Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

Bikini Boot Camp
by Cathleen Sutherland

Bikini Boot Camp
. It didn't have a very appealing ring to it. It sounded all wrong. It sounded painful.

Besides, I gave up bikinis a long time ago. I had plenty of reasons to do so -- sun, childbirth, size A... then my cousin told me about Katherine Butler. The leader of the pack. Boot camps for moms like me. Women who have put their own fitness on the back burner, somewhere behind the boiling pot of macaroni and cheese, lost under the piles of laundry, stacked beneath the bills to pay. 

I needed a reminder, a kick start. With my daughter visiting the ex-husband, time seemed stretched out without her around. I wanted to meet my body again, to feel my muscles ache, pump that blood, race that heart, go for the burn. Was I crazy? Putting myself into the hands of some kind of ultra-perfectionist whip-cracking drill sergeant? I signed on for the next week.

We met at Town Lake. A group of four, and Katherine -- one of those really friendly types. The kind who always has something cheery to say. And who is always saying something. We spent the next five days lunging, running and power walking our way around the lake. There was down time... spent doing sit ups, squats, push ups, triceps and more lunges. 

My body screamed hello to me, my muscles ached, my blood pumped, my heart raced...oh, and the burn was there. All this with a steady stream of instruction and conversation. Do 15 more. Go deeper this time. Feel it here. Keep it tall. From the heel

We strutted, jutted, pushed, pulled, twisted, curled, sweated, gripped and quipped. I was in a groove. I grabbed with gusto. I can be this. I was the little engine that could. I think I can, I think I can. I let myself go. I mean go. Forward steam ahead. People watched us, maybe they stared, I didn't notice. In between the inhaling and exhaling, we talked -- kids, work, ex-husbands, school, nutrition, goals, the best margarita in town, the last boyfriend, commitment, mind, body, spirit. I think some of our conversations startled more than one jogger. Katherine, the Tequila Mama, loud and always in the lead. When I looked up it was Friday. I had made it through the week. 

I think I will miss this particular reminder that I am of flesh and bone, that my spirit does need physical assertion as a form of renewal. That sweating along with a great group of women is a good thing, a fun thing. As a Bikini Boot Camp graduate I just want to say that it is all too easy to let daily-life take over your life. I look back on Day Two, when it hurt to sit down on the toilet, and I am reminded of how far I have come.

For more info on Austin's Bikini Boot Camp, call Katherine Butler at 748-1900
Cathleen Sutherland is a native Austinite, from several generations of thick Texas blood. Her sturdy demeanor was cultivated at an early age by too many brothers and a penchant for hiding away with a book. Raised in a house with no central air or heat, her family fled to a barn for the coldest winter imaginable. She quickly left home at fifteen to attend the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, then on to major in Theatre and finally Radio- Television-Film at the University of Texas. Caught up in its glamorous world, she has worked in freelance film production ever since. Her true passion is writing children's stories and singing John Denver tunes when no one is around. A checkered resume also includes dallying as a teacher's aide, camp counselor, actress, model, waitress, seamstress, gift wrapper, Santa Claus, still photo stylist, and High Ropes instructor. Her greatest joy in the world is her daughter Nicolette. They live happily together in a cozy cottage with their two dogs, Daisy and Jezebel.