I told the Grade 5/6 kids at school yesterday that I planned on riding the elliptical for three hours today – 11:00 – 12:00, 12:30 – 1:30 and 2:00 – 3:00. I said I’d text “Jayne”, their teacher, to report on my progress. Nice to have an audience.
Fifteen minutes before showtime, I was at the gym’s water fountain, ready to mix up my electrolyte drink. I bent down to get the bag of powder from my backpack. When I started to stand up, I schmucked my head on the corner of the fountain. Woo. Dizzy. I was staggering a bit and a woman asked me if I was all right. “Sort of.”
A few minutes later, adequately recovered, I began to laugh. My great athletic day … off to an inauspicious start.
Once I had gathered my essential life forces, I put on t-shirt and shorts and texted Jayne. In response, she shared how the kids laughed at my predicament. I’d told them that I was fine.
The first hour, I went slow, in the spirit of a marathon rather than a sprint. I told the crew afterwards that I was “pleasantly” tired, not an adverb I usually associate with fatigue. The response from Cyberland? “Go, Mr. Kerr, go! You can do it.” That felt good. And I was proud of myself, schussing along at a moderate pace, keeping my heart rate under control.
Hour number two was far more of a grunt, and the breathing was heavy. Plus pain behind my right knee. I waited to see if it would mellow, and five minutes later it did. When the second 60 minutes were up, I felt “unpleasantly” tired, but happily still vertical. Once the bod had returned to some version of normal, I texted Jayne and the kids, in advance of my 2:00 pm relaunch. “What will happen if I’m completely pooped at 2:30? I’ll do what comes naturally – I’ll think of you!”
And the response: “You can do it!! They’re all cheering!” I wasn’t so sure I could do it but you gotta go with what those young people say.
The third hour was a slog, but strangely and wonderfully, I didn’t once think of quitting. Twenty-five young humans, and one older one, were cheering me on. Around 2:45, I really needed the support. Everything was slowing, except my heartbeat. The breath was a gasp. But lo and behold, 59 minutes turned into 60, and I’d done it! The equivalent of 60 kilometres, 15 more than I had done before. Yay!
It’s three hours later now and I’m sitting in a London library. I feel slow and weak. “Well, Bruce, what exactly did you expect? You’re not a machine, you know.” True. And whatever I am, having a lot of kids pulling for me got me over the top. Thank you.