I can see binario 2 est in the distance, about two miles away. The race is on. A marathon-sized crowd rushes to get seats on the train from Rome to Florence, likely a rare commodity since the earlier train was cancelled, without explanation. ‘My fitness will pay off today,’ I confidently reassure myself, noting that half of my competition consists of old ladies, including one nun in full navy habit. Despite her short legs, she is moving at quite a clip, with shapely calves bulging through opaque white hose. At a disadvantage with a 50 pound suitcase to pull and a 20 pound backpack to carry, I renew my efforts, making a steamboat like huffing noise as I pass the sturdy Sister. After clumsily heaving my Swiss Gear luggage into the second-class car, I push toward and then collapse into one of the last seats, sweat dripping down my neck. ‘The gym is my religion, bitch!’ I think triumphantly, while the red-faced nun stands in the aisle. This arrogant act will no doubt cost me more time in purgatory, but it was worth it. Bring on the cleansing hell fire, I say, as I ease the seat back and start peeling a hard boiled egg.
Italy is a continually challenging obstacle course, and I have lost 5 pounds during my first week here. I have also been eating moderately and deliberately working out, following Fitbabe’s plan. Yesterday, for instance, I did ten 20-second high intensity interval hill climbs up by the University of Georgia campus in Cortona and then the back and bi regime pasted below, using my inflatable balance ball as a bench and filled water bottles for weights (thanks to a facebook fan for that suggestion!):
1/ Dumbbell bent over row (light) 3 x 20
2/ Exercise Ball dumbbell pullover 3 x 20
3/ Band face pull ( attach to something) 3×20
4/ Burpees 3 x 30 seconds
(do 1-4 and then repeat 3 times)
1/exercise band curl 3×20
2/exercise ball incline dumbbell curl 2×20
3/mountain climbers 3×30 seconds
(do 1-3 and then repeat 3 times)
For the most part, however, simply being in Italy is keeping me in shape. I work my quads by regretfully hovering over fetid train toilets, adding some core work by simultaneously holding the unlockable doors shut with both arms. My upper body is improved by hand washing clothes in the sink, and then by the motion of wringing them out with all my might. [Aside: Unused to the art of air drying, today I was forced to blow dry a thong. Hopefully I will not be paying extra for electricity]. I have no fears about losing leg muscle while in Cortona. Here is the street leading up to my apartment, one of the less steep inclines in town, though it does not appear as such in this photo. I often find myself bent over at a 90 degree angle, grunting ‘meh, meh, meh’ as I carry groceries home or pay homage to the hilltop corpse of a medieval saint.
In short, I love it here. My rented flat is amazingly large and I look forward to welcoming three sets of guests, if they can actually find me in this medieval maze of unmarked streets. I am posting some images of what they can expect, in addition to the continual glute burn:
Jesus is saddened…
By what you are thinking of doing in this bed. He can’t even look at you right now.
The Madonna forgives you…
but asks that you reside in this more chaste arrangement.
Pope Giovanni XXIII suggests that as penance for your manifold sins, you pray for world peace, alongside Bobby and John.