I’m not a morning person in the least bit but there are the rare occasions when I wake up at the crack of dawn ready to attack the day.
Most of the time when I wake up at around 6 a.m., I’m heading out of town for a quick three-day weekend (my typical workday is pretty much the equivalent of a swing shift).
The morning of July 19 was a completely different story.
I had a rare opportunity to work out with one of the high school football squads in my coverage area. On July 10, I emailed Bellevue Christian Vikings head football coach Todd Green and asked him if I could participate in one of his team’s summer weightlifting/conditioning sessions. Initially I didn’t hear back but received a voicemail from Green on July 12 giving me the go-ahead to visit the Bellevue Christian campus in the Clyde Hill section of Bellevue on July 19.
The weight training/conditioning workouts were slated to take place from 9-10:30 am. After arriving in the parking lot, I was greeted by 19-year-old Bellevue Christian assistant coach Zeus Aguilera. He led me to the weight room where I introduced myself to the Vikings players. Shortly thereafter, it was time to get to work!
During the 40-minute session, I completed multiple sets of barbell rows, dead lift, lat pulls and push ups. I hadn’t deadlifted since the 1990s and it proved to be the most difficult lift for me to complete. Before heading outside to complete agility/speed work we did five, 30-second sets of planks and five, 30-second sets of an exercise focusing strictly on the abdominal muscles. The soreness in my stomach muscles was evident just hours later while sitting in the office on Richards Road in Bellevue. I was quite relieved as the players left the weight room and headed for the practice field. This is the milieu where I figured I would thrive.
I was wrong.
The first running activity that we partook in was gassers. Gassers are an exercise where an individual runs the width of the field and back. It is an all-out sprint. I knew right away that it wouldn’t be a great idea for me to partake in these sprints. My right heel/Achilles tendon, which has been sore for the past two weeks, was quite painful. After sitting out the gassers sessions, I was able to complete about 50 percent of the various footwork and agility drills in the final 20 minutes of the workout. There were multiple times during this time period where I had to take breaks. On a few instances during the breaks, I had my hands on my knees or on the top of my head trying to get as much air as humanly possible into my lungs. It was challenging to say the least.
I was quite impressed with the conditioning level of the Vikings players. Not only were the players very athletic, all of them were in prime physical condition. They were fatigued at the end of the workout session but I was absolutely exhausted. Green, who was a safety on the 1993 Pacific Lutheran University NAIA D-II national championship squad, was shocked I had interest in working out with his team.
“I’ve never seen anyone do this before. You are a pioneer,” Green said with a smile. “It was awesome. You jumped right into it and gave 100 percent.”