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A new, intended-to-be-regular feature. Let’s call it Five for Friday where I pontificate pointlessly on random, recurring and unrelated things. Or perhaps related. It depends. I won’t really know until I’m done.

– – –

Firstly, I did it again.

I was just past the entrance to Glen Abbey Golf Club on Dorval this morning when I realized I had forgotten my chest belt. Stop laughing.

For the benefit of the new and/or uninterested, we wear MyZone chest belts at ATC when we work out to monitor heart rate and gather data on the intensity of our effort. I had already forgotten my belt once this week.

And not that it really matters, but the computerized data base records your “effort points” so if you forget your belt, you get zero effort points even if you work your butt off. On a month-to-month basis, the cumulative effort points benchmark yourself against the group and against your own previous effort. And in a room full of competitive people, the points matter whether we admit it or not.

If I showed up without the belt again I was in for grief.

So. U-turn. Go home. Retrieve belt. Onward. I have no idea whether Laura heard me. If she’s smart she now knows I can show up just about any time looking for shoes or clothes. Mostly she just ignores me now because this is becoming so common.

I worked out three mornings this week and once at noon. For each of the 6a workouts I forgot something. My shirt. My belt. My suit. My shirt and my belt. My Shoes. A water bottle. My mind.

It may be time for me to stop making jokes about early onset senility and get a full neurological workup scheduled.

– – –

Second point. I’ve mentioned here before that on weekdays we usually spin on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And by some coincidence, on Tuesdays and Thursdays attendance has started to falter.

Last Thursday we had five. Yesterday, six. Today – a no-spin day – 19 attended.

Richard – the ATC owner and our trainer – has warned (perhaps threatened is a better word) that spin classes will be more random in future and not regularly scheduled for just Tuesdays and Thursdays. For some of us, it doesn’t matter because we are there every day any way.

But for some others, it may shake things up.

Richard explained to me briefly today that the training philosophy behind the spin is not just physical. Yes, if approached properly it can be a gruelling and rewarding part of the workout – great cardio, great exercise for the legs and major muscle groups down there and even your core.

But he said a key element of the spin is mental – it can tax you so much physically that mentally you either have to dig deeper and find the mental strength to push through the fatigue, or, you don’t. Distance runners are familiar with this wall, he said.

I look at some of the people in the room who – in my view at least – are strong performers in spin sessions and I also know them to be competitive personalities, driven to succeed, and very competitive. In other words, bailing out of a 60-second all-out sprint with 15 seconds left just isn’t going to happen.

Everyone gets tired. If you don’t you can’t possibly be trying hard enough. And everyone has days where you don’t have “it”.

But only you know whether you bailed out. Well, you and Richard. He always knows.

We didn’t spin today but we did do ropes as part of a circuit. Ropes are hard. Harder than spin. I’ll explain ropes in a future blog on “things that wear me out.”  But this is what it looks like except today we had to jump while we slammed the rope. If you’re thinking, “gee, that doesn’t look hard and I could do that” let me say it is and you can’t. But you’re welcome to try.

Ropes. Friggin' ropes.

Ropes. Friggin’ ropes. There are guys in my training group with arms like this. I am not one of them. (Image from Indianworkouts.com)

100 slams, while jumping, per set. At the end of the set, taking a flaming spear to the chest feels like a better option.

In fact, I’m going to suggest flaming spears. Good idea, I think.

Side note — that elite-level lacrosse player I mentioned recently was there today. He did the exact same circuit as the rest of us — albeit better and more intensely, but the exercise was the same.

We wrapped up the hour today with a rollicking routine of three sets of 25 sprinter sit ups. Chris (the lacrosse player, not my kid) was next to me on the floor. When we finished he looked at me and said “I’m not sure if he convinced more people to show up on Thursdays, but I bet he convinced some people to stay home on Friday.”

I laughed.

– – –

Let’s make my Friday night –starting with the Dal Tigers on TV at 6p and then the Blue Jays at 8p – topic #3.

If you read here with any regularity then you already know I’m hopelessly and shameless proud of my kid on the Dal Tigers men’s hockey team. I won’t belabor the point beyond saying that every opportunity he ever got in life is because he outworked the guy next to him. Obviously he has talent and natural athleticism, but (referring back to point 2, above for a moment) the kid could give seminars in mental toughness.

But to do that he’s have to talk, and Pad doesn’t talk much to strangers.

One vignette from a life in hockey: when he played in the BCHL junior A loop, he was traded to a team in a different league, near Ottawa. The BC team told him late in the evening. Rather than pack his bags and empty his locker that night, he insisted he would skate with the team in the morning and say his goodbyes personally to his teammates after the practice and walk out the front door.

And he did, then drove to Victoria and flew to Ottawa that day, arriving at 1a in the morning where his mom met the plane.

He met his new coach the next morning for breakfast and that night he played for Carleton Place against Pembroke, their arch rivals. They won.

The coach later said to me “your kid has more character than most adults I know.”

Yeah, we know. You don’t know the half of what he’s been through.

So I’ll be watching Dal tonight – hard on the heels of their upset win over Acadia on Wednesday, tonight they play St FX – another top team. Go Tigers.

Then on to the Blue Jays with David Price on the mound. I’m less worried about the pitching than I am about the hitting. The Jays better figure out a way to get some hits in that ball park, or not even David Price can save them.

– – –

Still on the family front, point #4 today is Chris will be home on the weekend, which is great. I’m looking forward to hearing his take on the election result and his analysis of the country’s new leadership.

A mass communication and journalism student, Chris thinks pretty hard on these things and he’s smart – quick to question the status quo (why do we do it this way) and challenge conventions.

It also means that there’s a high probability of cooking and baking. Laura always loads Chris up with food before he heads back to school and like the serf who picks at the crumbs from a rich man’s table, I get some benefit from that, too.

Most days I follow a pretty rigourous diet regime – low fat, lots of salad and fruit, virtually no red meat, no white flour pasta or bread, no refined sugar or processed food. But when Laura bakes . . . well, you have to live life, right?

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional brownie.

– – –

My final point today is minor hockey. Coach Dave and I (and coach Rich) have what looks like a team with a very high ceiling – lots of potential to succeed. I’m going to suggest right now this group has a chance to be the strongest team we’ve had.

We have solid goaltending, a strong defence core, and five or six legitimate scoring threats up front.  Even better, the boys are buying into our messaging to keep it simple, execute on the basics and have fun.

Two wins and a tie in three starts. A terrific group of kids. Good parents.

Coach Dave’s son plays tonight in Milton and if not for the Dal game I’d be there, but that’s life. I’ll be out to see Will again soon.