When I first decided it was time to knock my wheezing body into shape, pounding the pavement seemed the most logical move.
I stopped taking PE, well, as soon as I was allowed to. Year 11, I believe, was the last year I did. Like all the other nerds in the accelerated stream, I took seven classes instead of six, opting to take an early-morning PE class which I hardly ever showed up to – dragging my ass out of bed in time to catch the 7.45 bus? If only. My laziness, by the way, led to me losing out on the easiest credits ever: the attendance credits. Pretty shameful.
Although I still did tons of walking – up to an hour a day – I started to languish, physically. Nobody would ever have made the mistake of calling me sporty, or even coordinated, but I’d been reasonably fit up until then. I was almost always the last girl left standing in the beep test in PE class (12 or 13 I think was my maximum); I was a semi-decent sprinter and usually made the top 10 (females) in the annual cross-country run – although given how seriously some of the girls took it, that isn’t saying very much.
To put it bluntly: There just aren’t that many sports that I like. I hate netball with a passion; in any given school you can count the number of girls who don’t play Saturday morning netball on one hand, and that was me. (T reckons that’s why I have a good basketball shooting style; I don’t have years of netball training behind me). Cricket, ugh. Hockey, worse. Like a good Asian, I like badminton, but hate the scoring system. Tennis is also good fun, although I am slightly scarred from years of thrashings by far superior players from other schools. Tell you what though, if anyone actually played touch beyond primary school, I’d be the first to sign up.
As for gyms? They appeal to me about as much as tofu or a Brazilian wax. Rooms where everyone goes to, er, sweat? No thanks. Even when I had access to a free gym, I never went. I detest exercising around others – yes, I know they’re busy focusing on their own workouts and aren’t watching me – but it’s a HUGE mental block. And call me picky, but there just aren’t any machines I like using!
Running suits me – it’s perfect for loners, you go at your own speed, you breathe fresh air and feel the sun on your face…and all you need is your shoes. (I used to run barefoot in school, but that was when we had nice soft fields; it’s a lot less comfortable on hot pavement.) Unlike many, I don’t get bored. Where I live, there are tons of fabulous houses to gawp at, for one (or the picturesque, sprawling grounds of Cornwall Park). For another, there’s also lots of slopes in the mix. Getting into a good breathing pattern takes me a while at first, and by the time I settle in, I’ve usually got a hill to throw me off. I hate treadmills with a passion! Outdoors is the only way to go. When I want to give in, I set myself milestones: just past that tree. To the corner. Up to the next traffic light. It’s a constant challenge.
And that’s pretty much my workout – one long run on a day off and a couple shorter ones in the morning before work, with a few crunches and tricep squats (er, I don’t know the proper term for them!) thrown in.
Which camp are you in – gym or anti-gym? Love or loathe running?