This week saw the end of 6 weeks at SSISA Boot Camp.
The first session of the week was a “re-evaluation”. No sweat (literally), I thought. I feel leaner, stronger and fitter than the girl who struggled through push ups and sit ups at the beginning of March. To add to my apparently glowing confidence, I had just seen my boyfriend after a 3 week business trip. His first comment to me was “I don’t think I’ve seen you this skinny!” Yes – he got a year’s supply of Brownie Points with those magic little words.
I was very relaxed at the re-assessment, feeling strong and fit. I felt good doing the exercises. I had an inkling of regret that I hadn’t refreshed my memory with the results of my initial assessment, as I had no idea what I was trying to “beat”. But I quickly dismissed the thought, confident that, regardless, I’d most certainly beat the 6-week-ago-me.
The second session of the week involved an “Adventure Obstacle Circuit”. I arrived expecting the usual array of workouts. Don’t “expect” anything at Boot Camp – you’ll most certainly be mistaken. This circuit upped the ante on the past 6 weeks and included a lengthy stretch of the god-awful leopard crawl, climbing up and over spectator stands and carrying dustbins. When you stand at 1.6m tall, running while carrying a smelly, heavy dustbin that takes up three quarters of your height is, at the very least, a rude awakening.
I arrived early at the third and final session of Boot Camp, and sat savouring the dregs of my coffee (in my flask from SSISA) and watched Joe do his pre-Boot Camp run around the field. This is when it dawned on me: Boot Camp is for nutters. By this stage, the sun is only thinking about rising in the last 15 minutes of our sessions, yet there we all were, pushing ourselves in the darkness to achieve our own personal goals. Noddy badges all round.
After a quick session of cross-training and sprints, we had our “Passing Out Parade”. Here we received our results: I’m fairly certain that my “before” and “after” columns were mistakenly inverted. Heavier, wider, weaker and slower? Surely not!
While there are many reasons for this (the most common being “muscle weighs more than fat”), I attribute it to a number of factors. The main reason for being slower and weaker (on paper) must certainly be due to a confidence issue. I arrived on day 1, not knowing anyone and pushing myself to the max during the reassessment, fearful of being “that weak guy”. On the reassessment, I was relaxed and confident: my push ups are definitely stronger and my form is definitely better, but I didn’t do them faster. The same applies for my stomach crunches.
My original goal with Boot Camp was to arrive at Two Oceans injury-free (I have a nasty habit of picking up niggles as my running mileage increases). This has been a success. While my running did take a bit of a back seat during Boot Camp, I successfully completed a solo 18km trail run the previous weekend (a giant leap from my regular 8 – 10kms). I felt strong and fit on the run, with minimal stiffness the next day. I attribute this to Boot Camp.
Boot Camp was a valuable experience for me.
It not only instilled the importance of cross-training in my exercise regimen (something many of us are all too quick to skip), but it also re-ignited my love for yoga. I’ve started going to yoga classes again and am toying with the idea of a gym membership (an environment I tend to avoid like the plague. We have a mountain, for goodness sake!)
I’ve had to break out of my comfort zone (being piggy backed around a field will do that to a girl) and I’ve learned to (wait for it…) enjoy exercise in the morning. This is something I never thought I’d admit to, and while I know that I don’t have the self discipine to exercise under the Milky Way in the cold, wet Cape winters, I’m hoping that the afore mentioned gym contract plus a double Americano in my travel mug will provide sufficient motivation.
Thanks to everyone involved in the Hi-Tec Boot Camp at SISSA – it was a fantastic experience and will most certainly keep an eye out for future courses.