LAUREN, A PROUD UNIREC MEMBER AND JOURNO STUDENT OVER AT WINTEC IS SET TO TACKLE TOUGH GUY & GAL WITH THE TEAM ON AUG 9. SHE HAS KINDLY AGREED TO DOCUMENT HER JOURNEY, AS SHE TAKES ON OUR WEEKLY TRAINING SESSIONS LEADING UP TO THE EVENT. HERE IS WEEK Two...
The neat, cheerful man jogging next to me doesn't look like the muddy obstacle course type, but I guess it takes all sorts. You don't have to be a UniRec member to sign up for this race. Chaitanya Joshi is a statistics professor at the uni, with a quick smile, and saintly patience as I try to catch his name over the huffing complaints of my lungs. “Or you can call me Chai, like the tea,” he offers.
At first, Chai (like myself) isn't entirely sure how to explain his reasons for taking the Tough Guy challenge. As we toss medicine balls and high five between pushups, he muses about the health benefits of the training, especially since his job has him glued to a desk chair all day.
Milly is leading the session today, and teamwork is key. I'm somewhere between grateful to have such an upbeat workout buddy, and jealous of Chai's energy. Despite a chronic shoulder injury, he leaves me in the dust when we army-crawl the cold length of the Sports Hall floor; I marvel at how speedily a guy in ongoing physio can zip around, and still hang onto that friendly grin.
After one too many shuttle runs I can't feel the morning chill, but my eyes droop and my body is grumbling for caffeine. It's tempting to mourn the lost hours of shut-eye. But I can't complain to my new friend, who proudly tells me of his 18-month-old daughter – and the rewarding, but often sleepless, nights she inspires. “I shouldn't really be getting up at 5:30 [for training]!” he laughs.
I don't know whether this week's training is less grueling than the last's, but it's weirdly enjoyable; working hard in pairs or threes feels less like P.E. class punishment and more like light, active socialisation. You know, if the usual 'cuppa and brownie' café combo was replaced with sweat and screaming muscles.
As things wrap up, and light chatter overtakes harsh breathing, Chai and I talk about the awesome community the team is building through shared pain. Before the sessions, his focus was on the health side of things; now, after experiencing a bit more of the morning mayhem, his reasons have expanded. “It's fun,” he realises. “I think that's why I'm doing it.”
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT UNIREC'S TOUGH GUY & GAL TEAM AND TO GET INVOLVED, SEE THE TEAM AT RECEPTION.