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 Three...
It was easier to wake up this morning; I'm not sure if my sleep schedule is adjusting, or if these are the early stirrings of Stockholm Syndrome. Fellow trainees are looking bright and chirpy, despite the fact that we've beaten the dawn chorus to consciousness.
Sarah and Katie, two third-year law students, take me under their wing during the now nearly-mundane jogging warm-up. This is the first time I've seen them here, but possibly also the first time I've managed to properly pry my eyes open before group training. We trade our regular gym times, and Sarah gives me some advice on how to work up to actual, hardcore, real-person pull-ups. My arms shake at the thought.
When we pair off, I meet Richard, who works IT for the Waikato Regional Council. He's an old hand at training – having rocked countless bootcamps, classes, and early exercise sessions, he has a valuable head-start on this foreign, and frankly quite distressing, 'waking up' business.
So why has Richard taken up the Tough Guy Challenge specifically? “Because I'm an idiot!” he grins. I empathise. Hey, we might all be a little bit crazy, but if this is an asylum, I guarantee it's the friendliest, happiest one in the world.
I'm impressed by this gentle computer technician's tenacity as we tag-team sprint. “I'm not the fastest or the strongest, but I just don't stop. I don't know how.” And he doesn't, except to wait for me as I painfully inch along in an army crawl, and waddle through sumo walks he's already mastered.
My lungs attempt to ditch their cruel fleshy prison and take flight, but Richard coaches me through the tyre flips and medicine ball sit-ups. “Your body never gives up; it's always your mind.” After the last set of burpees, my knees feel oddly gelatinous, and I ponder his advice dubiously.
Thankfully, we won't need to run all the way to the Rotorua course. There are still around 15 seats on the booked bus currently bereft of bums – and while it's not quite a free lunch, a free ride with a bunch of mad-folk isn't such a bad substitute.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT UNIREC'S TOUGH GUY & GAL TEAM AND TO GET INVOLVED, SEE THE TEAM AT RECEPTION.