Something different.

Some time ago (before I joined Redway Runners) I was a member of an outdoor gym. At the time, it served me well and gave me focus and enthusiasm for trying live a more active lifestyle.

I stopped using that outdoor gym when I joined Redway as a beginner way when! If I am honest, I haven’t really considered going back to an outside gym since. Its cold, its often wet, and everyone is faster, fitter, stronger and way more agile than me. Most of the activities require constant changing of position from floor level to upright, which plays havoc with my blood pressure and often makes me feel sick and dizzy, or requires me to lift things above my head which now I have buggered up my rotator cuff in my left shoulder and that makes my left arm practically useless for any kind of above shoulder activity or anything requiring any level of strength. (I cannot use a screwdriver with my left hand or steady a paint roller etc.) and will therefore make a lot of the activities very difficult.

Anyway…….. On Monday, as I was not able to do my Annette day furlough run (my furlough ended) and Annette wasn’t able to run in the evening with me, I rather stupidly decided to take advantage of trying a free session with Mayhem Fitness.

Mayhem Fitness is an outdoor gym owned and run by Matt who used to be a coach at the outdoor gym I used before. Matt knows me, and knows my nature, and I know I can tell him to “Fuck off” and he won’t be offended !! (this is always a worry of mine when I work or train with someone new)

The session I chose was “runfit” I am a little disappointed that the names of the sessions are the same as the old gym, but the sessions are not ! Fuck me, was I in for a shock. Luckily my running bully Victoria was there, if nothing else the look of shock, horror and surprise on her face when she saw my car pull into the car park made the pain I was about to suffer worth while.

We started off with a warm up – haven’t actually done one of those for a while, very similar to a Redway Runners beginners warm up and reminiscent of my EA coach training days! Included in the warm up was lamp post runs… I think I might have been a little over enthusiastic at this point, especially as I was a self declared “orange bib” (the lowest level of ability) and only had to run 2 lamp posts out and back. I didn’t realise that the “back” was up a fucking hill ! (Am I the only EA coach who doesn’t deliberately make their runners go up hills every time)

We were allowed 1 minute rests (very nice) that actually lasted a minute!! (Who taught Matt to tell the time?)

This is NOT the warm up !!

Then off we went for an actual run, I went one way ( being an orange) everyone else was sent back the other way various distances to run then turn round and come back my way. The “long run out” to our final destination was actually a run of two halves with a 1 minute rest stop on the way.

We got to the area of the session and were given our instructions. A lovely lady called Batty ( who I also remember as being a super helpful, tolerant and patient supporter/coach at the previous outside gym) was there, and was running with me, it was nice chatting to someone I knew from before and who knew me, although I wasn’t actually able to chat that much. Staying alive was the key to my focus.

Anyway, it was my pace, I decided how fast I went, only myself to blame….. sometimes I need to remember that just because I can doesn’t mean I should, OR more importantly, just because I can when I start, doesn’t mean I will still be able to in 10 seconds time!

4 lamp posts and back this time. Who ever knew that 4 lamp posts could feel so far, and of course coming back was up a fucking slope. My legs, oh my legs, like running through fucking treacle, and my lungs, my poor lungs, gasping like my life depended on it (which at times it probably did) I haven’t actually run properly for so long, what the fuck was I thinking ?!

4 lots of 4 fucking lampposts (which is actually 8 because you have to come back) and then we get to go home…… IF we run, up the bloody hill back to the car park.

Actual green dots !!

Hilariously whilst I was stood … trying not to die, leaning against a lamppost for support, watching the faster people coming up the hill to the finish (they had run back quite a way before turning) my watch suddenly decided I needed help and was trying to send an incident alert to my partner !!

No Garmin, I just feel like Iā€™m dying, Iā€™m not actually dying – yet.

Lots of people I knew and remembered from previously were there, which was lovely as they also kind of remembered my grumpy nature, and many of them commented on my running (always nice to get a comment from people you haven’t seen for a while) saying how fast I was. Which is weird, because it didn’t “feel” fast. I knew it was, my Garmin (and my lungs) told me so but it didn’t feel it. When I got home and uploaded my run to Strava I saw just how fast I had been, and was stunned.

It was the interval session of all interval sessions, it was fun and achievable and felt safe. Everyone was mindful of distancing, even when over taking, and at no point did I ever feel like I was not included.

I have really missed the social aspect of running, trying to apply the guidance to my running activities is hard work, especially when my take on it seems different to so many other peoples.

My gauge of how well people understand the guidance is to ask what the think the 1meter plus rule means, the answer they give usually tells me whether they “get it” or not. So the opportunity to undertake some proper training, with a group who “get it” and to support a local small business was too good to miss.

Two days on, my legs still ache! I certainly know I did a work out, and I am looking carefully to see if I can work a membership to this gym into my life.

Well done Mayhem Fitness – I didn’t hate it.

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