The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris

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Boot Camp

060927 (a) ATL Boot Camp.jpg (33525 bytes)

Monday, July 10, 2006
Day 1

The Health Club to which I belong offered a Summer Boot Camp on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 9 weeks.  Since they also cancelled the Monday morning aerobics class which I usually attend, I decided to try the Boot Camp.   I was chicken to try it on the first Monday, so I worked out on the elliptical machine and peered out the window to see what kind of people were in Boot Camp.   I decided that they didn't all look like hard-bodies, so I might be able to keep up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Day 2

Wednesday, I got there a little early dressed in gym shorts and tennis shoes.  One of Monday's female participants warned that I might want to get a towel since the Rangers required the participants to do pushups on asphalt.   I went to the meeting place with my towel and water bottle in hand, ready to accept the Rangers' orders, "Sir, yes sir!"

As we were gathering, they passed around a book for us to put our names and weights in.  I thought we should include our next of kin.  At exactly Oh Six Hundred hours, our exercise regimen was to begin.  We lined up by height and paired up with the person next to us in line.  My partner was a young athletic looking girl with lots of colored bracelets named Emily.  We were told, "If your partner does not show up for training, YOU will suffer."  I hope Emily is dependable!  I was curious about the two kayaks that were on the sidewalk near us.  The nearest body of water is the Chattahoochee river a couple of miles away.

The morning started easily enough with some stretching.   As we were stretching, some late arrivers drifted in.  They were instructed to "drop and give me 20" for being late.  One of the fellows had advised that he would be absent for the next few sessions because he was going on vacation.  He was instructed to do as many pushups as hours he would be on vacation.  AND, he had to do his pushups with his feet elevated on a 3 foot wall.  During the stretching, Ranger Jono gave us a pep talk.

After the stretching, four men were instructed to pick up the kayaks and place them on their shoulders.  We then ran up the steps to the street above.  At the top of the steps, we were all instructed to "drop and give me 20" since we had moved too slowly up the steps.  I spread my towel on the street and knelt down to do girl style pushups.  I expected to be berated for this, but the Rangers were busy berating the males.  We ran around some more behind the kayaks and ended up in the parking lot.  A third person was added to each Kayak to help carry the load.  The rest of us were handed heavy balls and told to carry them over our heads.  I had my towel and my water bottle and my heavy ball.  I was trying to figure out how to hold everything when the girl behind me said that she had put her water bottle in the back of her pants.  I thought this was a good idea, so I tucked mine into the back of my gym shorts.  As soon as we started running, it slid down into my shorts, so there I was, running along, trying to hold my towel and the heavy ball over my head with one hand while I dug into the back of my shorts to retrieve the water bottle.

We stopped briefly to do some squats with our heels against a curb.  We were supposed to squat so low that our rears touched the curb, but mine was nowhere near the curb, so I had to endure some "encouragement".  More running with the balls over our heads, and then the Rangers called for volunteers to help carry the kayaks.  Four people per kayak now.  I ran up to volunteer, thinking that I could just run near the kayak with my hand on it to make it look like I was helping. The Rangers added the weighted balls and the water cooler to the kayak.   They threatened to get into the boats themselves.  After a brief stint of pretending to carry the kayak, I was pretty sure my lungs were going to explode.  We carried the kayaks down a narrow winding staircase.  Since I was on the front end of the kayak, I got to bear a great deal of the weight.  I used some very unladylike language.  At the bottom, we were finally allowed to put the kayaks down.

Next, we stood on a 3 foot wall and jumped down and then we were supposed to turn around and jump back up onto the wall with our feet together.  I could barely climb back onto the wall one leg at a time.  The girl next to me was struggling too.  Thankfully, the Ranger focused on her.  He told her to jump onto the wall and she said she couldn't.  Then he said, just jump up in the air as high as you can.  She jumped and her feet cleared the ground by about 6 inches.  The Ranger said, "No, I mean jump as high as you can."  So she repeated the previous action, again clearing the ground by 6 inches.  The Ranger walked away disgusted.

One member of each team was allowed to stop and take a water break while the other member lay on their backs and did flutter kicks.  The folks on water break were encouraged to "take your time, your partner doesn't mind doing flutter kicks while you drink".  I went ahead and filled a cup for my partner so that when it was my turn to do flutter kicks she would not have to take extra time.

Sprints were next.  We ran in groups of four from one end of the building to the other.  The last one to cross the finish line had to do pushups (that was me - EVERY TIME).  We must have done that about 10 times and then FINALLY, we were allowed to form up for cool down and stretch.

While we were cooling down, Jono recited the Rangers' Creed and told us that we were to learn it as well.

Friday, July 14, 2006
Day 3

We started by jogging up to Ranger Nick's truck to get our weight balls. Mark was, of course, late so he had to endure some amount of berating from Ranger Jono. The rest of us headed down to the aerobics room for a warm up. Nothing too strenuous there. Ranger Nick called it "Ranger Yoga".

Then we ran back outside and the first people were instructed to put on a weighted backpack. When the backpacks were gone, the next two people picked up the cooler. Since I was toward the back of the pack, all I had to carry was my weight ball. Even then, I could not keep up with the group. We ran around in front of the 300 building, up the parking ramp and out to the street.

The backpack carriers were instructed to give their backpacks to someone without one. Mark graciously gave his to me. Thankfully, Katie offered to carry my weight ball. Then we started running again. I REALLY couldn't keep up with the group carrying the backpack, but I kept running as best I could. I followed the group (at a distance) back to the parking deck. As I approached the group, I heard Ranger Jono yelling at the group for leaving me behind. He made them all drop and give him 20 push-ups for leaving a comrade behind. "A Ranger NEVER leaves a comrade behind." I almost cried at this point, thinking how popular this would make me. I surrendered my backpack and did a few push-ups - on my knees on the concrete.

More running - in lines of two. The people in the back of the lines were told to run up and get in the front of the lines. Of course, I was in the back of the line. I was unable to pass Katie who was in the front of the line. Breathlessly, I told her, "Katie, you're going to have to slow down if I am going to pass you." She did, but I still couldn't pass her. Finally I fell in line behind her. We did this drill until everyone had run to the front of the line twice.

Then we ran up the steps to the parking deck of the 400 building. More push-ups - grinding my knees into the concrete. Then more running drills. Losers (including me, Mark & Emily) were sent to the corner with Ranger Jono so we could do flutter kicks while he yelled at us for being losers. When he finally let us up, we were to run to catch up to the group. I wasn't running fast enough so Ranger Jono yelled, "Run faster, you're better than this ma'am". "No, I'm really not", I was thinking. Ranger Jono must think I am going to wash out of the program since he has not bothered to ask my name. He's probably right.

When I caught up with the group, we lay face down on the concrete - which actually felt pretty good. The next drill was to hold a plank position on our toes and forearms with our body hovering above the ground in a flat plane. As we did this, Ranger Jono told us about a woman who could hold this position for 15 minutes with her husband sitting on her back. After about a minute, we were allowed to drop to the concrete to rest, only to resume the plank position for another 30 seconds. Next came Superman drills, where we lay on our stomachs and held our arms and legs in the air.

Finally, we were allowed to stand up and get our pep talk from Ranger Jono who told us that only 20% of us would make it through to the end of the program. (We had already dropped in number from 20 people on Wednesday to 10 people on Friday). Mark asked how the buddy system worked, "How are we supposed to help our buddy when they fall behind?" Ranger Jono answered that we were to pick our buddy up and carry them. Fat chance! Poor Emily will be carrying me everywhere.

We were dismissed without being asked to recite the first section of the Ranger Creed which I had memorized the night before, for fear that if I didn't know it I would have to do more push-ups.

"Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment."

Monday, July 17, 2006
Day 4

Day 3 started with our jog up the steps to Ranger Nick's truck to get some supplies. Mark and another girl grabbed the cooler. I carried two 8 pound balls. Everyone else had a variety of things, including a stool that looked like the ones that the lions jump between at the circus. There was also a piece of 2x4 lumber and four resist-a-balls. We jogged up the ramp to the parking deck behind the 400 building and then through the pine thicket into a grassy area. Ranger Jono had us do what he called calisthenics. I would call it push-ups - no knees on the ground - boy push-ups, followed by mountain-climbers. Before we started the push-ups, Ranger Jono called one of the participants up to demonstrate a proper push-up. When the poor fellow went down for the first push-up, he pulled something in his abdomen and was not able to complete the demonstration.

Ranger Nick's sister, a certified strength trainer and physical therapist was in town visiting from Minnesota, so she joined in the torture-fest. We ran to the bottom of the hill and then in groups of four, ran to the top of the hill, back down to the bottom, back up to the top and then got back in line to do it again. One girl bailed out. The second time up and down and back up, Ranger Nick timed us. The winners from each of the three groups got to do it again. For once, it paid to be a loser!

Next came the strength course. There were 8 stations and each partner team spent 2 minutes at each station alternately doing the exercises. One of the stations was a rest station. My partner, Emily, and I decided to start at the middle station so we would get to the rest station halfway through. First, we lay face down on the resist-a-balls and raised our legs in the air. When Ranger Nick yelled "switch", we alternated raising our opposite arm and leg. We did walking lunges to our next station. One of us held a 6 pound ball over our head and did squats while the other one did jumping squats. Then we switched. The next station was where we got to use the lion tamer stool. It was about waist high and we were supposed to step up with one leg and down with the other. I had to use all of my arm and leg muscles to get up onto it. Thankfully Ranger Jono seemed to be absorbed with someone else so he didn't yell at me. The rest station was next. We helped ourselves to some of the worst tasting warm Gatorade I have ever tasted. Next we lay on our backs and rolled a bicycle wheel under us. That was followed by shoulder pulls with a resistance band and then a 10 pound ball toss while sitting on a little disk. The last two stations were arm raises with six pound balls and something called "Ts and Ys" that was supposed to strengthen our upper back.

A few stretches laying face down in the grass and we were dismissed to "RUN Ma'am" back to the truck to drop off the supplies.

Just a bit of status... So far, I have gained 2 pounds and my inner thighs are so sore I can hardly walk. The asphalt stains on my knees have faded, but I am a little itchy from laying in the grass this morning.

Only 8 weeks to go!  Stay tuned!  More to come.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Day 5

My partner did not show up. I was worried, but she must have been excused because nothing was said.  We started with some stretches and ground exercises. The most difficult were the ones where we lay on our side and supported ourselves on our elbow while lifting our hips up and down. Our other hand was supposed to be on our waist. The thin layer of skin on my elbow was not enough to protect my arm bone from the concrete, so I opted to support myself on my hand. Then I couldn't keep my balance with my other hand on my waist, so I had to put my hand on the ground. I had to endure some disdain from Ranger Jono for this.

