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Army 3: Early-morning Army ROTC training not all fun & games

April 3rd, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

Editor’s note: Part III in Natasha Bodily’s try-outs with USU’s Army ROTC. See Part I. See Part II.

By Natasha Bodily

LOGAN—I missed my first PT class this morning. I don’t think anybody noticed.

Monday’s session left me a bit traumatized. My group was ordered to run outside, and the cold “spring” air hurt my lungs. The first rumor around the group said we would be running to the light and back.

“That’s doable,” I said to my running partner, Cadet Whitmore. Later we were quizzed as to how the two of us became partners since we were supposed to be matched with someone of a different running speed to keep each other motivated. Both of us are, to put it nicely, on the slower end of the spectrum.

“I’m a girl!”

I can’t believe I used that line. I was getting a bit embarrassed as the other cadets and officers seemed to have better stamina and endurance than I did. I also was hoping to remind a few dirty-mouthed cadets there was a “lady” present.

Having been raised with all brothers, I know how gross male conversation can turn. But I have been a bit surprised at some of the language coming from our future military officers. It took a few minutes for one cadet to realize the lurpy brunette in front of him was a female, not an awkward freshman boy. He quickly apologized as I continued to attempt survival through this chilly 6 a.m. run.

A few of us took a path up some back hills to get back to campus on time. I tripped on the dark, dirty path, throwing me into a bit of a panic. I realized I couldn’t see well enough to have a good idea where I was going, and the hill was steep. After wiping the dirt from my hands and running on, my lungs decided to freak out on me as well. I wheezed my way up the path, hoping we would be finished soon enough.

The experience humbled me. I had thought my ability to run 16 times around the Fieldhouse track in 16 minutes meant I had this Army fitness thing figured out just fine. As soon as I can do 20 push ups, they might as well send me to the front lines.

But an hour-long run that cold, dark morning set me straight. We were still in Logan, Utah. The run really wasn’t that bad, but it gave me a better perspective on why we are required to take PT classes. If I’m wheezing after 50 minutes of running, where would I be in a real-life crisis? What if troops were running from bombs? I would have no time to let a fall cause me anxiety.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out for this.

By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, my sore lungs and exhausted body kept me in bed. Whether it’s a petty excuse or not, I wasn’t feeling well. But skipping that one class made getting up on Friday so much harder. I knew how easy it was to miss last time, and if I couldn’t keep track of which students were absent from time to time, maybe the others wouldn’t miss me.

But I forced myself out of bed and was rewarded with an easy day. Most students were taking the PT test I had recently failed, so I worked out upstairs while most of the cadets were under pressure.

My old “civilian” workout seems so weak now. Forty minutes on the treadmill won’t prepare me for anything, and my lunge-set isn’t made for Olympians. At the very least, I am learning work ethic—or at least a work-out ethic.

I do realize now that I can push myself much farther than I thought I could. And by doing so, I increase my potential.


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  1. 3 Responses to “Army 3: Early-morning Army ROTC training not all fun & games”

  2. By Jesse Dredge on Apr 3, 2011

    Good job Natasha.

  3. By Natasha Bodily on Apr 4, 2011

    Well Thanks Jesse. I’m trying 🙂

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  2. Apr 3, 2011: Hard News Cafe » Blog Archive » Army 4: Cadets go to war in furious mountainside paintball battle

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