Week 5


And then there were six. Our class has seriously dwindled - for the past two weeks, we've dropped from 14 people to between six and eight. We had two recruits surface from the MIA list this morning. I assumed they had been away on lengthy tropical vacations, but both admitted that sleeping in and "logistics issues" had gotten the best of them. Charla asked if they might be able to make more consistent appearances until the end of class. They both just nodded, while looking down at their shoelaces.

Today we did our usual warm-up exercises and then hit the road. Charla had us form two single-file lines on the running path. The person next to us was our "running partner". We could run together or separately - the only rule was that the person who finished first had to run back to pick-up their wounded partner. As I glanced to my right, I knew that I was the soon-to-be "wounded" as I was paired with a four-time Boston marathoner. This is the same woman that I just try to keep in my line of sight during our timed runs. If I can keep her within a football fields distance, I feel like a champion. And here she was next to me, ready to jump out of the starting gate with blinding speed.

And we're off. I'm feeling OK during the first half mile. I was running much faster than I would ever do on my own, but I was psyched that my "partner" was still by my side. Oh, I should mention that Charla is leading the pack and she not exactly at a moderate pace. As we approach the turnaround point, there is about a 30 yard gap between my partner, Charla and me. I just couldn't hang with the big dogs. It was probably a pathetic site - me trailing behind with legs like lead, while the leaders sprint off into the distance. I wanted to yell - "Wait for me", but they were already out of earshot.

Charla finished in 22:30 with my partner not far behind. Thank goodness (for my ego) that my partner only had a short trip back to pick me up. And with Charla yelling from behind the tree - "Pick it up Dougherty, stretch those legs." She didn't share my final time with me - probably because she was focused on my off-balanced, queasy looking walk after I finished and thought she might have to conduct CPR.

Only seven more days until our final test. Tomorrow it's back to the pull-up bar. If I could just manage to do one I'd be happy. Stay tuned...

They came out the woodwork today. We had almost a full class - only two recruits missing. I found out there are some perks to missing FitBoot for over a week - your body actually has a chance to recover. Those reappearing today said they are no longer sore, but they did confess to only doing 1-2 days of Charla's homework. We'll see if they're able to get out of bed tomorrow.

Since Sharon wasn't in class today (she's in Houston for business), Charla shifted her attention to me. I made two quick errors during warm-ups - stopping the exercises before the reps were up (I'm still stuck on 10 count). Charla chirped - "Dougherty, get your head out of the clouds." I must confess, I was daydreaming about what to wear to work today. It's sunny, yet there's a stiff breeze; It feels like fall, but yet it's still August - a real challenge for my end-of-season wardrobe.

We were back on full pull-ups today. But we each had a "spotter" to give us a boost when we felt we couldn't continue. My spotter got more than she bargained for as she needed to start pushing right away. I grabbed the bar and my spotter said "Go". Then there was a pause and I said "Go" right back to her, since I'm still not able to lift my body more than a few inches. Maybe a miracle will occur during the last seven days of class.

Next we were in the grass in one long line. Today's challenge - suicide drills. Ahhh - takes me back to high school basketball. We started out by sprinting to one tree, touching the ground and then sprinting back. The next command was "Two" - run to the first tree, come back, run the second tree, sprint back. And then a "Three." I'm sure you get the picture. I'm wondering if Charla majored in psychology as she's really figured out how to motivate the individuals in our class. After I finished the first sprint, she said to the guy next to me - "You're not going to let Dougherty beat you, are you?" Sure enough, for the next sprint the guy passed me at the end. Charla then got in my face - "Dougherty - don't let him beat you again." She totally played the "don't disappoint me card", which gets me every time. During my days of high school sports, I was always more worried about letting down my coaches, than myself. So suddenly I'm on a brown field of grass running my hardest for an ex-marine I just met a month ago. The guy ended up beating me again and Charla said with a laugh - 'What, did you run out gas Dougherty?" Yea - you could say that.

We finished with nutrition reports which resulted in more push-ups. One woman admitted she only ate two apples from 6:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. and played three hours of tennis. Charla used her famous line - "How am I supposed to build a machine if you don't provide the fuel?" She then called on me for a report on yesterday's feedings. I confessed my lunch of tuna fish salad in a pita. Charla said - "And exactly how much mayonnaise was in the tuna? Can I assume that it was swimming in mayo?" I responded with - "Ummm, yea." Charla said - "Fish are only meant to swim in water, not mayo. Let them be in their natural state from now on." Result - ten more push-ups.

