Halley Knigge (Griffin)

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One sunny Sunday morning in February, Rachael and I began by setting out for a regular run around the jardin des Tuileries. Somewhere between the triumphal arch and the carousal something about the beautiful weather, the hordes of people filling the park and the endorphins shooting through us turned us a little silly.

Bored of running, we took up a spot near the Southeastern corner of the park and began doing crazy exercises – partly for our own amusement/fitness and partly because we’re both apparently big show-offs. Maybe a little too tickled by the fact that we were leaping around like crazy girls in the middle of Paris, we took turns picking activities and ended up bolting through the gardens pretending to be football players, skipping around fountains, and just being generally quite ridiculous.

As goofy as we were, we were both nearly too sore to bend the next day, and pleased with the apparent efficiency of our workout, we began to get very into the idea of forming a workout group in the city.

We batted the idea around for a few weeks, every so often saying, “Hey, we should make flyers or something,” but never actually acting on it until last weekend. The motivating factor was probably the fact that we both had a huge amount of homework that we both desperately wanted to avoid doing, so we drafted a flyer for me to have corrected by the nanny kids.

I chose Paul to correct our advertisement, which he was more than thrilled to do. Not only did he correct my grammar, but he was so excited about the flyer that he made a rainbow title reading Avez-vouz besoin d’exercice? Venez ici! (Do you need exercise? Come here!). He also turned the entire flyer’s worth of font lime green and added a few soccer ball clipart graphics. Even at 7, Paul is incredibly perceptive – he advised me to remove the sentence that began “We are two American girls….” We’d just have hundreds of French boys responding who wanted to date us, he thought.

After Paul’s edits, we went ahead and posted our ad on Craig’s List Paris, the Ex-Patriates website and in paper form at Sciences Po and in laundromats and boulangerie around the city. We went so far as to create a new email address (parisworkout@yahoo.fr) for the occasion. So far, we’ve had three replies. One came right away from a Parisienne named Stéphanie whose main interest was getting back into shape. We had an email from a guy from the Phillipines, asking us if we wouldn’t rather just go get some coffee to get to know eachother instead of working out, and we had one from an American ex-pat named Patrick who seemed so into the idea that he proposed the location of our first workout.

We sent an email to our three responders detailing the time, date and location of our first meeting. We chose the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, for its hilly trails and (at Patrick’s behest) its location and somewhat arbitrarily picked Sunday morning at 10 for the workout.

Since the park is about 10 minutes from Rachael’s apartment and about 40 from mine, I spent the night at Rachael’s, and by a quarter to ten we were waiting hopefully by the metro exit for Buttes Chaumont. Of our meager three potential group members, Stéphanie was the only one to actually show – she’s around 30, French, works for a non-profit and is a great sport.

It’s hard to throw three people of different physical ability together to figure out what workout they can do together. Due to my typical bossiness, plus the desire to actually get a work out, I took charge, and felt like I was channeling Mark and Denise from Tuf Enuf at the Tacoma YMCA. We alternated laps around the lake with series of lunges, squats, kickboxing, skipping and anything else we could think of. After an hour, we split up and Rachael and I ran back to her apartment while Stéphanie took the métro all the way back to her place in the 15ème – a long way to come for a workout group!

While my thighs are pretty sore today, the part of me that got the best workout was my French-speaking muscles. As with camera repair, doctor’s visits and blood donations, words for working out are not my area of vocabulary expertise. Hopefully our little group will gather a few more people and Rachael and I will have another place to practice our French-speaking every weekend.

We are so ready to work out.

Avez-vous besoin d’exercice ? Venez ici !

Recherche: Des gens de tous ages, toutes nationalités, tous niveaux de forme pour se constituer un groupe actif d’exercice GRATUIT!

On est: Deux filles Américaines, pas trop fortes, pas trop faibles, qui aimerions rencontrer des gens pour faire du jogging et s’exercer dans une atmosphère géniale et décontracté (d’esprit, pas du corps !).

Propose : Un rendez-vous d’exercice par semaine, de n’importe quel type d’exercice – du jogging, du yoga, du football, d’entraînement en circuit, et au déla. Nous vous proposons soit les samedis matins ou soit les dimanches, environs 10h, à une variété des parcs publiques – Parc Monceau, Bois des Vincennes, Jardins des Tuileries, Parc des buttes Chaumonts. Chacun, s’il le veut, aura l’opportunité d’envisager le programme d’un rendez-vous.

Si ça vous intéresse, contactez-nous par email (parisworkout@yahoo.fr), et nous vous répondrons avec le lieu, l’heure et date de notre prochain rendez-vous.

Venez nombreux !!!

Do you need exercise ? Come here !

Looking for: People of all ages, nationalities and fitness levels to form a free exercise group!

We are: Two American girls, not too strong, not too weak, who would like to find people to run and exercise in a fun and relaxed atmosphere (relaxed in mind, not body!).

We propose: A meeting every weekend of all types of exercise – jogging, yoga, soccer, circuit training, et cetera. We suggest either Saturday or Sunday mornings around 10h, in a variety of public parks – parc Monceau, bois des Vincennes, jardin des Tuileries, parc des Buttes Chaumonts, etc. Everyone who wants to will have the chance to plan out a day of exercise.

If you’re interested, email us at parisworkout@yahoo.fr, and we’ll email you back with the time, date and location of our next workout!

Author: Halley (Griffin) Knigge

Storyteller and adventurer with a focus on new and social media. Ten years of award-winning writing and editing experience, eight years working professionally to share compelling stories through brand journalism, three years as an airline spokesperson, two years as a Tacoma Arts Commissioner and 30+ years of learning something new every day.

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