Talus, calcaneus, cuneiform, navicular, medial cuboid, intermediate cuboid, lateral cuboid, five metatarsals, fourteen phalanges.
It is quarter to seven in the morning, I am sitting on a stationary bike in a cool, darkened room, lit only by an exit light and a couple of UV bulbs and surrounded by sweating, panting, grunting people. I am covered in sweat too, heart racing, panting every so often when exertion insists - my cardio vascular fitness is up the near athlete range so I sweat more than pant now even though my heart rate sits around 150 beats a minute.
My maroon Harvard t-shirt is grey under the UV lights, the white Harvard University log has gone red - somebody thought this one out - it's the colours in reverse. Wow. Amazing how something as simple as a reflecting colours can amuse you before a shower, coffee and breakfast while you're pedalling for your life, but going nowhere.
I am also singing the bones of the foot in my head over the doof doof music they play in spin - of course it's not the original artists. Fitness First wont allow that inconvenience. A cover of Pink's "Raise your Glass" has me up and out of the saddle, quads aflame. The bones of the foot song goes well with the beat.
I check my watch for the umpteenth time. 300 calories burned, 6.45, 150 beats a minute. Fifteen minutes to go.
The Spin Muppet is a young girl who doesn't have the voice for a microphone. She's a good spin teacher and very chipper for the 6.15 start, but her voice doesn't modulate, so you often don't get what she's staying - she sounds like an enthusiastic cocky, her words coming out at a monotone screech. It's easier to zone out and take your queues from what she is doing not what she is saying.
I'm a spin veteran. You stand up. You sit down. You go fast. You go a bit slower. You stand up again. You drink a bit of water and wipe your head a few times. You have a bit of a stretch. You go home. All done in 50 minutes including wiping the bike down with disinfectant.
Spin is the perfect pre-breakfast workout - mainly because you don't have too think much. Don't ask me to do Body Attack in the morning. The class is enough of a sponsored epileptic fit as it is - I'd be tripping over my own feet!
Talus, calcaneus, cuneiform, navicular, medial cuboid, intermediate cuboid, lateral cuboid, five metatarsals, fourteen phalanges, two sesamoids.
Can't forget the sesamoids. For two bones, roughly the size of their namesakes, the sesame seed, a remnant from when we lived in trees and didn't know about the wheel. They're a bit like the appendix - used when we ate like rabbits - the appendix with its ability to process fibre. Like the appendix, sesamoids, they can cause all sorts of trouble. Reindert had all sorts of difficulties with them a few years back. Most people don't give two hoots about the bones of the foot. As a reflexologist, I find it interesting that under the reflex for the heart are two small bones giving it support, the way the tendons link the big toe to the rest of the foot, it's like bones look like the heart valves, aortic and mitral, on either side of the pump. So many funny things happen on feet. You can see the shape of a baby in the foot when a woman is pregnant, a swelling in the base of the ankle. You feel things. You know things. Feet are vaguely prophetic at times.
"Perfect circles, raise up, bring round, flop over. Resist the need to pump down, but pull up. The upward pull supports your foot." Spin Muppet doesn't do much technique before seven in the morning. You have to be slightly hard core or slightly nuts to be in a spin class before seven am. She knows it. We all know it. If you strapped to a stationary bike before seven in the morning there is something either insane or regimented about you.
I prefer to think of myself as the latter.
Strange that they talk of support through the cycle of the wheel. And perfect circles provide perfect support. We talk about this in Masons sometimes. I had a bit of a dwell on this too as we went into the last mountain track of the session.
You'd think riding a bike would be just that - riding a bike - but no - there is technique to all of this. First up, you have to adjust your bike, making sure the seat isn't too high or too far back, the handlebars are in the right position. You have to gear up - have your towel and your water bottle nearby. Douglas Adams was right, "Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with."
Or in this case, just make to a 6.15 Spin Class on a Tuesday morning. Does this make me a woman to be reckoned with - singing my bones of the foot song in my head as I pedal away the hour?
After the class, after the cool down and the bike wipe down I had a chat with Spin Muppet - who I've known for a few years now - she used to be on reception.
"Where have you gone?" she asked me.
"I'm still here. Still live around the corner."
"No, I mean every time I see you, there's less of you."
This is a nice way to start the morning. Even nicer, Spin Muppet did her last half marathon in 2.15 - I did mine in 2.21 - this makes me feel rather good, especially since Spin Muppet is probably nearly twenty years my junior and virtually lives on a spin bike. She's actually a love, even if she sounds like an aviary of budgies over the microphone.
Home, shower, coffee, protein shake (breakfast of busy champions) tram to work. Met up with Emm, who was running late for a meeting on the tram. We discussed Christmas. We've bought each other a ticket to Don Giovanni for Christmas this year - which I reckon is a pretty cool gift. We both expressed how we like being a part of experiences over being given a gift.
On coming into work, the obnoxious "Death by Phil Collins" music station had been changed to 'Death-by-bland-current- popular-crap" music station. Like, I rather like Robbie Williams and Pink. Play them over a tannoy and I want to rip their vocal cords out and feed them to the nearest rottweiler.
I'm learning not to fret as I walk in the door to this office environment. I just sit down at my computer and put my earplugs in immediately to dampen the horror.
They stay in for the best part of the day.
Desi was in her corner of the office dressing the place in tinsel.
"It's Christmas, Pand." she enthused.
"Don't be a humbugger."
"Desi, it is my prerogative not to like Christmas. Some of the things I prefer to Christmas include pap smears, funnel web spiders, hemorrhoids, screaming babies, tax audits and the novels of Leon Tolstoy."
"At least I'm not ripping your tinsel down." I told her.
"You'll let me enjoy myself?"
"Of course, as long as you allow me to avoid Christmas as much as I can. If you want to celebrate the birth of a Jewish Carpenter, who said some good things, but was a bit of a rebel - then so be it."
"We can do that."
Desi and I will try go for a run sometime next week.
As for me, I just have to think of the perfect circle and the perfect support. What goes up must come down. Circles are perfect in design as at any point you're exactly as far away from the centre - whatever that represents - be it God, perfection, heaven, bliss, as you are at any other time.
This is what is keeping me level at this time. And giving me a bit of hope that this daily purgatory I'm finding myself in is only a lap of the cycle.