Lessons Learned from Bootcamp

Posted by Roger, a contributor to this blog.

I woke up pretty rested today. The television said it was 44 degrees out so I figured that’s not too bad. A hoodie and sweatpants should do the job. Ok workout, I thought, here I come!

We arrived at boot camp at about 5:25.  Hooray!  No extra push-ups today for being late.  I was amazed at the number of people there. I don’t even have an estimate but there were plenty!  It’s impressive and inspiring to see so many new people joining and committing themselves to Dustin’s program. It is especially exciting to see so many more men joining and realizing this is one tough program! Now that we are outdoors again, I remember to bring my 20 lb weights, but that means  I hobble more than walk over to the shelter.

On my way over, I decided that this would actually be the beginning of my summer training. On Monday we took our first fit test. This established our baseline. From here on out, I’m trying to see how much I can improve by the time we move back indoors. I did do better on my tests than I did last year at this time in all areas except one. So I took that as a positive.

When we were ready Dustin told us to bring our mats, weights, and water over to the hill. Today we would do much of our work there and we would become one with the hill. Fat chance of that, I thought. By the way that hill chews me up and spits me out ,  I don’t think it has any intention of becoming one with me! Also, I knew with all that equipment there was no way I was running over to the hill. Like I said earlier, it was more of a hobble, albeit a quick one. By the time I got to where everyone was warming up they had passed me by. Luckily I just joined in at the end and when we switched directions, I was at the head of the line.

When we began our workout, we were going to be divided into groups by how fast we got up the hill. We only had to run to where the hill kind of flattens out. Now, I thought, I have done this before. I wind up in the fast group and then I have to work extra hard so this time, I told myself, I would slow down some so that I would be in the slow group. They work hard too but sometimes they seem to get a (very) little break. Well, of course this is where I learned my first lesson. No matter the age (or circumstance) my darn competitiveness is going to kick in. Once Dustin said go,  I started. I didn’t go full tilt at first but then I found myself wanting to see  how far up I could go and how many people I could pass. I knew I waited too late to catch the really fast people but I could make a good showing for myself. It was only when Dustin said to stop that I realized I was probably in trouble. He told us that he was dividing us into 3 groups, not 2. Group A was the group closest to the top, B the middle section, and C the lower section. I was in Group A. What was I thinking? Now we got to play a little game of chase. Group C went back down the hill a little ways, group B went down a little further, and group A? All the way back down. When Dustin said go, we had to run again to the top of the hill trying to catch the people in the groups above us. No comment on how I did there.

Once we got back to the top of the hill we partnered up for exercises.  My partner was a woman I had never met before. She usually attended the afternoon classes but had a schedule change today. She was very nice and encouraging. We both tried to push each other as hard as we could. We started with partner push-ups ( which I was still too winded to do effectively), then we did wheelbarrows (or bear crawls), and finished with back to back wall sits. I am terrible at these. I’m not sure why. I can’t get the form right or something but more than anything I think it is lack of confidence or trust. Lesson 2. Trust your partner. They are there to help and encourage you but will also accept your limitations.

Next, one more time back down the hill in groups. I must not have been listening as well as I thought because I didn’t hear Dustin say we would be running back up again. But when he said go, I was doing ok. I didn’t feel particularly tired in my legs and thought, “I’ve got this”. However, lesson 3, focus on what you are doing and don’t worry about others. I was doing fine, great actually, but then I looked over and saw a couple people walking. So I tell myself that it’s okay if I’m a little tired. I can walk. So I started to walk. When I thought I could run again, I started again. But once you quit like that, it is awfully hard to get started again (a lesson I already knew but refuse to let sink in). So I walked/slow jogged it the rest of the way up. Lesson 3 here. Why I prefer group exercise to working out alone. The group was very encouraging, cheering me to completion. It’s nice to have a large group of people on your side. Although I suspect there may have been a couple wanting me to finish slowly so they could have an extra minute to catch their breath.

After we came down the hill for the final time we worked on the core. We did V-sits with a deltoid press, swimmers and squirms, front and side planks (with a weight), rowers, and the exercise where we swing our weights out in front, focusing on the glutes and hamstrings. I had to go to a lighter weight for the side plank as the 20 lb weight made me fall over. I could also only use 1 20 lbs weight for the hamstring exercise as two did not allow for good form.

By this time, I could see the new arrivals which meant it was time to be done for today. I could also see the news van there, ready to film the next class for a morning report which led to Lesson 4. If you attend the 5:30 am class, you won’t have to be on TV!

Have a good one!

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