Until tomorrow...

When the alarm went off this morning I thought - thank goodness I don't have to get up and do this tomorrow. The 5:45 wake-up call is starting to wear on me a bit. The good news is that the weather has been awesome - high 60s and sunny in the morning. Amazingly we haven't yet had a class in the rain. Of course now that I've written this, we'll probably suffer through thunderstorms during our last week.

Today we started with the killer sit-up drills - 2:00, 1:30, 1:00 and 30-seconds sets of full sit-ups. Finally, I can declare some progress. You may remember the results of my mid-way test - only 41 sit-ups in two minutes. Well, today I managed to do 70. It's about time that I see some benefits from five solid weeks of working out with a marine. Unfortunately, the pull-ups still got the best of me (Sharon had to boost me up as soon as I grabbed the metal).

Then the hooligans were off to the football field. What a comedy show. Sharon & I were on the same team, along with three other recruits. One of our teammates was the poor woman whom Sharon attacked during our last game, so her reaction was - "I'm so glad I'm playing WITH you this time, not AGAINST you." We won the ball toss and quickly huddled to discuss strategy. Our strategy was really no strategy. Our first play was a bust, so from then on we always used the same tactic - run deep. Sadly, this never paid off, but yet we continued to repeat this play again, and again, and again. At one point I was wide open and our quarterback yelled - "No, I said go deep." Whatever! Bottom line - we lost. And we looked really uncoordinated and goofy in the process. But hey - I'll take football over suicide drills any day.

One more week to go!

I came to the realization today that I could NEVER survive the real boot camp - not even for a morning. After 45 minutes today I was whining about the scrapes and cuts on my knees and elbows, feeling a bit like I did after bad Big Wheels crash back in 1981. I knew today would be tough when I was winded after the warm-up exercises. I asked a recruit for the time - "7:10." A long 35 minutes to go.

Next we rendezvoused at the pull-bar - my enemy for the past two weeks. I had visions last night of finally being able to drag my body over the bar while the other recruits applauded over my success. But today was a lost cause as I approached the bar and my arms were still shaking from the push-ups we did moments ago. Well, maybe I'll get lucky I thought. I hopped up on the bar and started to decline. As I reached the half-way point I started to pull myself back up and then I heard a voice from below - "All the way down Dougherty. You arms are longer than that." Busted! So I let my body hang all the way down and surprise, surprise, I just stayed there. You'd think Charla would let me cheat just a bit since it's obvious that I won't be able to do even one full pull-up before the class is over. No such luck. For the next set, she made me start on the high bar to "give me plenty of room to let my body come back to the starting position." Once again I just dangled in thin air while Sharon tried to shove me back up to the top. My dignity is floating on thin ice.

Then my nightmare started. Charla had created a line of ropes suspended by stakes, about a foot off of the ground. We were tasked with crawling on our stomachs through this madness. Mind you, when Charla demonstrated this, she gracefully maneuvered her way through the course in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile our group was slithering along in the grass with our legs shooting out backwards in unflattering poses, our shorts riding up in the back and our knees and elbows quickly being stripped of skin. The next task - get through the same course but on our backs. Just picture the unflattering poses in the first exercise and multiply it by two. Charla reminds us that in real boot camp the rope would be replaced with barbed wire. So our goal is not to let any part of our bodies make contact with the rope. Ha! At one point my knee slams against the rope and the back of my head starts to pull the line down, Charla says - "Dougherty, you just lost your leg back there. Ohh, there went your head."

Then, as if this exercise isn't challenging enough Charla throws sprinting and a football into the mix. We start about 200 feet from the course in two teams and sprint for five seconds and then drop to our stomachs on the ground. Our team's sprints are staggered and we wait down on the ground for our captain to call out orders for us to run. Once our team has reached the ropes, we go single-file through the course where a football is waiting at the end. The team that reaches the football first then has to grab the ball, pass it to the next teammate and then run through the rope course. Then the next person passes the ball back and runs through the course and so forth until your team has made it to the end of the course. As you can imagine, this was challenging for our class. Our team came out victorious, which saved us from a final round of push-ups.

Tonight will be spent mending my injuries. Only three days to go until the big test.