A visit last week to Lisa Dowling's Evolve Fitness Studio on the KCR Estate at Ravensdale Park in Kimmage triggered a trip down memory lane to the early days of the first Irish running boom, when Lisa's mother, Emily, stormed to victory in the second Dublin Marathon in 1981.
Mick Dowling, a Co Kilkenny native, boxed internationally for Ireland as a bantamweight and reached the quarter-finals in the 1968 Mexico Olympics. During his illustrious career, Mick also won two European bronze medals and eight national Senior titles in the same weight division – a record only equalled by one other Irish boxer, Kenny Egan.
But it is through running that I know Mick best, and that is why I paid this recent visit to the Evolve Coaching and Exercise Studio to learn a little more about a few programmes that I felt might help me on my road back to fitness.
I had heard a number of very encouraging reports about Lisa Dowling's Pilates classes and I was eager to learn too about Mick's boxing programme, 'Learn How To Box Without Taking a Punch'.
The one big lesson I have learned since starting back running earlier this year is the need to get flexible again. At the Evolve Coaching and Exercise Studio I felt immediately at home and among friends. Lisa assured me that she could help me improve my movement quality, lose some weight, tone up and strengthen my core muscles.
Lisa's studio is on two compact floors and it was in the downstairs studio that Mick promised me that I could soon 'Learn How To Box Without Taking a Punch'. Little did he know that boxing was my first sport and that it was doing some roadwork training for boxing that led me into a running career. But it is many years since I last laced on a pair of boxing gloves and even when I did, it was pretty clear that it was not going to be my best sport by a long shot. However, I love the idea of getting back into some boxing training, working out on the speed ball, medicine ball and the heavy bag and maybe even learning to skip rope again.
I will have Mick's son Stephen to help me too, as he is also involved in the business. Mick reminded me that all his children have long been active in sport. His son Mark recently won the big Ras Mumhan (Tour of Munster) cycle race and his other daughter Julie is a veteran of five marathons.
Mick has a 2:57 marathon to his credit and has run a little over 56 minutes for 10 miles.
I am looking forward to my next visit to the Evolve Coaching & Exercise Studio and this time I will be bringing my training gear. I will report on my progress in due course.
Health & Living