Orient Expression

12 July, 2008

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pyrotyger @ 5:16 pm
Tags: ,

“Free wine, you say?!”

Wait, let me go back a bit…

I row. Nothing fancy, just regular sessions on the rowing-machines at the gym.
I feel I can say, with some confidence, that I’m pretty good. Not world-class by any stretch, but I’ve got a good reputation at my gym. I think it appeals to me because:

  1. I have a passion for most things nautical
  2. It’s a great cardio-vascular exercise that doesn’t require much from your feet (mine are flat)
  3. More than most cardio-exercises, it demands fitness, strength and a sheer bloody-minded determination to push harder in spite of the pain.

The machines are Concept 2 indoor rowers, and the company has all sorts of incentive schemes set up. There’s a new “challenge” issued every month – set time, distance, whatever – and people from gyms all over the country log their best attempts each month online on the Challenge Leaderboard.
I’m on there as Little Phill2 (not my choosing) on the Banana Boat 1, and now usually rank somewhere between 50th and 100th nationally, 1st or 2nd locally. I’m pretty pleased with this, even if Little Chris does regularly kick my arse in spite of being a light-weight…

Anyway, couple of weeks back I went into the gym one Sunday to discover that a rower had been set up on the raised platform. One of the gym instructors immediately bounded over to me with a clip-board:

Mo: You’re into your rowing, aren’t you?
Me: (enthusiastic as ever) Yep.
Mo: How do you fancy doing a slot on the rowing-marathon for St. Andrew’s Hospice? Can I put you down for 20 minutes? Someone hasn’t showed…

So, I did my bit. 20 minutes on the rower. I don’t try to be competitive, but seeing that clipboard with everyone’s distances on it… well, I just had to go for it.

Several Blue Man Group tracks got me through it at a decent pace, and I poured out of the seat and tried not to throw up. It’s lucky I hadn’t played Audioslave instead, or I may have ruptured my aorta. As it was, I managed something over 5km; I couldn’t see straight so I didn’t see the exact figure.

Cut to this morning, having my first crack at the latest challenge: 8x500m sprints, with 3m rests in between. This is interval-training at its cruellest, and a quick route to a heart-attack if you don’t take it steady (which of course I didn’t).

Chris, the gym manager, spots me and walks over. I haven’t seen him in several months, ever since the poor bastard got promoted out of the gym and into the office. I’m halfway through my fourth break, which means my hands have just had time to uncurl from the claws they inevitably form, and my heart-rate has just dropped to the point where I can hear through the pounding. He sits on the rower next to me and says:
“Thanks for doing the rowing marathon – you got a great distance. So now I have to ask: Red or White?”

He’s getting me a bottle of wine for getting the best distance of the day! Hurrah! Red, naturally.

I knew this fitness-lark would pay off somehow. Still, I’ve only got a couple of weeks to finally get rid of my dwindling spare-tyre before the Big Chill Festival. About which, more later…

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