My penultimate personal training sessions and we have a lot of work to do on Thursday if I am going to get myself a six pack, but I am happy enough with my levels of fitness and energy and I will be interested to see the before and after pictures to see if I can spot the difference that the vegetables, oat groats and planking has made. As has been the case all year I am interested in long term progress rather than what I can achieve in a short period of time. I hope I can keep up the regime after the Abs Challenge is over. Not sure how long I will continue with the oat groats - though I bought a 5kg bag of the stuff and am only about a fifth of the way through it, so they might continue as part of my diet for some time to come (I am eating my breakfast as I write this and struggling my way through a 450g stir fry mixed with soaked oat groats right now). I fear that it is a magic bag of oat groats that replenishes every time you take some oat groats out of it. Whatever magical force operates the replenishing knows that I am too conscientious/mean to waste food and so will blithely keep eating the oat groats as long as they are there. I will never escape.
But to keep life interesting I am now eating a steak with eggs for every alternate breakfast in an attempt to boost my protein. There could hardly be a bigger juxtaposition between morning meals. I prefer the steak days, but even though I’ve only had three in the last week, it’s a bit too much in the opposite direction. I think that soon enough things will settle back into my old regime of regular porridge with fruit and nuts.
Ally, my trainer is pushing me a lot harder and today’s session felt like it might never end, but I didn’t even give up. Even when something popped a bit in my thigh. It didn’t hurt too much, but added a little degree of discomfort to the pain. There’s an odd psychology to doing a little training circuit. Ally told me that we’d be doing the five or six exercises we were doing three times. Some of them were easier than others, so I would relish those when they came around again, but the ones that were hard to do the first time, loomed over my psyche. I have to do this twice more, how will that be possible? And yet on the second time you are pushed on by the thought that there’s only one more round to go, whilst dreading how you’re going to feel on the last push. By the end though you can just about cope with the idea of fulfilling the quota because you know this is going to be it. The body is naturally lazy and prone to inertia and yet if you ignore its pleas you find that you can more or less achieve the things that seemed impossible or highly undesirable fifteen minutes before.
I ate my lunch of Herring and egg on rye bread (that’s what I ordered, but I think they actually gave me prawn) from a Nordic sandwich shop on Golden Square. I sat in the little park in the sunshine watching the other Londoners having their lunch and some men playing table tennis on one of those outdoor tables that are springing up in public places these days. So much of my job is spent in isolation that it was cool to be part of a community, if only a silent, slightly isolated, observing part. I had much to do, but my tired body wanted me to sit there as long as possible, enjoying the sun and watching the world go by. I hope I get to be an old man so that this can be my official and only job and nothing will be pulling at me to get back to work.
Tonight’s preview in Muswell Hill went OK, though the audience was a little muted, possibly because the room was filled with crepuscular light and I was on first. I had to deal with a slightly drunk man chucking in his own comments that as usual were unamusing and usually just explained the joke that I had just done, which everyone else had understood. As I talked about kissing someone from the nineteenth century he asked me to give him a kiss and I had to explain that I wasn’t from the 19th century so his comment made no sense, but I had some fun explaining his confusion. The show moves onwards and I am beginning to spot more themes and connections between the disparate items. I think it’s going to be OK, even if the people of Muswell Hill were a little bit perturbed by the lack of regular punchlines.