It occured to me as I was heaving my way round the park in an attempt to sweat out some pies, that genteel ladies of the past never had to do this… There was no ritual flesh-wobbling public humiliation. There was no red-faced wheezy panting (outdoors at least). And there definitely wasn’t the opportunity for recently demobbed rioters to find a new source of entertainment. I bet the words ‘Are you trying to run?’ didn’t even exist as a verbal weapon.
So, based on this modern personal horror I have reinvented the triathalon for East Oxford. It’s along similar lines to the one we know and battle with, but more practical and restful in application. There may be some perspiring glows but there will be no dripping sweat. All activities will have some meaningful purpose for maximum efficiency. Each of the three activities correspond with morning, noon and night so they are evenly spread throughout the day. That day is a Saturday because Triathlons should not be overused and Sunday is a day of rest.
Morning Activity – Cycle to the bread shop. It helps to wear a stripey blue and white top and whistle – it adds a gallic frisson to the activity. You’ll find that other East Oxford triathletes are also heading for this first post on a Saturday. You can share in their warm smugness as you support the mad local bakery that is someone’s front room and probably illegal. It’s not far and makes the best use of the lovely Pashleigh frame and wicker basket so the fresh loaves are still warm on return and ready to accept more butter and jam.
Afternoon Activity – A gentle stroll or a brisk constitutional is enough to exercise the mind and body. Preferably done by a lake/river/seashore with a loved one. It’s important to have hold of them in some way so that if the sudden exertion is too much one can be supported. Frequent sedentary interludes are suggested and preferably with a beverage.
Evening Activity – A deep long bath with bubbles and The Week. This water-based activity is an all-important warm-down component to the day’s triathlon. The points here are awarded on how long you can stay in before the bubbles totally disappear or before The Week has been read from cover to cover. Here, red and steamy is acceptable and proof that the activity has been well done.