A few years ago I heard about a boot camp that I reeeeally wanted to take…but I was afraid to register. It had been almost a year since I’d really worked out, BUT when I had been working out I was in the best shape of my life. I wanted to get to that place again and didn’t feel like I was THAT far from it.
When I finally got the courage to register, on the friday night before the first monday…..after thinking about it for a good month…the registration was full. I couldn’t believe it….I was so sad…mad….well and part of me was sort of glad….
but…I had saved the money and told marq I was gonna do it and told a few friends I was gonna do it so I was not about to give up. I called the mean old trainer on the phone with every intention to talk him into letting me come anyway, and, when he answered…I hung up.
He called me back.
He said..”hey, I just missed a call from you….”
I said…”yeh, I was going to try to talk you into letting me come to boot camp even though it’s full….but then I thought that would be tacky and mean to put you on the spot like that…soooo…”
and he said..”yeh, it’s full…”
and some words came out of my mouth that I will forever remember because of the sheer and utter humiliation that they caused me in the next 4 weeks…
“You know, I am in SUPER good shape. I used to work out constantly and was getting ready to compete in figure competitions, I am strong and I have a ton of endurance and I won’t be any trouble at all. How about you just let me come….you won’t even know that I am there…I will really keep up with the pack”
He questioned me about a few things, which I answered in a way that I thought was totally honest….like, how I for sure could run a mile, how my body was totally conditioned, etc…….and, he told me to show up Monday and I could come with the other 40 women who were starting.
I was pretty darned excited…I went and got my yoga mat and my hand weights and my water bottle…pulled out my workout clothes that had not seen the light of day in more than a year………..and….I chilled…this is going to be no problem, I thought.
Monday came….Marq had set the alarm….I got up at 4:30am and packed all of my stuff and made it there without much of a problem…..it was pitch dark and there were stars filling the sky…the women who were boot camp regulars all had their spaces picked out and set up in the parking lot. I chose a place at the very back and went to sign in.
I said…”I am melody, the one you snuck in….”
He said…”great, glad to have you here, I think you will really enjoy it”
I smiled confidently and went back to my mat and pulled my weights out of my backpack. I surveyed the group, every kind of woman and every age….I thought that was so cool. All different weights, ages, fitness levels. I told myself that I was gonna really encourage the girls who were at the back of the line….trying to keep up….
The rest of that first day is a blur and the things I can remember are the lady behind me saying “are you ok?” when I thought I was passing out, and the mean old trainer coming over and saying…”maybe you need to lay down for a minute…drink some water…take it slow” I remember doing everything I could to hold back the puke that was in the back of my throat, waiting to hurl up and make fun of me for thinking I was in such great shape.
and…I remember the first mile run we did….and how everyone passed me….
how I WAS THE ONE at the end of the line……maybe not the VERY END…but I was really, really close. How I was grabbing my side in pain and trying to ignore the voice in my brain saying “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING LADY!!!???? STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” THAT was just a ONE MILE RUN…..ONE MILE.
I was humiliated…..I am so glad it was dark and no one could see my quivering lip and how hard I was trying not to cry. When it was over, I packed up all of my stuff and got in my old, scratched up minivan parked next to everyone else’s shiny new cars….and drove home, crying.
Tuesday was about the same, and Wednesday….and, uh…Thursday, but by Friday, I was no longer holding back tears or puke…and I was actually somewhat excited to go. I was still, however, really close to the back of the line when we were running….
We did our TIMED mile that day and I told myself I would run the entire time…..(a far cry from running 5 miles, but seriously, I had realized by that time that I was completely OUT of shape, old, and a total mess…)
We had to run 4 laps. I decided to talk to my body the whole time and ask it if we could really do this…sounds wierd, but it totally worked….my body said back…..take it slow…..slow and steady. I started out at a really slow-ish jog, and I got passed by one fast lady, and another and another and another…and a really tall lady was even walking faster than I was jogging……but….
If you fall down 7 times, get up 8 times.
- Chinese Proverb
I did it…I never stopped jogging to start walking. I got passed again and again and again….and by the 3rd lap, lots of the ladies lost their steam and were walking….and I even passed a few of them. At some point…I just stopped caring who was where and in what place. I just wanted to finish. It’s embarrassing to talk about this like it was a 26 mile marathon…but for me…it really was.
I finished a time of 11:48
there were 5 people behind me…..there were 35 people in front of me.
I went back to camp the next monday…and every day after. I got a little stronger every day and I built up a lot of endurance. I had days when I had mean thoughts in my mind when people would pass me on the track…”SHOW-OFF….” I had days when I didn’t want to go. I had days when I was embarrassed and depressed and felt like a total “has-been”
…but, I showed up. I told Marq one day in the middle of it that I had done a timed mile…he said…”what was your time?” I said…”guess…” he said…”Eight minutes?”……I laughed a sort of really said laugh and said…”Guess again..” …”Nine minutes?” he said….I said…”nevermind…I will tell you how much I improved when I am all done…..”
I still had days when I would go home in tears….one day was particularly LIFE-CHANGING for me…honestly. And, it made the whole camp worthwhile…..I was going home…..only 6:45 am…still dark, still cold. I was feeling like this whole thing was stupid and a complete commentary on how my life had worked out the last few years….a thought popped into my mind….
“IF I DIED TODAY….WOULD I BE A TOTAL FAILURE? WHAT WOULD I BE KNOWN FOR???“
….I mean, so many things haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to….and here I was…in this old minivan running a 12 minute mile…how did I get here?? and, I thought…hmmmm…I WOULD BE KNOWN AS THE GIRL WHO KEEPS FALLING DOWN……KEEPS MESSING UP…KEEPS MAKING A FOOL OF HERSELF.as you can see, I have days like everyone else where I totally feel sorry for myself…..blehk.
THEN I THOUGHT….NO, I WOULDN’T….
If I died today, I would be known as the girl who keeps falling down, and then keeps getting back up.
It changed everything for me…it made me proud and nothing else that anyone did, or how well they did it….none of it mattered………….my goal became one to just KEEP SHOWING UP….to finish…..and…
ON FRIDAY, when we had our LAST DAY…..I was THERE for my final timed mile…….and I looked around, and I counted…and SEVENTEEN PEOPLE SHOWED UP…out of 40….I knew people kept dropping out…but I had no idea how many.
…and it was under 30 degrees and it had snowed….it was dark and cold and I was still half asleep. But I was there…..with the other roughly 1/3 of the women who actually held out to the end.
….and I did my timed mile…and I finished at 10:20.
I was one of the last 5 to finish…which is still hilarious and humiliating…but it is so much better than where I started…and who can complain about that…..and the first one to finish (the lady whose license plate on her sweet new car says HAF2RUN, when she flew by me on her 2nd lap, looked over to me and said “GOOD JOB”….and it really kept me going…)
SOOO…….my moral of the story is…..BE BRAVE and KEEP GOING……every day….in some part of your life…do something, make something better…keep going, show up…don’t quit…don’t compare….be gentle with yourself……….just keep being brave.