Last night I met about 15 guys in a dark park behind my favorite coffee shop at 11:30 p.m. Sounds safe, right?
I came out for some last minute parkour training before the obstacle-ridden Men’s Health Urbanathlon I am competing in this weekend with Nike Women’s NFR. You can check out the list of obstacles here.
Never heard of parkour? Here’s a great description:
“Parkour is considered by some to be a way of thinking, a way of training and a method by which to develop one’s spirit and inner strength through movement, as taught by the founders in France. The philosophy is considered a main part of Parkour. The main point in the philosophy of parkour is to understand that parkour is not just a sport. It is not just completing a list of moves or vaults. Parkour is a way of thinking and training. It helps you get from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible. The vaults and jumps used are only by-products of this way of thinking.”
I’ve done a lot of things to sweat, but I went into this late-night parkour meetup with little more than an open mind. We ran about half a mile to the park and then stood in a circle doing basic warm-up stretches. Then we ran in a circle- regular, backwards and sideways! Interesting warm-up, right?
My iPhone’s camera doesn’t love the dark, so please excuse my choppy photos. Hopefully you can at least get an idea of some of the things we did! In the photos above I was jumping on a huge tire standing upward. The idea was to run, dive toward it, grab it with your arms and then bring your feet up and on through- getting over the tire without your feet ever touching it. I tried about 10 times- including a few falls and me planting my knee into the tire
Another obstacle was vaulting. We’d run toward the obstacle, position our hands and leap over! I tried this many, many, many times and was thrilled when I got it. What was really holding me back was fear of hitting my legs as I pulled them over. Truth is that I had the strength and just needed to overcome that mental block!
When it got really scary was when we took the same vault that we did on the ground to this second-story railing! After about 10 minutes of hesitation and nervousness, I vaulted from the solid ground off the railing two times! I landed on the ground instead of the other side of the railing, but I was so proud to conquer that serious fear of heights.
Funny thing is that I didn’t hurt myself during the stints, but I did fall down a set of stairs in the dark! My shins, knees and left forearm are bruised. Hardcore, right?
The rest are just shots of the other guys being crazy and climbing all over everything! The could scale a wall and jump up and over or down anything!
What workouts have you tried outside your normal routine?