Week 3


First things first:
Goose shit does not come out in the wash.
2.'Shout' stain remover does not work
3.The irony is that my favorite t-shirts have goose shit stains. My crappy shits are spotlessly clean.

The minute we started class, I knew something was up. Charla was grimacing. PMS perhaps? Or maybe she's just realized that we're a goofball class and she's had enough. The morning started with us all getting yelled at for not hoo-yahing loud enough. Then a few people wandered in late, being reprimanded with two push ups for every minute they're late. I wisely zipped my lips and didn't yell out the normal obscenities. However Charla did join Abby and I on the flexed arm hang. As the two of us were desperately trying to hang on , she popped up there like a jack-rabbit and started chatting away like we were sharing tea and crumpets. When Abby dropped away (I saw her elbows shaking and she had that constipated look again), Charla remarked: "Was it something I said?". I foolishly replied: "Perhaps it's your smell." Oh God, oh God, why did I say that?!!? I'm a dead woman, I'm a dead woman..... aaaaaaggggghhhhh! This woman has a memory like an elephant. She'll store that little nugget away and will pull it out at the most inopportune moment and slam me. Shit!

Over the past two weeks Abby and I thought we had worked out the pattern with the classes. Generally, it's one day upper body, then one day running and lower body, and so on and so forth. Also, if she's wearing combat boots, you can bet we're not running. However, our theory went out the window today. The two of us were ready for a cruising workout, assuming we'd have a similar Monday morning to those previous. Some cushy calisthenics, a few hundred sits ups, a couple of minutes rolling around in the goose shit, then off to the showers.

But she dropped a bombshell. First, she faked us out with the combat boots. I was sure running was tomorrow, not today, but before I knew it, I was lined up on the road next to Abby doing sprints. That was just moments after she demonstrated how we should run... and let me tell you, this woman was SMOKING! She shot past like lightening, with her arms whizzing up and down like Edward Bloody Scissorhands. So much for my plans to casually jog for a mile and a half. However, as hard as the sprints were, I've decided I much prefer them to the longer runs. You just go balls to the wall for 30-60 seconds, then you take a rest. I like that. Much more my style. All or nothing. However, the minute I stopped, I could feel a burning sensation in my thighs. I suspect it's because I haven't run that fast since I chased after David Miller to kiss him in elementary school.

Then, she really shocked us when she announced that on Friday we are having a mid-way test to see how far we've progressed. I get an odd sick feeling in my stomach, knowing I can do less full sit ups than I could when I started. As it is, I'm classed as "below average" for sit-ups so I know how bad Friday is going to be. Quite frankly, the whole test is giving me the heebie-jeebies. My push-ups suck (my technique is something between a head-bob and a spastic elbow jerk) and I can barely run without thinking I'm going to have a stroke on the spot. Ahhh, Friday should be so wonderful.

The final surprise was after the sprints. I was all ready for some nice stretching to warm down when she yells: "Give me 50 legs-up crunches. Yell 'Hoo-yah' when you've finished." Ah, Jesus. We start pumping away and as people finish, they yell out 'hoo-yah!' then collapse. It's like a goddamn game of Crunch Bingo. Ridiculous.

-Bench pushups are out the window. All pushups are now "on the deck" - that means on the cement for you civilians.
-Exercises are twice as fast as they were before.
-I get scared when she yells.
-Tomorrow I am going to DIE with pain. I can feel the burn already.
-I've decided to make up my own cadences for the run. I will surprise her and burst into song when she least expects it. Perhaps I'll wait until the last week before I pull that stunt. Certainly not this week.
-The legend of Charla has extended throughout the office. She is known here as "Charla the Crusher" and "Sergeant Slaughter". Not sure which one I like the best.
-Charla has warned us that tomorrow is a hard work out day, then the following two are "rest". I'd be very interested in seeing what her version of "rest" is. My interpretation of rest is sitting on the sofa cradling a tub of Cool Whip, watching a good movie.

I am not sure what ungodly power possessed me to do this course. What was I thinking? The well-known side straddle hops and torso twists have gone. Welcome to the real Boot Camp. We start the morning with a nutrition report. What the hell? This is suppose to be at the end of the class. Charla is clearly messing with our minds, changing the routine so we don't get too comfortable. No more arsing around, gone are the smirks, say hello to bellowing, screaming and pain. Those who are late to class are punished with pushups. Today, we all suffered together as the stragglers rolled into class

I have been overlooked for a nutrition report for the past four days with Carla focusing on the recalcitrants in the group. The minute she picked one of the lads, I knew it was going to be bad. Before confessing what he ate, I yell out: "I swear to God, if this is bad, I'm coming over there and I'm going to hit you so hard." Perhaps he didn't hear me, but he launched straight into his litany of fried food, soda and candy bars. WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING? At least you could lie, you dumbo. I thought Charla was going to have a seizure on the spot. Then she went off like Mt Vesuvius. "Get down and do pushups until I tell you to stop!" Holy crap. I'm trying to do pushups (on cement) as fast as I can, but my knees are knocking together in fright and I'm still doing those spastic jerks with my elbows. Quite frankly, I'm done with this "team" business. I will go ape-shit the next time someone is late or if they eat crap food. Enough is enough.