Following the warm-up, we jogged up the steps to the Galleria Gardens, constantly being told to keep up with the group. Since I couldn't keep up with the group due to the fire that had started in my thighs, I had the pleasure of running next to Jono while he "encouraged" me. We ran around the perimeter of the Galleria Gardens. Finally Jono dropped back in disgust and Commando Ryan took over. His encouragement is much gentler and kinder. He explained that the leg muscles require 3-4 days to recover and with Boot Camp program there is not time for the muscles to recover. He assured me that I would be better able to keep up in a couple of weeks.

I caught up with the rest of the group on the parking deck where they were getting ready to run sprints. 400 Meters, I think they said. We ran twice at what was supposed to be half-speed. I kept looking down to see if the flames were exposed on my burning thighs. On the third run, we were supposed to crank it up to full speed while Ranger Nick timed us. When I cranked it up to full speed (not much difference in IPH [inches per hour] from my half speed), the muscles in my thighs rebelled and tears welled up in my eyes. Another girl and I feigned injury for the remainder of the sprint section and stood around stretching our quads while the group ran 2 or 3 more sprints.

Thankfully, the next exercise used a different muscle group. We sort of skipped sideways up the parking ramp, ran back down, skipped up in the opposite direction, ran back down and then ran backward up the ramp. Then we ran back out to the Galleria Gardens. One of the car-pool vans stopped to gawk which made it even more humiliating. In the Gardens, we hopped on both feet up and down the steps around the fountain and then ran sprints up and down the steps before returning to the parking lot.

Ranger Jono commanded us to line up and extend our arms out straight to the sides at shoulder level while he gave us a "pep" talk. He told us how disgusted and awed he was at what poor physical condition we were all in, but he followed it up with how impressed he was that we were still there, trying to improve ourselves. This went on for what seemed like an hour while we held our arms extended. Finally we were allowed to drop our arms and he gave us each his business card. He gave us the only exercise that I am confident I can do during the program - to send him an email at least once a week.

When we were dismissed, we were to go to Ranger Nick to get our time on the sprints. My time was 12.66. I don't know if that is 12.66 seconds, 12.66 minutes or that they predict I will finish the sprint on 12/6/06. But they said to write it down. I assume that means we will do it again and compare the results in the future.

Oh, and apparently I misunderstood the length of the program. It is not 9 weeks. It is 12 weeks. That takes us through the end of September, I think.

Status: Down 1 1/2 pounds (I also started the South Beach Diet this week). Still so sore I can barely walk. Will have to trade cars with Tony since I am unable to push in the clutch.

Friday, July 21, 2006
Day 6

Day 6 was "Endurance Day". I didn't like the sound of that!

We started out with some stretches and floor exercises in the nice air-conditioned aerobics room. Afterward, we split into 3 groups. Ranger Nick took the fast group, Commando Ryan took the middle group, and Ranger Jono took the slow group. I'm sure you can guess which group I fit into. Mary and I were the only two in the slow group. Mary had two ice packs that she kept on her hips and her shoulders. Ranger Jono said that we should not let the middle group get out of our sight so I tried to keep up as best I could. Mary was struggling. We ran down the ramps in the parking deck to the very bottom and then back up to the top. I just caught a glimpse of the last person in middle group rounding the corner to go out to the Galleria Gardens or I would not have known which way to go. At this point, I had left Mary and Ranger Jono behind, so my run was at least peaceful. I was wearing a heart monitor as Ranger Jono had instructed us at the last session. My heart rate stayed pretty steady at 178. It had been 68 when I put the monitor on, so that's a pretty significant increase. When I rounded the corner in front of the Waverly Hotel, I saw the middle group make a turn onto the parking deck in front of the 100 building, but when I got onto the parking deck there was no sign of them. Since no one was looking, I dropped back to a walking pace and started walking back toward the 300 building. Before long, I heard Katie call my name and saw the middle group running up the ramp where they had apparently done another lap through the parking deck. I joined them for two more laps around the 300 and 400 building. I was better able to keep up since they were all so tired. I ran along side Miles for a few minutes and asked him if he would carry me. He could not even grunt a response, so I took that as a no.

As I rounded the corner on my last lap around the buildings (in last place, of course), I saw the rest of the group waiting for me. Ranger Jono yelled, "Come on BJ, SPRINT" Uh oh... Somebody told him my name... This can't be good.

Ranger Nick told us to "Take a seat against the wall." I was very excited about this until I learned that that meant to back up to the wall and lean on it with our legs at a 90 degree angle, sort of sitting without a chair. We held this position while Ranger Nick leisurely told us about the newspaper article about boot camps. Then Ranger Jono chewed us out for not sending him any email about what we expected to get out of the program. Finally we were dismissed.

I just finished sending my email. I tried to make it pretty generic so as not to draw attention to myself.

"Well, as you said, here's an assignment I can ACTUALLY DO!

My goal for the Boot Camp is to improve my fitness level and fight off the effects of aging!
Dropping a few pounds would not be an unacceptable by-product.
I would like to increase my upper body strength.

I am enjoying the sessions - I feel like all of the instructors are concerned about avoiding injury and that is VERY important to me.
I do not have any significant injuries (although my joints do make a LOT of noise) and I'd like to keep it that way!

Thanks for the time and effort that you & Ryan and Nick are putting into this!


Status: Down 2 3/4 pounds. I thought the soreness in my legs was better until I tried to get in the car and had to use my arms to lift my left leg into the car.

Monday, July 24, 2006
Day 7

Day 7 - We had a new recruit. Karen from my aerobics class decided to give it a try since the morning aerobics class was cancelled.

We met in the lobby and Ranger Jono thanked me (by name!) for the email.

Out on the parking deck, we did some stretches, floor/concrete exercises, squats and jumping jacks. Ranger Jono did a heart rate monitor check. Trudy went on for about 5 minutes about her experience shopping for a monitor before Jono shut her up with, "I DON'T CARE, THOSE SOUND LIKE EXCUSES TO ME." Then he told everyone who did not have a heart monitor to drop and give him 20. He let Trudy get out of it since she had tried to get one. When he pointed to me, I proudly showed him my monitor.

We ran up the parking deck ramp, around the 400 building, through the Galleria Gardens and up to the hill behind the 700 building. We ran up the hill to where Ranger Jono was waiting for us. He said we should be expending so much effort that we were puking when we got to the top, and then we should eat it and puke again. I came close... well, not to that last part. We ran up and down the hill several times (with me always in last place - well, except for Mary - ice pack girl - turns out she just lost 40 pounds!) My heart rate was around 178 during the run up the hill. Then they put a strap between two people and 2-3 others inside the strap and had us all run as a group to the top of the hill. I was afraid the two pulling the strap might knock me down - a major concern since I paid a fortune for my front teeth and want to make sure they don't make contact with asphalt again (the reason for the dental work in the first place). I made sure to get next to Mary, figuring between the two of us, we could drag the group back to our speed. It worked and we made it to the top without incident. Next was side hops on each side and then running backwards.

We ran back to the parking deck and stood with our arms outstretched while Ranger Jono gave us a pep talk. He talked about a 65 year old man who was training for an extremely treacherous bike race and said that each of us needed a goal. Afterward, Ranger Nick had us clap our hands over our heads 100 times and do some back exercises. Ranger Nick said that he had read a study that an elevated heart rate during exercise was not a problem unless one has high blood pressure. When we were dismissed, as I was walking back toward the building, I heard Ranger Jono call, "Good Job today BJ!"

Status: Still down 2 3/4 pounds. Leg soreness is much better - didn't even have to use my arms to lift my legs into the car this morning!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Day 8

We had a leisurely start to Day 8. Only Ranger Nick was there to direct us. We stood around gabbing and stretching until about 6:10 when Ranger Nick had us start doing some warm-up exercises (Arm rotations, hip gyrations, twists, squats, crunches, supermans and jumping jacks). Then we jogged up to the track behind the 700 building. We stretched and then took two laps around the track while Ranger Nick set up something that looked like an obstacle course. The first challenge was about 4 cones and 6 hurdles set about 3 feet apart. We were supposed to hop on both feet over them. The cones and hurdles were only about 5 inches high, so I was thinking I would be able to do it fairly easily. Wrong. I had to hop over one, then take a giant step to get to the next one and then hop over it. The boys were just hop, hop, hopping over them like they were nothing. We did that three times through and then moved up to another set of hurdles. There were four of these lined up down the hill and four lined up going up the hill. We were supposed to side hop over them and then run to the end of the field and back. I did my little hop, giant side step, hop movement while the boys were hop, hop, hopping. We went through that twice down the hill and twice up the hill. We did a few stretching exercises and then Ranger Nick offered us the option of jogging back to the club or walking. Those Bozos voted to jog, so off we went. Back in the parking deck while we were stretching, Ranger Nick explained that on the first Wednesday, we had done the wall jumps on both feet, and the next Wednesday, we hopped up and down the steps, and today, we hopped over the hurdles. He said landing like that caused our bones to bend and that they would become stronger. At about six weeks, we should be able to do jumps on one leg only. We'll see...

I talked to "Ice Pack Mary" some more. Turns out that she was in a car accident where the seat back broke and she had been bed ridden for six months. She has a home in New Orleans that was spared, but she had lost contact with most of her doctors and therapists.

Status: Down 3 3/4 pounds. Waistband on pants no longer cutting into any vital organs. Going to shop for a 12 volt hairdryer so I can wait until I get to work to dry my hair. Drying it at the health club while I am still sweating is not doing much good.

Friday, July 28, 2006
Day 9

We had the usual warm up, followed by concrete exercises (push-ups, crunches, planks, side planks). I am still picking grit out of my elbows and knees. I AM bringing a towel nest week, or at least a washcloth. I have to have something to protect my thin little skin from the concrete. I also have to move the buckle on my heart monitor chest strap. It digs into my spine when I do crunches. (I am very whiny today!)

While we were exercising, Ranger Jono told us about how he had such a tight butt that his mother pinched it the other day. Trudy said, "I guess you thanked her for that." Jono responded, "I slapped a big wet sloppy kiss on her with tongue, because that's how we do it in our family." As we were all groaning, he recanted with, "If I had done that, my Catholic mother would have pulled my tongue out with pliers and cut it off with a machete."

