It’s officially Friday, at dark o’clock (aka 5:26 AM) and I am at our local gym sitting in my parked car staring blankly ahead at the pond that belongs to the resident ducks and geese. The fog is starting to lift. I hear a slight rustle from the wind and there is a splattering of raindrops across my windshield. There are exactly 7 other cars in the parking lot right now, I counted. I grab my workout bag and zombie shuffle towards the indoor pool.
I am here for Basic Training. It’s week 2 and there are 13 weeks in total. I am crossing them off one by one on my office whiteboard. My friends recruited me for this intensive “off season” cross-training adventure that will build Confidence. I was initially drawn in just like a paperclip is to a magnet by the cool T-shirt they were wearing, not going to lie. There must be 35 people in the class just like me who really want that T-shirt. Which has to be earned by the way. How do I balance this with my riding? I have a dedicated schedule. Basic Training is 3 days a week (for me) and I ride 4-5 days a week, doubling up one day a week. I also have strength training & spinning class on Tuesdays, a long run on Sundays and work full time. It’s not perfect, but I try to avoid too many excuses to change it.
The course description:
Basic Training is a unique fitness course based on the exercises used by the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Teams. Basic Training is not a SEAL-wannabe or pseudo-military course – it is a fitness program designed for the general population. Consisting of a variety of exercises and ‘motivational techniques’, this course will push you to new levels mentally and physically.
So let’s face it, statistically very few athletes will ever reach an elite status in their sport(s). I realized this when I selected the sports of Triathlon and Dressage. I am an average athlete. Average swimmer, runner, cyclist and rider. I signed up for these sports knowing that I would have to work tremendously hard towards achieving my goals. I am not trying to reach illusive goals written for some unknown. I’ve often pondered if it’s the ‘I can’t reach elite status’ that puts so many people on the sidelines reluctant to participate in the sport(s) they’ve chosen. Success comes with so much variation. Techniques can be modified to suit the individual and/or horse. I’ve spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching others become stronger.
Today I become stronger.
We start in the pool with warm-up laps. I am instantly impressed with fellow teammates who are swimming laps for the first time. Captain R instructs us to do 10 swim laps, going out with focus on form, returning with focus on speed. After each lap, we are instructed to do 10 push-ups on the deck. A quick transition from the pool to the workout room and we are doing pull-ups followed by 2 laps outside running around the building. We regroup in the parking lot and prepare for 200 meters of moving burpees, out and back. Captain R is watching my technique as I declare, “I am doing them!” He responds with, “You are crushing them!” These burpees bring my mental strength into play. I ask my teammate beside me as we struggle to complete them why the faster folks ahead of us have not yet turned around. He replied, because today we are going further.
Running back to the building and finishing up the hour, I shared with my friend that some people say I am crazy for doing what I do. She responded with, perhaps they aren’t thinking so much about what you are doing, but what they aren’t doing.