A whole generation on from my own schooling, the school terms have stayed with me. September is still the time of year when I make a new start and set some new goals. My new goal is –
– but we’ll come back to that.
First, meet my friend Lisa. Lisa had her third baby within a year of me having my second. When I started exercising again, I lost weight and got too thin for my funky new orange skirt. Because it’s a very nice skirt, and because I had never had chance to wear it (and because Lisa has, ever since I met her, been a couple of sizes bigger) I sent the hubby to her house with it.
Hubby brought the skirt back again: Lisa had been exercising and it was too big for her too. In fact, Lisa had taken up running seriously, joined a club and was ‘training.’
Last year, I am smug to report, I beat Lisa in a fell-race. But that was only because, once she had been miles and miles ahead of me for quite some time, she ran the wrong way too enthusiastically and got lost. This year, she did the 9 Edges in less than four hours. In wet conditions.
Two days after that, you’d think she’d be chilling out. But no: she asked myself and a few other nutcases if we’d like to start training for a triathlon.
At first, I dismissed it.
But then I thought: hang on. I’ve turned myself from a hormonal lump of blubber to someone who can actually do pull-ups (and did I mention black routes at the works?)
I could do a triathlon (albeit slowly) if I wanted!
But do I?
I’ve not a very good swimmer. I was taken to swimming lessons every week for nearly ten years as a kid; mostly kicking and screaming.
And then there’s cycling: apparently I was the only kid in our Junior school ever to fail the cycling proficiency. I failed it twice.
Crikey. The only fun bit for me would be writing another of those irrit – i mean, inspirational blog-posts about how I did it against the odds.
And hubby is gonig away a lot this year. But never mind! I could always put Tiddler into nursery every other day so I could train.
And I could –
Once I’d bought a bike. And a new swimsuit –
I could – Er –
It dawned on me that I have no real interest in two of the three main skills required for a triathlon and no child-care to train.
But I was inspired. Imagine – if I started a different challenge and succeeded as magnificently as Lisa probably will in her triathlon – then one day I might do this:
or maybe this:
Or maybe even THIS!:
When I was looking for the handstand one, I searched back through some likely people’s Facebook pages for about an hour. No joy. So I Facebooked:
-Whoever posted a video of an amazing one-handed handstand please would you send me a link?
And of course (thankyou Linds), the link arrived.
As did a message from another remarkable woman, Bea: founder of YES! parenting and probably the most positive person in the whole entire world.
Bea: Are you working towards doing one? x x
Me: No, Bea. Just fantasising.
Bea: You could totally do this if you chose to x x
Me: Have you [even] seen this video, Bea?
Bea: no, but I still believe in you.
I saw Bea a couple of days later. It turns out, that she is working towards a one-handed handstand herself.
WITH a wall behind her, but still. She can already do an upside-down handstand squat. She did one in my living room.
Maybe I could do this too! I could do pull-ups, after all! I turned a handstand just to see if it were possible, but the feeling of blood rushing to my head was just horrid. And when I bent my arms to squat, I couldn’t get them straight again.
And then I realised that pull-ups use the antagonistic muslces. My push-up muscles are still to be developed.
Damn it! I wanted a goal! Like Lisa had a goal and like Bea did. After all, it’s September and September’s a time for new starts. But I did want a goal in something that looked promising to start with. So I kept looking.
The other thing that happens at this time of year, is that I go off to work. This year, I took two jobs – one at three days a week with the odd Saturday extra and the other two days a week with the odd Saturday.
I promised hubby some climbing days, too. And then I remembered how many days there are in a week.
On Monday night, I had planned to do some yoga. But I was tired after my 7.00pm finish an hour’s drive away, so I went to bed. Tuesday was much the same. On Wednesday night, I considered yoga. I got as far as picking remnants of the kids’ squashed dinner out of the carpet.
On Thursday I went climbing because I’d agreed to meet a friend. But an evil two-finger hand-hold did something sore to my ring-finger tendon. After work on Friday, I got an e-mail lfrom the Royal Vet College reminding my that I’d signed up for an intensive on-line neurology course that required six hours’ study a week.
Spare time is like an oasis in the desert – tempting from a distance but as soon as they arrive, the damn things fade away.
And that’s how my shit-it’s-now-actually-past-September goals came about. My realistic, working full-time goals. Not to break personal records in my exercise capabilities: simply to make sure I do some exercise and don’t return to complete un-ninja status by Christmas.
So forget triathlons. Forget one-handed handstands. Let’s embrace the acheivable.
I have signed up for a 10k.