I decided on Monday that I was going to get back into the swing of my normal workout schedule. I haven’t done any serious workouts since the half-marathon. Something about the incredible pain (in addition to the doctor’s visits and the exams and the procedures and the embarrassing prescriptions) must have subconsciously deterred my running spirit. And who can blame my running spirit for being deterred? Not me, that’s for sure. My running spirit is smart.
But I had to go to the doctor on Monday, and while I was there I confessed to her that I hadn’t really run at all since the fateful half-marathon. She was the doctor who encouraged me to start exercising more consistently and I feel comfortable talking with her candidly about my running. She, apparently, feels really comfortable being candid with me, too, because she simply said, “I don’t blame you!” Hmph. Let me just say: “I don’t blame you” is not a very comforting phrase to hear from your doctor. It says to a person that their fears are valid and that they, being a health professional, would also feel the same way if they themselves were in the same situation that you (sucker!) are in. The Doc and I talked a little more and she advised me to try to get back into the swing of things, but to start slowly. Just do some light jogging, she said, and build from there. If you ever feel like the cramping is starting again, just stop. Don’t try to run through it.
So what did I do? I immediately came home, got online, found out that my gym had a Boot Camp class scheduled for 7:00 that night and became determined that I was going to go to the Boot Camp.
Classes at my gym are typically not overly difficult. I’ve been to a variety of yoga, pilates and weight lifting classes and I’ve never felt like I was going to die as a result of any of them. Neither has Zack ever been truly impressed or surprised by my ability to handle the classes. So when he came home for lunch on Monday and I told him that I was going to go to Boot Camp class, I should have paid more attention to his reaction.
Because he was like, “Woah, seriously?” And I wondered, why did he act so surprised? He went on to explain that some Boot Camp classes are pretty tough, and he was proud of me for jumping back into the workout world with such vigor! Can you believe I didn’t take heed? Zack was using verbal exclamation points and I didn’t catch the hint that I was about to die. I can be dense.
So Zack’s verbal exclamation points were my first hint that perhaps Boot Camp wasn’t the best class to take for someone who was supposed to be easing back into the workout pool. A complete list of hints was presented to me as follows:
1.) Zack flipping out upon my declaration of intent to attend a Boot Camp class.
2.) The Gym’s sign posted outside the Boot Camp class that said that the gym’s air conditioning was broken and that anyone who attempted to take a class would die a slow, sweaty and miserable death.
3.) Absolutely zero overweight people were in the classroom waiting for the class to start. While that does usually mean that the class is effective, it can also mean that the class is to brutal and cold-hearted for anyone except the fittest of the fit.
4.) There were more boys than girls in the class. This always means that the class is mean. You know. Because boys are stronger than girls and blah blah blah whatever, I don’t like it, but it’s true. One of the boys even had an Israeli Defense Force shirt on. And still, like an idiot with blinders, who has two thumbs and was waiting happily for the class to begin? This girl.
5.) A (hotter) Billy Blanks’ militaristic (evil) look-alike bounced (literally!) into the classroom and introduced himself as the instructor. I’m talking about a shiny, bald headed man with muscles stacked on top of his very muscles. He, if given some fatigues, could have been a drill sergeant.
I heeded none of these signs to mean what they should have meant to me, which is the following message:
“GET THE EFF OUT OF HERE, SOON. RIGHT NOW. FIVE MINUTES AGO.”
10 minutes into the workout, hot-evil-Billy had already taken us through about 10 of the exercises I’ve heard Zack’s friends talk about experiencing in Real Boot Camp. Like, the kind that you go through when you’re going to be in the military. We were jumping and jacking, planking, mountain climbing and doing burpies. BURPIES, for Christ’s sake. And while we were doing all these exercises, while I was wanting to die, he kept saying this one evil phrase over and over again. He kept saying, “This is the warm up.”
And every time he said it, I thought, “Holy hell, if this’s the warm up, I’m so incredibly screwed.”
And I was. I so was.
Immediately after the ‘warm up’, we broke down into our groups and started in on the circuit training for which Boot Camps have become famous. I guess the theory is that anyone can do anything, as long as it’s a short enough amount of time. And I guess what hot-evil-Billy doesn’t know is that 3 minutes, while you’re jumping up and down or running wind sprints across the gym, is not a short amount of time. It’s a lifetime. It’s an eternity. It’s light years. It’s enough time that I was able to work myself to my absolute maximum and then have 2 minutes and 30 seconds left to sit around and wonder what the hell kind of steroids everyone else must be on in order to still be doing whatever particular form of misery they’d been assigned to do for that 3 minute time period.
My first station was a combination jumping-and-squatting station that is known for working calf muscles, setting your butt muscles on fire and removing your will to live. I must have looked like I was just about to fall over and die because my neighbor in Jump-and-Squatville looked over at me and said, “This is the hardest station.” That made me feel better for about 12 seconds. Then we went to the next station, suicide drills!, and I realized that she was lying. Admittedly, she was lying in a nice way, the kind of lying that people do to other people when they are trying to lessen their pain, (and I appreciated her lie, really!) but it was a lie nevertheless.
I suffered through a complete round of the circuits, hitting all 5 stations once, and the soul-sucking jump-and-squat station twice, before I finally bowed out at minute 35. Hot-evil-Billy was calling all of us back to the center of the room for another round of plank/mountain climber misery, it was 100 degrees in there, and I was swimming in the sweat of about 38+ other exhausted gym patrons. I was dizzy and a little nauseated and seriously doubting my ability to walk back to my own car. I thought that it’d be better for me to leave there upright with wounded pride than for me to stay, keep my pride, and have to have hot-evil-Billy give me a piggy back ride to my car because my limbs quit working. So I grabbed my water, my bag and headed for the door.
Zack came home from work to find me laying on the couch, unable to move. I admitted to him that I’d left early, feeling defeated. He seemed excessively proud of me for having stuck it out for 35 minutes; he congratulated me on my victory and listened intently as I told him about every exercise that we did.
There’s another class tomorrow at 9:45, and I’m going to go. Blame Zack and his blind encouragement. Blame my wounded pride and my need to prove myself. Hell, you could even blame my overt narcissism and desire for blog fodder if you’d like. No matter who or what you blame for me knowingly throwing myself into a Boot Camp class again, I’m going. Perhaps one or two more Boot Camp sufferfests will convince me that maybe running isn’t such a scary proposition after all.