On the 9th June at 8pm, the health club I’d been a member of for just over three and half years ceased trading, as it was put in the letter posted on Facebook. First I heard. First any of us heard. A big shock. I don’t mind admitting it put me in a panic, made me cry and say out loud to myself several times ‘This can’t be happening!’ and ‘What am I going to do’ And within a minute I had to message Stella. Thanks for talking me down, Stella! And thanks for all the kind comments from Twitter & Facebook friends too.
There were hundreds of messages conveying shock, sadness and support for the owner on the Facebook post. The reason is, of course, financial. A small family run business trying to compete with chains. The place had been going since 1997 and was having to pay more insurance since the tidal surge of 2013.
The staff were friendly – I was amazed how many knew my name among 3k members – but never pestered me to do stuff I didn’t want to do when I started. They allowed me to creep in, swim and creep out again for the first two years. By then I got my bike, added Zumba and a gym programme and tried different classes.
Yes, the building was a bit shabby (who cares) but the main thing for me was the location, a 25 minute walk or, after the first nine months, a 12 minute bike ride from home. And swimming in a sea view pool was beyond my wildest imaginings. The times I thought ‘I can’t believe I’m here’ & ‘Do I really deserve this?’ I swum with a view of the bay on dull days with no sight of the other side, snow, blue skies, sun rises and sun sets. And once, a rainbow. Shame there’s no pocket for your phone in a swimming costume. Would love to have taken a photo.
As I’m one for ‘doing the maths’, I’ve worked out I swum 38,632 lengths there. Wish I’d had the chance to round that up to a neater figure. As if it matters.
38, 632. Over a hundred pounds lost. Totally worth it. Totally life changing.
And the initial panic was because what if all that was over? What if I can’t finish #TheImpossibleThing somewhere else? Or even maintain my loss so far?
I had barely two hours sleep that night but the next morning, seeing the Zumba instructor on Facebook advertising her class in nearby Torrisholme I commented that I would be there. And it turned out she’d found out on Facebook with the rest of us. It was so nice still doing Zumba – even though I was knackered – and there were five other shocked VVV refugees there.
Then I went on holiday and had a great time in Glasgow and Coventry. That was good timing. Thanks to Nick Lowe and National Flash Fiction Day.
Within two days of my return I headed for the 3-1-5 Health Club, Lancaster. I had paid up front for an annual membership which still had ten months on I and we had basically been sold there, at least this is how I think of it. They told me I had £373 credit, which they would ‘honour’, had to sign up for a year and an extra £12 would give me ‘off-peak weekends’. So that’s what I did. And then I swam, once I’d found the changing rooms. It would’ve been nice to be pointed in the general direction but that didn’t happen.
The pool’s nice and not busy on the first use so should be okay for afternoons. I met an old swimming buddy from the VVV and we had a bit of a moan. The pool’s 25m as opposed to the previous 15m. Bigger pool means less lengths. So 60 lengths is 100 in the … but it’s time to forget all that and aim for 600 lengths in 10 swims per month. That’ll do me.
The 3-1-5 has a fabulous hydrotherapy pool. It’s really just a very large bath but with Jacuzzi area and jets and bubbles that appear to go through a cycle of on and off. Well, I have no problem relaxing up to my neck in deliciously warm water and maybe it burns calories in the way a sauna does, I dunno. There’s one of them too though I probably won’t bother now I’ve discovered hydrotherapy. While in there I wonder if anyone has ever poured in a whole bottle of bubble bath. I’ll ask. Birthday treat?
I’ll be checking out the gym soon too, she said confidently.
But … big but … it’s the location. That’s the sticking point. My short cycle along the prom at any time has been replaced with 2 buses and a journey of nearly an hour from work or longer from home. The 3-1-5 is in a business park off a busy main road, it’s one bus an hour and it ain’t Morecambe promenade.
So … as I’ve been forced into this new state of affairs for the next year at least, a radical overhaul of my fitness regime is called for. Rather than doing my two main exercise sessions at the weekend, it makes more sense for me to do two or three afternoons at the 3-1-5, which basically means Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. This is due to Tuesday and Friday being tied up – very happily – with important ukulele business.
And weekends are for cycling of course, if the weather’s good. Brenda needs her exercise. Don’t care how many times I cycle to Heysham or on the canal path to Carnforth.
How on earth did I get to be so busy? Ah yes …. Exercise and weight loss = lots more energy.
Thank you, VVV. Great times. 😢
Onwards!! I will get you, The Impossible Thing.