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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: Use #13 - Drying Rack
By terri tiffany
02/20/07


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My thirty- something neighbor runs two miles a day with her greyhound dog and then comes home and mows her lawn. Her antics never bothered me much until my last birthday.

Fifty is the age when most out of shape adults worry more about the answers on Jeopardy; than they do about whether they can still breathe after hauling in five bags of groceries. Fifty is also that crucial age when it’s time to throw away the old scales and buy a digital one that measures in ounces. A visit to Goodwill with a donation of those size eight dresses is a Saturday morning must. More importantly - fitness - the ugly word used back in high school by the gym teacher who looked like she never ran further than from her office to the locker room just to remind me to shower (even though I never did break a sweat) is resurrected.

I’m not sure which of us decided we needed to join the gym first. I think our daughter’s looming wedding was our first prompt. The thought of a photographer including us in every photo with a couple who looked like Barbie and Ken drove me to my knees in front of my full length mirror. My husband’s thirty fifth high school reunion coming up the following year was our second prompt. But the final thrust was when our first AARP magazine arrived and the people on the cover looked like us.

For $30 a month, we joined the local gym for a triple dose of weekly torture all in the name of forcing our bodies back into the shape we thought we were in at sixteen. The skinny little instructor first showed me how to work the treadmill. “Warm up and then I will instruct you on use of the weight machines.”

After ten minutes of a forced march, I motioned to the trainer that I was done. She shook her head and added ten more minutes. I glanced at the jogger next to me who was pressing her body to run at a pace of 5.4. I increased my speed to 2.8. Give me another month and I would be running circles around her.

After a few weeks of learning how to adjust our seats on the stationary bicycles and not fall off, we decided we needed to look like we belonged to a gym. Our ankle tight sweat pants and oversized T -shirts purchased on our last vacation were not exactly inspiring confidence in our abilities. The next Saturday we visited every sporting goods store within a twenty mile radius. On the following Monday night, I wore low cut socks, trendy sneakers (instead of my Disney white ones) and workout shorts that made my teenager jealous.

Our final act of commitment to this new fitness lifestyle was when we walked into an electronics store and listened to a fifteen minute spiel from a spiked haired techie on the merits of an IPOD over an MP3 player. We walked out $300 poorer but with a new determination to make that treadmill sing.

As with every change … the moment came when a decision had to be made. What would we do on the days when we couldn’t drag our bodies to the gym and the scale wasn’t our friend that morning? My husband, now ten pounds heavier, had the perfect solution.

An $800 Elliptical now graces our garage - parked right in front of our second refrigerator. I wipe the cob webs off the handles when I need a shirt to wear the next day that might otherwise shrink in the dryer.


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This article has been read 771 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne02/26/07
I can identify. It's funny. Sales people don't really care if you use that expensive equipment, they just want you to buy it.
Joanne Sher 02/27/07
Loved the title - and all the humor! You have some real doozies in here! The last part was also a keeper. Good stuff!
Sara Harricharan 02/27/07
It took me a moment to get the title-very clever! This was a nice, easy kind of read with honest humor and a very interesting look at life at the gym when you're 40 to 50+ I loved the piece with the ipod and mp3 player. Very fun. Great job with this ^_^
Loren T. Lowery02/27/07
My family can identify, too. I use the handles on our treadmill to hang my cowboy hat. Thanks for the truthful, candid look at ourselves.
Tiffany Secula02/27/07
Great one! I can sure relate to it, our bike makes a great clothes rack!!
Jen Davis02/28/07
I liked this story a lot and laughed throughout the piece. “…when our first AARP magazine arrived, and the people on the cover looked like us.” This cracked me up and reminded me of a photo Christmas card we received this year from friends from college. I told my husband that THEY were getting old and realized that must mean we were too.

Cute sentence: “The thought of a photographer including us in every photo with a couple who looked like Barbie and Ken drove me to my knees in front of my full length mirror.”

A couple of suggestions: No semi colon needed after Jeopardy. Farther refers to distance and should be used instead of further. Insert hyphen for thirty-fifth.

You have a great voice: “Give me another month and I would be running circles around her.”
And I liked this metaphor: “…an IPOD… to make that treadmill sing.” The ending was really cute. Other than tweaking this a bit I think it’s a great piece of writing. I hope you will continue to work on this one.
Venice Kichura04/08/07
This is sooo good, Terri!
Boy could I relate! (I also joined a gym about 3 months ago & know the feeling of "not wanting to go" at least 4-5 times a week.
Sorry I'm just now getting around to it...Awesome job of writing & so true!