We stood with our arms outstretched for an extended period of time. Ranger Jono told us that if he had his way, we would be doing this with live grenades in our hands. I thought Ranger Nick had gone into a trance, but FINALLY he let us drop our arms. We were allowed to get some water and then we ran up to the Galleria Gardens. We ran down past the 200 building, past the Waverly Hotel, past the 100 building and out to the fountain in front of the 400 building. To add insult to injury, every cafeteria in every building must have been having a special on bacon. The smell was almost enough to make me fall out of line and go get me some, but Ranger Jono's shouting distracted me enough to keep me in line. We ran around the fountain a few times and then ran around the big fountain with the clock a couple of times. A few circles up and down the steps in front of the 100 building, around the fountain by the 200 building and then back to the parking lot of the 300 building, where we held the "sitting on air" position until we were dismissed.

Status: Still down 3 3/4 pounds. Getting a massage after work today.

Monday, July 31, 2006
Day 10

I didn't tell Ranger Jono that today is my birthday. I was afraid that would result in more abuse than I could take. I'd probably have to do as many push-ups as my age.

"Line up, tallest to smallest", came the command from Ranger Jono. "By now, you people should know what that means." Ranger Jono was in charge of the warm-up this morning. It was somewhat abbreviated from what we were accustomed to, and involved select people doing push-ups for other people's infractions. "Wilson, drop and give me 20 because Trudy can't keep her mouth shut."

Following the warm-up, we ran up to the parking lot to get equipment from Ranger Nick's truck. Ranger Jono handed me an 8 pound weight ball and a 10 pound weight ball. "Here BJ, I want you to carry 2 balls today." Has he forgotten that I can't keep up with the group when I'm just carrying my own body weight? But I have learned not to argue, so I took the two balls and took off at a run following the group up the parking deck by the 400 building. I immediately fell behind, but Judy, fresh from her gall bladder surgery, was still behind me so Ranger Jono had someone else to focus his attention on. I just got the occasional, "KEEP UP, BJ!", which he pronounces extremely sarcastically. We ran around the fountain in front of the 400 building a couple of times and then cut through the woods to the big grassy area. It was still so dark that when I emerged from the woods, I couldn't see where the group had gone. Ranger Jono yelled, "CATCH UP TO THE GROUP, BJ", so I just started running blindly. Finally, I saw some dim figures in the distance and ran toward them. We took two laps around and then lined up holding a rope. We did one more lap with the entire group running together holding the rope. Surprisingly, the group ran slow enough for me to keep up. When we finished, we lined up tallest to smallest and were instructed to roll down the hill in the wet grass. I am unclear about which muscle this was supposed to develop.

While we were running laps, Ranger Nick had been setting up little orange cones with instructions underneath them. We broke into groups of two to do the exercises at each station (Push-ups, Squat Jumps, Crunches, Reverse Crunches, Narrow-Arm Push-ups, Supermans, Opposite arm/leg lifts, Straight arm lifts with weight balls, and flex-band pull backs). We did each exercise until Ranger Nick yelled, "Recover", and then we did walking lunges to the next station. Next came a tug-of-war. My team lost the first tug and had to do push-ups. Ranger Jono is not pleased with my "girl" push-ups. "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees." We switched positions and got the downhill side for the second and third tug-of-war competitions. It is amazing how much gravity can help - we won both times. The other team had to do push-ups. As we were gloating, Ranger Nick said, "It doesn't always pay to win. Take a lap around the field."

Finally, we ran back to Ranger Nick's truck and were dismissed.

Status: Down 4 pounds. Beginning Phase 2 of the South Beach diet today. Going to substitute some "fruit of the vine" for my fruit allotment to celebrate my birthday!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Day 11

Rory mentioned that he had seen my blog and thought it was very funny. I said, "Oh, lets not let Jono find out about it. I am sure I will suffer for it." He agreed, but apparently someone else didn't (Miles, was that you?), because when I saw Jono, he said, "BJ, I hear you've been writing a blog about me." I tried to play it off by telling him that I have a web site where I write about my travels, so I just decided to write up my trip to boot camp. Commando Ryan said, "We'll be doing some traveling today."

We did the usual warm-up except we doubled up on the Jumping Jacks. Ranger Nick had that same trance-like look as we jumped past 100 repetitions, past 150 and on to 200! I noticed that my heart monitor was reporting no heartbeat at all. I wondered if I had achieved some Zen-like state where I no longer needed a pulse. But my heavy breathing indicated that it was just a malfunctioning heart rate monitor. When we lay on the concrete to do our supermans, a rolly polly bug started crawling toward my face. I dared not flick it away, I was afraid Ranger Jono might make me eat it!

After the warm-up, we ran up to the Galleria Gardens. We ran a weaving pattern, up and down every set of steps several times, around the fountain in front of the 400 building and then back through the steps. Ranger Jono knows my name very well now, "C'mon Beee Jaaaayyy." Jono shows no compassion for the weak and infirm either. Judy, recovering from her gall bladder surgery, and Mary, recovering from her car accident, get just as much grief as the rest of us. I managed to sneak in a couple of short cuts (thank goodness it was dark) and kept up with the group fairly well, ending up on the parking deck at roughly the same time as everyone else.

Commando Ryan had planned our activities today. We did 10 sit-ups on the sidewalk and then ran to the first set of parking spaces carrying a weight ball, did 10 push-ups and then ran back to the sidewalk carrying the weight ball over our head. We repeated this 6 times, running to the next set of parking spaces each time. I had my washcloth in my pocket, but I didn't have the nerve to try to spread it out for each set of pushups. Ranger Jono was already unhappy with my knee pushups. "If you're going to do them on your knees Beee Jaaaay, at least dip all the way to the ground." (Yeah, right.) When I dipped all the way to the ground, my arms wouldn't support me, giving me a brief rest with my cheek on the pavement. Jono was even more unhappy with Alex's knee push-ups. "I wish I had a camera so you could see what you look like, Aaallleeexxxx."

Next, we did two walking lunge steps followed by two hops from one end of the parking lot to the other. As we finished, we had to lie on our backs and do flutter kicks until the rest of the group finished. By some miracle, I actually beat some people at this exercise, resulting in extra flutter kicks.

The last exercise was to side skip to the first row of parking spaces and then touch your toe with the weight ball while extending the opposite leg behind you (a balance challenge) and then side skip back to the starting line and touch the opposite toe. We repeated that progressing through the parking spaces.

After forming up "Tallest to Smallest" for a brief pep talk, we were dismissed.

I didn't tell Ranger Jono that I won't be there Friday. I plan to send him an email. I am going to take my tennis shoes to the beach with me so I can run. I will give Tony a list of Jono quotes so he can yell to keep me motivated while I am running.

Status: Down 3 1/4 pounds. Phase 2 of the South Beach diet doesn't seem to be working as well as I would have hoped.

Friday, August 4, 2006
Day 12

Since I couldn't attend Boot Camp at the Galleria, I decided to have my own boot camp while I was visiting friends on St. George Island, Florida. I woke up around 8AM and it was already hot. I didn't bother with any of the warm-up exercises since I had warmed up just walking outside. I started a slow jog down the bike/walking path. It was slow because Ranger Jono was not there to motivate me and it was hot. At the first cross street, I turned and ran toward the beach thinking that there might be a breeze coming off of the ocean. When I got to the beach, the sand was so loose, I couldn't run. I thought if I could get to the packed part near the ocean I'd be able to run, but it was like trying to run in pudding. And it was hot. Did I mention it was hot? I made it about 1/2 a block and then slogged back through the sand and cut through someone's yard to get back to the street. I finished circling the two blocks surrounding the beach house. I did a few sit ups and squats, but it was too hot to stay outside, so I went back up to the bedroom where my husband was still sleeping. I dropped and did a few push-ups and decided to dismiss myself early for good behavior. The workout continued during the rest of the weekend as we carried beach umbrellas, chairs, floats and a 70 pound kayak from the house to the beach and back each day.

Monday, August 7, 2006
Day 13

I didn't get home from the beach trip until 12:30AM Monday morning so 5:20AM came awfully early. I was feeling fuzzy as I reported for duty. When we lined up tallest to smallest, Jono asked me, "How was vacation, Beee Jaaaay?" I was afraid this was a prelude to my penance for missing boot camp.

Ranger Nick started the usual warm-up. When he got to the jumping jacks, I was mentally preparing myself to do 200 and was quite surprised (and pleased) when he stopped at 50. I did a few extra just because I couldn't believe it. We ran up the stairs, past the 200 building, around the Waverly and to the street just the other side of the running track. Deja Vu. Didn't we run up this same hill on Day 7? When I arrived, close to the back of the pack, Ranger Jono told me to do ten sit-ups for being absent on Friday.

We ran the same sort of drills we had done before. Up the hill at half speed and back down, then back up at 90% and back down. Then a couple of drills where we pulled each other up the hill with ropes, followed by a backward/side-skip lap. We had three new recruits. Casey, reputed to have been a college gymnast, got the wrath of Jono when she said, "I'm not as strong as them." I'm not sure who she is not as strong as, but she certainly could knock out some push-ups, and they were not girl push-ups either. Aaron took some grief for how she held her water cup. "You're holding that cup like a super-model, Aaaaarrrrroooonnn. Why don't you put your little pinky out?" Dave, the other newby pushed himself a little too far and was feeling dizzy after one of the laps.

After we finished our drills, we ran back to the parking deck. I maintained 3rd place behind Ranger Nick and Ranger Jono for almost a block before I was overtaken. By the time we got back to the 200 building, I was still not at the back of the pack! Ranger Jono said he was very proud of me. I thought something must have happened to the others since they had not yet passed me. When we got back to the 300 building, we assumed the "sitting on air" position until everyone made it back. When I could no longer hold the position, I had to lie down and do flutter kicks.

We lined up tallest to smallest and held our arms out for an extra long pep talk before we were dismissed.

Status: Down 3 1/2 pounds. I'm fairly pleased with this, after a weekend at the beach. I tried to stick to the South Beach diet as best I could, but there were some temptations I just couldn't avoid.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Day 14

Commando Ryan was in charge of the warm up this morning. We did most of the usual things, adding in squat jumps to prep us for the days activities. We were supposed to do modified push-ups (lower your body and then after you push up, raise one arm). I had to fake that, putting most of the weight on my knees so I could raise my arm.

Following the warm up, we were told to take a position in front of the knee high wall and then instructed to jump with both feet onto the wall and then back down. I noticed that the wall gradually got lower as you went to the right, so I took a position as far to the right as I could. I was still pretty sure I would not be able to jump that high, so I stood back from the wall to make my first jump, just to see how high I could get. As expected, I barely made it to the top of the first brick in the wall. I did a few step ups and jump downs before I noticed that Caroline was laying on the ground. Apparently she didn't make the top of the wall either and fell backward. Ranger Nick and Ranger Jono ministered to her while Commando Ryan took the rest of us to the upper deck of the parking lot.  Update:  I just learned that Caroline broke both of her wrists in the fall!

