There are two types of people in life. Those who do things. And those who think about doing things.
I am predominantly in the latter group.
That’s not to say that I never do anything ever. But there are many things that I think would be fabulous to do or be and then I make no steps towards doing or being. I just think, “Ah, that would be nice.” Then I make a cup of tea and read a book instead.
For example, omygoodness I’d totally LOVE to be a farmer. That’s not actually what I mean. I don’t actually want to clean up cow poop and labour in the fields and put netting over my cabbage plants to stop the slugs from eating them. But I would like to always have fresh milk from cows and grain to make flour for bread and fresh vegetables from the ground. So basically, I don’t want to have to go to Waitrose anymore. And I want to eat fresh amd organic all the time.
Same with my mind’s ‘sporty’ version of myself. I think “omygoodness I’d love to be really sporty and fit and strong.” But then…. tea and a book.
Now the problem with this is that if you have friends who are ‘doers’, sometimes you get dragged into actually doing things too. Annoying!
So that’s why this morning at 5.21am, I was on the first train into town dressed in leggings and running shoes. You who know me will know this is not my usual attire.
Leggings + Running shoes + 5.21am = Madness.
And yet, there I was. Being a ‘doer’.
As I approached the group in the darkness, a face lit up and I was enveloped in a hug by a ginger-haired stripey-jumpered ball of energy and smiles. There are worse ways of waking up.
Before we got started, all newcomers were told to close their eyes and hold up a hand. We were high-fived and welcomed to Project Awesome and then instructed to hug two or three people near us.
This was turning out to be the best and most unusual workout I’d ever been to (ha, I talk as though I’ve been to billions). I liked that there was a limited amount of movement and hoped that by simplying being there, I was burning calories.
Of course it wasn’t as easy as that.
Danny, the brains behind this operation and the smiliest man ever, then, brutally, told us we had to run round a nearby building and then return to The Scoop for some stair climbing madness.
Now, you see, he had lulled me into a false sense of security with all the hugging. I was all like, “this is so lovely and chilled, he’s so great, we just hug and make friends a bit, I luuuurve this workout.”
The running bit shouldn’t have made me feel like I was about to have a heart attack. But it did. This is the problem with being a thinker and not a doer. I think I’m quite exercisey, I walk a lot, I have a pedometer, I don’t get breathless running for a bus. I think that all these facts make me quite fit, without actually doing anything to get fit.
And so, the running did not come naturally. I was breathing pretty hard by the time we got back.
Then, said the ever-cheerful Danny, we were going to run up and down the steps of The Scoop. I hear you asking what The Scoop is so let me explain. It’s basically a mini amphitheatre. At its highest point it has twelve steps. When I say ‘steps’, I want you to imagine something almost knee-height and quite deep. Unless you’re really propelling yourself cause you’re Danny so you run the whole time, it takes two paces to get to the next step. Twelve of them. Knee-height. Two paces deep.
Seven times around the amphitheatre. Zig-zagging across from one side to the other and back.
Bear in mind, I’ve arrived at this on the verge of a heart attack from the run. After two or three trips up and down the steps, my legs are screaming.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY? WHYYYYY? THIS IS MADNESS! SIT DOWN!”
I want to listen to my poor legs but I’m too self conscious to bow out while everyone else soldiers on. Begrudgingly I make the long journey from one side the other, up and down, up and down.
Danny bounds around like a child, yelling encouragements and looking like he’s having brilliant fun. I look nothing like that.
But then, about my third trip around, something changes in my brain and in my body. My mind wanders. I start having proper thoughts behind the screaming leg thoughts. This means the leg thing mustn’t be so bad. I get into a little rhythm and plod away and it isn’t quite so horrible any more.
And, as the sun rises, I see the Tower of London and the Thames and the sky puts on a fabulous picture for us, pale blue with scatterings of pink and orange clouds at the skyline and it seems really rather nice to be here with these strangers, trying to climb up and down huge stairs without falling over from exhaustion, cursing whoever yelled “Burpees!” as I do some kind of leg-jumping-clapping thingy.
So nice, in fact, that we all linger around for much longer than is necessary when finished and go in search of coffee and breakfast together.
I bemoan my jelly-leg situation (although it’s not that bad) and we all do the ” How do you know Danny?” thing, as he’s really all we have in common, as well as the stair madness we’ve just endured.
Slowly, real life creeps back in. Our early-morning stair-madness bubble pops. We drift out, bikes are unlocked, phones are checked, Oyster cards located.
And I return to my life as a thinker knowing that, for once, I was a doer. And it was good. I’ve a feeling I might go again next week.