Next thing I know, we're on the path ready to take off on a run. I hate running at the best of times, but today was like jogging through a sauna. The distance was upped to two miles and I was doing OK until about three quarters of the way back and my stomach started churning. Before I knew it, I was convinced I was about to ride the hurl-o-wheel. I kept running for a bit longer but the feeling was overwhelming. I stopped and headed for the bridge where I could blow lunch in privacy. Alas, Charla was right next to me.

Barclay, have you lost something?
Sharon: Nope, but I might yak.
Charla: OK, but make sure you're down-wind and you don't hit anybody. Now keep running.

I have run two miles before. In fact, I seem to remember just last year doing a triathlon, but today two miles felt like 10. The moment we got back from the run, we were straight on to full situps. I'm not sure how this has happened but I can now do less situps than when I started. Another mystery. Friday's test is looming. Abby and I are verging on hysterical.

For the record, I did not hurl, but wish I had. Moral of the story: do not have three big glasses of water before going out for a run on a hot day, unless you want to see the contents of your stomach.

Abby and I are wrecks. She is spilling her drinking water all over the place, too weak to hold the glass. I have rescheduled all my meetings to take place in my office so I am can reduce the amount of walking I'll have to do.

Ironically, Carla gave us our FitBoot t-shirts today. The slogan is: We do in 60 minutes, what most people don't do in a day. How true.

I have come to the conclusion that our classes seem to swing somewhere between ball-breaking exertion and a three ring circus. That's because our class is full of a bunch of uncoordinated dingbats. I include myself in that category. Charla was true to her promise. Today was an "easy" day, letting us rest before our mid-term exam on Friday. Instead of busting our guts at the flexed arm hangs, we had to work on our technique and only hang for a couple of seconds. Brilliant! Abby almost jumped with joy at the news. But immediately after that, the bumbling started. First off, Abby unpredictably spun around on the spot while we were doing jumping jacks and faced the rest of the class. Confused, I started to turn too, but realized everyone else had started the exercise. So I just start to jump but it's too late. I'm totally out of sync with the rest of the class but because I'm in front, people behind me start to follow. I have arms and legs going at all angles, almost taking out the guy standing next to me. Abby is also out of sync so we start to giggle. Then I can't stop. Before I know it, Charla is next to us trying to work out what's going on, making some sly comment about us being in kindergarten.

Next is something I never expected. She brings out to footballs. Let me clarify: AMERICAN footballs. I have never even held one of these thing, let alone thrown one. So we spend the next 15 minutes or so in a circle, throwing these things around. At my first attempt, the ball flips end over end. Charla gives me some gentle advice: aim high, finesse the ball, release from your fingers last. So I try again and before I know it, the thing is shooting towards some poor soul like a rocket, heading straight for her noggin. I can see people screaming and the woman has this horrified look on her face. At the last second she ducks and it whizzes millimeters above her head. I hear someone say "Holy shit!". Abby is standing next to her and falls about laughing. Charla says: "Barclay, now that we've got the technique, you might want to dial it back a bit." Ah, right. Taking out a team mate I guess was not the objective.

With no injuries apart from a near miss from the practice throws, we're onto a real game. Charla splits us into two teams and gives out the instructions which may as well have been in Turkish for all I could understand. Something about downs or downers; a reference to snapping or snatches, and some other vague notion about tackling below the waist with both hands. What's that? Attacking below the waist? I'm totally in for that and immediately count the males on the opposing team. My hands shoot up into the air in a victory wave: "Yeesss! Tackling below the waist!! Watch out guys!" On hearing that comment, Charla rushes over to the other team: "If any of you men need security, just let me know."

On to the game. I'm a bit confused by the strategy. Something about going deep but I don't really know what they're talking about. So our team captain tells me to cover a player on the opposite team. As soon as we start, I rush towards her and grab her in a bear hug, trapping her arms by her side. My theory is that at least this way, she can't catch the ball if it's thrown to her. In fact, I don't know what happens to the ball at this point, but this part of the game seems to be over (we've played for a whole three seconds). Charla does enquire, however, what I am doing and whether or not I've finished "dancing" with the other woman.

Next play, the same thing happens. I'm getting quite bored of this, so I ask our captain for another person to cover. Excellent, he picks one of the guys. However, this guy is 6' 1" and is the only guy in the unit who's managed to do more than 8 pull-ups. He also runs 7 minute miles. Undaunted, I use the same technique - the rush and grab. While the chap doesn't get the ball, he seems a little stunned at what I've done. Never mind, the play has stopped again, once more after about seven seconds of running around like the Keystone Cops.

