Clearing the air


I was rather surprised this morning when I found that instead of having back to back calls from 7:30 until midday, almost all my meetings had been cancelled. Rather than be on the phone from home from the moment I got out of bed until lunchtime, I could have breakfast at a sensible hour and then stroll to work. And even better, because of the rain storm just after midnight, the air was clear for a change and so I didn’t need to wear a mask. Jubilation ensued.

I went spinning at lunchtime, and perhaps my legs were not strong enough after my titanic stair climb last night. Yesterday I decided to do two ascents of the Pinnacle (I’ve always pegged out after one before) and this time round I beat my personal best by almost a minute on my first ‘lap’, and came under 7 minutes on the second ascent as well. Of course, after that I was revoltingly sweaty and my wife ran and hid from me in the bedroom, while I recovered by watching junk videos on Youtube and generally wasting time.

Today, though, I went home in the afternoon to mind the kids and work from our spare room, while my wife went off to a trip around some islands off the coast of Singapore. Minding the kids and working didn’t turn out to be a great combination, as I had two hours of La Serpiente screaming at me. Our babysitter (who if I’d known was around, I wouldn’t have rushed home) remarked to my wife later that La Serpiente never screams at her. Clearly I’m a soft touch. Except the screaming didn’t achieve anything, apart from giving me a ringing in my ears, and unless tinnitus was La Serpiente’s goal, you’d think she’d realise this wasn’t effective behaviour and readjust.

Because when it comes to parenting, saying “that isn’t effective behaviour, you should readjust” always works.

My wife came home, excited by the islands and the animals she’d seen, and also with the glad news that just like my cycling shoes, her trainers had fallen apart due to the harsh conditions of Singapore. After that, and putting the kids down to bed, I managed to get some work done in the late evening, when I wasn’t feeling very intelligent, and then after wasting enough time on junk videos to get bored and realise I was wasting my time, I settled down with Which Comes First, Cardio Or Weights?, a book I borrowed from the library this week on fallacies in exercise and sport.

Well, not just fallacies. There’s a good discussion of why lactic acid build-up isn’t the thing that stops you running (thanks for all the lies, PE teachers of the 1980s) and also why DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) occurs. There was another piece in there about why I should lift weights rather than just do cardio all the time, and I suppose that should encourage me to get the barbells out of the bomb shelter again. But rather than making me feel guilty all the time, it also pointed out the value of stair climbing, which made me feel that last night’s exercise did do something.

There was also the advice that if you can’t stand on one leg with your eyes shut for at least 15 seconds, you have bad balance. As I have a timer on my phone, I was able to verify that I don’t have bad balance, although I was upset by how wobbly I felt. I’m sure that years ago, when I was standing on one leg three times a week as part of my shorinji kempo lessons, my balance was a lot better than it is now. I suppose standing on one leg is, like any other skill, something that requires constant and tireless practice.


2 responses to “Clearing the air”

  1. Flamingos are good at standing on one leg, I suppose they do get rather a lot of practice.
    And how nice to be reassured that excessive climbing of stairs is mentioned as “a good thing” in your book.

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