People often ask what got me started down this long road of running and my answer is always the same: Anna and Jennie of Oakland Adventure Boot Camp. These two women turned me from a body at rest to one in motion- and I haven’t stopped since.
My first day of class with Anna and Jennie was on May 9th, 2007. My two children were 5 months and 17 months old, I was closing in on the 200 pound mark and knew I had to make a change. I was already awake at the crack of dawn with the babies so I announced my intentions to hubby, registered for the 6:30am boot camp 3 days a week, bought a set of 5 pound weights, water bottle, and yoga mat at Target and mentally prepared myself for the challenge.
And ooooooh yeah, it was more than a challenge! At the end of the first week, they do a physical assessment- sit ups, push ups, and a one mile run. At that time, a one mile run was amazingly difficult for me- I recall finishing in over 14 minutes. In just a few months of boot camp, I had lost 45 pounds, doubled the number of sit ups and push ups I could do, shaved 5 minutes off my mile time and kept getting stronger and faster from there.
My success is due not just to my own mental fortitude with getting up that early, making it to class, and staying consistent but has to do with the class itself and the way Anna & Jennie work together to motivate and push you. Over the years, I have seen attendance ebb and flow but even when there’s a ton of people, Anna & Jennie still talk to, assist, and coach every single woman in class. They help you with your form, listen to your concerns, yell at you (oh so nicely!) when you slack off, adapt work outs for any injuries and, basically, tell you that no matter what you can do it.
And sometimes, that’s all you need to hear to stay motivated.
I took boot camp for 3 years straight so I can say, with complete authority, that EVERY SINGLE CLASS is DIFFERENT! That certainly helped me, mentally, to keep setting that alarm and getting my butt to the lake 3-4 days a week. Boot camp is the exact opposite to the monotony of the gym- some days are mat classes (like the above pic), sometimes it’s kick boxing, or game day, or we skip the mat and take a resistance band around the lake, stopping at different locations to strength train. Anna and Jennie always find ways to make boot camp fun as well as challenging. While I have never been so fricking sore in my entire life, boot camp sore hurts oh so good.
So, I really got started running and racing just after my last day of boot camp on June 17, 2010; however, I will still “treat” myself to a couple classes now and then as a kick-in-the-ass or just because I miss it so, so, so much! On Tuesday mornings, I meet my TNT peeps for a run and there’s Anna and Jennie and those lucky boot campers doing burpees or squats or wall sits and I always say, “I used to take that class.” with a big sigh. I love running but I will forever miss boot camp! Anna and Jennie have become local celebrities as the class has become so popular- Anna is also an avid runner and I get all giddy when I see her at races (she is a super speedy demon and always wins!).
I will forever be so very appreciate and grateful for Anna and Jennie and their commitment to their students’ fitness and how they helped turn me into an athlete. They taught me how to believe in myself and my ability, and as fellow mommies, showed me what a necessity it is to have that time for yourself and your physical health outside of the demands at home. They pushed my limits, encourage me (even still today!), and taught me that working out can, and should, be fun.
A simple THANK YOU will never really sum up how I feel about those 3 years with Anna and Jennie. But, hopefully, it goes a long way… they motivated and supported me during a time I couldn’t for myself, and I am forever inspired by them.
You can check out a great article about the class in the January 2011 issue of Oakland Magazine here. And if you are in the Oakland area, I highly encourage you to take a session- you’ll be a different & better (albeit super sore) person for it!