From what I recall in high school, running laps was about as exciting as writing lines. And yes, it felt a lot like punishment, too. “I will not skip gym class. I will not skip gym class...” 200 times! The last time I ran laps was in grade 10. It was called the 12-minute run and thus, we had to try to run as many laps as we could in 12 minutes. You see, the old way was to have a defined number of laps and see how long it took to run them. According to our gym teacher, Miss Fit, (not her real name) “the 12-minute run is a much superior method of….…” something or other. She lost me at 12 minutes. 12 minutes? Only 12 measly minutes! This means we all finish at the same time. Everybody wins! No more embarrassment struggling to finish my tenth lap 45 minutes after gym class ended. I decided to fall in love with the 12-minute run. Or in my case, the 12-minute walk and talk with someone named Susan who had a similar distaste for exercise known as laps. Each runner had an “observer” who tracked the number of laps that were run in the allotted 12-minute time period. I had absolutely no qualms about recording a measly three laps in 12 minutes. Oooh, how scandalous! Go ahead, put it on my permanent record. See if that keeps me from entering college! I couldn’t understand how some people took it so seriously. As I casually strolled into the change room after my 12 minutes, one of my friends stormed past me and threw up in the toilet. I guess the last lap was on her. About three years ago I got a phone call from my sister. “Guess what I did today? Got up at 6 o’clock this morning and ran laps at the Apple Bowl. It was great!” To which I replied, “Who is this?” Certainly not the same sister who, during our one and only walk together several years prior, surrendered her sorry seat to the sidewalk after a mere 20 minutes while I ran home to fetch the car. Definitely not the same sister who drove beside me at 5 km an hour while listening to oldies music as I walked around the neighbourhood at night. The other day I drove past the Apple Bowl and it got me thinking. I believe I now understand the appeal of voluntarily running laps on a track. With the distances marked out, it’s a great way to keep track of your progress. Plus, it’s a safe place to work out by yourself or with a friend. You can’t get lost or go too far before realizing it’s time to turn back. Plus, there’s no fee or opening and closing hours, so it’s never too late to get on track. I pondered heading over to my old high school (which is now an elementary school), and giving the old 12-minute run another try. But it seemed so out of season. And even Miss Fit wouldn’t have made us go outside this late in November. Oh, what am I saying? Of course she would have. Sorry to let you down, Miss Fit, but even though it’s only 12 minutes, the timing is just not right. With one husband, two kids, three lunches to make and four days of laundry piled up, I’m already running in circles.
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