Afterward, while stretching on the deck, I noticed a couple running groups getting ready to start. When I stood up from an IT band stretch, my eyes met those of a young, thin runner who quickly averted her eyes. She was with a group of runners and was standing near another woman whose back was to me.
After more stretching, I stood up and saw that both of the young women were looking at me in that way that makes you assume they are not saying anything nice.
I continued doing my thing, ignoring them, but I couldn't help wondering what they were saying. Was I stretching wrong? Were they looking at my clothes or my shoes? Did they know I am a walker? For a few seconds, I was paranoid and worried about the opinions of these two women.
Then I nearly laughed aloud. Why did I care what they thought? (In hindsight I realize I did not know what they thought.) I'm twice their ages, I'm fit and healthy, I've finished two full marathons and more than 30 half marathons. I'm healthier and more active than the majority of women my age.
I picked up my water bottle, lifted my head and walked past them.
While writing this, I thought of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.