Friday, September 26, 2008

Lessons from Boot Camp

I am extremely happy to report that I finished a month long boot camp this morning. My last exercise was carrying a 20 pound bag of sand while I ran and then pulling a truck tire from one end of the field and back. As I briefly recuperated afterward, several congratulated me on finishing the month. Everyone knew it had been hard for me. I was the sound effects for the group. "Uuuugghhh," was my common anguished cry as I fought through my push ups or triceps dips and really any other exercise.

This morning my mates told me they couldn't believe I came back for the second day. "I knew on that first day I'd never see you again," one said. Well I surprised them and never missed a day. They said I had grit.

There is more than the finishing boot camp thing that I'm proud of. It's big to me that I never missed a day. Every morning was a spiritual exercise to make myself go. Early in dragon boat season, I had an epiphany about how it was ingrained in me to quit hard things. I have a history of quitting things if I was no good, it was too hard, I was too embarrassed to be bad at it, it was too inconvenient,... When I had that realization early in the dragon boat season (you may recall how hard I thought it was), I knew it was a spiritual problem and I committed to finish the season if it killed me. Thankfully I learned to love it.

The same thing happened with boot camp. It was brutal, but I knew I'd be an internally stronger and better person if I finished. I committed to not miss a day and I didn't.

I learned that no matter how I hate the front end of it, (getting up at 4:55am isn't my cup of tea), or how I think "I can't take another step" during the middle of it, I always felt happy that I'd done it afterward. I was always thankful that I got out of bed and that I kept going even when I thought I literally couldn't do one more step.

I learned that striving toward getting fit is a boost in and of itself. I can't tell I look one iota different than I did when I started, but I feel better about myself. I lost a whopping 2.5 pounds. (Everyone encourages me with muscle weighs more than fat and I always like to respond, well that's a lot of muscle . Having lost 2.5 pounds doesn't sound grand, but I know I'm a better person, a more disciplined person, a more fit person from the inside out, and I'm not talking just physically.

I learned that sticking with something that is hard and that you'd rather not stick to has far reaching effects. Gordon and I were asked to do a skit at church. Let me assure you that I am no drama queen. I have a history of freezing up in front of people. I have always been content to leave the drama to my sister Stacie. I wished I could "act" but knew I never would.

When I was asked to be the bag lady in a skit, the first shock was that I said OK. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd willingly participate in a skit, and my part was a significant one. I said yes, and as soon as I gave it some thought, I knew that the willingness to try was directly related to dragon boating and boot camp. From both dragon boating and boot camp I had learned and was continuing to learn that the experience is worth something even if I'm a total wash up at it.

The day we did our skit, I wasn't too terribly nervous. You have to know me to know how big of a thing that is. Once I got going, I wasn't nervous at all. I was able to tap into acting skills I didn't know I had. Quite simply, I was a great bag lady. Everyone thought I was a born actress (or a born bag lady). They had no idea how far out of my comfort zone I was. I can't explain it, but I know it's related to both dragon boating and boot camp.

Another lesson from boot camp; I learned that I actually like the active life. I like physical activity. I was humiliated quite terribly in sports as a youth and have lived all my life knowing I couldn't do a blasted thing in the sports and physical fitness areas. Well it was all a lie and I learned it at 42 years of age. I am not the best, but I can do it and have fun.

I've enrolled in another boot camp. I'm dreading it. It starts Monday and it's a repeat of what I've just completed. (There's a chance the class will be cancelled because of too few registrants. In October the snow may come and the cold definitely will and most people don't choose to get up at 5am to exercise outside).

I've learned a lot this month. It was long, terrible, hard and I'm glad it was long, terrible, and hard and that I can say "I did it!".

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7 Comments:

Blogger Debbie T said...

VALERIE- YOU ARE AWESOME FOR DOING DRAGON RACING AND THEN BOOT CAMP BACK TO BACK... MOST!!! PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE INSESTINAL FORTITUDE (WHO KNOWS IF EITHER OF THOSE ARE SPELLED RIGHT) but TO GET THE SPIRITUAL LESSON OUT OF IT IS SO AWESOME - A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD MISS THAT.....COMING FROM A FELLOW SIZED WOMAN - (I JUST MADE THAT UP- THAT'S PRETTY GOOD ISN'T IT) I WOULD LIKE TO SAY I WOULDN'T HAVE QUIT EITHER - but............JUST KNOW YOU'RE AMAZING....DEBBIE T

September 26, 2008 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Jones said...

I think it's wonderful that you accomplished so much and never gave up! I really admire that, I know it was hard for you but you're a better person today because you stuck with it. Way to go! You are amazing.

September 26, 2008 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, two comments and both say I'm amazing. I love you gals. Anyone who thinks I'm amazing is a friend of mine. :-)))))

Seriously, thank you. v

September 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Thundering Tannehills said...

I have to fix my comment!!!!!! I said I would like to say I wouldn't have quit either but..I'm thinking there would be a HUGE chance I would have......debbie T

September 27, 2008 at 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I should have been first to post... But I must say I am VERY proud of you honey. I love to see you tackle these things, and especially when you get the "win."

It may seem strange, but I always knew you could. I don't mean that in a trite way, I know it was hard. But, I have seen your grit on plenty of other occasions before boot camp - like putting up with me, for instance! :-)

I know this is just the beginning. It delights me to see your growing hopefulness and joy, and to see you being rewarded with the joy of accomplishment. Dinner tonight, on me! (And on the boat!)

Love, Gordon xoxo

September 27, 2008 at 12:43 PM  
Anonymous *mindi* said...

i'm just so so happy for you. :)
and proud.
and you are amazing.

September 29, 2008 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Valerie Dykstra said...

All your comments bless me so much. You know, I'm almost convinced that I'm amazing. Just joking. Thank you all for your kind words.

October 8, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

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