|(This is an old picture, and an optimistic approximation of what I look like whilst beach training.)|
July 26th Update: Baby brings her new paddling pool over, to demonstrate a slapstick series of splashy falls. Indoors, under the stairs, the tent is found. Also, in other scattered places, further camping sundries. And a spare tent, utilised instantly as a spare room for amassing all located camping sundries, so as not to unlocate them in the house of boxes. Five days worth of washing is squashed into drawers. Boxes are pushed into cupboards, squeezed under the makeshift sofa. I write a daunting list of things to do and pour a glass of whisky. Aged 12 years, it says on the label. Probably have, I say back, hence the need for a strong swig.
Friday: Starts with a run. The day has a running pace. One precious hour spent, sprawled in the garden, reading Asimov. Then, preparation for a week under canvas, a week of twice a day Tae Kwon Do training. The weather looks set to break.
At the campsite, I write:
Between the dulls of cloud slumps of people read books. Minds drift, eyes droop or idly observe the boys play volleyball. I have my cold coffee, my scald of sun.
Over the frame of fir trees the moon ripens; silver fruit in a blue sky. Lines of us, after training, file back from grass to lines of tent, to light the circles of metal and flame, boil water, eat pasta. Digest the honing of skills, as daylight merges through to endless space.
And then I am too tired, too occupied to pick up my pen, and just sprawl about in spare time admiring cloud monsters munching on portions of sun and a full cake of moon. I am happy, here, to simply look and not translate the stillness into noisy words.
If you don’t know the itinery, it goes:
In teams, run to beach along road of hills, run, kick, punch, jump on beach, do many press ups in the sea. (Under the supervision of superbly seasoned Instructors, of course, not spontaneously.) Run back to camp. Breakfast. Rinse off sand and seaweed in shower. Lounging and practice and gossip time. Lunch. Forage for food shops/launderette. Train on a nice field in your white training suit hoping not to acquire grass stains. Eat. Collapse.
A nice restful morning of only one nine mile coastal path hike. Breakfast. Tell everyone how much your legs/feet/blisters/bruises are feeling. Lunch. Forage for food shops/launderette. Train on a nice field in your white training suit hoping not to acquire grass stains. Eat. Collapse.
Sports Day. On the beach. Then in a field.
In teams, in fancy dress, run to beach along road of hills, run, kick, punch, jump on beach, do many press ups in the sea. Run back to camp. Breakfast. Rinse off sand and seaweed in shower. Lounging and practice and gossip time. Lunch. Forage for food shops/launderette. Train on a nice field in your white training suit not caring if you acquire grass stains. Team efforts are translated to points. Winners and one Wally of the Week are announced. Eat. Collapse. Recover by barbequing food. Drink enough alcohol to blot out pain for hilarious efforts at dancing. Eat a pasty.
Crawl out of tent. Wonder why it takes so long to pack down. Hug everyone. Get stuck in traffic and when you get home, be amazed by how your legs don’t work anymore.
|In front of tent with Boy & Mr, practising one legged x stance, highly advanced stuff|
Back at the house of unpacked boxes, I would like to slouch on the sofa but I ache too much for slouching. I make do with melancholic perching: examine the state I’m in. Underneath hurty limbs and the missing of folk, there is a disappointment. I berate myself for the lone intensive week- why am I not training harder all year? Why such a hideous slob? Tiredy wibbles. Brain training has paid off. Brain looks to see what in this situation is true, what is good, what is beautiful.
It is true that injury does bring some limitations and my right foot is a limping liability. My left foot is shedding toenails. It is true that I pushed myself and found that a lack of belief was the worst of my limitations, especially with some of the running. It is true that this was an embarrassing revelation. It is good to know this, it is good to share this: the shame should prompt some permanent lifestyle changes. There is inspiration under the embarrassment I found under the disappointment.
The beautiful bit was the teamwork that helped me dig this out, and kept me running. First to the beach every morning, The Mental Minxers, in spite of the mixed abilities, and thus deserved to win the most points. Nicky (the original Minx,) Paul, Andy, Tim, Alex, Harriet, Alex (yes, there were two,) Gustav and Lee; Sirs and Ma’ams; thank you very much for your support, your zinc oxide bandages and the glasses of wine.
|Mental Minxers: the 2012 winning team.|