Excuse me, is this Sparta? Part 2 – Don’t Be Late
Don’t be late.
The first rule on the first day that Steve told us was, “Don’t be late, or everyone will pay the price.” It was all a matter of time before somebody turned up late. It’s not surprising really; we start at 6.30am in the black dark with our breath hanging in the air.
We were halfway through our warm-up when I saw a shadowy figure join in. He didn’t even try and sneak in – there was no point. When we finished the warm-up Steve, our trainer, reminded us of rule number one and introduced us to our new nemesis – the rope.
The rope was some sort of tug-o-war rope, the sort of thing they tie boats up with or that you used to climb in gym class. As punishment we all spread out along the rope, held it aloft above our heads and ran as a unit across the field. First moving as a wave and eventually in a line. Keeping the awkward pace wasn’t nearly as hard as keeping the heavy rope held above our heads the whole way.
Beastings finished it was back into our ‘regular’ routine. I missed Fridays’ session so I was motivated to work my ass off and keep pace. Good thing, there was plenty of work to be done. Once again the workout was another hellish circuit. It occurred to me as I was flipping a massive tractor tire over and over again that this training is more middle ages than cutting edge. You can imagine that somebody preparing to fight with a sword and a club would get trim like this. Swinging a sledgehammer, pulling a heavy rope, carrying a heavy weight up a steep hill, press-ups and squatting with a kettle-bell – it all feels more 1st century than 21st. Perhaps it’s that Bronze Age feel to things that makes the whole workout seem more pure. Slapping off reps on some weight machine while Lady GaGa thumps on the stereo just feels false and silly in comparison.
What added to this today was our first sense of team – we finished the session with another spell hoisting the rope above our heads and this time running a full lap of the oval. Single file we all struggled to keep it above our heads, running at the staccato pace of a tight file. By the time we got to the far end of the lap the first words of encouragement started to filter through and by the time we finished the sense of I was starting to fold into a reality of we. Good signs – there is much to go through yet, we’ll need all the collective energy we can get.
Steve finished the session with the encouraging words that last week was all about warming up and building a false sense of security – this is where the real work begins. While I’m sure some were shuttering, there was a palpable feeling of preparedness amongst the team. Bring it on, we’ve got this.