I took an early lunch today in order to spend an hour at C's sports day (it's only 5 minutes down the road from my home office).
I was really looking forward to it. However, from the moment I saw the words: "Mothers race" on the programme I knew I was a marked woman.
I hadn't come prepared. I was wearing high heeled boots. And there was no way I could say no and let C down.
The time seemed to speed by. The children did all their races (excellent entertainment!). C won his sprint and did a good job finishing in the hoola and zig-zag races.
And then it was time. The headmistress called up all the mothers. No one moved. She called again. Again no one moved. So I manfully stood up and walked across to the start line. And then there was a flurry of activity as about 40 mothers joined me.
Initially I was fairly relieved (running solo in front a crowd of people isn't high on my wish list!). However, once my initial relief subsided I started feeling a bit concerned. The reason for this concern was that as I looked down the row of Mum's all lining up to do their sprint, it struck me that a fair number of them were actually wearing their gym kit. And when I glanced down at footwear - every one of them had trainers on. Their reticence hadn't been coyness, it had been tactical - to throw other Mum's off guard.
"Ready, Steady - Go!". And we took off. Within the first few strides I'd established that this wasn't going to be some friendly jog to the finish line. This was full on war for some of them. As I was jostled from side to side my competitive spirit kicked in. So I may not be able to jog further than the corner shop at the moment, but this was a 25 metre sprint - and when I was 7 no one could hold a torch to me at that distance.
I dug in. And just as I thought I wouldn't disgrace myself, my heel got caught on the floor. And then the other heel caught. And in slow motion I crashed to the ground.
Nobody stopped to help. They all just ran around me/trampled over me and continued to head for that finish line.
I realised within a second or two that the whole of the nursery and reception school were watching me, so I got up quickly and did a mental check that no body parts were broken. I was about to take a bow when the sound of a thundering herd caught my attention. The Mum's were running back to the starting line. The only option left to me was to join back in with the throng and let the momentum carry me to the end.
To be honest, I'm still blushing now. C and K have of course tried to comfort me in their own way "Mummy - if you run more slowly you won't fall over", "L - at least everyone now knows who you are now!". Thanks chaps.
The only way to redeem myself is to win that d*mned race next year. If I start training now (and remember to wear decent footwear), I may just stand a chance!