One of my big goals for 2015 is hitting a 30:00 5K. The fact that I haven’t been able to accomplish this particular feat bothers me, more than it should. Now that my big distance challenges are out of the way, I have a little under a year to focus on this one, and try to make it a reality.
I will admit that I haven’t been serious about my cross training. I would go through fits and spurts, and I had a good run with yoga. However, scheduling changed and I was no longer able to attend sessions, so that went by the wayside. Then, as the marathon neared, I was scared of starting something new and risking injury, so I preferred the route of sticking with the proverbial “devil you know.”
Now that the marathon is over, I have the time and the flexibility to get serious about my speed. I know that I have the distance thing down. It may not always be pretty, but I can do it. Now I need to focus on my core and upper body to give me the tools to go faster.
Enter boot camp.
I have discussed before that I am a little nervous about classes. I am very self-conscious and I am terrified of making a fool of myself trying something new. It’s a character flaw I seem to be overcoming, and I am becoming a little more confident in myself, but I was still very hesitant to try boot camp.
In my head, I envisioned a ruthless, precision-cut, drill sergeant type instructor, screaming orders with the requisite spray of spittle to make things extra demoralizing. I expected to be hounded, pushed beyond my pain threshold and to tears, and to hobble away, feeling completely inadequate and shamed.
Sometimes, you just have to be open-minded about these things.
I met a friend at a mid-morning class. The gym is pretty no-frills – it’s clean and it’s safe, but it’s absolutely function over fashion. Which is ok. It’s close to home and the prices are low, so those are both big positives in my book.
The instructor was lovely. Yes, she shouts. Over the pounding of the music she plays. But she also encourages and banters and answers questions, and not once did she make anyone feel remotely “less than” if they stumbled or needed assistance.
I actually kind of loved my first class. We started inside with a series of HIIT exercises, including jumping jacks, squats and burpees (among other things). We had to do four sets of the circuit, 20 seconds per move with a 10 second rest in between. I was able to keep up, pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. Especially considering I have never done a burpee in my life.
After that, we left the gym for the stretch of pavement outside for the next series of moves. We had to do lateral skipping, sandbag carries, fire hose carries and just some plain running. When that was done, we worked with sledgehammers and had to do a pretty vile maneuver that involved dangling from a low horizontal bar and pulling upward. That didn’t work out so well for me, so I confess to cheating on the number I was supposed to do. But that was the only one where I wimped out!
At the end of an hour, we were finished and I was feeling pretty badass. Which I guess is how they get you to come back. I was really proud of myself for being able to hang with the rest of the class in terms of skills and abilities, and I was ok that I struggled with that one move because I confess to have absolutely zero upper body strength.
I was a little sore over the next couple of days, mostly in my shoulders and my core. It’s understandable. Those areas don’t get a lot of love.
My second class ended up being a lot harder. The warm up routine involved a lot of crunch-with-weights things that were nearly impossible with my midsection hurting. I was able to modify, telling myself that everyone has to start from somewhere. It was a little hard to swallow, especially considering how great I had felt about the first class, and I was pretty honest with the instructor when I said that if this has been my first time, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be back.
But I was invested, and kept pushing. We had to run (easy) and throw tires (interesting), as well as do rounds of flutter kicks and bent over dumbbell lifts. Ugh. However, the last series of workout involves some pretty comfortable work with kettle bells and I ended up feeling pretty good about all of it.
What I loved:
- Even though this is a class, everyone works at their own pace. There is no pressure to do anything that someone isn’t ready for or strong enough for.
- At the same time, everyone seems really invested in each other’s success. The vibe is supportive and encouraging.
- The instructor is happy to demonstrate exercises and offer modifications as needed.
- Each class is different with varying sequences of activities. This keeps things fresh and interesting and keeps the body from adapting to any one kind of routine.
What I didn’t love:
- Anything involving triceps, shoulders and abs. Which accounts for my present condition.
- Outside work is rain or shine, dry or wet. I didn’t love getting dirty from draping a sandbag across my shoulders, nor did I love avoiding the splatter from rainwater retained in some of the tires. Ew.
Where I go from here:
I think this is a sustainable activity. There are several options that work with my schedule and I think I can personally commit to attending twice a week, while still running three to four days. I have areas that need a lot of work, so I will be able to address those. I am also excited about the concept of toning a little.
The added strength and power can only help me with my speed and my form, so I am excited to see what kind of results emerge from this.
On another note, I have been toying with the idea of participating in a Spartan Sprint, and was really flummoxed with the idea of how to train. I now have my answer. Boot camp will be a great way to prepare for some of the challenges, and round out my fitness so that I can conquer some of the skills that rely on upper body power.
I’m excited to see what’s in store at the next class!
Have you ever gone to boot camp?
Have you ever avoided a situation because of a preconceived notion and then found out you were completely wrong?