Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More tears, claustrophobia and no-shows

Day 3: Sgt. Roy's Bootcamp - The Stairs

I'm participating in Sgt. Roy's Bootcamp. It's a one-week intense exercise program lead by Sgt. Roy Lewis, a real Army drill sergeant.

Today was the big day. Running up 45 flights of steps. I'd been dreading and looking forward to the challenge for the last 24 hours.

When we arrived at the Dowd, I noticed or group was smaller than usual. The guy who felt he let his team down yesterday didn't show up. I was kind of disappointed. I had hoped he'd tough it out. As Sgt. Roy said, the bootcamp wasn't about finishing anything first, it was simply about finishing and doing your best.

We alternated between jogging and walking from the Dowd YMCA up South Tryon Street to the Bank of America building. We passed construction workers and a few joggers on the street. They looked at us like we were crazy as we sang whatever silly song Sgt. Roy made up.

At BofA, Sgt. Roy told us to take our time and do our best. He said a medic was at the top in case anyone needed help. That was comforting. (I guess).

I thought we were going to jog all the way up. I entered the stairwell behind some veterans so I could follow their lead. After walking three flights, I knew jogging up the tower stairwell was never really an option. By stairwell 10 flights I was winded. By 20, I was holding onto the rail occassionally. A couple of women stopped in the landing to catch their breath. Others passed me on their way, and several women didn't finish. Road Dawg stopped at 11, and greeted me with a big old smile when I came down.

She'd done her best, and I was glad she even showed up. She told me quitting was never an option.

Two women battled claustrophobia, but Sgt. Roy coached them through it. They went all the way up. The kid cried again, but she finished. No one needed a medic.

Oh and it wasn't really 45 flights of stairs -- only 39.
I wished I had timed myself. Next time I want to see if I can do it faster.

Afterward, Sgt. Roy told us he was proud of us. He said the motivation to climb the steps didn't come from him.

"It was in you all along," he said. "If you can go all the way up there, you can do anything."

He said bootcamp was a chance for us to motivate ourselves to try harder in life.

"Find out what you are made of and bring it."

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