I stood looking at myself in mirror at the gym last night. A 20 kg barbell lay over my shoulders. A 6 kg medicine ball at my feet, a variety of dumbbells and kettle bells strewn around the place. My face was red, hair sweat soaked and dripping from all over the place. My t-shirt clinging in places I wish it wouldn't.
There was no escaping the smile on my face either.
And for the first time in a few weeks, I felt happy. I was back doing something I loved. Okay, so I'm not quite up for running yet - my knee is still giving me some grief when I do impact stuff - but it's walking fine and bending well and as long as I don't shove any pressure on it and ice it after, it's giving me no trouble. It's aching less as days go by, so something is going right.
Pinochet was thrilled. "You're back? I know where you've been, but you're back. Now another 20 squats, four rounds, madam!" He barked at me. He left off the word, bitch, which he will throw in occasionally if he really wants me to work hard. I tend to spit at him when he calls me that. Madam gets me working well enough.
It's been a bad six months for exercise. The one thing in my life that helps keep me sane hasn't really been available. A bad calf strain, a benign tumour that needed surgical removal and now this bung knee have kept me away from the gym, travelling - and lately, just getting my head around the rest of the stuff in my life, the gym has fallen by the wayside. Kay, Emm and Jules, the girls I work out with have been at me to come back, but they've been really understanding too - but I'm ready to really get back into this.
Lying down on the bench, Pinochet handed a 9 kg dumbbell in each hand - "Chest press these - 10 reps." I managed 20 with ease. Next round I was handed 10 kgs dumbell. Still too easy. I started to baulk when he handed over the 12.5 kg dumbells. I managed 12 reps before putting them down, thrilled at how I was travelling. I haven't done many chest presses in months. I haven't done anything overly strenuous since June!
I should be aching. By rights I shouldn't be able to move. But I am and I can. There's a few residual pulls and tugs, but I'm not hurting. This surprises me.
More disturbing is the sore throat I've had for three weeks. Two rounds of antibiotics later, it's still there. It's been turning up every Monday morning for these three weeks like a bad smell. It's been driving me nuts. I spose in some way's it's getting better. It's only the left side that is giving me jip now. If I look at this spiritually, sore throats are the inability to say what you need to say.
Right, I'd better get off to enjoy my last day at Tin Can, String and Whistle. This part of my life is nearly over. Despite the lead time, this is all still very surreal. Maybe this is why my throat feels like it's been embedded with razor blades.
The 800 kilometre drive tomorrow will be good for my spirit. And what's the bet my sore throat will be gone by morning.