Commando Ryan had us select a new partner, since many of our partners had dropped out (Emily, where are you?). I chose "Gall Bladder Judy" as my partner figuring that we are pretty evenly matched while she is recovering from her surgery. I knew I should choose someone like "Gall Bladder Judy" or "Car Wreck Mary" and steer clear of any of the healthy, uninjured athletic types like "Gymnast Casey". One partner was to do 20 modified push-ups while the other partner did split thrusts and then we swapped off, continuing to swap and decrease by one rep each time until we got to 10. We followed this up alternating sit-ups and flutter kicks from 20 reps down to 15. Jono wasn't happy with my sit-ups and stood on my feet while he "encouraged" me to keep my hands behind my head. I think I have developed bruises along my spine where each of my vertebrae touched the concrete with every sit-up. Judy's doctor had told her to go easy on the sit-ups so she wouldn't get a hernia after her surgery, so we knocked off a few reps early (don't tell Ranger Jono).

Ranger Nick took over from here. He was pretty upset about Caroline's injury, so he tried to stress safety with the exercises. His first exercise involved having us hop on one foot alongside a set of cones, then sprint back to the start and hop on the other foot. Next, we hopped side to side from one cone to the next and sprinted back. Then came a race. We were to race our partner, side skipping down the cones, sprint back and side skip on the other side. It was Karen's turn to fall during this race. She popped right back up though, appearing to be just a little skinned up. After this, Ranger Jono had us drop and do 10 push-ups. I tried to do boy push-ups without going down to my knees, but I was not lowering myself very much at all, in fact, I was mostly just moving my neck. Ranger Jono noticed. "Tell me that's not a push-up, Beee Jaaayyy!" I think I could actually HEAR his eyes rolling.

The last drill was a game of tag. The Rangers were "it". The troops (us) were to run from one end of the parking lot to the other and try to avoid being tagged by the Rangers. I was the first one tagged. When you were tagged, you were to stop and assume the position of a dying cockroach, lying on your back with your arms and legs in the air and twitching until everyone had been tagged. Wilson and Casey were very elusive, so the first round lasted until I didn't think I could twitch anymore. During the second round, Mary fell while she was trying to juke and jive around Ranger Nick. She made it back to her feet after the fall, but seemed to be limping a bit.

We lined up tallest to smallest and held our arms extended to our sides for a full 5 minutes while the Rangers took turns talking to us. Ranger Jono said we should be ASHAMED of ourselves for the effort we were putting forth and told us that the patients he works with at Shepherd Spinal Center would be GLAD to be out here doing these exercises. He suggested that we volunteer at the Spinal Center to give us some extra motivation. Ranger Nick took today's injuries really hard. He prides himself on developing a program that is safe and was unhappy with today's results.

After the work-out, I showered up and left the gym with my hair wet, planning to try out my new 12 volt hair dryer in the car once I had cooled down. I ran into Ranger Jono in the parking lot. He said, "Good job today, Beee Jaaayyy. I've got my eye on you."

The new hair drying routine needs some refinement. First, I pulled into a parking space facing the sun, but couldn't see the mirror so I had to back into the space. Then, I plugged the dryer into the cigarette lighter splitter and destroyed the splitter. I plugged the dryer directly into the cigarette lighter and it worked fine, but I'm not sure it is worth the effort. I'm glad it only cost $12. I may have to relegate it to the "Gift Closet". Isn't your birthday coming up???

Status: Down 2 1/4 pounds. Aarrgghh! Imagine what I would weigh now if I weren't exercising and dieting.

P.S.  I sent Ranger Jono an email and received this response later in the afternoon:

Hi BJ, Thankyou for your em, None of us could have imagined that ANYONE of you would sustain so much as a bruise or a scrape or anything above a slightly twisted ankle-Maybe. But NEVER a Bone Break!!! It was so shocking to me when Kati told me I literally had to pull over from driving and talking to Kati on my cell phone because I was so distraught and shocked.

Nick is very Upset as both Ryan and I are as we take Full responsibility for not only your health and fitness goals but also, God knows I hate to say these words-your failures as well.

Nick, Ryan and I get together 30-45 minutes earlier before each Boot camp to discuss what we are going to employ for your training AND to make sure with each of us that the excercises are Doable, Leads to confidence, Promotes Leadership and teamwork, induces greater physical/mental ability to handle stressful situations and above all IS SAFE. Please let me say that again, "Is SAFE".

I know you might find this very hard to believe-but it is both Nick and Ryan who are ripping my masochistic enthusiasm back from my wild imagination as a former Ranger Instructor, to a more Kindler, gentler, civilian based excersise that is above all SAFE for the team we are working with and they're specific goals. I could go on in the "If I had it My Way......!!! but I can't so we don't rappell off the buildings at Night Aussie Style ( face forward ) or do some white water snorkling down the Class 2 rapids of the Chattahoochee-at night. If I had it MY way it would be done...At Night.

So, my point is, if you haven't surmised it yet is, We really work hard to make each excercise fun challenging, different AND SAFE.

I will be contacting Caroline Personally very soon to get an update and wish her a very speedy recovery.

Again BJ, THANKYOU for the uplifting em. Please feel free to forward my response, in fact I would encourage you to forward my response to the others in the team as we do not have ALL there em adresses.

Bravest Regards,

Cheif Hary Scary
Hairy Scary Evolutions

"If It Seems Impossible, Then It's Got To Be Us"

Friday, August 11, 2006
Day 15

Well, I guess you can add me to the injured list. This morning, the warm-up, led by Commando Ryan included something called, "Hello Dollies". Sadly this was not the cookies of the same name that made me fat in college. This was an exercise where we lay on our backs with our legs hovering above the ground, spreading and closing our legs. On about the third repetition, I felt a burning sensation in my upper inner thigh. [From my post exercise internet research (so you know it is true), I believe what I have is a Grade I Groin Strain, an injury to the adductor muscles occurring when the muscle is stretched too far.]

Following the warm-up, we were to run around the 300 and 400 building while Commando Ryan timed us. I started the run, but realized as I rounded the 400 building, the burning in my inner thigh was increasing so I dropped back to a walk (more of a limp, really). It was a shame too, because I was just starting to think I might not come in last on this lap. Everyone else thundered by me. As I limped to the finish line, I heard Ranger Jono yelling at the group. "Everyone drop and give me 20 because BJ can't keep up with the group." I tried to grimace enough for him to see that I was injured. Commando Ryan recognized the injured look and came over to ask me about it. He said to put ice on it and take ibuprofen for the next day or so.

We lined up tallest to smallest for some agility exercises that involved squatting and jumping on one leg and then the other one, and then standing on each leg and bending to touch our toe with the opposite leg extended behind us. I was able to do some of these, but took it fairly easy so as not to compound my injury.

The group did a second lap, being timed again. I sat on the wall (the same one Caroline fell off of) and waited. Ranger Nick led, with a time of something under 2 minutes (amazing). He was followed closely by Rick, huffing and puffing, slightly over 2 minutes (still amazing). Aaron came cruising in next, looking just downright refreshed and barely winded (that's just not right). The rest of the group trickled in showing varying degrees of exhaustion.

We did more floor/concrete exercises. 10 push-ups, 10 side lifts, 10 sit-ups, 10 side lifts on the other side and then back to push-ups again for four rotations. I was able to do most of the exercises (as well as I had before - certainly not to Ranger Jono's satisfaction). The groin muscle hurt mostly when I laid down and got up. Trudy seemed to be suffering some sort of ailment as well since I had to help her get up a couple of times.

The group did another speed lap which gave me some quality time with Jono. This time, Ranger Nick gave them a 30 second head start and STILL came in first! The last exercise was to be a steady maintainable pace around the buildings.

Katie took her turn giving the motivational speech at the end of the work-out. The gist of it was "get a good workout, but know your limitations and don't try to do anything that will cause you to get hurt."

Katie had assembled a gift basket and we all signed a card for Caroline.

Status: Down 4 pounds (back to where I was on Day 10). Was surprisingly, actually disappointed not to be able to complete the work-out this morning.

Monday, August 14, 2006
Day 16

I'm still a little sore, but I guess I'm back off of the injured list. I was able to participate in all of this morning's activities. We started with a slow jog over to the grassy field. Ranger Nick said for someone to grab the gear, which turned out to be a backpack full of weight balls, rope, cones and hurdles. There were eight 10 pound weight balls and two 8 pound weigh balls in the pack plus the rest of the stuff. Can you do the math? That's about 100 pounds! Rick grabbed the pack and Rory ran along behind, trying to lift some of the weight. Even with all of that extra weight, they still passed me. This didn't make Ranger Jono very happy.

When we got to the field, Commando Ryan took us on an "Indian Run". We broke into two lines and ran around the outside edge of the field. When Ryan yelled, "Go", the person at the back of each line was to run up to the front. I made it to the front of the line once, but after that, Judy and I dropped back and the other three had their own little game. I continued to run, but Judy dropped back to a walk. Ranger Jono was very unhappy about this. He made us line up tallest to smallest and said that he wanted everyone but Judy and his favorite person to drop and do push-ups. He wanted Judy and his favorite person to stand with their arms extended to the sky. Dave, Rick and I all assumed we were Jono's favorite person, but he stood in front of each of us and asked, "Are you my favorite person?" Dave and Rick both answered no and were told to drop and do push ups. I answered, "I think so", but he told me to drop and do push ups anyway. Judy had to stand with her arms in the air while we did the next series of exercises.

We were to roll to the right three times and then do sit-ups. Dave rolled to the left, so he had to do push-ups for not following instructions and paying "ATTENTION TO DETAIL". "What if you were being told to roll away from a land mine, DAVE?" We did more rolling, push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks and squats which Ranger Jono said was our punishment for letting Judy fall behind.

We lined up smallest to tallest at the bottom of the hill and Ranger Nick took the four tallest for a "game". There were two teams of two. The game was for each person to carry two 10 pound weight balls and one end of a rope, never letting anything touch the ground through an obstacle course. At the first cone, they did squat jumps, holding all of the equipment, then ran to the next cone and did split jumps. Next was a set of hurdles that were positioned the rope's distance apart. If anything touched the ground, more squat jumps were prescribed. The goal was to pick up the 8 pound weight ball at the end of the course and run back to the beginning before the other team made it.

