I am extremely happy to report that I finished a month-long boot camp this morning. My last exercise was carrying a 20 pound bag of sand while I ran and then pulling a truck tire from one end of the field and back. As I briefly recuperated afterward, several congratulated me on finishing the month. Everyone knew it had been hard for me. I was the sound effects for the group. "Uuuugghhh," was my common anguished cry.
This morning my mates told me they couldn't believe I came back for the second day. "I knew on that first day I'd never see you again," one said. Well I surprised them and never missed a day. They said I had grit.
There is more than the finishing boot camp thing that I'm proud of. It's big to me that I never missed a day. Every morning was a spiritual exercise to make myself go. Early in dragon boat season, I had an epiphany about how it was ingrained in me to quit hard things. I have a history of quitting things if I was no good, it was too hard, I was too embarrassed to be bad at it, it was too inconvenient, . . . When I had that realization early in the dragon boat season (you may recall how hard I thought it was), I knew it was a spiritual problem and I committed to finish the season if it killed me. Thankfully I learned to love it.
The same thing happened with boot camp. It was brutal, but I knew I'd be an internally stronger and better person if I finished. I committed to not miss a day and I didn't.
I learned that no matter how I hate the front end of it, (getting up at 4:55 a.m. isn't my cup of tea), or how I think "I can't take another step" during the middle of it, I always felt happy that I'd done it afterward. I was always thankful that I got out of bed and that I kept going even when I thought I literally couldn't do one more step.
I learned that striving toward getting fit is a boost in and of itself. I can't tell I look one iota different than I did when I started, but I feel better about myself. I lost a whopping 2.5 pounds. Having lost 2.5 pounds doesn't sound grand, but I'm a better person, a more disciplined person, a more fit person from the inside out, and I'm not talking just physically.
I learned that sticking with something that is hard and that you'd rather not stick to has far reaching effects. Gordon and I were asked to do a skit at church. Let me assure you that I am no drama queen. I have a history of freezing up in front of people. I have always been content to leave theatrics to my sister, Stacie. I wished I could "act" but knew I never would.
When I was asked to be the bag lady in a skit, the first shock was that I said OK. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd willingly participate in a skit, and my part was a significant one. I said yes, and as soon as I gave it some thought, I knew that the willingness to try was directly related to dragon boating and boot camp. From both dragon boating and boot camp I had learned and was continuing to learn that the experience is worth something even if I'm a total wash up at it.
The day we did our skit, I wasn't too terribly nervous. You have to know me to know how big that is. Once I got going, I wasn't nervous at all. I was able to tap into acting skills I didn't know I had. Quite simply, I was a great bag lady. Everyone thought I was a born actress (or a born bag lady). They had no idea how far out of my comfort zone I was. I can't explain it, but I know it's related to both dragon boating and boot camp.
Another lesson from boot camp; I learned that I actually like the active life. I like physical activity. I was humiliated quite terribly in sports as a youth and have lived all my life knowing I couldn't do a blasted thing in the sports and physical fitness areas. Well, it was all a lie and I learned it at 42 years of age. I am not the best, but I can do it and have fun.
I've enrolled in another boot camp. I'm dreading it. It starts Monday and it's a repeat of what I've just completed.
I've learned a lot this month. It was long, terrible, hard and I'm glad it was long, terrible, and hard and that I can say "I did it!".