About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Boot Camp

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday, Hula Girl , wants us to dig through our closets and find a piece of clothing that we can't get rid of. What is it and why do we keep hanging on to it instead of trashing or donating it to Goodwill? You know all the reasons: lose ten pounds and it will zip, can't forget that wonderful vacation when I bought this, wore this to. . .,got the job after wearing this suit to the interview. I suspect we'll see more than a few t-shirts, which is what my valuable clothing piece is. After all, what better memento can we hang on to than the ever popular tee.

P.S. Thanks All, for stopping by for my Fun Monday post. I'm out of town for most of the week without computer access--already getting anxiety twinges. For sure though, I'll check you all out as soon as I can get back online!)


In July 2001 I was not in very good shape. At 55 years old, my weight was at an all time high and my self esteem was at an all time low. I had a great job with some exciting travel tied to it. I had a great circle of friends and colleagues. With all that going for me, I still felt stagnant and defeated. Why could I not conquer this problem?

Then one day I found a solution while idly thumbing through a local health newspaper. There
was a picture of a line of women and men lying in the grass on their backs pedaling like crazy--later I learned that this was the supine bicycle. They were in the Back to Basics Fitness Boot Camp. And, the boot camp drill sergeant was looking for a few more good men and women to join up. And so I did, despite never doing any organized exercise, other than walking the dogs, for yea many years.

Joining up day was intimidating to say the least. About 20 nervous, excited people of all ages and fitness levels gathered at local park at dawn. At 6 a.m. on the dot this tall, lanky woman dress in fatigues and boots came out of the shadows and barked "Fall in!" Well, the "recruits" had seen enough movies to understand that we were to line up. That first line was pretty ragged, but the object was not to attract attention. Sergeant Rouse and her assistant, a male drill sergeant, walked the line, giving us the once over. Then they got in front of us and immediately got our ragged line into the extended rectangular formation for our first drill. Jog in place during roll call--learned to not be delicate when answering. Neck, arm and shoulder, hip, knee and ankle rotations. Stretches. Calisthenics--side straddle hops, push-ups, mountain climbers, sit-ups. Quick drink of water and then line up for a speed run out of the park and up the hill. By 6:50a.m. 20 shell-shocked recruits were again back in the extended rectangular formation for a final stretch and orders for the next day--penalties for lateness (whole class does extra pushups for any latecomers), regulation dress including the above t-shirt.

From this hard beginning, you may be surprised to learn that Back to Basics Boot Camp was a life changing activity for me. In six weeks I lost weight and inches all over, decreased percentage body fat, went from 2 to 27 pushups and from 0 to 39 situps, and ran a mile in 12 minutes. My mind was finally in the right place. I was happy.

I kept up with Sergeant Rouse for two years. Rain or shine, summer and winter, I fell in at 6 a.m. for the hardest, but best, hour of the day. Sadly, Sergeant Rouse's life changed and she moved away from Louisville. We've remained friends all these years and I will always be grateful to her for what she helped me accomplish. I wear this worn t-shirt every week to remind me of my days as a recruit.

Now head over to Hula Girl's place to see what pieces of clothing everyone else is hanging on to. And, I'll be around to see you all as soon as I can this week.

15 comments:

Molly said...

What a wonderful reason to keep the shirt. I enjoyed reading your inspirational testimony. I guess that not only your mind was in the right place, but your body was in a healthy place too.

Hootin' Anni said...

I would want to keep that shirt too. It means oh so very much and shows you that you worked and very much deserve keeping this as a memento.

My F M is up, kinda sappy tho.

hulagirlatheart said...

What a fabulous story! Congratulations on taking charge and making a change! I'd frame this shirt and hang it on the wall.

Swampwitch said...

Such an inspirational story and what a keepsake that t-shirt is. I've not worked out in such a long time...this has motivated me to get to the gym today. Thanks.
Hope you are having a fun time wherever it is you might be.
Not having computer access gave me the twinges for a long time...now, I rather enjoy it.

daddy d said...

Good job with what that t-shirt represents. It is a good symbol.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow that is brilliant. I could do with that. And it's so good you kept in touch.

Sayre said...

That shirt tells you that you can accomplish anything once you decide to do it. Definitely an item worth keeping for the rest of your life as a reminder!

Randy and Kim said...

Wow, what an amazing experience. It's good to change your life for the better. Thumbs up to you!

Randy and Kim said...

Wow, what an amazing experience. It's good to change your life for the better. Thumbs up to you!

Patience-please said...

You are my hero. I don't think I could survive boot camp. Physically or emotionally!

Lane said...

That's a punishing routine! And you kept it up for two years?? That says so much about you Faye.

That's one t-shirt you'll keep forever and I love that you wear it every week:-)

IamwhoIam said...

Good post - Sometime it is the kick in the backside we need.

lisa marie said...

What a great story! Congrats! You better keep that forever. :)

karisma said...

Wow! You went to real Boot Camp? I used to threaten my kids with that one, when they were particularly obnoxious!

My Husband Calls Me Weird said...

What great memories. I'd keep that shirt forever too!

nikki