Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boot Camp Ego Boost

Bootcamp was amazing this fall. Here are the results of my personal fitness test:

Squats: 42-54
Push-ups: 17-29
Pikes: 14-28
Dips: 26-35

Six weeks ago I had to do as many reps of each exercise in one minute. I definitely wasn't the strongest in our group, but I showed improvement in each exercise and I can't complain about that.

The other women in the camp were significantly younger and older than me. Two were a lot younger, one was a lot older. And to be fair, they were a lot stronger. They did more reps than me, progressed to the tougher iterations of the exercises faster than me. Sometimes I would feel bummed and inadequate but after Bootcamp, I still felt great and I'll be honest, I looked great. Best body I've had in years.

If we ever did any running at Bootcamp, I would be far in front of the small group. Running was the one activity that I did better than anyone in the camp. But we didn't do it often, so I was forced to tuck my ego down a bit and not worry that everyone was tougher, stronger, and seemed to dig deeper. We were having fun and working hard, so I let it go and focused on the weights.

I didn't run a huge amount in the past two weeks so when the Great Race rolled around, I was pretty nervous. I even thought about not running the night before the race. But when I got out there, I managed to run about three minutes faster than I thought I would! I finished in 59:31 for an average pace of 9:33. And you know what else? I had fun doing it! I was totally jazzed during and after the race. My runner's high lasted for days.

The Great Race was about half-way through our 6 week program. Close to the end of the camp my schedule had one more 10K, Run the Panhandle. Again I worried I hadn't done enough running but I got out there and basically on my own (it was a very small field) I finished my race in 53:02 (8:25/mile). Almost seven minutes faster than the Great Race!

Bootcamp is done now for the late fall/early winter. Working out indoors doesn't have the same inspiring impact as working outside, even when we were killing ourselves in the chilly rain, even when it got dark five minutes after we started.

This Bootcamp was so crucial to my running success. Even though I was "last" in a lot of our routines, I have to admit the conditioning was incredible. My upper body has never been stronger. Do you know I did 4 pull-ups and went back and forth across the monkey bars three times? My core is tough and I know my running form is really improved. And I don't even care that the other amazing ladies kicked my butt, a lot. My running and my health have never been better. I laughed a lot. Working out with friends who are dedicated and driven was a great antidote to the loneliness of the long distance runner. I love Bootcamp. I miss Bootcamp.