While they played the game, the rest of us did flutter kicks, sit-ups, push-ups, squats and mountain-climbers. When I was just getting to the point of exhaustion, it became my turn to play the game. Dave and I were teammates. At the second cone, I dropped one of my balls and we had to do squat jumps. Needless to say, we lost the game. We joined the line doing ground exercises while the last teams competed. Wilson and somebody else had to play again since there weren't enough teams.

After all of the teams had competed, the losers were assembled for the another relay which was to retrieve the green (8 pound) ball from the top of the hill while keeping the rope from touching the ground. I was paired with Rick for this relay. He had a good strategy, but not good enough to overcome my lack of speed. He ran ahead with the rope stretched to its full extent and retrieved the ball, and then kept the rope taut as he took the lead on the way down the hill. When it was clear we were not going to make it back first, he tried to throw the ball to the finish line, but we lost. Dave and I were selected to compete to retrieve all of the hurdles from the field. I was in the lead until the last second when Ranger Jono yelled that Dave had BETTER NOT let me beat him. He kicked it into high gear and threw his hurdles into the backpack milliseconds ahead of me.

We lined up tallest to smallest. Ranger Jono gave his usual speech, "Good effort today, but NOT GOOD ENOUGH." We were dismissed to walk, yes I said WALK, back to the building! I was covered in dirt and grass from head to toe.  I looked like Pigpen from the Charlie Brown Cartoon.  Of course, just when I didn't want to see anyone, I ran into my friend David arriving for work.

Status: Down 1 1/4 pounds (back to where I was on Day 5). Starting to get a little bit discouraged.  Might as well have pizza for dinner.  The diet isn't helping.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Day 17

I forgot to set my alarm clock so I was late getting up this morning. Only 10 minutes, so I hurried and made it just in time, unlike Casey and Trudy who were late and had to do push-ups and flutter kicks.

Only Ranger Jono was there to lead us today. Scary! The warm-up was pretty innocuous; arm circles, torso twists, stretches, jumping jacks and the like. Ranger Jono explained that today's program would consist of running to a point, stopping to do calisthenics and then running to the next point... repeat ad nauseam (or should that be add nausea?).

We ran around 300 building through the tables outside the cafe, up the steps, through the bushes and across the grass into parking deck of 100 building. Once in the deck, we ran a weaving pattern through the poles and then up the steps to the top deck. Judy, Trudy and I were the last ones to reach the top deck. Judy and I because we are always last and Trudy because she took Ranger Jono seriously when he said, "Never leave a comrade behind." When we got to the top deck, we found the rest of the group in the push-up position waiting for us to arrive. (I am sure we slow folks are continuing to gain popularity because of this. Surprisingly everyone is extremely encouraging though.) The area where we stopped for push-ups was covered with tiny gravel chips painted over with enamel. There was NO WAY I was dropping to my knees during the push-ups. Those little rock chips were about to draw blood from my palms. My meager attempts to do boy push-ups were overlooked though because Jono was focused on Judy. "Just moving your head doesn't count, Juuuuudddddyyyyy."

Next we ran across parking lot to a field beside the 100 building parking deck. Again, the group had to hold the push-up position until everyone arrived. Then we had to get into the thinking position which is what is known as the "plank" position in yoga. We were on our elbows and toes with our body parallel to the ground. After we held that for awhile, we lowered and lifted our hips twenty times.

We lined up tallest to smallest with our hands on our heads and counted off by twos. The ones went to Jono's right and the twos to the left. The twos had to do push-ups. Why? Because they didn't keep their hands on their heads. "ATTENTION TO DETAIL, PEOPLE."

The two teams raced to the end of the field doing the elephant walk (walking on hands and feet). The grass was REALLY wet from the rain the night before. (I hesitate to write this lest Jono should read it, but when he turned his back, I stood up and ran forward a few steps dropping back down when he turned around again.) We raced back to the start doing walking lunges. Then we raced to the other end again doing the crab walk (on backs walking on hands and feet, not letting butts touch the ground). The grass was so wet, it was like crawling through cold soup. I made it about 1/4 of the way across the field before I had to stop and sit in the soup. I rested a minute & then crab walked another quarter of the distance. Another brief soup sitting session and a few more crab walking steps. Finally, I could no longer support my body weight on my arms so I had modify the crab walk to put my arms behind me and just drag my butt across the wet grass. Mark gave up completely on the crab walk and turned over to do the elephant walk to the finish line. Sopping wet, we ran to the start line and back twice, retrieving a leaf from the bushes each time.

Ranger Jono led the troups through the bushes, across the street, through the trees, across the field and down the driveway to the bottom level of the 400 building parking deck. Everyone was, of course, in push-up position when I arrived. I assumed the position while we waited for Trudy and Judy, but when there was no sign of them, Jono finally relented and let us take the dying cockroach position. He sent Miles back to look for the stragglers. While we waited, we did some more drills. We did three diagonal hops in one direction and then the other across the parking lot and then did walking lunges back to the start. Miles returned empty handed. We did some more push-ups, "COME ON BJ, just give me five good push-ups, OFF YOUR KNEES". Nope - still can't do them.

We ran, two steps at a time from level G (or was it level Z) up to level A. I thought my lungs were going to explode. At the top, we were joined by Judy and Trudy. We did a few more push-ups and flutter kicks. When the command came to recover, nobody popped up quickly enough, so we had to go down into push-up position and pop-up a few more times until we got it right (which we never did, but Jono finally gave up.)

During the speech, Ranger Jono described himself as a "monosyllabic snake eating knuckle dragger". He said he was not a very eloquent speaker. I beg to differ. I wish I had a recorder - I find his speeches to be quite entertaining. Jono revealed that he may be our only instructor now since he thinks Ranger Nick may have been called back up for active duty. He didn't mention Commando Ryan.

Back in the locker room, Judy and I talked a bit. I said I thought she had been ahead of me at the first few sessions. She said she just doesn't have any energy and can't get her breath when we are running. I think it may be after effects from the anesthesia during her gall bladder surgery. For her sake, I hate to say this, but I am glad she is there to share last place with me!

I will be out of town and have to miss Friday and Monday's sessions. Next Wednesday will be really hard!

Status: Down 2 3/4 pounds (back to where I was on Day 7). Does the term yo-yo come to mind?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Day 20

I missed days 18 and 19 due to a trip to the beach. I actually took my exercise clothes with me but they never left my suitcase, leaving them nice and clean for today's work-out. I did do some ocean kayaking over the weekend, but I skipped the running and crab-crawls in favor of relaxing under a beach umbrella.

We had a rare treat this morning in that Jono was absent, so we had a work-out of the kinder gentler variety. Still challenging, mind you. Ryan led the traditional warm up: arm circles, crunches, push-ups, flutter kicks and supermans. Then we backed up to the wall for some tricep dips with one leg crossed over the other. We alternated these with touching our toes and jumping on one leg.

Once we were warmed up, we did walking lunges across the patio and up to the upper parking deck. The short distance seems MUCH longer when doing walking lunges. Up top, Ryan and Nick offered us the opportunity to get some water. Everyone was hesitant to fall out of line, afraid that it was a trick, but once one or two got water without incident, the rest of us jumped on the band wagon. Nick took over command and had us run across the parking deck and back in various formations. Half speed, 3/4 speed, full speed, sideways, backward, plant and turn, etc. Afterward, we lined up with our toes against the side walk and did the old football drill (not that I ever played football) stepping up and down off of the curb as quickly as we could. We hopped with both feet up onto the curb and back down frontward and sideways. This was MUCH easier and safer than jumping onto the knee-high wall. Even so, Nick stressed that we should "BE CAREFUL"

Another water break (!!!) was followed by double leg hops up the steps to the upper deck, sprint to the end of the parking deck and back down. Next, we did side hops up two steps at a time, side hop across the parking lot and then side hops back down and repeated on the other side. I held the handrail on all of the step exercises, something which I am sure Ranger Jono would have frowned upon, but not as much as he would have frowned on a serious injury!

Our next instruction was to sit on the curb (I liked it!) and then get up and sit down again 50 times (I didn't like it!). When we finished, we were to get into plank position with our hands on the curb and then walk our hands onto the deck and then back onto the curb until we were told to stop. One more set of sprints, side hops and backward running up and down the parking ramp and we were done!

Status: Down 1 1/2 pounds. (Back to where I was on Day 5 and Day 16.) I supposed I should be pleased that I am down at all after spending a long weekend at the beach. I have a nasty bruise on my inner thigh from the pulled muscle. It waited until I got to the beach to surface, making it a nice battle scar for bragging about my physical prowess (lack thereof).

Oh yeah - forgot to mention that one of my comrades said that Jono told them on Monday that when he left the military he didn't know what to do with himself so he went to a monastery for 6 months until he saw the light that his new purpose was to motivate people.

Also, the Rangers keep mentioning "Scott" the double leg amputee who is faster and stronger than us and how he is coming to boot camp "next time", only next time never comes. I am starting to doubt Scott's existence, just as I doubt the existence of the Navy Seal that was mentioned at the first session. The Seal was supposed to be a guest instructor who runs with a knife in his mouth.

Friday, August 25, 2006
Day 21

This morning we were all bewildered when we were instructed to walk (yes, I said WALK) up to the fountain. When we got there, we lined up tallest to smallest and Ryan started our warm-up with arm circles, squats ("LOWER BeeeJaayyy... Bermuda BeeeJaayyy" - a dig about my trip to the beach), lunges and Jumping Jacks. Jono gave us a bit of trivia during the Jumping Jacks. "Can anyone tell me why we call them Jumping Jacks? No? Jack LaLanne, was asked to come up with an exercise that would improve the fitness level for the troups..." My internet research (so you know it's true) tells me that the "Jumping Jack" exercise was actually invented by John, "Black Jack" Pershing during World War I. I'm not going to correct Jono though.

Jono wasn't happy with our performance during Ryan's warm-up, so he took over, requiring sit-ups and push-ups ("Whats our ISSUE, Rick? Keep doing push-ups until everyone is finished"). Since our push-ups were not up to par, we were invited to get into the "thinking position" while we watched Jono demonstrate a proper push-up. My push-ups don't even look like the same exercise as Jono demonstrated. He can hover 1/8 inch off the ground for what seems like an eternity and then push himself back up. My barely bent elbows leave me about 24 inches above the ground and I can only hold that for a second at most.

