I did a lot of running before leaving for basic combat training (BCT). I mean A LOT. If I only had time for one workout, it was to run. I ran in a hoodie on each time. I ran outdoors 3 times a week, in gravel, asphalt, cement. I ran uphill, downhill and on flat surfaces. I just ran. I still use Runmeter to keep track of my run times. Afterwards, I would run back to In-Shape Concord and do interval training on the elliptical for about 20 minutes. Then I would run again on the treadmill. I would do interval training on the treadmill with sprints and jogging for maybe another 20 minutes. Plus I used the incline feature for resistance. After, I might end with some weights or push-ups, but always completed with lots of stretching. That was my regimen after work, 3 days a week. I stayed focus and left for basic running 2 miles in about 21 minutes or less (outdoors that is). I can only improve from here right?
The first run at basic was for the drill sergeants, so they could properly place each one of us in the appropriate running group. Alpha, Bravo or Charlie, with Alpha being the group with the fastest runners. We ran on what they called the “pork chop” track. It was a gravel track with slight inclines and declines in the shape of a pork chop. I ran the 2 miles in 18 minutes. WOW! Right off the bat I was already excelling. I guess all that
torcher training was paying off.
As you probably would have guessed, I ended up in Charlie group. I didn’t mind that at all. I was already minutes away from the 50% score required to pass BCT. I was also minutes away from the 60% score. But I didn’t stop there. Throughout BCT, I continued to force myself to improve. I had to. I had to be able to keep up with all the faster runners. We had a couple company runs. It was a shame if you fell back. And you probably would get a good yelling, or even get smoked for it. We also had ruck marches (many started out in the dark), and you had to keep pace. We marched everywhere and ran everywhere. You always had to move with a purpose.
“Move with a f@cking purpose soldiers!”
is what my drill sergeant would say. (Is it crazy that I miss DS Johnson?)
We did PT (physical training) every morning except for Sunday. We ran every other day. Some were group runs, while other times we did sprints. And sometimes after the sprints we would run in the sand. OMG that was brutal. Talk about having a heart attack. We formed about 30 lines with about 7 soldiers in each line. We each had to run back and forth 6 times in the sand. I have no idea how far it was, but it was far. Often times you would run towards another line because it was practically impossible to run a straight line. You just had to run towards the buddies in your line. We would cheer each other on, wave and yell to the runners to guide them in the right direction.
I remember going for a nice run on the beach in Oceanside. But running in the sand in boot camp is insane. There is a lot of resistance and you feel like you're constantly sinking. They would have drill sergeants at the other end to make sure you were going far enough down before turning back. One drill sergeant asked me if I was dying. Of course you would never admit it, but I was dying. It was all I could do to keep going. Legs weighed a ton. It felt like someone strapped cinder blocks to my feet.
But would you know that after doing these run drills in the sand, I actually got better at it. Of course I was still tired, but I wasn’t completely dying. I realized this during the 3rd or 4th iteration. Once you get passed half way, you feel like you’re home free. Six times back and forth is a lot, but it felt more achievable.
By the 3rd APFT, I ran my fastest 2 miles ever…. 17 minutes and 14 seconds. I was FREAKING STOKED! You don't understand. I was SO happy I wanted to cry. Til this day I have yet to beat that time. The closest was 17:19, but I’ll get there. I just have to remember those famous words that will always stay with me....“Move with a f@cking purpose soldiers!”