28 February 2012

a wintry chill

Sliding back the living room blinds revealed a thick and swirling snowstorm and the radio declared a “snow day” for the island. I peered out of the girls’ bedroom window down into the parking lot and saw, wonder of wonders, it had been ploughed, although a fresh cover was accumulating.

I could set aside taking care of the girls for the morning as Michelle was off work. Firstly I called the Royal Mail in London to query an error on their website which was preventing me from ordering stamps. The agent was able to replicate the error and said it was a big problem that would have to be addressed at a higher level. Their newly revised site won’t recognise any two letter State or Province codes for Canada or the USA. I placed an order for some miniature sheets by phone this time.

I phoned the gym at Stratford and listened to a recorded message confirming the gym was open today so I slipped into running gear and trotted down to the car. Minus ten felt like minus twenty in a strong northerly wind. I pulled the snow brush from the car and hurriedly began sweeping four inches off the roof, bonnet and boot (note the sensible English terms).

The snow crunched under my wheels as I nosed the car round the apartment building, guided by the deep frozen tyre ruts as if on rails. Once on the main road I realized the lack of traffic flow on this “snow day” had left the roads particularly dangerous. I braked gently and early everywhere. Fine snow drift was whipping off roofs. After a thirty minute drive that usually takes twenty I pulled into the Stratford Recreation Centre and slithered the small Kia to a halt between two menacing trucks.

Only a handful of brave souls had made the determined trek to the gym so I had my pick of the equipment. I spent twenty minutes on the elliptical cross trainer, settling into a rhythm and watching my heart rate climb to one hundred and forty-five. Today’s sparse attendance meant scant opportunity for people-watching but soon one newcomer arrived. I saw her study some wall charts then do a few stretches before setting off round the track at a jog. Shock, horror – the wrong way! Walkers use the inside lane and runners the outside but in opposite directions. It’s safer to see a faster person approaching from in front than behind.

The elliptical beeped an announcement that my session had ended and after spraying and wiping the surfaces clean I sauntered towards the track. I stopped at the barrier to stretch and waited for our newcomer to pass. She was a tall, leggy blond with a giraffe-like gait. I caught her eye and motioned to speak to her. She slowed and pointing to the direction instructions I gently suggested that today we were running clockwise. Most apologetically she turned gracefully on her toes and headed off the other way. Naturally this encounter was conducted with all the tact and diplomacy befitting an Englishman.

I dialled in a new album by Delta Spirit on my iPod and set off after the giraffe. Within a few laps I had closed in on her. I ran thirty-one and a half laps which is precisely two and a half miles and passed her three times in the process. My foot was beginning to twinge so I peeled off and sat for a few moments, sweating liberally. I remounted the elliptical and completed another twenty minutes before calling it a day.

An hour and a half of thaw with rising temperatures made the return journey less tricky. I sank gratefully into a hot bath and emerged pink and sparkling to find Michelle dishing up fried eggs on toast for lunch - a much needed energy boost.


Russell 'C.J.' Duffy said...

A bonnet being a hat worn by ladies back in goodness when and a boot being something worn by cowboys opposed to hood which is something worn by a rapper or a trunk which is a form of carrying case. I think it is 1-0 to the yanks!

Jimbob, my son, has gone back into training, nothing like his old Royal Marine days when he used to regularly run twenty miles but hundreds of push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups then he goes out for a relatively short trot of five miles. Bugger doing what you routinely put yourself through. I think I’d prefer to have a bevy of blonde beauties beat my backside blue with a bundle of birch sticks rather than run on a ruddy machine! And fancy going all the way from Prince Edward Island to the east of London for a work out.

A leggy blonde running the wrong way and all you do is re-direct her? That is not the profile of a real Englishman but an aging father of four who knows that though his wife is short so is her fuse!!!

I simply cannot get into Ipods at all. I was given one for free and in turn gave it away. All my kids swear by them but I really like to settle back and listen to music, preferably with the quality of sound only vinyl can provide…just call me old fashioned.

After all that exercise you describe here I think I might join you in the bath. Obviously NOT the same bath for as you said earlier, we are Englishmen after all.

Perfect Virgo said...

Haha! Most place names here that aren't aboriginal are pinched from the British Isles. Hardly surprising given the Brits' empire building instincts of old.

I have to concede, the giraffe provided a nice view from the rear but I could hardly sit 5 paces behind her all morning! I look forward to getting out on the roads when spring comes but for now the sterile gym will have to do.

You know my preference for hifi sound and the lengths I've gone to achieve it but the little iPod is handy to strap on your arm for a workout session and relieves the boredom. Oddly I don't wear it road running becuase I like to har the ambient sounds.

Another session is scheduled for Friday and my giant homemade pizzas will top up the calorie deficit!