Ryan led us on today's running course: Up to the top of the fountain, down the steps, up the ramp in front of the 100 building, down the steps, around the end of the gardens, back to the other end of the gardens, back up the steps to the top of the fountain and back down the steps. When we got back, Jono asked if anyone wanted water. Only Mark was brave enough to answer yes. Jono said, "When I was in the Army and my commanding officer asked if I wanted water, I said yes and he told me to suck it out of my shirt. So I did."

We divided into teams and ran the next lap competing for first place. My team was me, Rick, Trudy and Mark. The other team was Rory, Miles, Dave and Judy. The first place team would get to take a second lap while the losing team got to work-out with Jono. My team agreed we would rather run another lap, so we tried extra hard to win. Of course, I brought up the rear so Rick came back to run the last part of the lap with me. I was still breathing like a freight train when it was time to run the next lap. I suggested that Mark and Rick carry me with the fireman's carry, but they weren't buying it. I took a little short cut on the run which put me ahead of Mark and Trudy. Jono didn't see the short-cut, but noticed that I was ahead and gave me some positive reinforcement. I felt kind of bad (not really) until someone tattled on me. In a post-Boot Camp discussion with one of my comrades (who wishes to remain anonymous), I learned that Mr. Anonymous also cheats sometimes when Jono is not looking.

When we got back to the start, Nick decided that the fastest and slowest runners from each team should compete. I don't know how Rick and Rory did since they were so far ahead, but Judy and I stayed neck and neck most of the way. We both took the short-cut, matching each other stride for stride. It was very exciting (NOT). Rick came back to run the last part with me. I suggested that he should carry me piggy-back the rest of the way, but again, he wasn't going for it.

By the time Judy and I got back to the start, the rest of the group was gone. I later learned that Rick and Rory had to run another lap with the rest of the group chasing them. Judy and I were told to do the dying cockroach until they got back.

We lined up tallest to smallest and Mark led us in 50 Jumping Jack LaLannes. Trudy had her fill of Jono, so she departed before the last exercise. We were dismissed and walked (what's this WALKING thing?) back to the building. While we were walking, Rick told us that he had scared a bobcat out of the bushes during the run! I might have run faster if I had known a bobcat was after me!

Status: Down 1 1/2 pounds. (Back to where I was on Day 5, Day 16 and Day 20) Maybe its not all about the scales - maybe I'm really turning some of my fat into muscle. I went to my regular massage therapist last night and she asked if I was losing weight. I told her that I was exercising and she said she could tell because my shoulder blades were much more defined. Well, that's not exactly the body part I was targeting, but I guess I'll take what I can get.

PS - turns out the aforementioned Scott the double leg amputee who is faster and stronger than us really does exist:

Monday, August 28, 2006
Day 22

As we milled around stretching before camp, the conversation turned to the rift between Jono and Trudy. Trudy was conspicuously absent, choosing to work-out on the elliptical machine instead of doing the boot camp work-out. We hate to lose a comrade for many reasons, not the least of which is that it means there are fewer of us upon which for Jono to focus his wrath.

Ryan led us in a slow jog up to the fountain where we did a brief warm up consisting of arm circles and squats. Jono's trivia question of the day was, "One of the most powerful men in the world wears a pink tie. Can anyone tell me who it is?" There were a couple of wrong guesses before Jono told us the answer, "Donald Trump".

Today's work out was an obstacle course that the Rangers had set up around the gardens. At each station were two cards. The first one listed the exercise and the second one had the transport method to get to the next station. We went through the course the first time as a group. At the first station we did 10 pull-ups on the handrail of the steps, then we transported ourselves to the next station doing walking lunges. Twenty incline sit-ups there were followed by side-hops to the push-up station. After twenty push-ups, more side-hops took us to the glut-lift station where we lay on our backs with one leg extended and lifted our hips twenty times for each leg. We did walking lunges to the superman station. It was very hard to cheat today with all three Rangers in attendance, keeping their eagle eyes on us. We did twenty supermans and then leap-frogs to transport us to the next station. We didn't leap-frog over each other, we just touched our hands to the ground and then hopped forward. It was slow going for most of us. When we got to the steps, we hopped up them on both feet. Surprisingly, I was actually able to jump up the steps without using the handrail. It took me a long time since I had to stop and gather my strength before I attempted each step. At the top, the boys had to put their feet on the wall and do push-ups. The girls got to put their hands on the wall for push-ups. Jono got right next to me and tried to get me to lower myself to the same level he did, but I didn't even get close. We did backward lunges to the next station for jumping jacks. Then more of those horrible leap-frogs took us to the final station for tricep dips.

After a water break, we were told to choose a partner of roughly equal fitness level. Karen asked to be my partner, but I knew Judy and I were more comparably suited. After we teamed up with our partner, they separated us and told us that we would be competing with our partner. One group would complete the obstacle course backward while the other group did it forward. Judy and I completed the course in roughly the same amount of time. By the time we got back to the fountain, it was time to go. We were dismissed without even getting the usual speech today. (I kind of missed it).

Status: Down 1 1/2 pounds. (Back to where I was on Day 5, Day 16, Day 20 and Day 21) I believe I have reached a plateau.

On a different subject, I now KNOW [and not just from the internet (where you can believe everything you read)] that Scott, the purported double leg amputee who is faster and stronger than us, really exists because I saw him Saturday at R.E.I.! He said he really does plan to come and work out with us when he gets back from his triathlon in Switzerland.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Day 23

Tony said it thundered and lightninged (is that a word?) and rained all night last night. I slept right through it, but I could tell it had rained pretty hard by how wet the streets were as I drove in. I was afraid this was going to be another day like Day 17 (crawling through cold soup), but the Rangers had other ideas. We stayed inside the building today. I'm going to reserve judgement about whether this was good or bad until I see how I feel tomorrow.

We started out in the aerobics room for our warm-up. Rory was selected from the ranks to lead the warm-up this morning. He opted for the traditional arm circles, squats, trunk rotations, supermans, etc. Ranger Jono made a professional observation during the supermans that Karen had nice legs and told us about how he is a leg man. The nicest thing he could think of to say to me was that my blue shorts were his favorite color.

Next, Commando Ryan led us to the stairwell. He called this the 9/11 exercise because Jono said that one of the reasons folks didn't get out of the World Trade Towers was because they couldn't make it down the stairs quickly enough. Ryan started off at a jog up the steps, saying we were going all the way to the top and then walking down. I thought, "I can do this. I walked up 16 flights in this building after a fire drill once, several years ago." I only jogged up about three steps before I decided I had better pace myself if I would make it all the way to the top. Trudy, Mark and Karen were behind me. I moved right, knowing they would pass me. Trudy passed me right away. It took Mark half a flight of steps to get around me, but he finally did. Karen decided to hang with me. I don't know if it was because she was worried about how hard I was breathing or because she was struggling herself. For self-motivation, as I reached each floor, I would chant (in my head - goodness knows I couldn't speak) the floor number until I got to the next level. When I got to eleven, I thought, "Oh good, this is a 21 story building so I'm over half-way now." I kept waiting to meet the others coming back down, but I kept hearing them above me. I thought maybe they had gone out on the roof and we were going to rappel down (Oh dear - I hope not Jono's Aussie style). When I got to twenty, I thought, "Only one more flight." But as I rounded the landing, there were more steps. Okay, these must be up to the roof, but at the next landing there were still more steps. I started thinking, "How can there be two flights of steps above the top floor of a 21 story building? Maybe I have died and I am climbing up to Heaven... No, this wouldn't be Heaven..." Finally, I met the others coming back down. They said I was almost at the top. When we emerged (somewhat less than triumphant), Commando Ryan was waiting and told us to stretch our calves before we headed back down.

On the way down, Karen and I were reminded of our hikes into the Grand Canyon. Karen's experience sounded similar to mine. My breathing was starting to approach normal by the time I got back to the basement. We lined up tallest to smallest with weights. I selected 5 pound weights for the exercises, although Jono recommended eights. I chose to assume he meant that recommendation for the boys. We did twenty squats, touching the weights to the ground and then pushing them up over our heads, and then twenty more, touching the weights to the ground and pulling them up under our arms. Then we went to one end of the room to do ten push-ups and then bear-crawl (walking on hands and feet) to the other end of the room for ten more push-ups. A Crab-walk took us back to the beginning where we repeated the series. Jono still doesn't like my push-ups. He didn't give me any flack about being on my knees, but he wanted my elbows at 90 degree angles. Every time I thought he was looking away and I could cheat a little, I heard, "I'm watching you Beee Jaaaayyy. Closely." Damn those mirrors in the aerobics room. He told us about having been at the Braves game the night before and seeing an attractive young girl on the big screen, but when she waved, she had what he called "Bingo Arms" (we used to call it "School Teacher Arms" - where the flab underneath the bicep waves as the teacher writes on the board). I hate to tell him, but I don't think any amount of push-ups will get rid of my "Bingo Arms". That's just something we women are going to get sooner or later. That's the reason the parade wave was invented. Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist.

Commando Ryan decided it was time to lead us back up the steps. As we were going out the door to the stairwell, Ranger Jono called Dave back. Since Jono's other minions have dropped out, he has selected Dave as his whipping boy. He calls him "Super Dave" and tells him he has to live up to his name. I didn't know what Jono had in store for Dave, but I knew I felt sorry for him. In a few minutes, I heard Dave on the steps behind me. About two flights up, I heard a big thud below me. I thought maybe Dave had passed out, so I peered over the railing. Thank goodness, it was not Dave's head I heard hitting the steps, but the ten pound weights that Jono had him carrying. I got used to the sound, since I heard it at every landing. This time, I was better mentally prepared for the 24 flights, but my pace was even slower. I finally made it to the top and started back down with my legs trembling. Before I got halfway back down, I could hear Ranger Jono shouting "encouragement" from the bottom. I tried to hurry my jelly-legs toward the "welcoming" voice.

After we got some water, we repeated the squat, push-up, bear-crawl, push-up, crab-crawl series. Jono was still watching me closely. He finally relented and let me do flutter kicks for 30 seconds in lieu of the last four push-ups. Our next exercise was to hold the "thinking position" and then transfer to one side for some side lifts, back to the thinking position and then more side lifts on the other side. We went through that rotation twice. Twenty supermans and then twenty push-ups and we were almost done. We just had to line up tallest to smallest and listen to Jono's pep talk. He said that on Friday, he plans to go lighter on the seven of us, since we have been such faithful attendees. Too bad I am planning to be on vacation Friday. This I would like to see!

Back in the locker room, I told Trudy that we were glad to have her back. She said that she had tried another boot camp and, "Don't tell Jono this..." but it was boring!

