sarcasm intended)

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