Week 5


Our class has dwindled to six and everyone today looked tired. Some looked hung-over. Swedish Fish woman has been MIA for a good week now. The few of us remaining gathered in our usual stretching place before class. We all spied the Crusher wearing sneakers. How could that be? It's Monday which has never been a running day. I have that sinking feeling. Abby is not here to boost me up. Apparently, she's eaten a dodgy lobster roll and is at home talking to Bert and Ralph on the porcelain phone.

As we're stretching, someone suggested that, as captain of the team, I should mention to Charla that we'd like to take it easy today. Everybody agrees. Great. My first responsibility as team leader is to poke the crouching tiger with a great big stick. Many wouldn't, but I took the plunge as we lined up in rank.

Barclay: As team captain, I speak on behalf of the team who request that today's exercises consist of yoga and stretching.

Crusher: Really. (Pause) And would you like lattes with that?

Barclay: Yes please.

Crusher: Request denied. Drop and gimme 20.

Abby would have been pleased she missed today, as we did killer upper body work (I still can't get that third pull-up), followed by sprints from hell.

-While I am thrilled I have lost weight and dropped body fat percentage, my breasts seemed to have disappeared. Gone, vanished, shuffled off this mortal coil, no longer here, never to be found again. If you happen to discover them in your travels, please send them home. They are sorely missed.

-I still can not do push ups correctly. At one point, Charla was holding my hips because I'm apparently bending in the middle.

-No goose shit today. The grass cleaners must have been in over the weekend.

No entries for day 22 and 23 as I'll be in lovely, steamy Houston. Charla is emailing my "homework" later today. I suspect in there somewhere is a three mile run.

Both days 22 and 23 are spent in lovely Houston where I dutifully complete my homework which includes a three-mile run, 50 legs up crunches, 45 push ups and countless other tasks. The run is abysmal at 29:42. If I run any slower, I will stop.

I am exhausted from the travel, with only 15 hours of sleep over three days, so boot camp tomorrow is going to suck!

I have realized that for the first time since I started this course, I do not feel sore or achy. At the most, my muscles are a little tense, but nothing more. Finally, I'm starting to feel good, unlike the total train wreck I felt like last week. Perhaps I am over the wall.

Today was fairly uneventful. Charla was thrilled to see me back, as was Abby as she told me she was the target of Charla's attention in my absence. How naïve to think that Abby actually missed me… instead she was just sick of Charla being in her face all day. Abby - welcome to my world.

No surprises, Charla had me back at the head of the unit and did not fail to quiz me on whether or not I completed my homework. (Charla, you doubt me?) After being reintroduced to both side and back lunges which we hadn't done for a few weeks, we were back on the road for a three mile run. Her instructions "run to the Hatch shell and back at your own pace." For me, the Hatch shell seems like it is another state. I am sure it is further than three miles away. But I do the run, trying to keep a positive attitude, focusing solely on not letting the spaz-pack get within striking distance of me. I truly thought I had a good run. I was sure I was hauling arse along the Charles. In fact, I even tried out a few new running techniques which to a bystander must have looked like the Monty Python silly walks. As I crossed the finish line, my watch said 28:14. Despite my positive attitude and the feeling that I was winning an Olympic race, I barely scraped in at 9:25 minutes per mile. Let me reiterate this is SLOWER than my initial assessment. So I give up. I don't understand it and it doesn't compute. I am looking to higher powers for guidance. Psychic Network here I come.

While today was a fairly uneventful day, my beloved boss once again takes it upon himself to email Charla. I don't know why he doesn't leave the poor woman alone. She is sick to death of hearing from me and I'm sure is mortified at having to deal with such a motley crew that is known as our class. We are a bunch of mis-fits that can't even seem to count in synch, let alone perform any exercises. Half of the class sleeps in, eats pizza or turns up hung-over. And who gets to pay the price? Me.

Anyway, I am compelled to share these emails.

Firstly, from my boss to Charla:

Dear Ms. McMillan:

As you know I am a strong supporter of FitBoot. It has done wonders for a number of my staff. However, I continue to be concerned with your lack of progress with Recruit Barclay. As you will see from the note below, your program has not had the desired effect on Ms. Barclay and produced the mental and physical toughness that is a trademark of our program. When you read her message, you will see a complainer, a Private Benjamin if you will, rather than a recruit who has become tough as nails and able to withstand both mental and physical challenges. Maybe this is a special case, maybe it is a cultural problem with Ms. Barclay's Australian background, but pls Ms. McMillan, do your best.



And here is my original note to Dan which was sent from the runway of Houston airport. He sent this to Charla, attached to the email above.


I am in the back of the plane with the screaming children and people with offensive BO. I know I don't have the years of experience nor the right to be up front in first class like you, but this really sucks. These seats are as comfortable as bricks. The person next to me is a smoker. The one in front is so fat his chair is already jammed up against my knees.

I am done complaining as I know you are incredibly busy, much busier indeed than me and are probably on to writing your third press release by now.


