Running machine

It is. I am not.

What you are looking at there is a pool table. Appreciate it lacks some of the standard features of a traditional setup. Even considering such innovations as pocketless pocketing and 10 kph break offs, it’s aesthetically a tough sell. And there’s the rub*, you need to be thinking more in the abstract.

You see it should be a pool table. Same location, similar cost, slightly smaller. Ever since we had this room mostly rebuilt before the terrifying consequences of the original construction landed on our heads, the plan was to install a pool table because, well, I’ve always wanted one.

Justification wise it’s a solid business case; two player game, fun experience even for the shorter attention span, something for friends to have a crack at, and likely to be reasonably amusing when mixed with alcohol. But like my bike buying strategy, stick your hands through the glossy facade, and the emperor is having a major wardrobe malfunction.

Firstly neither Carol or I are massive fans of pool. She’s hardly played and I can hardly play. About 20 years ago – in front of an amazed apres-ski bar audience  – I nonchalantly dispatched the last seven stripes before thin kissing the black into the middle bag. In ski boots and with a couple of beers on board. Winner stays on. Stayed on for one more and didn’t win another game all week. Or many since.

The last of which must be a few years ago. The only bloke I could consistently beat was my ex-marine mate who explained his lack of prowess was largely due to spending most of his adult life on a boat. So while we kind of liked the idea of a pool table, it was clear once the novelty wore off, repurposing as a clothes horse or unusually shaped table would best define its long term use.

Instead we bought the dreaded treadmill. Dreadmill if you will, and we did before parting with our own cash by borrowing one from a friend. Retrieved from under a sofa it clearly hadn’t had a hard life. I did my best to change that and – based on the horrible weather outside and my increasing hatred of the turbo – decided it could be the missing link between my increasingly round middle aged beer repository and the trim and honed athlete I was sure might be hiding in there.

Let’s face it, no single piece of equipment is closing that gap.  However there is some evidence** that running and cycling are reasonable bedfellows. Certainly I’ve ached in all sorts of interesting new places, and my knees are delighted with yet more blunt force trauma from my wonky running action.

Running action fails to describe my thrashing limbs attempting to kick my own arse. I run like Han Solo about a minute after they defrosted him. Any stiffer and I’d probably take root. While the legs flail about on the dangerous margins of the deck, my upper body demonstrates an ugly fusion of man boobs and simple harmonic motion. Can almost kick myself in the arse AND punch myself in the face.

Still this didn’t deter me from some rigorous research*** ending with a two man lift flatpack, and some head-scratching while interpreting instructions translated from Chinese to English by a person familiar with neither. Eventually Carol sent me away and sorted it out, while I eeked out a bit more from my Zwift subscription by bluetooth tethering the new machine to the spare TV.

Then I had a plan. Well Zwift had a plan: “Cycling to Running 10k” . 10 kilometres in 10 weeks. My initial disappointment that this didn’t translate to 1k a week was assuaged by ignoring week two entirely instead running by the sea under sunny skies. Sadly week 3 was back in the UK and the plan has morphed into ‘well that was a bit of a hurty bastard’

Going to finish it tho. I mean at the moment the cost per mile for that treadmill would easily run a Chieftain tank. And I’m sort of enjoying it mostly because it removes any feelings of non turbo use guilt. Turbo should be twice a week but God I am so fucking bored of it after five winters. I probably should sign up for some races, but that’s brought us full circle back to my pool win ratio.

Moe worryingly not ridden outside for three weeks. If challenged my defence is simply ‘you’ve looked outside have you? Into that endless morale slicing rain? If I want a night riding experience, probably easier to lie face down in the field and get Carol to throw buckets of freezing water over me”****

I’ll be back out tomorrow though. I’m even looking forward to it. Last time out I had a proper lie down and quite a few near misses. And conditions were way better. I expect nearly a month off will have both improved my fitness and sharpened my skills.

And if not, well at least dry January is over so we can go to the pub. Oh and this blog was mean to be day 3 of our Pyrenees tour from last year. But the photos of sun kissed bikes and dusty trails made me so depressed, I couldn’t face writing it. Don’t worry once the sun comes out, I shall introduce you to the delights of the “Devils Toilet”.

*of the green. No? Here all week. Try the fish.

**It’s the Internet, confirmation bias is always a few clicks away. Still I have lost about 2kg. I hope that’s not giving up the beer. I can’t face the idea that somehow beer is not good for you.

***Mostly “how frigging much? I want a treadmill not the whole bloody Gym”

****Valentines day date night right there.


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