Its only been 5 weeks since I last refereed a match, but having taken a break and been truly slovenly and self-indulgent, my first pre-season training session hurt. It hurt a lot.
For my end of season RFU JAM Test I managed to improve my fitness result by over 2 minutes – and only failed to get higher because I kept miss-timing those damn bleeps on the machine. If I was forced to do the test today I’d struggle to keep going for 2 minutes full stop. My usual 4.5 mile circuit normally takes me a shade over 30 minutes. Today I plodded and pounded along as if my feet were solid lead.
The only thing that distracted me from the pain and misery of the first session was my random selection on my iPod – which left me listening to some stand-up comedy. So I ran (and stumbled) along the route like some have half-crazed maniac, wheezing and coughing and occasionally laughing out loud. A cross between a lumbering rhino and hallucinating hyena. It took me 39m 35s to complete the route. Not an auspicious start.
My fixtures have already come in – at least two warm-up matches in August (including a National league fixture) and a very tasty opening weekend match between two top Level 6 sides in the Cheshire Cup. This is followed by my opening league fixture in deepest darkest Lancashire. I then have four consecutive exchanges around the UK.
Having missed out on promotion last season the pressure is on to improve my performance and management. However, I am starting the season without a coach, carrying a couple of injuries (old age!) and after tonight’s effort, seriously unfit!
The season starts here….and so far it hurts!