Battle of wills

SPRINT ANNA! shouts the voice at the top of the hill.

Sprint, legs I tell my legs.

We ARE sprinting! say my legs.

I look down at the ground, then back up to the voice at the top of the hill. She doesnt seem any nearer.

Actually, Im not sure that you are sprinting, legs.” I tell my legs.

”Oh, no, we are totally sprinting. Ungh! Look how hard we are sprinting!” Say my legs.

“You are barely walking, legs.” I inform them.

”Oh fuck off with you,” Say my legs. “It’s really hard.”

They have a point. It is. But that is no excuse for lying, is it now? Hm? Legs?

It is the second day of bootcamp, and a mixture of boxing drills and uphill sprints.

The boxing drills I like – I should clarify, by boxing drills, I mean neither “Putting drills in boxes”, which is something I would expect to be paid for, nor “Engaging in fistfights with power tools”, which is something I would advise against, as it sounds extremely dangerous. I just mean little flurries of boxing and sets of the kind of movements you use in boxing, you see… The boxing drills I like very much. I like boxing. It is extremely cathartic. And punchy.

The sprints I am less fond of. Running I have been getting better at, but have somehow managed to avoid hills in almost all of the running I have been doing. It is a knack. And it has generally been more jogging-paced. Sometimes running-paced… barely ever sprinting-paced.

So combining the speed thing with the sudden introduction of hills, and doing both of these before breakfast, is a bit of a shock to my recalcitrant legs.

And not even so much the FIRST time, when we are running up and down a long tarmac ramp from the promenade to the beachfront. But the second set? When weve moved and, mid-boxing-drill, we are dispatched to run down the hill of pebbly shingle to the edge of the sea and back? At low tide? This is when they stop being unwilling and start being downright disobedient.

Legs according to my legs are not meant to run up and down hills made of pebbles. It is not… my legs inform me …a thing that legs are meant to do.

We do it anyway. Albeit bloody slowly. And more at a walking stumble pace than anything approaching a sprint.

A while later, as I walk home, pleased and happy and slightly knock-kneed afterward, my legs make me very aware of their feelings about the whole hill/pebble combination.

In fact, as I approach home, and a shower, and a pile of eggs and ham and spinach, my legs are kind enough to write me a little list of the thing they are having the biggest problem with:

The LOGIC of the whole thing.

This is the list my legs write for me:


1) Encounter with a land-shark.

2) Being a Viking on pillaging duty.

3) Sudden extreme fear of waves.

4) Encounter with a particularly aggressive sea-shark.


5) Running away from other people who are Vikings, when you yourself are not one.

6) Nothing else.

They then ask me to rate out of 100 how many of these situations I am likely to get in in the near future. Apart from Nothing Else which they admit is a situation I am in almost all of the time.

But I elect not to, because I really like boot camp, and think my legs are just being petulant.

I tell them so.