Weeks 5 and 6 – Odds and Ends

Another week at Camp Lejeune, and one week closer to leaving the continental United States (at least for a while).  Amidst the busyness of getting the Marines ready to deploy, I got to complete some of my own pre-deployment preparations.  This included such fun and interesting adventures as an administrative audit, putting nametapes on my utility uniforms and online cultural/language training.  The Marine Corps is trying to better prepare us, and that is great.  However, for those of you who know my great deficiency regarding foreign languages, you will laugh at the thought of me trying to learn Pashto and Dari.  Can you see it?  I am hunched over my computer screen, fervently looking at the computer-generated person pronouncing everything from “peace be upon to you” and basics like “who”, to “where is the airfield” and “see you later”.  Oh my.  I do appreciate the Marine Corps’ attempts to educate us.  But I have not been so glad to be done with something, as I was when I finally finished the language portion of that online class. 

But on to a more fun subject.  I’ve discovered through a variety of individuals that there is a strong Cross Fit culture in Afghanistan.  I’ve never tried it, but thought this might be the perfect opportunity.  So I ventured out in town this week to the local Cross Fit gym.  They require beginners to attend 4 Foundational classes, so that they can teach basic techniques.  This automatically appeals to my penchant for proper form and injury-free weight lifting. 

There is one other lady in my class, and I’m enjoying the prospect of a near-private lesson.  Our first class focused on squats – admittedly my weakest move.  My instructor insisted that we keep our knees tracking outwardly, over our toes, and that we dip beneath parallel.  “Half squats equal half results” is the response I got to my query about knees dipping below 90 degrees.  I’m on board, if my knees get healthier through the lifting.  I was tired by the end, even though it wasn’t technically a workout.  J 

Classes 2 and 3 focused on more technical moves.  I discovered how mentally fatiguing Cross Fit can be.  By the time Thursday came along, I was tired and having trouble concentrating enough to execute my deadlifts properly.  But I persevered, finishing the lesson and then the mini-workout he put us through at the end.  A short 7-minute workout of deadlifts and box jumps wore me out – I won’t lie.  It’s the most fun I’ve had in a workout in a while!  My final foundational class is tomorrow, and I’m poring through the Cross Fit Training Guide now to better understand how I put the pieces of a workout together to make a complete program. 

I’m ready to depart Camp Lejeune, and am anxious to see what awaits me.  I’ve heard many stories, including the fact that there are paved roads, 3 gyms, a coffee shop and a pizza place.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!  Until next time . . .

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