Imagine running the London Marathon with your knickers around your ankles.
Imagine all the eyes in the country upon you, as you stumble up hills, holding your dignity literally in your hands as you hang onto your belt-loops.
Imagine the sniggers as you trip, ass up, mooning the trees.
OK, so it wasn't the London Marathon, it was a local sponsored walk. And it may not have been every eye in the country, just the few others walking along. But the sniggers and the knickers? Yeah....
OK OK, I exaggerate. What happened was, as the walk began, elbows out, water bottles swigging, hips swinging, me in front and leading the pack, I felt an unfamiliar sort of sl-i-i-de in my posterior. A sort of creeping feeling... and the elastic in my cruddy knickers gave way, less than a half mile into the walk, and several miles from any rescue point. I froze. What to do?
I smiled, and slowed, and waved people on.
It's okay, says I, quashing every competitive impulse in me. It isn't a race, I'll just stroll along here, you all go ahead, it's fine.
Himself took a healthy lead. And I gradually moved further and further back, willing my knickers to hang on until there was no-one behind me and I could grab my dignity.
Friends, quizzical, stopped, are you okay?
Oh yes, gritted teeth, it's a lovely evening, I'm enjoying the stroll, I'll catch you up.
A very stubborn couple, obviously mistaking the local streets for the back row of the cinema stubbornly refused to budge from their position at the rear where they canoodled. Finally I had to stop and pretend to smell some flowers to force them past me, and then - at least - I was at the back and could grab my sinking spirits in both hands.. oh damn. Why is Himself and his buddy jogging back NOW??
No matter how much I insisted I was fine, friends and family insisted on staying with me for every single pesky yard of that tortuous journey. Me, wiggling my hips suspiciously to ensure nothing fell too far, with the odd little hop to jog things back up into place. I have no idea what they thought I was doing, but thankfully I finished the journey - last one back! - and dived immediately into the sanctuary of the church at the finish.
They tell you about wearing the correct shoes, the correct bra, taking water and maps. No-one ever warned me to take knicker braces, just in case! I shall never leave the house again...