Today I have aching shoulders and legs, I had a bath last night but to no avail. I also feel quite tired. No, it isn't swine flu but the after effects of training in Dundee on Sunday!
Sunday was the first jam organised in Dundee by the Dundee University Parkour Club (DUPK) and brought together traceurs, free runners and trickers from Dundee, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coatbridge to enjoy some of the architectural delights in Dundee which unravel before the eye of a traceur. Dundee University and the associated grounds were put to good use by over twenty people, as was the Caird Hall.
While I knew a few people who attended from the Glasgow parkour forums, most people were strangers. I am not usually put off by training on my own or with people I do not know so I branched off on my own while a large group were getting into trouble by an Overgate (shopping mall) security guard for flipping and tricking inside. Outside is a church which offered a number of variations for precision jumps and after dipping my foot in a number of these I decided I'd best not lose the group as I have never been to Dundee University before and feared missing out on any of the spots which Chris and BJ from Glasgow had told me about.
I did not see anyone come out of the rear entrance after me so I assumed everyone had kept moving and come out of a side door through H&M. I have no idea where they actually did go as I didn't find them all for about half an hour. I decided to just head up the Perth Road and have a nosey outside the Union. En route, I met Calum who is a part of the DUPK, who had also lost everyone at some point. I discovered a nice little spot previous to meeting Calum behind the Dundee Rep theatre but we decided to keep moving to find the group rather than track back and re-visit the Rep. After moving through the University grounds without any luck we happened across Mikey, from St. Andrews but Edinburgh originally, who had just parked his car. Shortly afterwards we met up with the group who had taken the (very) long way round which is why we couldn't find them.
From here, a number of different opportunities were opened up to me, similar to a child realising that the 20p ride outside the fun-fair wasn't the only fun to be had. The University grounds offered a very long multiple rail structure as well as a number of disabled access ramps with all associated railings and obstacles, plus a number of walls which all differed in structure, materials, texture, height and obstacles surrounding them, such as lack of ground space, overhangs, and small walls surrounding the bigger walls. Needless to say I worked mostly on balance and climb-ups. It was while exploring these opportunities I met David and Ewan from Edinburgh, who knew Mikey and also Andy from Glasgow. The five of us set out on a different path from the rest of the group, initially to hang about on a thick tree branch which David decided was ripe for a 'table bouldering' challenge and then towards a nice set of low walls that were just outside of my comfortable precision range. We worked on standing and running precisions here over the 5 gaps (only about a few inches up to half a meter above the ground), exploring foot placement and various advantages and detriments to the space.
We moved on and discovered a very nice spot only five minutes away, but outside of the university grounds which I will go back and take a picture of shortly. David and Ewan helped me with a number of issues here, but especially departing on my non-dominant side. David set more challenges at various locations and fun was had by all. We found our way back to the church outside the Overgate centre and spend a while there drilling the various precisions and challenging ourselves to complete certain tasks i.e. landing softer, more precise, using less of a run etc.
I left David, Ewan and Andy at my bus stop feeling tired but still wanting to keep moving. It is days like this in which you fall in love with things all over again and I emphatically fell for Parkour again on Sunday.