My timing, of course, was perfect - it having been one of the hottest days of the year so far. The best word to describe conditions was "balmy" - and I even managed to get more than a bit of a sweat on getting changed into my rugby kit. Not a great sign.
Given that I'd missed the first three sessions of the summer so far and had not attended the gym as assiduously as I might have done recently, I was feeling a touch apprehensive beforehand, a feeling not helped by chronic doubts as to whether my sciatica would flare up under pressure. So, all in all, rugby training was the last thing I wanted to do.
We started with a full lap of the playing fields and I watched as the youngsters disappeared over the horizon whilst I struggled along at the back next to the other old sweats. As we finished the lap the coach got us started on a stretching routine - but my prayers that this be a warm down session before retiring to the bar fell on deaf ears.
The next half hour or so was spent completing three exercise circuits - including squats, sit ups, hill runs, weights, V-sits (don't ask - they still remain a mystery to me) and lifting two bloody great tractor tyres, amongst other tortures. Hard work, but varied enough so that it didn't ever get boring.
As the circuits came to a close the coach announced that it was time for tackling practice.
So followed a series of one-on-one tackling exercises, followed by some 2 vs 2 contact exercises that reminded me that:
(a) contact hurts; and
(b) I do need plenty of tackling practice.
The session was finished off by 10 minutes of rugby league which I managed to be in the thick of for the majority of the game, despite my increasingly weary limbs.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised that I (and more importantly my back) coped reasonably well - and certainly my doom-mongering beforehand turned out to be unjustified. Mind you, it was an interesting experience getting up this morning - those circuits had certainly worked some muscle groups that have been laying dormant for some time.
It's a start at least - but with the first Vets game scheduled for 27th September there's still plenty of work to do.