Status: Down 1 1/4 pounds. I may as well stop reporting status - seems that it isn't changing. :-(

Wednesday, September 7, 2006
Day 25

Well, I missed Day 24 due to another trip to the beach (that is getting to be a habit), but I heard that only four people showed up and everyone was extremely sore from the 9/11 exercise. I too, suffered for several days with extremely sore calves. It was Saturday before I could walk down stairs without audibly moaning, and Tuesday before I was completely pain-free. I did push-ups almost every day over the weekend to try to keep my shapely shoulder blades intact. Since Monday was a holiday, there was no boot camp.

Today, we started in the aerobics room with a warm-up (squats, jumping jacks and stretching) led by Nick. Jono commented on Judy's pretty legs, but didn't remark about my blue shorts. He did say I had a nice tan! He poked a bit of fun at Miles about his pale complexion. The other Rangers joined in, commenting that they thought they were getting a tan from the glare off of Miles' white skin.

Then Jono led the charge up the 24 flights of stairs again, this time taking it two steps at a time. The fellows immediately pulled away from the ladies, but we could hear their heavy breathing up ahead. Two steps at a time seemed to be more taxing on my quads than my calves, but I'll know tomorrow which muscles are more sore. When I finally made it to the top, Jono was waiting with one of his famous, "If I had my way..." quotes. "If I had my way, we'd be doing the fireman's carry up the steps." Yeah, right. Only if I get to be the one being carried!

Back at the bottom, Ryan divided us into groups of two and gave each group a resistance band. One person squatted while the other person pulled the band up to their shoulders, then we switched. Next, we pulled the band to either side with our arms held straight. Then he gave us each a weight. He gave me a 10 pound weight but everyone else got at least 25 pounds. I think he feels sorry for me. We touched our toe with the weight with the other leg extended behind us, then the other leg (10 reps for each leg), then lifted the weight over our head with straight arms 10 times and then 10 sit-ups with the weight. We repeated this three times through, doing twenty push-ups between each rotation.

Walking on jelly-legs, we made our way up to the parking deck, where we ran two laps around the center. Then we lined up tallest to smallest and counted off by twos. The twos competed against the ones in a crab walk to the second light pole and then ten push-ups and a run back to the start. Our team won, so as our reward, we got to take a slow lap around the parking deck. (I'm not sure what the others were doing while we were being "rewarded".)

When we got back to the start, Jono had us take the "thinking position" while he gave us a pep talk. He said that 29 people had signed up for boot-camp, but only the eight of us remained. He said he was very proud of us and dismissed us five minutes early.

Status: No change

Scott Rigsby (the double amputee who is faster and stronger than any of us) was in the news this weekend. He competed for the United States in the World Triathlon (1500 meter swim, 24.8 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run) Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. This story: does not show Delta in a very flattering light, saying that they wanted to charge him $2000 for missing his flight because he was waiting for some of his leg parts to show up. According to Jono, Scott came in fourth in the physically challenged athlete division, but there was some question about the challenged-ness of the first and second place winners.

Friday, September 9, 2006
Day 26

Arm circles and squats warmed us up for our work-out today. The next exercise was to sit on the wall and then hold one leg up and stand up on the other leg ten times, followed by ten dips, then sit and stand with the other leg lifted followed by ten push ups on the wall ("Lower, Beeee Jaaaayyy. I want to see your elbows at 90 degree angles. I know you can go lower because you are smiling. If you were crying I might have some sympathy.") Standing up on one leg was really hard. We were supposed to keep our hands on our hips as we did it, but I needed the momentum thrusting my arms out in front of me to get up (and sometimes I cheated and pushed up off of the wall). After we did the rotation ten times, then we did it nine and then eight, etc. We were supposed to work our way down to one, but the girl end of the line was somewhat slow, so we got a reprieve after we got down to about four.

Our "reprieve" meant we got to join the guys on the ground doing ten sit-ups and then ten flutter kicks and then nine, eight, etc. While we were doing this, Ryan and Jono were explaining what the rest of our workout would entail. We would be working on exercises that would elevate our heart rate quickly and then rest to get it back down and then elevate it again. Jono said that these were called "Fartleks", named after their creator, Dr. Fartlek. He pronounced it "Fart-Lick" and someone commented on what an unfortunate name it was and how Dr. Fartlek must have had a difficult childhood. My internet research (so you know it is true) has revealed that the Fartlek (a Swedish word meaning speed play) is a combination of faster-than-pace sprints, punctuated by periods of slower running. It was developed in the 1930s by Swedish coach Gosta Holmerd. Okay, so Jono is not always accurate, but he is VERY entertaining.

Our fartleks consisted of walking down the steps to the lowest level of the parking garage, sprinting back up and across the parking lot, then lying down in the dying cockroach position. Jono finally explained after eight weeks of our doing the dying cockroach that the purpose is not just to make us feel humiliated, it is actually to get the blood to our hearts quickly. Who knew it actually had a purpose? We were supposed to read our heart monitors after the sprint and then again after the rest, but my heart monitor had died several weeks ago and I never replaced it. I found it to be rather demotivating to note that my heart rate would elevate to around 180 with very little exertion at all, so I decided to ditch it. We did the steps thing twice and then lined up smallest to tallest. Ryan gave each of us a magic number which was to be the number of times we had to sprint across the parking lot and then jog back. My magic number was two! I heard him tell Rick his magic number was four. While we were preparing for the sprint, Jono gave us his trivia question of the day, "Who can tell me where the term busting ass came from?" There were a couple of guesses. Rory thought it was when you pushed your mule too far when plowing a field. I'll have to ask Rory if he grew up in Jefferson. My father often pushed Old Blue too hard, but that's another story for another time. Jono's answer was that it is when you put forth so much effort that methane blows out your backside. I can find nothing on the internet to confirm or refute that.

We ran more fartleks up the ramp in the parking deck while dodging cars driving down the ramp. Someone referred to it as playing Frogger.

We were ACTUALLY allowed to SIT DOWN during our pep talk which was really a PEP TALK. Jono is so proud of us! There is discussion of another boot camp after this one ends, but we need to let Katie know if we are interested. Right now, I'm thinking I am. I know, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Status: No change

Monday, September 11, 2006
Day 27

Our little group seems to have stabilized at 4 to 5 men and 4 women. Jono commented that 29 people originally signed up, but I can only think of 17 names. I have heard excuses from some of the missing: Katie and Wilson (training for half-marathon), Alex (allegedly hurt his back), Caroline (two broken wrists), Amanda (moved away), Ice-Pack Mary (wounded), Aaron (teaching school) and some are just missing, like Casey. Those of us who remain (from tallest to smallest) are Mark, Miles, Super-Dave, Rory, Rick, me, Judy, Karen and Trudy. Of the remaining nine, all were present today except Rick.

Thirty arm circles to the front, thirty to the back got us started. Then we slapped our ankles 30 times and then 30 more times, jumping between each slap. Twenty Jumping Jacks finished the warm-up portion of the session. We did a couple of rotations of push-ups (20) followed by a plank until everyone finished their push-ups. Then 30 seconds in the thinking position followed by 20 Supermans. Jono did his impression of Karl in "Slingblade" when complimenting my blue shorts. "I shore do like them blue shorts, unh hunh."

After this, the women did frog-jumps and walking lunges while the men did dips and pelvic thrusts, then we switched and kept switching until we had done each exercise 3 times.

Since today is September 11, we did the commemorative 9/11 exercise - twice. We were a somber crowd as we climbed and remembered the September 11 events of 2001. As I was climbing, I was only thinking of the victims descending the steps, but after we had finished, while we were stretching, Jono said, if you thought climbing those steps was hard, just imagine those firefighters carrying all of that equipment up who only came down when the building came down. It really left me with a different perspective.

Oh, I realized this time that I previously misreported the number of flights of steps. The building has no 13th floor, so there are actually only 23 flights of steps. I was already sore from Friday's one legged stand-ups, so I had some real difficulty in completing the two round trips. After we finished and stretched a bit, I had trouble getting back up the steps from the aerobics room to the locker room. Also, I got really stiff during the ride to work and had trouble climbing onto the curb when I got there. The rest of the day has been tough as well. When I went to the bathroom, I thought I was going to have to enlist the aid of the person in the next stall to help me get up off of the toilet!

Status: Weight seems to be creeping up. Now only down 3/4 pound. I sent Katie a note about another boot camp, but she said she is not sure they will have one since they are still dealing with the insurance company about the unfortunate injury during this boot camp.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Day 28

When I was listing all of the participants last time, I forgot all about my first partner, Emily. I don't know what happened to her.

Ranger Jono told Commando Ryan that he had a very important 8 o'clock meeting today, so he would be unable to attend boot camp. He wouldn't have let one of us get by with such a weak excuse! I think I'll speak to him about that on Friday. Oh - I'm not going to be here Friday, and by Monday I will have forgotten. I guess I'll just let it slide then, but if it happens again...

It was raining cats and dogs this morning. We had a number of no-shows, probably fearing the "Rain or Shine" promise and remembering the previous sloshes through wet grass. Only Mark, Miles, Super-Dave, Rory, me and Trudy (tallest to smallest) showed up. While we were gathering in the lobby of the health club, Ryan showed us pictures from his motorcycle accident. Ewwww! He said a car turned in front of him too quickly for him to react, so he hit the bumper and then smashed on the windshield. He now knows what a bug feels like!

Ryan promised to give us an Air Force style work-out that did not involve yelling. We went down to the aerobics room for the workout. We did arm circles and jumping jacks and then everyone got a resist-a-ball. We did a series of two exercises per set, doing each set three times for twenty repetitions. In the first set we did crunches sitting on the ball, alternately with leg raises while facing downward, resting our elbows on the floor and our bodies on the ball. Then three people did squats, leaning against the ball on the wall while the other three rolled forward on the ball into a push-up and then pushed back to where they started. Then the groups switched. The next set involved push-ups on the ball (or, if you were Rory, you could bounce your chest off of the ball, catch yourself and then push up). I could barely hold the push-up position on the ball and maybe bend my elbows 1/8th of an inch. Alternating with the push-ups, we positioned the ball under our feet while in push-up position and rolled the ball up to our chests. The third set was one legged squats and pelvic thrusts while rolling the ball beneath us. Ryan took pity on me and said I only needed to do 10 repetitions, then when I finished first, he upped it to 13. The next set didn't involve the resist-a-ball. Instead, we crossed an 8 inch step while thrusting a medicine ball over our heads and then held the ball while we sat on the step and stood up until Ryan called time.   We alternated this with squats and upright rows with a resist-a-band and side pulls. The last set was three types of push-ups, narrow, wide, and normal and then leg lifts in a vee pattern.

