I bloody love that song. It used to be reminiscent for me of jumping around at sweaty, student dives, DMs sticking to the floor. Now it makes me think of the gym; the music you want to hear during a particularly harsh and horrible workout, something strewn with burpees and kettlebell cleans. The grrrrrrr factor of the music gets you over the painful bits, the repetitiveness gets you in the ‘I will crack this muthafucka’ zone.
The song also suits my mood today. Like most of the right thinking folk of the world, I have been haunted by the image of the young Syrian boys washed up on the beach in Turkey. It wasn’t a surprise but a horrible shock to see. I’ve been following the refugee story for months and read some terrible things, but nothing punched me in the gut like that did.
Even the hypocrites in the right wing media, who have long lamented and stoked the flames of fear over the invasion of migrants to these shores, seemed moved. There was a time when images could shake the world: by raising consciousness and starting the long road to change. I wonder if that is still possible in our media saturated world. Can a picture of something more relevant than a woman’s arse break the internet? Will it do more than gain likes and clicks? Will our government stop acting like pricks?
Ach, this blog is not the place for me to do politics. Apart from when I do. But this is about people in dire straits and it can take over your thinking for a while. This morning I was at a meeting with organisations that support Refugee and Asylum Seekers; some of the people had been refugees themselves. It has made me brood about it. Practical things help, like the suggestions in this piece. As did seeing my wee boy after work, music and silly jokes. If you feel the same, then do something too. And if you sign any petitions, make sure it’s one related to an actual government department, as then they have to do something about it.
Of course, there is one more thing that will make me feel better (apart from a glass of wine, which I’m not having), and that is going to the gym. So I’m going back to a more shallow, but less depressing thread here. My training progress. Because it is training, if not for a particular thing, aside from general, all round ninja-ness.
Over the last two weeks I have been going three times a week instead of two, and this will be the first where I go for four sessions. It has only been this week that I have noticed the extra progress from the three sessions. On Tuesday (drumroll please), I was the fastest in the timed bit of the workout. This was against three of the finest 6:30 man machines. To say I was chuffed would be an understatement; I spent the morning grinning like a Cheshire and making whooping sounds with my son, who completely understood why I was so happy. Mummy beat the boys.
It isn’t cool to brag or boast about these things, but fuck it, I am damn proud. I managed to resist air punching in front of them, although I had to text my glee to the coach as soon as I got home. There are some exercises women are better at than men, one being the 90 degree leg raise. Perhaps centuries of gender imbalance and sexualisation have conditioned us. We are far more used to being flat on our backs with our legs in the air.
There will be no further gloating. Just a picture of the score board for the day. And that’s me done.
What I do need to add, is that it has given me a boost, not in trying to compete too seriously with them: they are much stronger and fitter than me. But a glimmer of hope that I don’t have to feel like the older chubby one anymore, that I might not often win, but rarely be last, and sometimes be one of the best. That seems like a reasonable goal for now. How bitter the irony that nearly two months after the Spartan, I am finally getting into the proper shape for it.
If you exercise once or twice a week and you are struggling to feel the benefits at times, don’t give up. Maybe you need to try upping it a bit. Three or four sessions where you are not doing the same thing each time. That might sound like a challenging thing, as finding time for exercise always is. But we need to, somehow. Just lose something less essential for half an hour, even if it’s sleep. It will be worth it.
Dryathlon update: I am still alive, so are all my nearest and dearest, and so far it’s been okay. I was teased for being grumpy at work this morning, and I was, but for lots of reasons rather than just this. The big test will be the weekend. However, I am just not stressing about it, and will think of indulging in a sugary treat such as ginger beer, lemonade, or maybe even the Satan of soft drinks, coca cola. None of your fat free nonsense either, full fat all the way. The joy of the weekend! I pray not to be a snivelling wreck by Monday.
I am not yet indulging in the long, delicious sleeps they promised when you give up the booze. I guess I’m still decoding. Oh, that just autocorrected detoxing, to decoding. Perhaps both are true. Some kind of habit reprogramming takes place within three weeks I think.
I’ve got another six am start tomorrow, then off to another aerial yoga workshop on Saturday morning, which I’m looking forward to. It’s been a while since I hung upside down in a harness.
Until next time,