Day 57: Cold, hard and painful

To summarize the Vint parkour lesson yesterday: it was cold, painful and the exercises were so hard to do!

First I met Ofelia, a dancer and choreographer, who was going to join me. I got to know her through Buddler. That is, I offered to pay for her parkour lesson and bring some snacks and hot beverage. So, I got a training partner and she got workout for free. Win-win.

Then we walked to an outdoor gym near Långholmen in Stockholm, and on time a bearded, sweaty man comes jogging towards us. This is Jens, our trainer, who will teach us some cool tricks for only 20 kronor each. "Let's warm up by running round Långholmen!", he suggests enthusiastically. Unfortunately, I have my briefcase and laptop with me so we decide to run in the park where we are instead. So far, so good. I know running.

Then comes the first challenge. "Now, let's do somersaults!" Ok. When did I last do a somersault? Ten years ago? Fifteen? Twenty? And outdoors when it's below zero and the ground is frozen? Never. I soon realize that this is no fancy gym class. It's more like Rocky the movie. I can totally imagine Jens getting up at four, drink five raw eggs and go out for some running.

After a while my head hurts (from doing somersaults on the hard ground), my hands are dirty (no gloves), I'm cold and I'm afraid to get injured. "Ok, let's try some splits." Splits? Again, it's below zero and I'm cold. I'm not very good at this - in good conditions. And now I'm afraid I'm gonna strain a muscle.

"Touch your hands with your toes!"

"Touch your hands with your toes!"

Ofelia's hand after training.

Ofelia's hand after training.

During this hour I'm also afraid I'm going to slip on an icy patch or fall when doing handstands and get a bruise or break my neck...

But Jens is a really good teacher. You can tell he has a background as a gymnast. First, because he can do amazing things himself, and second, because he has a good eye for details and tells you how to improve your movements. And he is always willing to help lifting, pushing or stretching where needed. We get to try a lot of things. And I get some really good advice on how to do a handstand without support, for example.

But his expectations of what we can do seem slightly too high... Like when he asks us to try the crane position. Ok, fine. I've recently learned that, and I'm pretty proud of it. "Great. And now you can try to do a tuck planche." OMG! How do you do this?! I cant get my feet off the ground at all. 

Or: "Let's do a human flag!" Ehh... ok... I can do a human flag on a very calm day with no breeze. Usually I think of myself as being pretty strong. Now I realize how much I lack in core strength.

Only once do I seem to do something right. It's when Jens think I have a good posture when doing handstands and I can tell him that a tumbling instructor has given me some instructions.

Just in case you don't know all these positions, here are some graphical explanations.

I can do this.

I can do this.

Jens think I should practice on this. (planche)

Jens think I should practice on this. (planche)

I can do this (and am pretty proud of it). (crane)

I can do this (and am pretty proud of it). (crane)

Jens think I should do this (don't rest legs on your arms). (tuck planche)

Jens think I should do this (don't rest legs on your arms). (tuck planche)

I can do this (wall support if needed).

I can do this (wall support if needed).

Jens think I should do this. (handstand)

Jens think I should do this. (handstand)

I can do this. Not very pretty.

I can do this. Not very pretty.

Jens think I should do this. Very pretty. (split)

Jens think I should do this. Very pretty. (split)

This is a sad flag on a very calm day.

This is a sad flag on a very calm day.

Now that's what I call a human flag!

Now that's what I call a human flag!

It's not that bad, right?

It's not that bad, right?

"Shoulders back, straight arms, feet together, straight knees etc" (bridge)

"Shoulders back, straight arms, feet together, straight knees etc" (bridge)

So after all this pain and disappointment you'd think I'd never go back there, right?

But then I get a message from Jens today: "You were doing so well both of you I was actually kind of impressed. Next time we could focus more on shoulder strength like tuck planche and planche." Judging from yesterday this seems almost impossible. Or, to put it differently - this is a challenge!! Me and Ofelia definitely have to go back! Who wants to join us?