Wednesday, April 20, 2005

No pain, no gain. My arse.

My deep-rooted aversion to phyisical exercise was ingrained in me from an early age. I was born in the early seventies, and grew up in a time when it was still acceptable for schools to browbeat and humiliate pupils who, like me, were so laughably unathletic that climbing a flight of stairs was a test of co-ordination. It's a far cry from today, when school sports days are awash with political correctness - let's all hold hands and smile and not forget that there are no losers, just people who are talented in other areas....whereas at my school my abject failure in the egg-and-spoon race at age six had my class teacher hopping up and down with rage on the sidelines, tearing at her hair and berating me in front of the assembled and largely indifferent parents. The pinnacle of my sporting prowess (a fiercely fought and well-deserved second place in the spacehopper race aside - thighs of steel, even as a five-year-old...) was my near-drowning in a school swimming gala. As I thrashed wildly in the deep end, my head ingloriously stuck between the lane ropes, the lifeguard threw himself into the pool in a show of bravado unmatched before or since, and my mother sighed and turned the page of the Woman's Own she'd brought with her to pass the time. In fact, it's safe to say that throughout my formative years, I was probably hit by more sporting equipment than I utilised. Still, I fared better than Caroline Goodson, who at the end of Sports Day in 1979 got lost under the tarpaulin laid out as part of the obstacle race and was nearly trampled to death in the end-of-We-Are-The-Champions-type frenzy as the headmaster came over all Ron Pickering and bellowed "Away you go!".

I feel somehow justified in blaming this utter lack of sporting ability on my upbringing. My mother would no more exercise for pleasure than she would turn down a large gin and tonic - in her day if you wanted to lose weight you did it the proper way, by careful application of starvation and amphetamines. Add to this that Saturdays in mine and my sister's youth were spent eating pub lunches and mooching disconsolately round a succession of beer gardens waiting for our parents to remember us and get us home in time for a nice furious bitter row before bed and it's no surprise that by the age of ten, although proficient at fruit machines and jukeboxes, I was nobody's candidate for the District Sports team.

During my early twenties, I briefly became obsessed with step aerobics. I went three times a week, and never minded that while everyone else grapevined themselves into a hernia, I was invariably at the back of the hall trying to figure out how to get my feet to do that without breaking my neck. The teacher was an ex-professional dancer, and in some classes it was unclear whether we were exercising or auditioning for West Side Story. Since then, myself and physical exertion have been strangers - unless walking to the pub counts? However, largely motivated by the fact that since we've been together nearly two stone has somehow morphed from the Other Half's body onto mine, I've taken up running again (I flirted with this briefly last year - trained for the Race for Life, swore to keep it up and promptly resigned my trainers to the back of the cupboard the minute I got home), with some people I work with. For "people I work with" read: someone who regularly runs with someone who's run the marathon, someone who's actually run the marathon, and a couple of other people who are terrifying in their motivation to be faster than me. So for the last three weeks I've been entertaining the good people of my part of England, lumbering round the block like an asthmatic carthorse while lithe, barely panting colleagues sprint ahead, chirpy encouragement streaming over their sculpted shoulders as I sweat hopelessly towards an impending coronary.

Still, it does have the attraction of allowing me to be extremely smug at people who don't bother to exercise. And I'll take the power of lording it over my colleagues over the ability to breathe without fainting any day.


Blogger Donna chimed in with...

Hi Mads ... Glad to have found your blog. Have only got as far as the first entry, but thought I'd comment up here where you would see it!!

Exercise I don't do, but I can relate to the trauma that is children.

Keep up the blogging - I'm always looking for something to read rather than actually doing any work (perish the thought).

26 April, 2005 15:01  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

jesus mary and joseph!!

i am wading through your archives: you hate flying (check), you were born in the early 70s (*coughs* bu basically, check, JUST), you hate all forms of physical exertion (check):

ARE YOU ME???????

has my alter ego developed to the point where i do not realise that i am actually running another blog alongside my, er, other blog?


12 September, 2005 21:35  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

no, not spooked


yes, really

12 September, 2005 21:36  

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