With all the 'hoo har' going on in the rest of my life, several people have enquired, rather nervously, about whether or not I'm still training for the 'big race' next year.
The answer is - yes of course I am! (I did tell one person that I wasn't just doing it, I was damn well winning it, but I was fuelled by 5 pints of Strongbow at the time, which says just about everything about my chances of that happening).
The truth is, I have (brace yourselves) - fallen. in. love. with. the. gym.
Now it's important to point out here that this is NOT a shiny edifice of a gym where toned hotties flex their oiled muscles amidst smoked glass and chrome.
For a start I'm in there.
No - this is the council gym and it's very well equipped and it really is open to everybody - a lot of clients get their memberships on 'prescription' from the GP - so the clientele are a mixed bag.
Notable examples include:
- the very elderly man who moves very slowly on the treadmill, except for when a Katy Perry video comes on MTV. At this point he gets off the treadmill, moves quite rapidly so he's standing about 4 inches from the screen, and remains there for the duration. I'm not sure the GP quite intended this sort of exercise but it clearly does get his old ticker racing.
- the very beautiful, very smartly dressed lady who only ever does one thing. Get on the treadmill, set it to maximum incline (which is so steep she has to hang on to the bar at the front, lest she should drop off) and take very tiny, very dainty steps for a solid hour. She then gets off, not even a hair out of place, and leaves. For some reason this un-nerves me. I think she might be a vampire.
- the bunch of wannabee-muscle-men who hang round the weights machines, mostly talking and swigging out of their drinks bottles in a 'manly' fashion. Every now and then they all start trying to use the machines but don't actually use them properly. 3 of them watch while one of them grunts and hauls himself up and down a few times, not actually using the weights, and then they go back to talking and swigging. I don't know why they bother. They could do the same thing down the pub and just use the Darts Board and/or toilet door for pull ups.
- the lady next to me on the Cross Trainer who kept emitting a noise not unlike a small dog yapping. I had my headphones in and couldn't work out what this weird squeak was so I took them out. It was her. Every time she put in a little bit too much effort a strange kind of 'yap' would escape her throat. I found this very un-nerving. Not least because whilst at university I had the misfortune of living with a very promiscuous housemate who used to make the same noise during 'intimate relations'. As she really was VERY promiscuous this was a) haunting and b) embarrassing. People's mums would pop round for a cup of tea and you'd see them pause, mid-way through putting a custard cream in their mouth, tilt their ear towards the ceiling and try to locate the source of the 'yip yip yip YIP YIP' resonating round the house. You could pass it off as the neighbour's dog, as long as her bed didn't start banging against the radiator. Then the plumbing of the whole house used to start ringing.
- the slightly psychotic looking woman in the non-sporting floral socks and holy leggings, who swigs her water out of a Mr Tickle water bottle (when she can't find her 'proper' one - which is often) and has given up on the arm strap for her iPOD - on the grounds it slips and chafes - and instead fits it nice and firmly down her cleavage. No slipping! No chaffing! Several sideways glances when she has to change a track or adjust the volume mid-run on the treadmill and some possible water damage from excess perspiration (the volume keeps shooting up mid track - even when it's supposedly locked) but still, a near perfect solution.
Yeah - obviously the last ones me.
Keep on running people......