Admittedly I have never been a fan. Who would be? I was never a sporty kid, doing the bare minimum that was required at school. Briefly after my final year of school I got into the gym thing with a friend and found myself working out a hour or more a day, 6 days a week... and then I guess life happened. Marriage, kids, divorce, back to work, remarriage, step family.... I infrequently saw the inside of a gym in between all of this and over the last decade my exercise has included a stint with a personal trainer, belly dancing and yoga, another attempt at gym membership... and then an 18 month bout of illness including a sprained food, tick bite fever and a bug picked up in Canada, which took nearly 10 months to shake, stopped all exercise in its tracks.
So 2020 was the year I was to get back in the saddle. Time to take my health seriously and that includes getting back into a physical exercise routine. And lets face it age has caught up and I am no longer that 18 year old fresh out of school able to do a hour of gym, followed by 7 hours of dancing at the club and then up again for the work day at 6am. These days I am lucky if I can surface coherently at 7am, get through the work day and study before falling into bed again by 10pm. Anything later than that takes 2 weeks recovery time....
So what exercise you ask?
My favourite yoga studio no longer has sessions at a time I can make after work and I am not yet competent to try it alone at home so I will continue looking for classes. I simply don't have the rhythm for belly dancing and I was definitely not signing up at the gym again. Personal training a bit to much of a strain on the budget with paying for studies and buying textbooks... and my main criteria was that it had to be something that I could do outdoors and with people... sadly life in South Africa means going for a walk around the neighbourhood after work is not really viable for a woman on her own.
Luckily for me a chance Facebook posting highlighted that Run Walk For Life was operating in my area again. And so mid January to mid March saw me getting in 2 or 3 sessions a week and looking for safe options on weekends to make it 4 sessions a week... and I was just getting into my stride and starting to build up to a comfortable 30 minute session when bang...
Global pandemic struck
Social distancing meant no meeting for walks and lockdown has restricted all South Africans to their property - no exercise off property allowed for 21 days... we are 11 days in. I have however perserved and am wearing a path on my driveway... I get about 150 metres a lap so get my 30 minutes in a day ... and practise a lot of gratitude that I have the space to do so!! So whilst I am not an enthusiastic athlete I know one of the things keeping me sane in these strange days is the ability to still be able to get outside and exercise.
SYLVIA PLATH (1932-1963)
(Choice of Edna O'Brien)
The woman is perfected.
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows into the scrolls of her toga,
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One on each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks cackle and drag.