It was a really good low-impact work-out which was good for me since I spent most of Monday with a heating pad on my lower back. Those frog-jumps on concrete almost did me in!

Status: Happy to say I'm on the right track again! Down 2!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Day 31

I had a wonderful trip to Scotland, returning rested and refreshed and ready for Boot Camp. Rory filled me in on the gory details of what I missed on Days 29 and 30. Strangely, I was the only one who was not sore during today's work out. I wonder if that could be related somehow to missing Monday's workout...

Mark, Miles, Super-Dave, Rory and Rick represented the men this morning while Judy, Trudy and I represented the women. Jono was absent, so Ryan gave us the Air Force workout again (kinder, gentler, quieter).

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There was a nip in the air since fall is here. We ran three laps around the parking lot to get our blood flowing before doing our warm-up of arm circles and jumping jacks. Each lap was supposed to be increasingly faster. I think mine were increasingly slower.

Ryan had a name for the rest of the exercises, I think he called them core rotations or something like that. We did lunges in three directions on each leg and then side raises and sit ups. Then we ran a lap (or two if you were Rick or Rory) around the parking lot. Then push-ups, raising one arm after the push-up and then the other one followed by a swimming motion on the concrete. Another lap (or two) followed by vee leg lifts and sit-ups. Another lap (or two) and then squat-thrusts combined with hip lifts with one leg raised. As I was laying on my back doing the hip lifts, I thought, "I hope my head is not too far out into the driveway, I would really hate for someone to run over it!" The last lap we ran on the balls of our feet to strengthen our calves.

As we were exercising, Ryan was extolling the virtues of the Air Force type of work out over the Army type. He had some rather unflattering things to say about the Army type of workout. Something about how the Army expected a certain number of deaths during their training. He told a few stories about things that he had heard happened in the Army, one about a death that resulted from testing a shrapnel proof vest with a pocket knife. Another one was about somebody tying a grenade to a tree limb by the pin, and when it fell out, rather than calling the bomb squad, they kicked around on the ground looking for it until someone got their leg blown off. He also said that during a thunderstorm a bunch of Army guys took refuge under a tank that was so heavy it sank and crushed them.

We went back downstairs and did step ups onto the wall and then dips. Mark will be out of town for the remainder of Boot Camp so we all put our hands in the middle and shouted "Boot Camp" in a show of solidarity.

Status: Down 3 1/4! Yeah! That won't hold. I'm leaving for the Delta Women's Golf Tournament in Phoenix in the morning.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Day 34

I had an exhausting trip to Phoenix, so I missed days 32 and 33, but I am sure I made up for it with all of the exercise I got golfing and partying. I got more exercise than the other girls at the golf tournament by taking the most strokes. Climbing in and out of the sand trap was good exercise as well. I was very very pleased when one of the girls at the tournament said that I looked better than she had ever seen me look. Of course, she may have been slightly intoxicated at the time, so her perspective was probably a bit skewed. But nevertheless, I took it as a compliment and gave all of the credit for my new body to Jono, Ryan and Nick.

I didn't bother to ask anyone what I had missed, but I heard them talking about being sore. My head hurt a little bit from my exercises over the weekend, but I didn't have any other real soreness except for a few unexplained bruises, but we won't talk about that. Super-Dave said that he had seen Ranger Jono talking to the guard in our building and afterward, the guard told him, "I wouldn't want to be you. Jono is going to smoke y'all this week."

We lined up tallest to smallest and waited for our instructions.

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Since it was chilly this morning, Commando Ryan let us do a couple of laps around the 300 and 400 buildings to warm up before we formed up in front of the fountain. Judy and I were the last to arrive at the fountain and the group was on the ground doing the dying cockroach. Ranger Jono was not happy with the formation, complaining that we looked like a "Cluster Flock". We straightened up into two lines of four to make him happy.

Commando Ryan had us do arm rotations while we ran around the mock obstacle course. Ranger Jono explained that mock means fake. He must be used to dealing with illiterates in the Army. (I'm getting pretty bold here on the next to the last day of boot camp - insulting the Army, but I did it for Commando Ryan and I'm counting on Ranger Jono not being able to read the blog... Hahahahahahahaha!!!).

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The drill was the same as before, we lined up tallest to smallest and counted off by twos, then the ones executed the course counter clockwise while the twos did it clockwise. I was a one. We started with 10 pull-ups on the stair railing and then lunges to the next station. Ranger Jono commented that I looked like I needed an oil can as I did my lunges. The next station was sit-ups and then side skips over to the pelvic thrust station. More side skips took us to the push-up station, then side skips to the superman station. I think we lunged to the bicycle sit-up station and then did leap frogs to the dip station. Seems like we ran to the jumping jack station and then did more leap frogs to the finish. Everyone (of course) had finished ahead of me and Judy and were doing sit and stands on the steps until we arrived. There were shouts of encouragement from the group, hoping to speed us to the finish so they could stop.

I got there in time to do about 10 seconds of the sit and stands. Ranger Jono asked if anyone knew the meaning of the term "Sty-rations". Rory thought it meant when you had a sty in your eye and it moved around. Jono said it was when your thigh muscles had so much definition that they look like they are going to pop through you skin. Super-Dave corrected him (I would NEVER have done that) and said that the word is striations.

After a few minutes of rest, it was time for us to execute the course again in the reverse direction. This time, I was close enough to see Miles and Rory do their leap frogs which I would more appropriately describe as bunny-hops. I tried that, but it took more energy than the leap frogs, so I opted to do leap frogs when I thought Ranger Jono could see me and walk in between. My last station was the pull-ups followed by lunges to the finish. As I was doing my lunges, Jono said, "WHAT is THAT? You look like a grand-daddy long-legs."

90 Flutter kicks and 90 bicycle sit-ups finished the session. Commando Ryan said that these exercises would strengthen our abs to give us that six-pack look, but we would never see our abs unless we got rid of that layer of fat. Miles said that was the coozie for his six-pack.

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I don't know if anyone will show up on Friday. Ranger Jono said we were going to do the real 9/11 drill by doing 111 flights of stairs.

Status: Down 2 3/4! I'm extremely pleased after my two recent trips!

Friday, September 29, 2006
Day 35

I was planning a new boot camp outfit for the final day of class, something like a shirt with "Body by Jono" on it, but since we learned Wednesday that boot camp is not REALLY over, I decided not to do anything to draw attention to myself.

A new boot camp will start Monday. This next one will last seven weeks. The club was able to offer it with the stipulation that we would be able to do running outside, but the calisthenics would have to be held in the aerobics room. My knees and elbows appreciate that! So will the person who does my laundry (usually Tony, but sometimes me). I wish some of y'all would join me in the next session! It will be $75 for Galleria Athletic Club members and $200 for nonmembers.

Today's warm-up consisted of 3 laps around the 300/400 buildings, but I think Karen and I were the only two to complete the 3 laps. Karen, Judy and I started out together, behind Rory, Miles and Rick. Trudy was just running into the building as we were leaving to start our run. When we got around to the front of the 400 building, Rick and Miles lapped us. The second time we passed in front of the 400 building, Trudy passed us. The third time, no one passed us. When we got back to the 300 building, Commando Ryan was waiting for us and herded us downstairs where everyone was waiting. Perhaps we misunderstood, because there is no way they all did three laps without passing us. Of course I was breathing pretty hard and the tears were blurring my vision on that third lap. Rory swears they all completed 3 laps with the exception of maybe one person (who shall remain nameless).

We presented Ryan and Jono with a little token of our appreciation. We got each of them a gift certificate and something to help them improve themselves. Ryan's gift was some Wisconsin cheese to help him prepare for his upcoming race in Wisconsin.

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Jono's gift was Dora's Book of Manners. There were some handwritten manners added to the front of the book about when it was appropriate to talk about French kissing your mother. Jono took it pretty well, but it did seem to get him wound up a bit.

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We did some scissor kicks and side lifts to start and then Commando Ryan told us to pick up some weights for the next exercises. I selected 5 lb weights. We were to do push-ups with our hands on the weights, then, after each push-up, extend one arm with the weight behind us while we supported ourselves on the other hand. I chose to do these on my knees. Ranger Jono was EXTREMELY unhappy and VERY vocal about this, but I didn't modify my routine. After 10 of these, then we were to do forward and backward lunges across the room and repeat. I don't remember how many times we did it, but Ranger Jono yelled at me the ENTIRE time. Karen asked if we could turn the ceiling fans on, but Jono said no, that we had to earn the right to turn the fans on. Then he said, "If BJ can do 5 perfect push-ups, we can turn the fans on." I started to do them on my knees, but he said no, I had to do them on my feet. I really tried, but I can't even support myself on the way down, let alone push myself back up. I was going to give up when Rick came to my rescue. He supported my hips while I did the push-ups (which still weren't very good, but Jono was satisfied and we got to turn on the fans). Talk about humiliating, having to have an attractive co-worker support your big-ole-fat-*** while you can barely push the rest of you up off of the floor ranks right up there with some of my most embarrassing moments!

The next exercise was more push-ups combined with side lunges. We were supposed to do a total of 100 push-ups (10 at each end of the room with lunges between). I lost count, so I just stopped when everybody else stopped. Ranger Jono recognized that the women need to spend more time developing upper body strength. I suspect the next boot camp will concentrate on that. The group did dying cockroaches to recover while Ryan gave instructions for the next exercise. I ran upstairs to get some water since the water cooler downstairs was inoperative.

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I missed the instructions for the next exercise, so I just tried to mimic the other class members. It was hard to tell what the exercise was supposed to look like since everyone's interpretation looked a little bit different. I think we were supposed to hold the weights, squat with our elbows on our knees and then jump up with both arms extended toward the ceiling. Then we did something like an upright row combined with a shoulder press.

Ranger Jono and Commando Ryan had us line up to be dismissed, but I was too tired to listen. They might as well have been Charlie Brown's teacher talking. All I heard was mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm. It was a pretty anti-climactic end to twelve weeks of torture. I was expecting something like the Olympic closing ceremonies.

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Since I think the next boot camp will concentrate on upper body conditioning, I probably won't keep a journal. I'm sure my arms will be too sore to hold them on the keyboard. If you want to hear about the next boot camp, you'll just have to join! If you actually read any of these, I hope you enjoyed them.

Final Status: Down 2 1/4 pounds (ordinarily I would be disappointed, but for the first time after an exercise program, I really believe I have developed some muscles and displaced some fat, so I'm not too upset).