There I was in the gym last week, putting in a wee bit of a run, when one of the gym staff walks up to me. Do I want, she asks, to sign up for this little event they're holding next Monday, a 'Try-athlon' for beginners?
"Sure," says I, because I'm always game for a challenge. Quite often I'll flame out halfway through, but I'm game. So I signed my name to the list, and went away.
That's the reason I arrived at the gym this afternoon at 1500 hrs, with a bottle full of water and limbs full of trepidition. The beginners' course consisted of a 10K cycle, a 2K row, and a 3K run: me, I run and row fairly regular, but if I cycle ten minutes twice a week, that's a very rare week.
Reader, I tell you true: it was hard.
There were four of us at 1500. Me, and three guys who looked a lot fitter than I feel.
The cycle wasn't so bad, actually, although I consider it a fortunate thing that the nice gym people provided us with free Lucozade. (And a sweat towel each.) Nice gym people. Kind gym people. I completed my 10K cycle inside forty minutes, and thought I was doing fine.
So I was, for a little while. The 2K row, I managed inside ten minutes. Rowing is normally fine with me, but by this point I was starting to have trouble keeping my rhythm.
Then I stood up to move on to the treadmill.
My legs. Oh, my legs. They felt like they were made of wibbly-wobbly-wonder; like custard, or sloppy jelly. I staggered onto that treadmill.
The run... wasn't, really. Normally I can kick out a ten-minute mile with reasonable ease. I'm not very consistent at the two-mile mark, but a time inside twenty-four minutes is usually doable.
Not today, though. Today, I was a walker. I managed my 3K - approximately 1.9 miles, rounded up - but it took me twenty-six minutes and counting. The world's most annoying stitch kept materialising in my side. As soon as I got my speed up, it would come back. And my legs would go all floppy-wobbly.
I'm glad swimming was not a part of this wee event. I hate pool swimming, and I'm a much less competent swimmer than a rower. I would be in considerably more pain this evening if we had been moving through water. And I hurt a lot right now.
Despite what has to be a whole bucketload of exercise endorphins.
But I'd do it again. In fact, I intend to do it again. I think I could manage to do that kind of thing about once a week, even if I also climb and do a bit of whichever martial art is handiest, if I set aside a two-hour block of time to do it in.
We'll see if I actually do.
This counts as a productive day, because I also visited the library and did an hour's concentrated note-taking. I'm a bit too wasted to take more notes now, though.