“Papa! Papa! Papa! Let’s go daddy!” These were the last words I heard before my world turned upside down and everything became blurred. This happened during the 100 metre parents’ race at my daughter’s school’s sports day.
The children had done their races – needle race, sack race, relay and so on. Now it was time for the highlight of the day – the parents’ race. I was cheered on to take part in the race like I was some kind of Usain Bolt. I tried to refuse but the head teacher of the school herself encouraged me to participate. She was seated next to the school accountant and so I thought if I won the race they would, may be, give me a discount on my daughter’s school fees. (Wishful thinking)
Anyway, that’s how I found myself in the parents’ race, ready to do battle. I was competing against four other parents representing the different teams that were competing at the sports day. There was the Red team, the Blue team, the Green team, Orange team and the Yellow team. I was representing the Red team which at this moment had scored the most points.
“Wanya max, set set, go!” (For those of you who just got off the train, that is the version of “On your marks, get set, go!” that I know)
The race was flagged off and we were on our way, running for the top prize. I was running as fast as I could and the children and parents from my team, the Reds, cheered me on. I saw my daughter cheering the loudest. Proud of her daddy, hoping I would win the race like she had done in the races that she took part in. Boy was she in for a rude shock. I was at the tail end of the race even though I was running like a thief from the long arm of the law.
Suddenly something unexpected happened. My knees just gave up and gave in and I went tumbling down. I looked in my daughter’s direction and I saw the excitement on her face melt to concern and sadness. I landed flat on the ground like a log.
I got up slowly, with a lame smile on my face and did an “I’m okay don’t worry” wave to the crowd as I wobbled off the running track. I lost my step. I felt so rubbery in my knees that I could not take another step further. I just lay down on the ground and closed my eyes. Keeping my eyes open was a struggle.
The distance that I had run was less than 100 metres. I had only covered about 40 metres before I tumbled. This was testimony that I was unfit.
I realised then that I had not done any form of exercise in a long time. In fact, in ages! It was then that I decided to start working out. I joined a gym but quickly quit because I lacked the patience for developing a 6 pack. I wanted one in three days but realised it would take much longer.
I joined a football team but due to contractual issues I quit. You see, I had been signed as a striker but the coach was using me as a goalkeeper! So, from football, I started going out jogging regularly for about 4 kilometres but again I could not see any change in me after a month. I still had a potbelly that looked like a three month old pregnancy and I was still breathless and hopelessly tired after each run. Then I read somewhere that a glass of red wine was equal to two hours of exercise at the gym. Talk about encouraging someone to drink! However, I took up this offer (who wouldn’t?) and started drinking a glass of red wine every day. After a month, still there was no change. My potbelly had grown so big I looked like I was about to give birth!
Clearly I had to change my work out plan.
Like a budding fighter in a Kung fu movie goes out looking for a teacher and begs that teacher to teach him how to fight, I set out looking for a trainer. My search was long and hard and I met all sorts of characters, some of whom were totally against the idea of exercising.
“You are just wasting your time. Continue drinking and eating all the red meat that you can lay your hands on. Those who are telling you to stop drinking booze and stop eating red meat are misleading you! And besides, running is for the likes of Matete and Bolt! Not imwe, daddy!” One of my friends said to me.
I did not take his advice. Instead I got concerned. It appeared to me that there was a serious lack of information on health, wellness and green living. Many of my contemporaries just go on with their lives with a deliberate fitness plan. They drink and eat and gain weight and unknowingly develop non- communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and breast and colon cancer. I too lacked this information but when I read about it all, I became more determined to lose weight and potbelly. Fortunately I met a work-out junkie who introduced me to daily works. She became my trainer. I started working out regularly and going out for short runs. I also tried to follow a vegetable diet, which was tough, but helped me lose 2 Kg. This year, I continued working out and going for longer runs and I have even stopped drinking wine (Well I drink occasionally) and I have made the occasions fewer. I have started seeing results. Weight loss. Reduced potbelly. Increased fitness and wellness.
I can’t wait for another parents’ race at my daughter’s school. I will show them who is boss!