I still remember that morning, staring up at that hill as I took my place in line with the other "campers." I ran when they told me to run. I sprinted, run backwards, even ran with "high knees" up that stupid hill. After about 30 minutes, I distinctly remember the taste of last night's tuna fish salad welling up in the back of my throat, though I willed myself to not puke at Hill Day. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see because of the sweat dripping in my eyes, and I couldn't talk. I had never, ever been through such a grueling workout. I didn't go back for two weeks. I thought for sure my legs would never recover.
When I did return, however, I discovered the other days were different than Hill Day. There was a great ab workout, a circuit day, a leg day, and something called "black board workout." What I liked best of all, even more than the slight definition my arms started to show or the way my legs actually began keeping up with the rest of the crowd, was the philosophy behind boot camp. You just...go. It doesn't matter your fitness level, your gender or the weather - you just keep moving.
The timing of boot camp and the passing of my father was not a coincidence; I needed something to keep me moving and to take my mind off of the grief. I needed something BIG and all consuming, and boot camp fit the bill. So I went as often as I could. I laid out my clothes the night before, set my alarm for 5:25, and I went. It didn't matter if it was rainy or windy or black as night; boot camp was going to be there. I remember on one particularly tough Hill Day, I got there a few minutes late and had to take a less-than-desirable spot at the base of the hill by some tree roots. Running backwards up a hill is problematic at best, but throw in some trees roots and I was a hot mess. As I gingerly navigated around the roots, one of the trainers encouraged me to go a little faster.
"What if I fall?" I whimpered.
"You get up," she replied. (Very nicely, I might add. Kerry and Reinier are two of the nicest, most supportive people I've ever met. They are not the in-your-face-screaming drill sergeants you might be picturing.)
It was the most simple answer, but it really rang true with me. Just get up. Sometimes we fall. Instead of over-analyzing it or worrying about it before it happens or lamenting about it when it does, just get up. And keep moving. So I did. And guess what? I was fine.
It's the simpleness of boot camp that I love so much. It's this weird community-feeling to it that despite the fact I barely know anyone's first name, let alone last name or occupation, there's this "we're all in this together" feeling. And the people that attend that are really good? It's inspiring to watch. I don't know if I'll ever be that fast or have that much endurance, but it's really amazing to see in person.
Brian and I recently joined this fancy-pants gym in our area. While the outdoor pool area and chicken Alfresco salad are amazing, I just can't seem to wrap my arms around this new venture. Yes, the two-hours of free childcare is awesome, but when I came home after my first workout there, I confessed to Brian, "I feel like I'm cheating on boot camp." Because despite the rows of gleaming cardio machines and clean towels at our disposal, I'd rather be doing death carts and navigating my way around the bird poop on the basketball court. The eucalyptus-scented steam room in lovely, but I prefer the smell of fresh cut grass while doing push-ups. And regardless of what the gym offers, they don't hold a candle to Hill Day.
I feel like Kim-One-Year-Ago is much different that Kim-Today. Boot camp has taught me to pull myself up by my boot straps and keep going. Just this morning, I got bowled over playing a game of net ball (like basketball but with a volleyball and no dribbling - you have to see it to get it). I turned into basketball-court-roadkill as my shoulder, elbow, hip and leg slammed against the unforgiving surface. I'm pretty sure I was airborne for a few seconds - a great feeling, right up until I came into contact with the ground again. Kim-One-Year-Ago would have cried and headed home. Kim-Today just laughed it off and kept playing (after the initial sting wore off). Despite my throbbing hip and bruised leg, I'm slightly pleased by my battle wounds. It gives me street cred.
So that's why I love Boot camp. It's real. It's fun. It's like gym class at six in the morning with a bunch of overgrown kids. You run, you sweat, you push, and you achieve. And best of all, when you fall, you just get back up. It's really that simple.
If you live in Vegas and are interested, I cannot recommend boot camp enough. It's really, really, really fun and the best workout. Check out www.lasvegasbootcamp.net for more information.
On August 1, there will be a Hill Day for charity and that would be a great time to try it out. Don't worry - they don't usually make the work-out crazy hard when it's for charity. The next session starts on August 4th.
And despite the fact that this probably seems like a commercial, it really isn't. I'm not being compensated in any way; I just really, really love boot camp. Thank you to Kerry and Reinier for making exercise fun!