If this had happened even a half hour later I would have been fine, the wee folks would all have been at school and I could have talked myself out of it, no harm done. Critically, the idea announced itself just as I was dishing out breakfast to my wee folks, they all heard it. I took a split second to try to work out whether I could just pass it all off with a huge belly laugh as one of 'mummies little jokes', but an expression of pure admiration and a slowly exhaled "a..w..e..s..o..m..e.." from the face of my middle child cut the legs right out from under that idea.
I'm here to tell you that I know for a fact that Darwin had the whole thing all wrong. I am descended from bears, I know this. The closer it gets to winter the more I want to hibernate. Eat and hibernate. This year for some reason I have been feeling especially 'hibernaty'. It felt like I hadn't stood still in so long that needed to stop. I took a complete break from work and spent time with the wee folks and I ate. I ate like a bear. Pretty soon I began to look a little bit bear-like... a little more rounded, in all the wrong areas... we've already discussed my lack of frontal upholstery on this blog, but I have no trouble adding protective packaging to the posterior...
So I went to gym. I'm a pushover for a wide-eyed 10 yr old. lets face it, I'm a push over for a wide- eyed any-year old.... this is what happens when you grow up with a mother who encourages you at every turn, you learn to do stupid things, just because it causes somebody you love to smile.
I don't actually possess gym garb, but I figured folks only go the gym to get all sweaty. Nobody cares what you wear. I liberated some tracksuit bottoms from DH's half of the cardboard box we are currently using to 'feel out' wardrobe space in the new house and paired those suckers up with a baggy T. Brand new white trainers, sale bargains from 7 years ago last November, I remember this as I was heavily pregnant at the time and I knew that some day those swollen feet would go down. Ha!
Thankfully the gym was empty, and I worked my way through memorising every detail so I can bask in the admirational glow of my offspring later that evening, I conquer each machine easily. Ok so I'm working on weights that are 10k below where I'm supposed to start, but you can't rush these things y'know, and I still have a slight temperature....
At 'half time' or whatever you call it, I popped down to the tuck shop for a bottle of water, and a quick chat with the manager and a few folks in the foyer. Chuffed with how encouraging everyone is, I pop back upstairs for the second
Totally befuddled by the running machine, I just couldn't get that beast turned on and while I'm standing there, feet wide apart on the sideboards, poking every button I can find, twice, trying to get the thing to waken up, I hear a dull thud. Brain interprets this through the noise of the specially purchased 'running tracks' pounding through my ipod as the sound of the the heavy door at the foot of the stairs clanging shut. Out of the pink and purple nowhere, I have this sudden urge not to look a fool, nor to ask the dumb question "How do you tun this thing on?" and so I leap off the sideboards, completely forgetting that I clipped my T to the handlebars just like it told me to.
I'm pretty sure that 'Miss Gymtastic 2014's' first eyeful of yours truly included actual square yardage of paisley patterned undergarment and square inch-age of armpit shadow that made fatal the decision not to depilate this morning. Her second eyeful was most likely the gracefully synchronised arcing of a pair of headphone earbuds simultaneously disengaging the ears with a discernible 'pop' when they broke seal with my ear drums as the back of my head followed my body instinctively diving for the corner where they keep the rowing machines. I am safe in that corner.
I have the shoulders of a swimmer, hugely ironic, given that I can't actually swim but I settled down anyhow for a spell on the rower. I can row. I switch the resistance to about half way, I cast off and picture myself sailing down the river, I'll have a few km's under my belt in no time. Nice steady pace. I'm breathing, I'm vizualising, a little trick I picked up from Jessica Ennis. Eyes closed. It's a warm summer day, sunlight glinting near the reed beds, bees buzzing, butterflies butterflying, birdies tweeting along the tow path - ooh look there's Ratty and Mole on the river bank, Mr Toad is dropping a line in, bliss, only the sound of the chain wheel spinning as I stretch and pull in beautiful rhythm.
Miss Gymtastic 2014 has a motor boat. She flipped the resistance up to maximum before she even landed in the seat. She wears shorts. Short lycra shorts. Short lycra shorts with neon speed stripes. She has NO hair on her legs. When she pulled back on the grips, the chain came out of the housing so fast it could have sawn a log in half. The scream of that chain, back forward back forward, waves were crashing on the shore, reed beds flattened, all my little butterflies and birdies exploded like bubbles. I sat beside her for 4 minutes rowing like an elderly wildebeest. I figured 4 minutes was the least time it would take me to establish the fact that I wasn't really running away, but was actually just finishing my prescribed session.
On the upside I had a half hour extra to figure out what version of the story to tell the 10 yr old when she comes home from school.