That Olympic spirit…

August 1, 2012

I don’t know if it was the beach volleyball that got me going, all those skimpy bikinis and long bio-mechanical levers, brown and lithe and able to spike at 100 mph, but I have been looking a bit more critically at myself in the mirror. I’m not in terrible shape, but I’m not in great shape either. However, I have cut down on the booze dramatically since working from home, and enjoy nothing better than a lime cordial at lunchtime, instead of three or four dirty martinis and a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet. 

I considered the exercise options. 1. Join the gym. Hmmm, plenty to look at if you choose the right time of day, but I might not sand the comparison. 2. Get a personal coach. Nope, not quite ready for some superfit 25 year old to bark at me in the park and frighten the dog walkers. 3. Take up running, at some discreet hour. Free, since I still had the kit somewhere, and under my control. I had an app on my swanky ew iPhone (yep, finally got one…tell you about that later) which could count my paces and calories and even show me on a map where I’ve been.

So I dragged the old trunk of my past life out of the store cupboard, and yes, there at the bottom was my 1980s track suit (shades of Daley Thompson) and my old Pumas, black with a gold stripe, a freebie after a reasonably successful shoot.a generation ago. still serviceable, no obvious moth holes, and [sniffs investigatively] not too ripe.

That afternoon, at about 2, off I went. Walk for a count of 100, run…well, trot …. for 50, repeat, stop at the main roads, try not to run on the pavement because the knees might not be up to it, look at other runners, especially the one in the red t-shirt, pull stomach in, puff chest out, stride longer, hope she notices…blast, she’s gone…God, what’s that, I’m falling, no, I’m not, no, I’m not, oh bugger, I have.

Panting, I pick myself up and brush the grass cuttings off my tracksuit. A small and frankly rather dumpy woman is looking a bit concerned while trying to reel in on one of those extending dog leads, a nasty little yapping Jack Russell, baring its teeth  and snapping at me.

‘What happened?’ I mumble, beginning to wonder where I’ve seen her before.

‘You tripped over my lead,’ she replies, looking a bit cross, as though it’s my fault.

‘Oh…sorry…um, haven’t we met before?’

She turns her head away, tugging now on the Jack Russell.

‘I don’t think so,’ she answers, and stalks off, as fast as her little legs will carry her.


Later, back at the flat, brruised but unbeaten, browsing around the net, I see a photo of local Brentford author EL James, and her little dog Ana.


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