Several years ago, shortly after we moved to the country, a local farmer (who was renting the few acres which surrounds our house on THREE sides-that's important!), called at our front door. He asked me in a very friendly manner if I'd mind if he went ahead and spread slurry on the land. Not having a clue what slurry even was (a complete townie), and touched that he would think to discuss with me his farming plans, I warmly encouraged him to go ahead. (Work away, my good man!). That night, I richly regretted my lack of agricultural knowledge, as I wept, dry heaved, and called that pleasant farmer every name under the sun , swearing we were moving back to Belfast tout suite.
I was reminded of this blissful ignorance this morning, when Damien D arrived and told me that we weren't doing the 3.2 mile loop today but shuttle runs instead. 'Oh?', says I, 'Shuttle runs? Lovely!' Or words to that effect. I was in surprisingly good form this morning you see, buoyed up from my Friday achievements and the gorgeous, bright Spring morning, undetered, even by the slight whiff of eau de slurry as we walked outside. As Damien began to explain the shuttle runs however, I could feel the colour begin to drain from my face. Anything I've said up to now about tough, exhausting workouts, just ignore-THIS was the absolute worst. Damien set a marker, 100m up our lane and informed me that I had to sprint, yes SPRINT, to it , and jog or walk quickly( a no brainer then) back. I had to do this 10 times. I did the first one or two myself, with Damien shouting encouragingly from the starting line, but I think he quickly realised that my pace wasn't perhaps as sprint-like as he was hoping for, so after that he ran them with me, pushing me on, refusing to let me slack, even for a minute. NEVER in my life have I moved that fast, not even for a 70% off shoe sale, and it was pure hell. By the end of the sprint my heart was battering out of my chest, it got a brief chance to recover as I crawled the 100m back, then it was off again. The torture continued as Damien then moved the marker back to 75m and there were 8 sets of that to do, followed by 4 sets of 50 m. Apparently, these shuttle sets are a great way to build stamina, and increase lung capacity, both of which I'm sadly lacking in. Damien said that they were the final stage of training before a big boxing match, although he started with 10 sets of 400m...Oh. My. God. Anyone who goes to circuit training knows all about them but a gym virgin like myself was like a lamb to the slaughter. There was nothing enjoyable or redeeming about them at all but it did push me REALLY hard physically, and I was grudgingly surprised that I was able to cope and recover enough to finish them all. The backs of my thighs are still in a state of shock though. Thankfully, the rest of the workout was short, consisting of lots of stretching and some arm and torso work with the weights. I am so so glad that I didn't know what was coming today as it quite possibly could have ruined my weekend, but as Damien said afterwards 'You've done it and it's in the bank now!' Thank God for that! See you tomorrow, Emmaxx