Those of you who follow me on facebook or twittah know that I am doing a boot camp at our local YMCA right now. What can I say about it? Hmmm…. Well you know the day after you wake up from a c-section, and you are super thirsty, have a terrible headache, and everything hurts? It’s about like that, except that you pay ten dollars a session, there are three sessions a week, and you don’t get a cute adorable baby at the end of it. You just get more boot camp.
I haven’t talked about it much here for a few reasons– for one thing, it’s semi-embarrassing. I’m one of the youngest in boot camp, and also one of the most out of shape. After three days of observation, I know that I’m one of the stronger ones in the class (Push ups? Lets do push ups/squat jumps/lunges ALL DAY) but I’m also one of the slowest. In fact, I may be THE slowest.
But its embarrassing for other reasons too. Those of you who have been overweight for any long amount of time know what a job it can do to your psyche. The hardest part of doing boot camp, for me, is just convincing myself everyday that its worth it. I keep trying to tell myself that no one is going to laugh at me, no one is going to be patronizing to the fat girl, no one is going to talk about me afterwards– but the fact is, they do. They’re people, and people can be really mean. It makes it hard to wake up at 430, put on tight fitting clothes and get myself pumped up to go sweat and cry and puke for an hour.
But I have to remind myself that it’s not serving ANYONE for me to stay in bed. We need this body to carry at least one more baby, and then after that we need it to last at least another sixty years or so. So I need to fix it, Bob the Builder style.
Today we met at a park and she told us to run through a soccer field until we got to the hill. We crossed a bridge, and I saw this nice little rise by the soccer fields and I thought, “Oh cute.” But everyone kept going– and then I saw the actual hill that she was talking about. Guys, this hill was so steep that running DOWN it was harder than running UP. There were holes and uneven patches. You couldn’t see over the top of it until you were almost up it.
Our trainer told us to keep our eyes down– if we looked up and saw how much hill we had left we would give up. So we did, but it didn’t really help. By about the fourth trip up the hill, I was starting to get dizzy. By the fifth time, I was thinking about throwing myself down the hill and purposely breaking my ankle so I could quit. But I didn’t, I just kept going.
The drill was to run up the hill, run to the next goal post, and then run back down, and do it again. Then we had some basic exercises to do– push ups, sit ups, lunges, things of that variety, and then it was back up the hill. But the trainer really wanted to keep the class together, and I’m soooooo slow. I think that molasses would have made it down the hill and started a flourishing e-business by the time that caught up. So I never got to do the in-between exercises, so I never got to recover. So basically my entire work-out this morning was running up and down that damn hill.
Finally, she told us to do it one more time and we’d be done for the day. I turned and looked up the hill, and my knees seriously got weak. I had tears in my eyes, and my brain felt all swirly.
“I can’t do it.” I said out loud, and something really weird happened. It’s like Jillian Michael’s popped a squat in my brain.
“Don’t let this hill defeat you.” Said imaginary Jillian Michaels.
“I can’t do it.” I said again, and then I experienced this crazy, surreal, Buddha-on-the-Mountaintop kind of coolness. My breathing slowed, my shoulders came back down to their normal spot, and my calves stopped aching. Suddenly, I could see the hill as a horizontal surface, rather than a vertical climb. I could see my path, and I could see myself running on it. It was like my body suddenly showed up to this work out and said, “Oh hai. I can totally do this. You go like, think about emo poetry or something. I am ALL OVER this hill.”
“It’s a hill.” Said The Voice. “It’s made of dirt. If you ran up and down it enough times, there would be nothing left here but a flat field. YOU are a mountain. You aren’t made of dirt. You’re made of steel.”
I know, right?
I took a deep shaky breath, and this lady behind me– who’d been struggling with me the last few climbs, took all the bull shit out of the situation with one little sentence. She took a drink of water, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and said,
“I’m ’bout to make this hill my bitch.”
So we ran. We made it up the hill, ran to the other side, and ran back down. I left tracks, I could see my trail. I knew that if I kept going, that trail would become a crevasse, would become a road, and eventually, someday, I’d mow that hill into a field. I could see it in my head– I could picture my feet pounding against the earth, pedaling against being fat, feeling tired, feeling broken and sick, all the worry and fears that being so fat harbor. I felt like I was on a vision quest. And then the hill was behind me.
And while I was busy doing all this intellectualizing, the lady running with me said, a little under her breath–
“You know what Hill? You’re my son now.”