Friday, January 29, 2010

First PT (dum da dum dum)

Yesterday, dark and early at 0500, I was bleary-eyed and pouring my orange juice, while Jasper continued to sleep in his nice, warm bed. He perked up a bit at the sound of the toaster, and finally roused himself, clearly still annoyed at me for insisting on getting up so early. I pulled on my new PT uniform, downed my toast, and at 0540, I was out the door and on my way to PT.

The instructions were to meet outside the Vines Center, and to be sure to wear our reflective belts. The unlucky people who did not have their belts were given "something else to do;" which, I have feeling, was probably not something fun. The rest of us got our proverbial (and literal) butts kicked by a mega work-out.

I knew that I am still not in tiptop Army shape, but I had sort of assumed (never assume!) that the first PT wouldn't be too tough since they would want to ease us in a bit. Foolish Stephanie! I did very well at the 30 jumping jacks (which we apparently do not refer to by that name, but I can't recall what we do call them in the Army), moderately well at the wall-climbing exercise, and fantastic at the stretches. By this time, I felt confident that I would do all right. Then . . . it was time to run.

I am not a runner. I have never been a runner. I desperately wish that I could be a runner, but every time I see those people dressed in ridiculous costumes running for fun, I find myself unable to comprehend how any human being can possibly get any enjoyment out heavy breathing, chest pains, side cramps, and leg cramps. I pray to God that I could get some small measure of enjoyment from running, or at least not hate it, but that's one prayer that has yet to be answered. I ran the best that I could, at first doing pretty well staying in formation. There was no way that I could call out cadence with everyone else (breathing was more important to me), but my feet managed to keep moving at the same speed as everyone else.

Eventually, unfortunately, my body couldn't do it anymore. I had a horrible side cramp, my lungs felt like they were being roasted on a spit, and I kept having to battle to keep from becoming reacquainted with my toast and orange juice. Breathing was a futile struggle. I had to break ranks and walk the majority of the remaining distance, although I did manage to jog again at the end. I was humiliated, but at least the other cadets were really nice about it. One girl stayed back with me when I had to walk and kept encouraging me to keep going.

I've decided to now start trying to run or jog laps around the apartment complex every morning, so that next PT, I can stay in formation the entire time. On the bright side, although I am definitely the slowest cadet, at least I managed to finish yesterday. And, I keep my outlook positive by reminding myself that I stand a good chance of earning recognition for being "most improved" at the end of the semester!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"