My attempt to get at least some exercise while I'm back in the UK, and to get back into much-missed racquet sports, got off to a reasonably good start on Friday evening.
Cathy had told me about a casual, drop-in tennis club so I thought I'd give that a try. As a warm-up, I decided to walk to the club - 40 minutes, mostly uphill. So I was knackered when I got there! They were very welcoming and I was thrown on court immediately as there were actually only two of us there at the advertised start time. I knocked up for half an hour with Richard, who I think was quite gentle with me as I told him I hadn't played for almost 18 months! More people turned up and we started the doubles matches. We were randomly paired up over the next two hours, I played with or against almost everyone there. Won our first match 6-2, then lost 3-6 and 4-6. Could have been a lot worse! It's a very sociable club so at the end I spent half an hour in the clubhouse with a much-needed beer before embarking on the long walk home. Other than my usual "wet rag" impression, and having a face the colour of someone who's about to have a heart attack, I didn't feel too bad. Then it all caught up with me. On Saturday and Sunday, everything ached! My calf muscles felt like someone was sticking knives in them and my shoulders were making alarming grinding noises. Still, I felt better for actually having done something!
By Monday, I'd just about stopped aching - so I went to a local badminton club! Again, they were a nice bunch though I think their website statement that they're mixed ability might have been a bit misleading. Some of them were VERY good! Still, I was pleased to find that despite not having played for 18 months, I could still actually play. All was going well - won the first match 21-15 then, like at the tennis, the groups mixed up. In the next match I spun/dived for an evil backhand smash from our opponents and felt (and heard) a rather nasty tearing sound from my right knee. OUCH! (Won the bloody point though!) Not wanting to wuss out, I carried on as the game was nearly over anyway and two points later it was over - we lost - and I hobbled off to see what the damage was. I was a bit concerned when I found that it hurt to bend it, straighten it or turn it! One of the others gave me some ibuprofen rub for it so I sat out for a game then decided there was only one way to find out if I should worry about it a bit more. So I played one more game (which we lost) - it stood up (no pun intended) to the challenge reasonably well, though I couldn't run backwards on it and I was very reluctant to twist. It seemed like a bad idea to risk it any further so, with 40 minutes still to go, I made my excuses and left.
This may be too much information but ... it was bloody hot in the hall so yet again, I could have wrung out everything I was wearing (clearly my DNA missed the class about "women don't sweat"!). However, I hadn't planned on using the changing room showers so I had no towel. Oh well, I thought! After my quick (cold) shower - gotta love private girls' schools - I attempted to dry off using my soggy sports gear! Memories of my school changing rooms came flooding back as I realised that it's actually impossible to get dry in them, towel or not. And to add a final insult to (actual) injury, I discovered that whilst I'd remembered to pack a change of clothes, I'd forgotten one rather vital item. To put it bluntly, I had to go commando for the walk home!!!
Anyway, my right knee just about survived the walk home although by the time I got into the flat, it was complaining, and I also found a strange dent in my left hamstring!
So - exercise. Good or bad for you? You decide.