Out of puff

Reading time: 4 mins

The time has come to admit that I’m not as fit as I thought I was. Far from it.

I’ve always thought I had a reasonable ‘base level of fitness’ (a term which may be wholly of my own creation). In fact it was some what backed up a few years back when, during an induction at a gym, I impressed with my stamina on the exercise bike. I don’t remember the quote exactly, but the instructor commented on my above average performance on said bike by uttering something about “being pretty good for a fat guy”. Needless to say I didn’t last long at that gym, and that’s only partly because of the… ehh… unique motivational qualities of the staff.

Being told my granny could piss further doesn’t help either, but I’m regressing experiences during P.E. lessons at school with that one. In fairness it wasn’t MY fault that one of my P.E. teachers used to teach with my Dad.. ohh yes, having a father who is a P.E. teacher pretty much sets you up for ritual abuse and humiliation in the P.E. class. Anytime an example was being given, I was usually the one plucked out and duly instructed.

“Now, as you run up to the vault, place your hands shoulder width apart and make sure you tuck your head in, you’ll flip right over it. Gordon will show us how it’s done..”
I run up, go up and over the vault and land squarely on my face.
“I SAID TUCK YOUR HEAD IN McLEAN! TRY AGAIN!!”

OK, it wasn’t really that bad, and certainly didn’t do me any harm. In fact in later years I go to know Mr. MacIntyre (Dougie) quite well as we’d bump into him occasionaly whilst out fly fishing. Not once did I think about shoving him into the river… well OK, maybe once.. or twice.

Last night I put aside all these memories and, as I’ve previously mentioned, I went jogging.

Jog Scotland is the name of the .. program? group? … and so it was with some trepidation that I turned up on the banks of Strathclyde Park (at the watersports centre) for my first “jogging session”. I put myself down for the Beginners class, fighting both my pride and the part of my brain that believes I’m fitter than I actually am. It also believes I’m thinner, lighter, faster, smarter, better-looking and with considerably more hair… so understandably I don’t hold it’s opinion in too high regard.

As I turned the corner into the car park, I was greeted by the sight of around 60 people, clad in a variety of leisure gear, all milling around somewhat nervously. In the midst of the chaos was a desk, and when I got there, having given my name and which class I had signed up for, I was pointed to the group of people on my left. I turned to take a first look at my future partners in pain and quickly realised that they were all women, hey, I’m perceptive like that.

I was just about to turn back to the organisers desk to point out that there was a certain anatomical difference between myself and the rest of the group when my eye spotted a particular member of the group. It was another bloke! Phew. Before I had time to gather my thoughts we were being shouted at by … umm.. I wanna say Mandy and Carole-Anne… telling us that we were heading off and to walk at a good pace as this was part of the warm-up.

And head off we did. A brisk 5 minute walk took us to a small area where we proceeded to do some basic stretches, whilst being introduced to Jog Scotland. After that it was a short session, walk for 30 seconds, jog for 30 seconds, and repeat each 10 times, and then back to the watersports centre (at a brisk pace of course) and some cooling down stretches.

Before I signed up I did a little research and have to admit that I thought the Beginners 1 class (there is a Beginners 2 class) was a little easy and that I would have a good enough ‘base level of fitness’ to get through it without too much hassle. And I did. But not as comfortably as I would’ve liked, so I’m glad I picked it. Many of my get fit attempts have suffered from doing too much too soon so I’m actually quite proud of the fact that I took the sensible option (for a change).

The next class is on Sunday —which I’ll miss as I’m walking from Balmaha to Drymen that day— and then again on Wednesday. At that point the coaches will suggest who needs to move up a class and whilst my pride and ego are hoping that I’ll be one of them, I’m not actually that bothered if I’m not. A little humility goes a long way.

Regardless of that, it was a fun evening (less than an hour in total) and the coaches were very friendly and encouraging. The entire setup seems to be very well run and someone mentioned that they had over 200 members, at different levels, in total. And that’s just for this club. The best part for me is that I didn’t wake up with stiff legs this morning. I know this is partly down to cooling down properly, but it’s also due to the fact that I didn’t try and kill myself, I stifled my competitive side and jogged at my pace (which just happened to be near the front of the group).

I’m already looking forward to next week which I THINK means that I’ve got “the bug”. Fear not, intrepid reader (I can’t believe you got this far down to be honest), this will not turn into a “jogging blog”. Not entirely.