This time it's our turn to start with the ball. I think it's very civilized the way the teams each take turns at running with the ball. I'm still waiting for the part when you actually kick the ball, but perhaps that's in next week's lesson. The play starts and as I understand it, I'm supposed to wildly run forward and scream for the thrower to chuck the ball to me. So I do exactly that. I'm standing in the middle of nowhere, waving my arms around madly, trying to get the thrower's attention. No-one from the other team is standing near me. I scream out, "Chuck it over here, you IDIOT!" I really don't think calling him an idiot did a lot to foster team work, because he never bothered trying to get the ball near me again.

On to the final play. The ball seems to be back with the other team but I'm not quite sure how that happened. I don't want to be match against the big guy again so just as we're about to start I scream: "Wait, wait, wait. I want to swap people!". I realize afterwards that perhaps who you're covering is supposed to be a secret from the other team. Charla sighs with exasperation. "Barclay, your life is one big Monty Python episode, isn't it." Well frankly, yes. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Now we're all back in line. I have the person that I'm attacking in my sights. Charla shouts "Go" and the play starts. Unfortunately, the person I'm covering (who also happens to be the poor victim of my torpedo football throw) receives the ball immediately from the side. I charge at her like a bull in a china shop, heading straight for the lower extremities. I pull her shirt and grab her shorts until I have both hands firmly on her body. But I have too much momentum and I take her down with the ball still in her hand. The team erupts and Charla looks to the heavens for inspiration. "Barclay, it's supposed to be a touch tackle, not a street mugging!" My response: "But did we win?"

I am as sore as hell today, probably from the sprints on Monday and the near vomiting running experience from yesterday. Supposedly another "easy" day tomorrow, before the big test on Friday.

A mild day at Boot Camp today, with nothing more than a walk. But let me clarify what I mean by a walk. We're talking a Charla the Crusher style walk, which is about equivalent to my top speed jog. We are supposedly still on a rest day, getting ready for our big test tomorrow. Abby and I may have totally screwed ourselves because we ran a mile before class both yesterday and today. We may be doing more damage than good.

More importantly, today was our half-way point weight and body fat test to see how we're faring. Perhaps all this exercise and eating rabbit food is paying off. I have lost six pounds and dropped my body fat by over one percent. Finally, a positive response from Charla when she read the machine: "Nice drop, Barclay."

That's it for today. Now I can just worry about tomorrow's test. Charla's advice on departing was, "Eat well, drink lots and get plenty of rest tonight." A bit of a challenge for me as I'm off to a baseball game tonight which means a late night, beer and fries. But I intend to be a real loser and take along carrots, fruit and granola bars to the game.

Flexed Arm Hang: 56 seconds. If only I had known I was so close to a minute, perhaps I could have hung on longer. Perhaps not. Toward the end my elbows were spazzing out and I had a weird twitch kicking in. However, I hung on for 46 seconds longer than I expected.

Sit-ups: An absolutely pathetic 46 in two minutes. I was extremely confident for the first 30 sit-ups that I completed in a minute. But I could hear the counting going on behind me. Somebody at that point was up to 50. Bloody hell, she must have had her Wheaties for breakfast. At the one minute mark, I totally conked out. It took me a full minute to squeeze out those last 16. In this exercise, Abby and I were the worst performers in the class. This is a complete mystery to me. We do the same exercises as everyone else but neither of us have made any improvement whatsoever from our initial assessment three weeks ago. It simply does not compute. I will corner Charla about this on Monday.

Pushups: We didn't have to do any for the
mid-term test but we will be testing on
this at the end. A shame, because I'm sure I'd do OK on this now.

Run: If the sit-ups weren't bad enough, the run was a total farce. It doesn't help that I dread this more than any exercise we do. Frankly, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than puff along on the roadway. Here's the scoop. I ran 1.5 miles in 13:46 (9 minutes, 10 seconds per mile). That's EXACTLY what I did in the assessment three weeks ago. Let me reiterate: EXACTLY the same time before I started doing these nutty exercises, singing those bloody songs, jumping up and down like a moron and getting up at a sparrow's fart each morning. Absolutely no improvement whatsoever. Not even a second. Not one measly, pathetic second. I should have stayed in bed, eaten Cool Whip and saved my money. Abby's advice before the run was "keep someone that runs a little faster than you in your sight." Unfortunately, all those ahead of me were off like a bride's nightie. At best I could see the dust they left behind. What's worse is that as I rounded the corner to head home, I could see those behind me - they were the Special Olympics brigade from our class. They're a group of try-hards that are injured, incapacitated or just plain hopeless that lag toward the end of the class. I was only steps ahead of them and at one point, they started to gain ground! That was truly a depressing moment indeed. I came very close to saying F-it and walking home. When you're only a few feet ahead from the autistic group, it's time to re-evaluate what you're doing. The net-net is that I only just made it under the allotted time. Right now, the three mile run at a pace of 8:22 seems as probably as winning the lottery.

I am utterly depressed at my performance.

The Conclusion:
As the panting group gathered Charla sneered over her glasses. "You've made some progress but we've a long way to go. The games are over, no more kidding around, we've got a LOT of work to do. Back her bright and early on Monday."