This was a confronting thing for me to do. I have the core strength of a dead fish and the coordination of a fence post. This was not going to be easy.
But this is why I hired a trainer. When was the last time you heard about a dead fish, or a fence post, or with someone of the attributes of these things, finishing mountainous 100 mile ultramarathons? The comparison is perhaps ridiculous, but the point is, I needed help.
So in November, with six months to The North Face 100, I took the plunge and contacted Andy Budgen. I met Andy at a coffee shop not long before. He's not only a PT but also a triathlon coach, and as a multiple Ironman finisher I knew he would understand what I would need for endurance training.
Even sending that first email, let alone fronting up at my first session, was challenging, frightening, and embarrasing.
- Challenging because I wouldn't be able to do anything my trainer asked of me.
- Frightening because I was so scared of looking ridiculous trying to do what was asked of me.
- Embarrassing because, well, who wants to look ridiculous in a public space like a gym?
For the first few months, each time Andy demonstrated the exercises he wanted me to do, I would look at him with equal parts of disbelief, sheer concentration, and embarrassment.
- Disbelief that anyone can do these things, let alone me, what with my attributes of dead fish and fence posts. I even quite regularly said out loud, "I can't do that" while looking on in disbelief.
- Sheer concentration, trying to work out how it might be possible for me to prove myself wrong and do what at first seemed impossible.
- Embarrassment because, well, I just knew I would look ridiculous trying.
I previously wrote about my experience with one-legged burpees. In recent weeks I've been somewhat successful at deconstructed burpees. So I thought I was making some progress.
Until this week's session.
I am writing about this now because this week's session brought all that embarrassment back. I had almost forgotten how mortified I was when I first started out. This week, though, the seated knee tuck brought me undone and my embarrassment came flooding back.
I did not look like this:
Even more embarrassingly, I couldn't describe to Andy why I couldn't do it. I still don't know whether it was my inner-fence-post-lack-of-coordination, or the dead-fish-like-lack-of-core-strength that was preventing me from doing something that looks quite straightforward.
At times like these I wonder what is going through Andy's head, and whether he's as embarrassed as I am... and the negative voice inside me tells me that I'm better off not knowing and that some things are better left unsaid.
With a few days now passed I feel slightly less embarrassed, and that negative voice has diminished. Especially after my trail run this morning I am remembering how much progress I HAVE made, instead of letting my shortcomings haunt me.
And then I remember. There is only six weeks until The North Face 100. I still need help, in the form of not only the strength that Andy is helping me build, but also courage, and some good hard training sessions under my belt.
I think I can do this.