Recruit Dougherty, a Midwesterner at heart, was born and raised in Newark, OH. Abby reached her physical prowess at an early age when she sprouted to her full height in junior high school. As a result, her childhood memories are tainted from always having to stand in the back row during class pictures. Her intensive training was conducted at Denison University where she gained incredible upper arm strength from competitive games of quarters and late night pizza runs. Abby's current mission is to provide world-class public relations counsel with a smile, while securing enough time during the week for trips to nearby beaches, dinner with friends and reruns of E! True Hollywood Story.

Log Entry Date: 07-02-2002

As Sharon & I approached the tarmac (code word for large cement area with pull-up bars, incline benches and oddly wooden shaped objects), I had a rather sick feeling in my stomach. Decked out in camouflage shorts and a FitBoot t-shirt, I spotted our instructor, former Marine Corps Captain Charla McMillian (I'll call her Serg from now on). Even behind the aviator glasses, it was easy to tell that Charla meant business. Although just 5"5, I got the eerie sense that she could toss my long body onto the ground like a flimsy piece of rope.

The first part of the "assessment" were our vital measurements - translation, data that I usually only like my Dr. to know. We each had to report our age and height and then she whipped out a scale and a device to measure our body fat. And then, the fun began. We were tested on flexibility, sit-ups, push-ups and a one mile run.

Resting Pulse: 100
Sit-ups: 30
Push-ups: 6
Mile Run: 7:42

Personal thoughts:

-If I haven't totally adjusted to marrying into the "Dougherty" name, that will soon change. FitBoot doesn't like to personalize - gone are my nicknames of "Abster", "Big A" and "AbFab". For the next six weeks, I will be known solely as "Dougherty".

-After I reported my resting pulse rate that was off the charts, Serg peered over her glasses - "Are you nervous Dougherty?" Sharon, like a loyal recruit would, tried to whisper an appropriate response in my ear. But "Ummmm.......yea", is all that I could say.

-Had I been in gym class today I would have received an F on the flexibility test. Serg had to readjust her measuring stick - in shock that I couldn't even touch my toes. I like to think that it's my long legs that make this task so hard.

-I can't remember the last time that I did a push up without my knees comfortably settled on the ground. Those days are over! "Girl sit-ups" aren't an option with the marines.

-Before the sit-up test, I scanned the area for a stack of light blue padded exercise mats. No such luck. Push-ups "marine style" are apparently done on the cement, with someone holding your feet and actually require you to sit all the way up (imagine that). Gone are the days of the crunches I'd worked so hard to master in aerobics class. *Note: Stomach muscles were clearly overextended as I can feel them now as I type.

-My main focus now is pulling together five workout outfits for next week's program.

Sharon & I made the mistake of arriving 30 minutes early, which meant we had way too much time to let the butterflies build up in our stomachs. We watched the advanced class do wind sprints for about 20 minutes, only pausing in between for pushups (both regular and with claps in between). It was a bit of relief to know that the others in our "assessment" last week could still feel dull pain in their abs too whenever they belted out a hearty laugh or a sneeze.

The captain's uniform was altered a bit - the shorts were replaced with full length fatigues and the running shoes were now black combat boots. She started the session with a motivational speech - "You will give me 100% every day. 100% is what I expect, anything less, I will not accept." And then the reps began: Push ups, crunches (four types), jumping jacks, flexed arm hang, dips, and some other exercise that gave me flashbacks of 7th grade gym class.

-Doing reps of crunches on the wet grass in between piles of duck droppings
-We had several water "breaks" with Charla yelling each time - "C'mon hustle up - move it, move it."
-At the end during our stretches, she said - "OK, now for nutrition. Smith, what did you have to eat yesterday?" The poor guy answered, "Cereal, and, ummm, airplane peanuts". She shook her head and said - "Starting today, you will eat small meals every 3-4 hours". Thank goodness I wasn't quizzed, as I would've had to admit that my diet yesterday consisted of an omelet, chicken sandwich, two beers, and chicken kabobs." I'm off to a better start today - yogurt for breakfast, with a pear lined up for my 11:00 "feeding".
-There's no "Nice work, or "Good job today people". The class simply ended with a serious - "Disappear"

Until tomorrow....

I knew what Charla had in store for us today when I saw running shoes on her feet instead of military boots. Today's motto was teamwork. We started with some flexibility exercises and squats and lunges. Then we hit the running path. We ran in a pack - in two lines while repeating cadences.





We ran one mile at a "leisurely" pace and had to follow Charla's two rules: 1) All stay together; 2) If you have to drop back, you must not stop running.

After the run, my stomach muscles were shocked when we retreated back to the wet grass for crunches. Like yesterday, we ended the class with a nutrition report and overview. Again, she stressed several small "feedings" throughout the day - no hub cap sized plates of pasta.

I'm a little on edge thinking about what tomorrow will bring. That's probably the most nerve-wracking part - The Fear of the Unknown.

Two words - situps and pushups. Over and over again. Just when I thought my abs couldn't handle much more, somehow they squeezed out more crunches. I better have Janet Jackson abs when this is all said and done.

-Those barely moving crunches that the aerobic instructors used to enforce, are no longer good enough. Charla was on me today about my form - "Get those shoulders off the ground."
-I've realized the exercise I've come to dread - The Flexed Arm Hang. Funny, since I seem to remember enjoying it while being tested for phys ed requirements in 5th grade. Although it was a tad easier back then since I was probably clocking in at less than 100 pounds.
-We had an extra 10 pushups at the end of class today because a female recruit admitted consuming 10 Swedish fish. She tried to use the excuse - "My officemates made me eat them", but that didn't fly.
-The daily "nutrition report" has put the fear of God in me - I'm really determined to follow her rules of six small, healthy feedings a day. Soon I'll probably have a swarm of knats around my cube, as my desk is littered with clementines, pears and bananas.
-I know Serg has many, many tricks up her sleeve. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Stayed tuned

for my next entry on Tuesday of next week. I'm off to Nantucket tomorrow with a homework assignment from Charla. I hope I can find a pull-up bar on the island.