By Lois Jamieson
I just found out that May is National Fitness Month. I had to laugh as I thought of my efforts over the years trying to ‘Get in Shape’. For as long as I can remember I have had the image of myself as being a very athletic and agile woman. I just knew I could run faster than the wind, get the ball in the hoop every time, play par golf and win tennis matches. Somehow or other, I have never achieved that level of athleticism. My high school record was not exactly stellar. I played basketball so long ago it was when girls could only play half court. I was a guard and fearless, but I never had the chance to throw for the basket I knew I could make.
In my thirties I remember entering a swimming race at a local pool. I confess I talked one of my girlfriends into entering the race knowing I could beat her. There were only three contestants and I felt confident that I would win the race. That is, until the third lady walked up to the pool wearing a a racing swimsuit and a Speedo cap. Well, I did come in second. In my forties I took up golf and I don’t even want to discuss that, although I continued looking for a four hole group until late into my seventies. I rode my bike a bit in my fifties until I fell off and I still have a scar on my ankle to prove it. I was in my early seventies when I came to the realization that it was now or never. I simply had to get in shape. If my bank account had expanded as much as my waistline I’d be buying my clothes at Neiman Marcus.
So, I joined a fitness club.
I stepped through the door into a weird world of monstrous metal levers and pulleys, sweating bodies, ear splitting music, grunts, groans and grimaces. I turned and fled. About half way home I gathered up my courage andwent back. After signing up for a guest day I was weighed, measured and recorded. It was then I knew I needed to be there. I was taken to the workout room where everyone seemed to be twenty years old with l9” waists, 36” busts and the whitest teeth I’d ever seen. I didn’t have much time to dwell on that before being strappd to a disagreeable looking pullover machine and instructed in the art of lifting 80 pounds while lying on my back.
After exhausting myself on the machines, I decided a good swim would top off my experience. With that in mind I limped into the dressing room where lockers are provided. I was told “it’s best to keep things under lock and key.” I must confess I didn’t lock mine. I’m not good with locks and keys and thing like that. I had this horrifying picture of me. There I was soaking wet, draped in a towel standing in front of my locker, locked out. My clothes, purse, car keys and the combination to the lock were locked in. Luckily I found a dark corner to squeeze into my size 16 red bathing suit. I then made a mad dash to the pool. Once there, I bravely pushed off with my famous side stroke. Despite bumping into an indignant gentleman and losing an earring, I managed a lap and a half. After slipping back into my somewhat ripe sweat pants and shirt, I managed to sign my name to a contract, hand over my credit card and make it to my car before collapsing behind the wheel.
My enthusiasm returned by evening, however, and I said to my husband as I took the last bite of my double chocolate marshmallow sundae, “I just know I’m really going to get in shape this time”.