Life is looking up these days. Whilst it’s not exactly peachy, there’s a definite colour change. Red is the new black. I’ve had two weeks of regular exercising, and while I’m going to struggle timewise to make the gym much of this week, I feel motivated enough to ensure I don’t scrimp while at home.
I don’t deny it’s hard work to fit it in. Much juggling and sacrificing of the lunchbreak is required. I went to a box class on Friday lunchtime and it took me at least half an hour to de-purple afterwards. My face was the same colour as my red tights and I think there was actually steam coming off me. Sadly, I am not one of those people who look elegant after a workout, tiny dew drops of perspiration are not my thing. After about an hour of work, I really wanted to go for a disco nap under the desk. So much for exercise rejuvenating the senses.
I did enjoy the class though; there were tough circuits at the start to warm up, including plenty of lovely burpees and then we got to practice punching with a partner. Mine was a small, middle aged woman who packed a hefty punch. She was pretty awesome in fact, and much better than me at remembering her left from right. I am going back to the class this Friday and I hope she is there to punch my lights out once more.
On Saturday morning, I went for a run in the local park, which is full of hills. I say run, but it was more of a slow plod, and I stopped and walked when no-one was looking. Except the squirrels; they saw me cheating, which shamed me a little.
There is one particular hill which is long, slow and truly horrible. I did that thing of looking down at the ground whilst running, trying to kid myself that it was actually flat. It didn’t work and I only made it half way up before surrendering. Feck. There are going to be lots of hills in the race, and this does worry me a bit. Some of them will involve carrying a sandbag. I could practice for this by jogging with my heavy child on my shoulders (hopefully without dropping him), but deep down I know I will probably just walk them. Only the super Spartans will run those bits and I’m just not super enough. Nor do I really care enough to want to be; for example, how annoying is this ‘inspirational’ picture?
The answer is VERY. Stuff your mounds of opportunity, I’d rather be able to breathe. The weird thing is, if the hills are made out of steps, I can shimmy up them fairly quickly without too much pain. Must be all those stair climbs at work. The hills in the park where the race will be held are unlikely to be carved into steps for my convenience, but never mind. It’s nice not to suck at something.
On that note, I have been bringing Sally up and down every single day since last week. I can’t say there has been a daily progression. If I were a graph, I would be more of a jagged line than a hypotenuse. Some days I am tired and can’t be arsed but I get up and press play anyway. So far, I can report I have got as far as 1:50, that’s 35 seconds more than day one. And by 1:50, at least four of the ju-jitsu ninjas have caved first, which pleases me greatly. Mwah hah hah. My arms feel more muscley and taut, and I am startimg to feel stronger in my core. Despite this mild success, if I ever meet Sally I can honestly say I will punch her in the face, using the full force of my middle aged boxing queen. One week down, three to go.
Back to the red. I have been using the power of red lately to spur me on. It’s my second favourite colour after purple. While it may be the colour of blood, guts and gore, it’s also dynamic, forceful and cheery. My tip for job interviews is always to wear something red; even if it’s just on your feet or a scarf. It makes you look confident, even if you don’t feel it. Fuck it, I bet even a red pair of knickers would give you a secret power. I have red ankle boots that I swear make my walk a little more jaunty. And I must pause for a moment and worship the joy of the red lipstick. At the risk of sounding like a beauty column in a women’s magazine, every woman can find a shade that suits. In fact, so can a man: I’m looking at you, Eddie Izzard.
Even better, the older you are, the more dashing it looks. Sure, young women can look hot in red lippy (like they can in anything, darn it), but like Chanel No5 and gold jewellery, it just suits the forty something woman more. On a fat, frumpy and tired day, when you need to wear all black to hide your wobbles, it perks you up.
It’s the colour of femme fatales; dangerous dames who double cross all those foolhardy men who fall at their feet. Just be careful not to leave a trace of it on your cigarette stub, after you’ve shot your lover dead and made off with the loot. Actually, don’t leave the stub; they didn’t have DNA testing in the noir days. In fact, maybe don’t shoot anyone, although double crossing and loot stealing could be fun.
I digress. Any bold colour can give you a boost when you need it. I take comfort from the power of red when I don’t feel so powerful inside. Somehow it actually works. I went to the gym to lift weights by myself for the first time last week. I was nervous and worried about whether the men would give me a space on the platform, but I was lucky as it wasn’t too busy. I stuck my music in my ears, ignored my scared inner voice and got on with it, because I just needed to lift. At one point, I caught sight of myself in a brief reflection. My cheeks were flushed red, but I looked focused, determined and dare I say it, fierce.
On the days when you don’t really know what you’re doing, stick your bold face on and get on with it.
The Red Wheelbarrow (William Carlos Williams)
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Until next time,