Training in so many ways


Today I went back to 7Cycle for my first spinning class in almost six months. The studio moved from down the street from the office to a twenty minute MRT ride away, which precluded any further lunchtime exercise. Not being in the office and with a bit of extra spare time, I stuffed my tightest shorts and my most fluorescent top into my new backpack, and went off there this morning. I had promised to take careful note of the musical choices, but, distracted by the loud noises, the flashing lights and the fact that my heart rate monitor was reporting something above 200 bpm (the highest I’ve ever had was when I tried to sprint up a hill in Folkestone and got to 195 bpm, and that felt like I was trying to vomit my lungs up), I failed to take notice of what the music actually was. So that wasn’t very useful.

My heart rate eventually dropped below 200, but that leaves me confused about whether my Garmin is going mad, or the monitor unit is squiffy, or the fact that my sweat has made the strap itself delaminate after a year and a half’s hard work, is the problem. Each of these has a different solution, requiring different amounts of money. I’m hoping it’s just the strap.

Apart from getting some exercise (and having something different rather than just running the same routes again and again), it’s good that 7Cycle are so far away from our flat, as I get the chance to read more of the London Review of Books while on the train. Today I finally finished an epic article about transgender issues that I’ve been battling with for days, and started on a piece about railways. I don’t think many publications have multi-page articles about these two subjects within the same issue. And if I hadn’t had time to read these, I would never have learned about bare-knuckle boxing trains: it was ‘as if British Rail had laid on special trains to the Ecstasy-fuelled farmland raves of the 1980s’:

Boxers would sell tickets on chartered trains to rowdy sporting gentlemen with money to burn and a zeal for punts and fisticuffs and cocking a snook. With fighters and well-heeled aficionados aboard, the train would shoot off into the countryside, pursued by magistrates, the police and mobs of less well-off fans who’d heard a rumble was in the offing. The trains would halt by a convenient field and the boxers would jump off and start fighting until the police turned up, when the cavalcade would rush off to the next ad hoc ring and the fighters would begin trading punches again.

That few sentences alone are worth my year’s subscription. I was just disappointed there weren’t special fighting trains where the punch-up could be conducted in motion. I suppose you had to wait for From Russia With Love for that…


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