For a long time, I hadn’t the energy to heave myself off to the gym: the effort of programming the running machine was enough to wipe me out for the rest of the day. About three weeks ago, a persuasive layer of lard in the posterior region talked me into paying a visit.
Since I hadn’t been for a while, I took it easy. In other words, I worked out at 99.9% maximum heart rate instead of 100%.
Staggering into the car park after enough reps to make up for the previous three months, I was not in the mood for cycling home. What form of rogue pre-gym energy had induced me to take the bike in this heat? I considered calling Husband to ask him to collect me – but then I realised how much more guilty I could make him feel if I cycled home myself.
Now, as I wobbled out of the car park, a jogger passed me in the same direction. It was obviously a challenge. I considered it a rather feeble challenge since he was only jogging, while I was equipped with a top of the range mountain bike and reflector jacket with go faster stripes. I was confident of triumphing in a battle of wills – or speed, for that matter.
However, I had been cycling a good minute when I realised Running Man was pulling away. I speeded up, but the bastard must have been operating on a different gravity system. Pretty soon I was pedalling flat out, top speed, sweat exploding off me. I was gaining on Running Man inch by painful, sweaty inch. Finally, legs going like pistons, I nudged past him.
We came to a roundabout and Running Man totally cheated, weaving in and out between cars. My bicycle is not that manoeuvrable – or maybe I haven’t totally figured out how to operate it yet (I’m a while off cycling across ceilings and balancing it on artichoke hearts and doing somersaults over railings and suchlike).
By the time I got off the roundabout, Running Man was at least six cacti and a desert rose ahead of me. He thought he had me; I could sense it like a fresh dog turd on his mouldy trainer.
Well, I wasn’t having that at all. I got up on the pedals and kicked them into a blur. My legs were on fire, thighs screaming. Metaphorically, please. Again, I gained on him, we drew level; we were neck and neck, charging down the pavement, the foliage flattened in our wake.
I turned my head to see the whites of his eyes and tried to work up the energy for a victory cackle, but I didn’t have the puff. We shared a slo-mo moment of psychic understanding. I tried to knobble him with a lethal sweat slick – hey, he cheated at the roundabout – and then Running Man speeded up AGAIN.
Up ahead, the entrance to Springs 2 loomed; all I had to do was maintain my advantage until I reached it. I could feel Running Man’s breath blistering the back of my neck. As I swept around the bend to Springs 2, left knee scraping off the ground, I nearly wept with relief.
I would have given a victory salute, but I still need at least two hands on the bike or I end up in a pot plant. I turned around to stick my tongue out at him, and saw that Running Man had turned into Springs 2 as well!
I was getting to the point where I was going to have to run the bugger over, when I managed to shake him off with a feint left. Then I really did weep with relief.
It was at least another week before I could feel my legs again