I started the day about 0800, rousting myself out of bead and downing a little cereal. The first item on the agenda was a barre cardio class I'd booked at the Barre Body studio in Fitzroy. Regular readers will remember that I was pretty impressed with this as a mode of exercise when I tried it the other week. When spliced with a cardio workout, it becomes something quite remarkable. Actually, "remarkable" isn't the right adjective. "Ferocious" gets closer to the sense.
The studio is at Fitzroy, on the third floor of a building. The floor in question seems to have been residential, or perhaps an office, at one stage in its life: there's a fireplace in situ. The floor is timber and the roof trusses are exposed. In short, it's a pretty stunning space to train in.
|Barre Body studio at 175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy (Image from here)|
Fairly predictably, I was the only man in the class. This wasn't a concern for me or the other attendees, because once the class got underway, ogling was the last thing on my mind. Or if it was on my mind, it was way down the list behind not falling over, not throwing up from exertion, trying to fit a swig of water in, and wiping off the Mississippi-worth of perspiration pouring out of me. Am I exaggerating? No. This class was at the very outside of my physical endurance, and I flatter myself that I'm in pretty good shape.
The class started off with vigorously flexing and lifting a light exercise ball, and then repeated the same movements with a pair of two kilo dumbbells. Each section of the workout was interspersed with "mountain climbing" type steps in the plank position. We moved on to working legs and arms against the resistance band, in a way that challenged both one's endurance and balance. When I say that i was striving not to throw up, I'm not speaking figuratively: the exertion involved really did have me looking at the open window in case disaster struck! When the workout moved into the "cool down" phase of gentle yoga poses my hair was drenched with sweat and my water bottle was empty. I left the studio feeling like I'd been the subject of a savage beating.
Can I recommend the cardio incarnation of barre? Absolutely and unequivocally. I can run any distance you care to name, up to and including marathon. My physical endurance isn't in issue. But this workout is as close as I've ever gone to raising the white flag. Anything that can administer a caning like that will raise your fitness stratospherically. Me? I'll be back for sure.
After I left the studio I headed back to my digs. I'd arranged to facetime with Grace and Rachel this afternoon (my time) before they went to bed (their time). They were of course as adorable as ever. A couple of things struck me particularly though. The first question from Rachel was when I was coming to see them. They seemed really excited that I'd come to see them this year. She said that her best friend Emma is "dying to meet me" and is apparently happier since Rachel told her I'll come visit. Later in the facetime, I think it was R who was drawing a picture of owls (using a Sharpie on white paper, much to their mother's chagrin!). When she showed it to me, she explained that the big owl was daddy (i.e. me). The next biggest was mommy. And the small ones were Rachel and Grace. She drew us all together, as a family. I know they're not unhappy or poorly looked after. The ex is a great mother - the best - and she's alos a genuinely decent person. But it's as if both Grace and Rachel still want all the pieces of their family together. That said, they weren't sentimental about winding up our conversation! The conversation ran roughly like this -
Rachel: "Dad, is it ok if we hang up so we can watch something on the iPad?".
Me: "well, sure if..."
Grace: "thanks Dad love you <click as she hung up>"Clearly they're going to be strong women who know what they want! And for that, the ex deserves all the credit.
Skype completed, I made a phone call to the nearest SES Unit to Brunswick and arranged to train with them tomorrow night, so that's another part of my life set in order. I also set out my meal plan for the week. This had two advantages. Firstly, it was reassuring to note that I probably won't need to buy extra food this week. Secondly, what I have on hand is amply healthy for my purposes.
The next item on the agenda for me was a run. Five years ago I ran in this area a lot when I lived a few streets away. The experience hadn't changed: it still felt like playing human Frogger as I dodged pedestrians, cars and obstacles. I found myself switching back automatically to looking for where the cars would come from, to looking for movement rather than objects, and to running on the road where that was the lesser of two evils. It was a good way to knock over ten kilometres!
And now? I've watched an archaeology program on SBS, planned the week ahead and had a shave and shower. I've written up this post. Now all that's left is to lay out my suit and whatnot for the morning and look forward to another week of lawyering ahead. Definitely something to look forward to!