As I look back through my story of health It has to start when I joined the Navy in May of 1987. I was 22 years old and in no shape at all. I couldn’t even run a mile! I remember that it was April and I was going into the Navy that next month, so I went outside and started running. I ran for a block and quit in exhaustion. I was scared and thought I’d be out of the Navy that first month. Little did I know is that once in the Navy it was all about team work and we would all succeed as a team.
Once we formed as a company we started marching. We marched everywhere! We marched to our barracks. The chow hall, grinder, swim tests and back to our barracks all the time.
This got us in shape. I remember running for every PT (physical training) test and maybe three other times. Other then those times that was it. My company commander did not like to run at all.
We did thousands of push ups. Thousands of sit ups. It was intense and painful. It seemed like whatever we did wrong we were in the push up position. Then onto sit ups.
Once we successfully graduated boot camp we were on our own for our fitness. There were no set schedules per se for any type of fitness, at least with my rate. In hindsight my rate of damage control man (firefighter) probably needed it more then others.
Sure, there were groups of people that would work out all the time. But it was a choice and not mandatory. I worked out several times off and on through out my years in the Navy but I’d usually take the low road and not do it.
For this I suffered greatly. I was usually exhausted once I finished work. I’m talking, I’d get off work, go home and crash for hours till bedtime then sleep the night away. No wonder my family was upset with me. If I was fit I’d be tired but not to the point of just neglecting my family.
In my later years I became stagnant. From 1996 – 2000, I didn’t work out and my body suffered greatly. I had to have back surgery to replace a herniated disk. I was suffering in pain for years before my surgery.
It was May 2005, I had my back surgery. My disk was replaced and I was recovering. I was out of pain but lost. I felt like I was going no where fast. I was transferred to Norfolk, Va. I hated the memories of Norfolk. My marriage ended there and now I was probably going to be stationed there for quite awhile.
I was in a pretty great job to recover in. I was a Morale Welfare and Recreation Officer. I was in charge of anything related with the morale of my shore command. I loved the job but I was gaining a lot of weight. I wasn’t allowed to work out.
Once I was given permission to work out I did not. I just couldn’t form the habit. I ate like crap and it showed.
I then received the news that I couldn’t reenlist because I couldn’t go back to sea duty when I was supposed to. This was crushing to me. I wanted to try and make Senior Chief but I was fooling myself. I just had so many non completed PRT tests that it would take years to even be considered for advancement. So I retired. I quit.
Next week…………. The story continues.