Biting the Bullet
This morning I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but just never got around to doing. I went to the canoe club in town. Before I went to uni, I always said that I would join straight away so I didn’t lose my fitness but then when I got to uni I realised how much time doing a degree takes up and also that it would be a half hour bus journey for me to get there each time. Seeing as the sessions start at 9am at the weekends, that was never going to happen. However, now that I’ve moved off campus and live in town, it’s much easier for me to get there each time as it’s only a twenty minute walk for me, so I had no excuse not to look into it.
After getting in contact with the club, they invited me to join the junior training session on Tuesday and Thursday last week (I don’t think they have many members my age, and I think the only organised sessions are for the juniors). In the end though, I was super duper busy last week because I had labs every day so I ended up getting back from uni to late to go. Today though, I had no reason not to go and although I was kind of nervous about going when I was on my own and didn’t know anyone, I bit the bullet and turned up. It turns out they’re a very friendly club and I got chatting to a few of the members straight away. I’d been told that we would go for a run, so I turned up in my running kit and expected the worst. I am not a good runner. In fact, I loathe running. I’m not a natural and I hate every slow, short step that I take whilst doing it. When I arrived though, I saw how young the juniors were (about 10-12) and was relieved when I spoke to one, joking, “You’d better not be too quick otherwise I won’t be able to keep up!” and his reply was, “It’s not about how fast you are, it’s about setting the right pace so you can keep going all the way round.” I was very impressed by this answer actually, and I was put back in my place – running is not a joking issue here, apparently.
The course was a path around a park. Each lap was about 750m and I was to do three laps running against three or four 12 year olds and one who was about 15. “How bad can it be?” the naiive voice in my head said in an apprehensive voice. Turns out very. I didn’t realise how fit these kids were! They run before EVERY training session and the session today was in practice for a duathlon that their club is hosting next weekend. All in all, they’re good runners. There’s no good way to put this – I was last. Stone cold last. I was running against juniors because there weren’t other paddlers of my standard to train with, the coaches had given me apologetic looks when they told me I would be doing so and after all that, I couldn’t beat any of them on a simple run. I did tell them how shockingly bad at running I am and that we don’t tend to do much of it at my home club, but I don’t think they were expecting me to be that bad. Hell, I wasn’t expecting me to be that bad! I just can’t wait until I can get on the water and show them that I’m (hopefully) not as unfit as the run showed and that I am capable of doing some kind of exercise without puffing like a steam train and turning a worrying beetroot colour.
I am glad I went though, despite being shown up so badly and I should be going again tomorrow (which should be fun with a hangover). I’ll have to wait a while until I can actually paddle though, because I don’t have any kit with me. They’ve been very accommodating and have said that I can borrow a boat if I need to and once I’ve paid my membership I’ll be able to come and go as I please and also able to use the gym they have. Considering I’ll be going home for the next three weekends though, which is the only time they do water based training in Winter, I’m not sure if I’ll bring my boat up to paddle now or if I’ll just bring it next year instead.
It felt good to finally be doing some form of exercise, despite it being the form that I hate with a passion. I think tomorrow I need to come up with some ways to beat a few of the kids. Maybe tie their shoe laces together? Or is that too obvious? Maybe I should go for the classic sticking out of the foot as they come by to overtake me? I’m not sure, this is going to take some planning…