Charla, not being one to let go, feels compelled to reply. And what is the result of all this? I end up having to do more push-ups. Her response:

Good Lord, Dan, you mean she even hunts you down in your first class sanctuary to complain from coach?!

I see the foundation for your complaint and your plea. However, I must say, the Recruit is beginning to show some promise on the training field. As the squad's new permanent Guide, she sounds off, follows orders (homework assigned for business travel days reported done complete with run time report), hasn't recently sworn at her teammates, is stronger (2 pullups), shows consistent endurance (I think she believed 3 miles was barely drivable 5 weeks ago), and eats real food on a daily basis. There may be "bitching and moaning" inside, but the tough tasks get done on the field. If this were a true military prep program, I might say this one should ultimately be assigned to special forces - don't bother them until it's "go time," they stay pissed enough to terminate people with extreme prejudice on demand but you wouldn't really want much contact with them otherwise. In the Corps, officers and senior NCO's have a saying: a bitching Marine is a happy Marine. Perhaps BandO might take this opportunity to adopt a similar outlook. In the meantime, there'll be pushups anyway for taking a poor attitude away on business.

Oh, and Dan, if you're ready to take on some tough mental and physical challenges, when will we see you in a FitBoot squad . . . ?

Charge on, Dan!


Let me make a few points here:
1. Nah-ne-nah-nah to Dan
2. Charla's challenge to Dan to join FitBoot should keep his gob shut for a while
3. Regardless, I end up doing more push-ups

I have this terrible feeling that tomorrow involves the dreaded agility exercises. At the very least Abby's favorite (baboon hanging) pull-ups.

Yesterday's email incident was enough to set Charla off on me like a terrier. As soon as I got there she says: "Stop and gimme 20. You know why." Despite my retorts like: "If you would stop replying, my life would be easier," and "It's not my fault, you encourage him." I still had to do 20 push-ups with Charla whistling annoyingly by my side. The rest of the class watched in wonderment of what I could have done this time to deserve the punishment. Only after my push-ups were complete did the class start.

Our warm ups begin which included even more push-ups. As you may remember, I am leader of the squad and responsible for their motivation and performance. At one point, we weren't sounding enthusiastic enough for Ms Charla so she got in my face: "Why is the squad not motivated Barclay?". My response: "Because they SUCK WIND!" That tipped Charla over the edge. She moved even closer to my face: "WRONG response, Barclay." I could hear giggles from the class behind me.

It was ab work again today with four drills of full sit-ups: 2:00, 1:30, 1:00 and :30. Having my ab muscles work again made a huge difference. I squeezed out 60 in two minutes. My last attempt was on 46 a few weeks ago so there is considerably improvement, but I'm nowhere near the 98 mark that one of our teammates hit on the half-way test. By the time I was onto the last set of sit-ups, I was exhausted. I started swearing and generally being sarcastic. My partner who was holding my feet was giggling so hard that Charla was yelling out: "Ignore Barclay's monologues."

Then we were on to the pull up bar. I was so exhausted from the sit-ups, I had trouble with my first pull-up and absolutely could not to the second.

From there we were straight onto the football field. What a circus. Abby and I are placed on the "special" team, captained by a complete dufus who is in his third year of boot camp and still can't graduate. The woman who I tackled to the ground a couple of weeks ago and attack with my bullet-like football throw says to me: "I'm glad I'm ON your team this time, not against you." Nuff said.

The other team has the three strongest recruits, plus Charla who joins their team to even it out. I don't know why, but I am picked to guard Charla. Bad move. Being the uncoordinated goof-ball that I am, the first tackle ends with me belting Charla in the mouth. Our captain basically has no strategy whatsoever and keeps saying: "do the same thing", which frankly I don't know what the "same thing" is. We just seem to run around like a bunch of lost mad puppies with lots of people screaming. At one point, when I am supposed to run to catch the ball, the captain of my own team is... wait for it... STANDING ON MY FOOT. That's right, the guy who is supposed to be in control of our team has his whopping great planks on my foot and I can't move. I am screaming: "get off my foot you arse hole!!" I am pummeling his back with my fists. I'm not sure if he even noticed. The other team is falling about laughing. At one point I collide with someone from the opposite team, our knees banging together. We are a complete disaster. The game continues for a good 20 minutes or so, with our team losing badly. We have no strategy and we run around like a bunch of clowns on ecstasy. We are a total embarrassment. I still have no clue about how the game is played and all I can think about is tackling the other people. I have no idea where the ball is. I can never work out when we're attacking or running. Even when I'm supposed to be catching the ball, I charge toward the other team members, trying to take them out. In the final play, I have the ball which I really don't want because that means people tackle you. The minute I get the ball I hear someone from the other team say, "Finally! Let's get her!" I make a few strides before someone nabs me.

Next week is our last week. Abby and I have surmised that Monday and Tuesday will be hard, followed by two "rest" days to get ready for our final test.