How unfit am I at the moment? Not as much as I was this time last week. How unfit was I last week? Very (wheeze).
I‘ve got to admit, I was almost dreading the day when I’d attempt to resume my “fitness regime” again. It wasn’t so much a lack of motivation to exert myself physically (although I’d choose eating and sleeping every time), rather, a certain apprehension of discovering how out of shape I’d actually become. It’s easy to try and kid myself into thinking that the last 8 months spent pacing around Gasthof Stern was in itself some form of exercise. I could use the worn out shoes, the hideously smelling socks as “evidence” of running about so much, always being on my feet? Maybe not. On the other hand I can just be brutally honest and admit that I did a grand total of ZERO HOURS of exercise during my time in Germany. In the long run it’s better to overcome this obstacle (accepting the fact that you’ve been a lazy bastard), swallow / digest this truth, and do something about it (before you become a fat bastard).
So I resolved, basically as soon as I arrived back in England, that I’d attempt to get myself into shape again. The lack of real exercise, mixed with a high-calorie German diet for 3/4’s of a year (the Bratwurst, the cakes, the beer), meant that I was in no fit state to be on standby for the European Championships in case Roy Hodgson needed me. Something had to be done.
Fail to prepare = Prepare to fail
Why do people even do exercise? It can hurt! Half way through a bike ride, a football match, a run, I inevitably find myself asking the question, ‘why am I subjecting myself to this physical torture?!’ It was no different yesterday when I set off on the first bike ride with my best friend Ollie towards One Tree Hill; my heart was screaming at me to stop and my legs clearly weren’t in the mood. We managed it mind you (two whole hours up and down hills and through the woods), but our preparation (or rather lack of) for the ride hardly set us in good stead:
- 28 degrees of heat = Could Ollie and I have picked more appropriate weather conditions? Probably. It doesn’t really get much hotter in Britain, and it doesn’t help matters with the sun beating down and no sign of a breeze. Ollie was sweating even before he got on the bike!
- Flat tyres = Despite Ollie having repeatedly asked me whether I was completely sure that my tyres were fully pumped up, it took me a quarter of a mile of cycling to decide to turn back home and sort them out before we went any further. If anything that was the best decision I’ve made all week. At best my tyres were at 40% of their maximum capacity (clearly I’d overestimated originally at 80%).
- Mum’s home-made cake = Now there’s nothing wrong with mum’s home-made cakes. In fact, they’re almost always delicious. However, contrary to my previously held beliefs, there is certainly a time and place for cake, and as I quickly discovered, the middle of a gruelling cycle ride isn’t one of them. I’m sure you can imagine that by the time we’d reached the summit of One Tree Hill (a couple of steep hills later) in the blistering heat after an 8 month-long sabbatical from exercise, that Ollie and me were exhausted. Collapsed on the floor, I rummaged through my bag in search for something to eat and drink (typically Ollie had forgotten to bring anything with him!). At first I thought I’d struck gold when I pulled out some of Mum’s home made-cake, but Ollie’s response gave me a reality check somewhat: “Kit this is the first time I’ve done exercise in 8 months, my body is overheating in this sun, my asthma pump expired in 2006 and my throat couldn’t be any dryer. Now you’re telling me that the only thing you’ve brought with you is some dried out cake? You might as well offer me a packet of cream crackers mate.”
Fish & Chips, Jumbo Jets and Amateur Balloon Performances (only in Southend)