Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Happy days

Yesterday was A Good Day.

Work was in many ways very rubbish - it was already becoming apparent that I have too much to do to deliver something of the quality I'd be happy with by my end-of-the-month deadline (assuming I continue my endeavours to keep myself healthy through eating and sleeping and training), then following a meeting I'd prompted, it transpired that a colleague is in near dire need of a lot of support to get him through to the end of Thursday if the large workshop we're holding is not to appear a badly-organised amateurish affair (which would be A Very Bad Thing). Luckily this takes priority - not getting this right by Thursday will be embarrassing and damage our reputation, whereas my delivery of draft material will be a minor inconvenience. It thus will take some of the sting out of my late/draft delivery (if and only if we get Thursday right). Organising workshops being neither one of my core competencies nor a task in which I have much (any?) experience, it makes for an interesting change. I still have a lot of work on for the customer, but with Thursday's event and an exciting away day coming up the following week, the slog through to the end of the month seems tractable.

Meanwhile, The Mother Ship (aka my employer) continues to provide a steady stream of overhead and administrative work which has been keeping me busy in the evenings. This should taper off towards the end of the month and last night I'd crossed enough off my To-Do list to make my current batch of work look tractable and (dare I suggest such a thing?) on target.

By 8pm (and for a 12 hour working day) the day was going so surprizingly well that things really couldn't get much better. I took the time to check my email and found the training schedule for the week had winged its way to my inbox. It convinced me to down tools for the day and head to the gym for a long erg. On the way, I passed one of my crewmates heading home from her session. We exchanged a few words - it transpired another crewmate was pleased to have beaten my score from last week. This was motivation enough to persuade me that a serious sweating was called for.

45 minutes of erging later, I'd stuck just over 400 metres on my score from last week, and in the process notched up a best for the season (and drenched myself in thoroughly justified sweat). This was turning into an unlikely but Very Good Day. When I take another three seconds off my steady state 500m split time or, equivalently, add another 362m to my 45 min distance, I might have a beer to celebrate. (Incidentally, I think the last time I had a beer was the "Did I ever tell you" night. Evidently the occasion was sufficiently traumatic to persuade me that repeat performances were not called for. (Postscript: I am of course talking rubbish. My last beer was of course on the Circle line. Just another beer forgotten in the alcoholic haze of time...)

I wandered home in a state of extreme post-erg brain-mush, taking in the stillness of the river, the reflection of Hammersmith Bridge on its glass-like surface, and the last of the fading light to the west.

I wonder what today will bring?


Kahless said...

I hope today bought good things for you.

Btw, an erg... is that using the rowing machine and seeing how far or fast you can go in a set distance or time?

You are a masochist. Did anyone ever tell you that??!!

A nerdy one at that.

But Why? said...

Nice pic!

Today was ever so slightly more stressful than yesterday, but I was in a sufficiently good mood for this not to matter. I think I managed to wind up just a few colleagues by being in an insufferably good mood whilst evidence of things going horribly, badly wrong flooded in. But it didn't matter, because I erged good last night.

Which brings me onto the erg (beginner's guide here). Yes, it's the dreaded machine. They're called ergometers after the Greek (I think) for work, which gives you a clue to their usage. The damned things almost never break, and no matter how hard you beast yourself, the machine always wins. "Erg" is rowing shorthand for the ergometer. It sounds less brutal and makes it easier to face the machine.

I have a love-hate relationship with ergs. Immediately before "doing an erg" (=beasting myself on the machine), I hate them. Immediately after, when I haven't killed myself, haven't been feeble and (just sometimes) surprize myself with an improved performance, and am in a state of post-erg brain mush, I love them.

Does that make me a masochist? Of sorts, yes. But I think here the language has a problem, beause whilst erging undoubtedly hurts, the pain is due to effort, and working hard, and not to damage or injury. Or, put another way, whilst erging, I am in complete control of the pain. The moment I stop erging, the pain dissipates. The same is not true of lasting injuries (which is the sort of pain in which real, proper masochists indulge, as far as I'm concerned). But they both hurt. Perhaps we need some better words to discriminate between the different types of pain.

Kahless said...

I was kidding about the masocism.

Thanks for the erg link. Now I have the mental picture complete.

btw, what part of essex are you 'ex' from?

But Why? said...

I wasn't! Seriously, I often ponder why I enjoy erging (and I do enjoy erging, after the event...). I think it's the enormous sense of satisfaction. In addition to post-erg brain mush, there's also an element of post-erg smugness of a job well done. And yes, I know it's not actually a job, but I wouldn't mind getting paid to erg!

Essex? Oh, it was so long ago, I don't think I can remember. That or I've wiped all memory of the place. Well, OK, I do remember. I'm ex-Loughton. (Ugh. I feel ashamed.)

Kahless said...

Maybe it is an all conqueoring super-woman type feeling?

I am thinking of maybe trying to firm up my muscles myself. Funny really, people look at me and because of my shape think I am very fit. In fact I am not. But I want to feel like Lara Croft so I am going to get in training I think.

Dont feel ashamed about ex-Essex!
I was born in Southend and grew up in South essex. I am a proud Essex girl!

But Why? said...

I can strongly recommend erging. In fact, I recommend any sort of cardiovascular work which can be done sitting down.

Bollinger Byrd said...

You were wondering what the next day would bring.... how about a nice sensible lie down in a darkened room!

But Why? said...

I wish...

It conspired to bring more work, less sleep and a little additional stress. Thankfully I made it to training in the evening; this allowed me to expunge the worst parts from my mind. I wouldn't have minded spending today in a darkened room, though - I feel thoroughly wiped out. Must get a decent night's sleep now so I'm on top form for tomorrow's workshopping. Methinks a mug of cocoa is in order..

DJ Kirkby said...

Hope today goes well with the workshop thingy for your collegue and that you get your draft done so perfectly that the latness is dismissed entirely.

But Why? said...

Cheers, DJ,
I have every confidence that today will be fine and no-one will suspect the last-minute nature of the planning! 'Twas good to get an away day back at The Mother Ship, tho.