Archive for August 1st, 2009


I Suck at Parkour

on August 1, 2009 in Misc Comments Off on I Suck at Parkour

I’m starting to suck at parkour.

First of all, my endurance has gotten only slightly better, which is bad since endurance is a key factor in the sport.  Then there are the new techniques thrown at us in each class.  Some of them I’m mildly good at, while others make me look like a spastic twit.

We start every two-hour class by exhausting ourselves.  That means running laps in the gym followed by more laps backwards, grapevines, kicking-the-butt runs, high leg kicks, quadrapeds, murphys (broad jump, drop and do a push-up, repeat), lunges, squats, and other punishments that in themselves are easy to do.  It’s the back-to-back, over-and-over performance of them that’s a killer.  Worse still, when we’re done with this alleged “warm up” there’s another half hour or so of mixing-it-up jumps/ rolls/ spins/ handstands/ cartwheels, you name it.

By now I’m dripping with sweat and chugging Gatorade like a drunk on a beer bender.  And that ain’t good because only now do we start to learn new techniques.

This week wasn’t too bad — mostly we had to balance on pipes, a trick that makes a gymnast’s balance beam seem the sport of cowards.  After all, the beam is four luxurious inches wide and blessedly flat, while pipes are obviously round, and instead of being barefoot we’re wearing runners.  This means we have mere fractions of an inch to walk along, run along, do leg kicks on, etc.

Becoming_Layla-Parkour

If we had ended class with the balancing acts, I would have felt okay about my above average performance.  But of course Matt had a sadistic final exercise in mind for us.  He took us outside and across the street to the parking lot, where we had to do a broad jump, sprint a short distance, jog back, and repeat — TWENTY FUCKING TIMES!

I lasted four turns.

Worse still, it was Matt who stopped me.

I was walking (not jogging) back to the start line when he said, “Your face is flushed.  You’re done.”

Part of me wanted to hug him.  The other part wilted in embarrassment.

“Give me a minute and I can run a couple more times,” I offered.

“No, you’re done.”

I must have looked like hell.

It was small consolation when he also stopped the youngest member of the class — a twelve-year-old.

Matt kindly insisted that I was doing just fine.  I pointed out how the other guys in the class were still going at it.  At their ages they’re at their physical peak, he countered, as if to make me feel better.

I feel so old.

So right now my Becoming Layla plan ain’t going so hot.  It’s also a real ego crusher to learn every week that I’m not as good at this kind of stuff as I’d assumed.  But I know I’ll get better if only because embarrassment is a powerful motivator.