Toni and Giles at EIS

Toni has been threatening me for some time. Not with a law-suit (he’s got a degree in the subject), or physical violence (he’s much bigger than me) but with coaching.

I’ve always felt that watching, taking the occasional photo, asking questions and writing about it all was more than enough. Evidently not. Toni wants to make me a character writer (if that’s a thing). Apparently I have to stop using my imagination and start using my body. I’ve always felt that actually doing things was over-rated, particularly when you can sit down with a cup of tea and watch other people break sweat. It’s how I maintain my youthful appearance. My brain is the tool of my trade. None of these, perfectly sound, arguments cut it with Toni.

The upshot, as you might expect, is that I am forced into shorts, trainers and t-shirt and at the same time firmly ejected from my comfort zone. The conversation goes something like this;

“Warm up then”.

I look at him blankly and, bend gingerly from side to side and swing my arms around.

“Is that it?”

“Err. Yes”.

“You used to ride bikes didn’t you?”


“How did you warm up then?”

“I rode my bike. Just a bit slower at the beginning”.

Toni rolls his eyes to the rafters of the training centre, “Run to the end of the track, touch the wall and run back”.



“I don’t think I’ve run that far for twenty years” (this is, in fact, untrue. I once ran a charity mile for comic relief. That was it mind you).

“Just do it”.

I grudgingly obey and trot off down the track. By the time my two hundred metres is complete I’m already breathing heavily and Toni and Mark, who has taken it on himself to film the vent, appear to be enjoying themselves immensely at my expense.


I try to appear much more confident than I feel, “Let’s go”.

Toni gives me a withering look. The rest is recorded for your delectation and my humiliation. Fill your boots.

For the record, despite my total lack of fitness and appalling technique I managed to throw the four kilogram shot ten metres. It’s pretty rubbish but for a first time attempt I was pretty chuffed. I think this is something I could get into although the prospect of Toni ever letting me near a shot again is not great.

I wasn’t the only one throwing shot. Hannah is back in training with the group and seemed not to feel the need to get any tips from me. Go figure. For a break from my incompetence have at look at the way it should be done.

The one advantage I have over Hannah and the rest of the more experienced athletes (bare in mind that anyone has thrown twice is more experienced than me) is that I didn’t lose the shot put in the sand. Yes, the sand pit where shot put is not allowed. Apparently it once took Jess forty five minutes to find a shot that had buried itself. I suggested purchasing a metal detector but everyone seems content to scrabble around in the sandpit,

Searching For The Shot

On reflection, I still feel Toni’s comment of, “the last time I saw legs like that they stepped out of nest”, was a bit harsh. If I keep practicing maybe I can be less like an ugly duckling and graduate to an ugly duck.