Exercise Update: Pray for me

Right then. Crunch time.

It has dawned on me that the Rat Race, aka the point of my life where I die, is nearly upon us. And by nearly upon us I mean it’s on Saturday. And there’s now a complete synopsis of all the stuff we have to do here.

You might think that I’ve been using the previous couple of weeks to hone my now finely-crafted physique, lifting things, running around, punching the air, doing sweating, and generally making sure I’m ready to face Soviet killing machine Ivan Drago, much as in this inspirational Rocky montage. I like the bit where he goes mental on the skipping rope.

Sadly, however, I haven’t. What I have been doing is eating cheese and drinking heavily.

In fairness, it wasn’t my fault. I had to go to Spain.

Now I love Spain; it’s an excellent country. 360 days of sunshine, a casual approach to public nudity, a strong focus on daytime drinking and a 3 hour lunchbreak wrapped in 4 hours of work are all huge plus points, and some of the foundations of the nation’s prospering economy.

I went with the best intentions, I really did. I even packed my running gear. The only problem is I never unpacked my running gear. What I did unpack was a hearty appetite which was well-served by Andalucia’s love of fat-free, healthy foods.

A modest range of training cheeses.

A modest range of training cheeses.

Oh wait no. It was all fat. And pork. And cheese. And variations on them. One of the most popular snacks, I shit you not, is chorizo fried until the fat runs out with mozzarella added to the pan until just melting. You then serve it with fresh basil and bung it into a french loaf, occasionally basting the mozzarella with the chorizo fat. In truth, it’s god’s own snack. Few tastier things have been in my mouth.

It’s also a heart attack on a plate and among the healthier of the options available in all good tapas bars. Then you just have to wash it down with beer, because it’s cheaper than water and we’re in a recession. Some of the beer bellies you see should have their own postcodes. But by god are those people happy.

That’s before you even hit dessert – one day we sauntered down to the village to watch a lady carry a porcelain saint with no arms (apparently perfectly normal) and then a middle-aged lady tried to force feed us all churros and chocolate.

There’s no escape!

Obviously it was a quality week.

Unfortunately I am now fully unprepared for Saturday, but I am now confident that my heart will give out before I have to run 13 miles. If I were a betting man I’d wager it’ll be somewhere in the first mile. I’d also wager that in the autopsy the doctors will find that my heart is deep-fried.

I have one small comfort: tall flatmate will be dying with me, as he has completely misunderstood what’s in store. An actual conversation from today:

Harry: “I figure it’s just run a mile, do an obstacle. By 10 obstacles it’ll be nearly over.”

Me: “No Harry, it’s not 10 obstacles, it’s 150.”

Harry: “Haha, funny. I went for a 2 mile run the other day so I’ll be fine.”

Me: “I’m serious.”

Harry: “<Confused look/whimpering sound>”.

Oh and broad flatmate still can’t swim. At all. And there’s a swimming part. A long one.

I’d like to say it’s been enjoyable writing for you all over the last couple of years, and I would urge you not to throw away your lives by blind stupidity as I am about to do.

We would all like fancy funerals please – I would like mine to be curated by vowel-hating producer SBTRKT to ensure I go into the flames to a cool, thumping beat.


All on the same team?

Why is everything a team? Email through the other day from the student finance team; gleefully announcing that the fees team would be ready and waiting in the refectory (sounded a lot more sinister than I think they intended), whilst the funding team would be set up elsewhere, presumably at the other end of the pitch, to answer queries on whatever the hell it is they do that the fees team don’t.

Point being, where did all this team crap come from? There seems to have been a tragically management-speak led campaign to incorporate everyone who might possibly have some interaction with each other into ‘teams’. The turn down team, the customer enquiries team, the A-team. Loosely affiliated blocks of people are lumped together into one homogeneous and beautifully patronising ‘team’. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time, a bit like a clown jumping off a roof. Except less messy.

It would be an easier lie to maintain if there was a semblance of team spirit in any business-related team, anywhere. Instead, it’s the same as ever; a thin professional veneer, a fixed and incredibly eerie smile, and a look behind the eyes that wonders how many people they could take down before the police sharpshooting team gets their act together.

Ultimately, it’s probably for the best that teams aren’t like real teams. They’d all have to wear the same distinctive outfit for a start, perhaps with their own name and number if they’re any good. That would be hell for a start, as the world would start to resemble a large bag of skittles. Then they’d have to be wild celebrations and high fives all round whenever any member of the team did something even remotely positive, like opening an email or getting coffee. Fuck all would get done. Then there would be the inter-team rivalries; marketing would start playing down accounting’s title credentials and then an angry war of words would ensue culminating in a leading pundit commenting that both teams “should do their talking on the pitch/in the boardroom”. Fans would be an issue, hordes of replica shirted men waiting outside to mob the rising star of the fees team’s Nissan Micra as he leaves the office, fishtailing away under a barrage of flash photography.

Essentially the point is this. Barcelona are a team. McLaren are a team. The All-Blacks are a fucking team. The people who tell me how much money they’re going to remove from my bank account or kidneys to pay for my increasingly over-priced degree are not. They know it, I know it. Stop lying.