Do You Bootcamp?

Not fully understanding what I’d gotten myself into, I took a baby step and signed up for six weeks of the Lake Nona Bootcamp. A few days later I stood in line with a slew of slim and trim young people to get weighed and measured. Lauren, our fearless leader was upbeat and encouraging. But I already felt I was in over my head.IMG_2997

On the first day, a handsome young man took me aside for an “assessment.” He was kind as I struggled to hold my overweight body in a plank. I felt my shoulders would explode as I attempted to pump out a few push-ups. As his stopwatch ticked off a minute, I attempted to do as many squats as possible. Sweat dripped down my forehead as he wrote my measly accomplishments on a sheet of paper.

Finally, I joined the rest of the group for the remainder of the work out. All the while thinking, I might as well just give up. At 58 years old, my life is over. The best I can do is park myself in a chair and wait to die.

At the end of the workout, the instructor congratulated us on our performance. All the way home, I swallowed hard to keep the vomit for entering my mouth. My face burned.

As soon as I opened my door, I ran for the bathroom and emptied my stomach. As I washed my hands, I stared at my flaming red face and stringy, soaking wet hair.

Then I sat in a chair and cried.

After a few minutes, I dried my tears and filled a couple ziplock bags with ice. Balancing them on my aching knees, I thought, what could it hurt? It’s only an hour twice a week for six weeks. I’ll just do what I can.

Two days later, I unrolled my mat and took my place with the other campers. A young girl, a third my age, turned and said, “We all took bets you wouldn’t come back.”

“Oh honey,” I responded. “I can do anything for an hour.”

But I seriously had my doubts.

Then, I did it all over again. Even the throwing up, crying, and icing part.

IMG_3911For the next year, a lot of ice melted over my knees as I gained strength. Then one day, I ran a whole mile. And when I came across that finish line, it felt like I’d just won the Boston Marathon.

Sometimes, victories are bigger than they appear.

Now when the instructor assigns us 100 squats, I think – piece of cake. And to that first mile run, I’ve added two 5K’s and I’m signed up for two more.

But the biggest win is inside of me. It’s knowing I can still face new challenges that not only test the boundaries of my body, but my soul as well.

Because all determination starts between our ears. Before our feet ever hit the pavement, our minds must decide to go.

So what are your challenges today? What’s the baby step you need to take?



  1. I like the reminder that all determination starts between the ears. The mental battle that comes with the things worthy of our time is often the hardest. So proud of you for hanging in there and going far beyond the six weeks. Your set list is IMPRESSIVE! And you finish it off with burpees??? You’re an inspiration. Great job, Ellen :-).


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