For many months I’ve been finding excuses to avoid going to the gym.
Initially it was because we were “coming up to Christmas”. This one started in November and could be justified by the fact that my social calendar was a lot busier than usual, so there simply wasn’t time… well there was really, but we all know what a busy period this is, what with writing cards, wrapping presents and meeting up with various “once a year” friends and acquaintances.
Following this, I was secretly delighted that the lift in our building was out of order for about a month. Surely having to climb 88 stairs three or four times a day on top of my 10 minute walk to and from the station negated the need for me to do any more exercise than this?
And then there was the skiing holiday. Admittedly a considerable proportion of that involved sitting in bars drinking steins of Bavarian lager and eating brotwurst, but the going down the slope bit must have counted for something. Probably.
However, my excuses have finally run out. The whole company has entered the Sport Relief Mile and there is no way to get out of this without losing face.
Now, one of the things about being the only person at Alchemis from a non-sales background and in a non-sales role is you notice how competitive everyone else is. They all strive for excellence and they all want to be top of their game – all of the time. So, whilst I appreciate the great camaraderie and “work hard” ethic in the office, the “play hard” aspect out of the office does occasionally fill me with a slight sense of trepidation – and this occasion wasn’t about to disappoint.
At first, I wasn’t too worried about running a mile. I thought I could do that without any training. In fact I could probably even squeeze in a fair few pints the night before (what with it being a Saturday) and still do it if I had to. Alas, everybody else here deemed that a mile was too short and the competitive element kicked in: “What? Surely it would be cheeky to ask for sponsorship for anything less than three miles!” cried half the sales team. “No, surely it would be an outrage to ask for sponsorship for anything less than six miles!” cried the other half. And so the new boundaries were set.
For someone like me, who was never overly competitive, working with the current team at Alchemis does seem to be rubbing off somewhat. Everyone is enthusiastic, the whole team works well together and nobody wants to let the side down – either in or out of the office. But also, for this very reason, no one wants to finish last within our team. I can’t use the excuses I was toying with, such as being the oldest runner in the team (I’m not) or “having a bad knee” (not bad enough to stop me skiing) – the only option would be to start training. So last night, for the first time in about six months, I forced myself to go to the gym, with the fear of there being less than two weeks to get in shape and the need to avoid finishing last driving me relentlessly forward on the treadmill for mile after mile – no warm up, no warm down, no stretching, just running… and today, finally, I have a genuine reason why I may finish last – and that is because I can hardly walk.