The Hare and the Tortoise

This woman.    She’s my nemesis.

You wouldn’t think it to look at her but it’s always the ones you least expect.  Almost every time I go for my morning Peak walk, there she is.

It’s like when you commute to work at the same time, day in, day out, you see the same people in the same seats in the same carriage, on the same bus, walking down the same street or in the car in front of you in the same traffic jam.  Well, she’s one of those people to me at the moment and I can’t shake her off!

Of course she has no idea what I think of her.  Maybe she notices me at the same time each day, probably not.

I’m guessing she’s probably around 80 years old but I could be miles off.  She’s one of those women who looks like she’s spent a lot of her life outdoors in the sun and as a result, she looks quite ‘weathered’.  Maybe she’s only 40!

Why is she my nemesis?  As I said, I just can’t seem to shake her off….

When I go for my walks, I have my routine.  I have 3 sit down points on the climb up (and a few stand still & catch my breath points too!).  At some point near the start of the climb, I see her.  She’s shuffling nice and slow and steady up the hill in her flimsy plimsolls.  I coolly stride past her – I am half her age after all (I think!).  I reach my first stop point and catch my breath for a couple of minutes.  She reappears, slow and steady.  She shuffles past.  I soon march on and it doesn’t take long before I overtake her again.  She doesn’t stop once.  I don’t think I will ever be able to manage the 1.4km hilly section of the trail without stopping.  She, on the other hand has probably done this every day for her entire life.

I stop again, have a drink, mop my brow & decide to get up again when the next song on my iPhone starts.  Here she comes, shuffle, shuffle, bloody shuffle.  Just when I reach a point about 2/3 of the way up when I’m panting and sweating and feeling proud of myself and my fitness drive, she overtakes me again, not a trainer, Adidas label or iAnything has ever been near her I’m sure and I instantly feel totally inadequate.  What the hell am I thinking that I’m doing anything impressive when someone like her is giving me a run for my money?!  Well, I bet she doesn’t have short achilles tendons that are screaming in protest at her throughout the whole uphill climb.  Good excuse?  Maybe.

Naturally I make sure I’m always the winner in the competition that’s only in my head.  I’m usually given a helping hand by the fact that she does stop once or twice to chat to the other folk of the Morning Trail that have also probably been doing this walk every day since the 1860’s – or thereabouts.

As it happens, I have total respect for this woman.  What she does each day at her age for no reason whatsoever other than fresh air and fitness is amazing.  I’ve seen what she does when she gets to the top – she turns around and heads back down again!  Without stopping of course.  She must be laughing her head off watching idiots like me, in all the gear, trying to keep up with her!  I’m glad I only arrived in Hong Kong at this stage in her life.  Had I been here many years earlier, well, I probably wouldn’t have noticed her at all actually, she’d have been merely a blur whizzing past me.

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