Thursday, June 4, 2009


I’m Still Here!

The alarm clock is ringing. I hear it but as I reach over to hit the snooze alarm I feel pain like I’ve never felt before. This is the morning after my first workout at the YMCA Boot Camp.

Why are my arms so heavy? Why do my biceps and triceps feel like they are knotted up into tight little balls? Did I have a stroke during my sleep? Should I wake my husband and tell him to get me to the hospital? I decide to try to get up and as I go from sitting to standing my thighs burn with such fire that I let out a scream of pain. I manage to make it to the bathroom and while trying to sit down on the commode, I yelp again in pain as it feels like my thighs are being stabbed with sharp serrated knives. I sit there taking stock of my situation. Eventually, I am going to have to stand up and experience the pain again. What is going on? Can all this pain be from exercising?

I wonder if I should call in sick but then I am determined that I will not be the laughing stock of my office. My boss will never let me live this down if I called in sick because of exercise. After all, he is the one who lovingly calls me the S.O.B. (The Senile Old Battleax.) of the office. Now before you write him hate mail, it is truly a term of endearment. He just likes to joke about my when truthfully, he is not that much younger than me. I decide I’ll show him and I slowly, one leg at a time, one arm at a time, get dressed for work.

Once again, getting into my truck to go to work is an experience. Every muscle in my body pulls at me and lets me know they are present. They all seem to scream simultaneously. At work, the receptionist who sits outside of my office knows when I am coming out as she can hear me groan when I get up or sit down. I hear the giggles in the office as I yelp. I take stock of the situation and realize that I hurt in some places that I never knew I had! Where did those body parts come from? I also realize that this is just another confirmation that my life has been so sedentary that my body is now revolting against me.

The following day I have to go back to Boot Camp. Several of us gather and discuss our common pain. The pain seems to bring us closer together and it helps to get to know the others so I don’t feel so out of place. As I look around, I notice a young girl, Sally, who used to work in our office. We had a good conversation and she is very supportive of my participation in Boot Camp. She told me she was proud of me for being there. Me? Why would she be proud of me? I just could not understand. Another young lady comes up to me and says, “Mrs. Meneses, do you remember me? You taught me music in CCD at Sacred Heart and I went to elementary school with your son, Danny.” I was amazed that I was now in Boot Camp with Kimberly who is my son’s age. Two young sisters who I recognize from church, Michelle and Rachel, are also there and are impressed that I am attending Boot Camp. Another young lady, Angela, speaks up and is very encouraging to all around her. I wonder just how bad I really look if I impress these girls just by attending Boot Camp!

After working all day I wonder how I will ever exercise when I hurt all over. Rambo Rico and Marine Mikey answer that question for me as they immediately line us up. Every recruit is checked to see if we have two bottles of water, no watches and our recruit shirts on. Once again we start all over with no concessions for lingering pain. I actually think they thrive on our pain! One hour to go! Hang on body. Don’t quit me now!

Mikey and Rico keep it interesting in the many different exercises we do. Leg lifts, squats, push ups, etc. Interesting, exciting yet painful. Push ups are an integral part of our Boot Camp. They are used for exercise and for punishment. How does an obese woman do a push up? She does one on her knees and, at the very least, holds her weight up in the air until the others are done. I cannot get my body up into the plane position to do a push up. My arms and legs will not hold me. I struggle to do my best but I know it is not near a true push-up. Will the day come where I can go down and up in a plane position? I don’t think so. Squats are done all different ways. We squat legs together, legs shoulder width apart, wide spread and even squats with weights. No matter what I do, my legs and arms quiver from lack of use and the muscles keep screaming to take it easy!

Once again we run and I feel like I cannot catch my breath. I cannot run more than 15 paces before I am gasping. I do a combination of speed walking and running but I somehow finish. Once again, several youngsters come back and encourage me at the end that I end up running the last part of journey. It is grueling but I am determined not to give up. As I struggle and grunt or groan, I hear the voices of the younger ones encouraging me on. I finish the task I am given and I survive the evening.

As I look around at the end of class, I am aware of several things. It is only the beginning of Boot Camp and I realize that several people have already dropped out. I am still here. It is only the beginning of Boot Camp and Rico and Mikey hug me and tell me how proud they are of me for giving it my all. I am still here. It is only the beginning of Boot Camp and I realize that there are so many supportive people want to see me succeed. They have no connection to me but yet, for some reason, they make me feel like I am worth something. They make me feel like they care. They are slowly helping me change my attitude that I can and will do this? I am still here. It is only the beginning of Boot Camp and already I realize that I already feel a little more energetic. I am still here. It is only the beginning of Boot Camp and I realize that this 54 year old obese woman signed up to be a recruit in the YMCA Boot Camp and I am still here.

Please look for the next article in this series to follow shortly.

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