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Badass Camp

Itti travels to Camp Nerd Fitness

Day Two: Yoga, Boxing, Power Ignition, The Blob and Time Travel (whew!)

Period 1: Yoga

Day two and I was up bright and early for yoga in Kami’s Lookout, a nice little pavilion by the lake. I was really excited by this and it didn’t disappoint. A couple of the knee poses were a bit painful because I’m used to a thicker mat and the ground underneath was actually concrete, but apart from that it was a beautiful location and really good session.

One of the things I love about yoga is that it comes with a mini-reward at the end of every class: shavasanah (also known as “corpse pose”). You basically just get to lie on the floor and chill out. It feels particularly good after the end of an intense class. More exercise classes should finish with something like this!

Period 2: Boxing

It was only a vague maybe on my original plan, but someone I talked to at lunch the day before had really recommended the boxing class he’d done that morning, so I decided to do it today. This was in the same cool pavilion as yoga, although the sun started to come up over the mountain and hit us from the side. I later discovered some light sunburn in odd patterns on my arms from where I’d been holding them up constantly!

We started out by warming up with skipping ropes (turns out I really can’t skip) and wrapping up our wrists. That was pretty exciting already! Then we learnt stance and footwork for a bit. Then we partnered up, each pair grabbed a set of pads and we started boxing.

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Totes hardcore

This (the bulk part of the class) consisted of Rachel showing us an exercise with her victim wizard, then us practising it on the pads our partner was holding and keep going until she told us to swap over. She always kept things in context by explaining the technical reasons we were doing something a particular way (“if you leave an opening here, he’s gonna deck you”, etc.) and adjusted the class according to what people were struggling with or confused by. She also yelled “NERDS!” whenever she wanted to get our attention, which was kinda funny and cool. By the end we were all ducking and weaving and doing three-punch combos.

It was thoroughly exhausting in the way a judo session with the rubbers is exhausting – constantly doing the same technique for ages until you switch – but we were all encouraging each other (I had a great partner) and it felt so badass and awesome.

We didn’t get to lie down at the end though.

Period 3: Free Study

I chatted to a few people at lunch time and then headed off to archery. My plan for the rest of the day was to go to the archery skills class and then to the open shoot afterwards. Sadly, on the way there I was met by people coming from the other direction saying it was full, so I had to re-plan.

I went back to the Great Hall (lunch room) to fill in my activity booklet and work on my quests. Many of the quests were active ones like going to 2 lecture classes in one day, trying a skill you hadn’t tried before, learning a new board game, etc. But there were a number of thinking/less active ones, so I worked on them here. This included asking people what motivated them, thinking of my own motivations, introducing myself to people I didn’t know, noting ways my new knowledge in existing skills would help me level up, and a few more!

dsc_0079This is when I also got brave enough to start asking people to write in my happy book. I’m making a book of happy things – mine and other people’s – and I wanted to get more entries in it so I brought it to Camp with me. Over the next day and a half I got maybe half a dozen different people to write in it, some with more than one “thing”.

Period 4: Ignite your power

This was run by the lovely lady (Kate M) who did the yoga class I went to that morning. The class description said

Power comes in many forms. This session is all about connecting to the natural rhythms and energies of your body and learning to work with your personal cycles of power. We are going to look at why it is super important to honor your body and the way you operate best in order to optimize your creative potential and vitality. We will discuss the feminine aspects of your power, and cover why your natural rhythms matter, how to chart and understand them, and how to use your body as a sounding board for increasing your personal sense of power, well being, and energy every single day.

I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be like but it turned out to be really useful! It was a discussion about productivity as a way of managing energy instead of a way of managing time. Which makes sense when you think about it – you only have a limited amount of time in the day, but you also only have a limited amount of energy, and you do not have the same amount of energy for the same amount of time at different times of the day.

It’s like… you know all those articles that tell you things like “just think about when you’re most productive and do all your work then!”? It was like that except introducing a measurable way to determine and log when you’re most productive instead of assuming you already know or will if you think about it. And then adjusting and organising your work and energy around that, once you have that data.

She also introduced cool new ways of thinking of days and weeks as cycles like the cycles of the year or our feminine cycles. “Winter” (which may or may not correspond with actual winter) being hibernation time and “spring” being planning mode, for example.

Period 5+: Swimming

I wanted to make sure I blobbed at some point during my stay, so after getting an afternoon snack (some kind of egg thing – pretty tasty) I went back up to the cabins, got changed into swimwear (with T-shirt and shorts on top) and headed over to Lake Tess.

I told you about the blob before, but I’ll briefly explain again. It’s basically a giant inflatable blob of plastic in the lake. You jump onto it from a pier, then scoot to the end and sit there while the next person jumps down. The force of them landing on the blob propels you up and into the air and into the water. Sploosh! It’s kind of one of the quintessential Camp Nerd Fitness experiences, or so I’m told, so I had to give it a shot.

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This is not me (or anyone I blobbed with) – just to show you how it worked

I didn’t go to the lake with anyone so I was glad that there were a few people over there when I got there so I had some people to blob with (some were finishing up, but there were three who wanted to blob, and we all blobbed together). I was nervous about the jumping onto the blob from the pier part as it felt like a long way up! But luckily I didn’t lose my nerve and managed to jump on. It took us a few goes before we even managed to land properly (and not bounce or fall off) never mind slide down to the end ready for step two!

I think I was the first to land straight without shooting sideways off the blob on impact – and then I was sitting/lying in the blob trying to work out how to move down it! It was surprisingly difficult – you’re essentially going up a hill feet first, I suppose – but I managed to get to roughly the right position. Unfortunately as I approached the end it suddenly got very slithery and I barely managed to not fall off the end of the blob! After all that jumping and slithering I thought I might as well try and get blobbed whilst I was there though so I gave the go-ahead for the next blobber. He jumped down silently and I must have gone face-first into the water but the blob inflated so quickly behind me it felt instantaneous – one minute my head was surrounded by air, the next it was surrounded by water!

I swam round and climbed up again whilst the others blobbed. We started getting the hang of it after a bit, with less fallings-off. On my next attempt though I managed to whack the back of my head on the blob itself as I landed (fully inflated, it’s fairly rigid) and decided that was enough for me. Apparently I somersaulted in the air. It was still fun watching the others for a bit before they decided to call it quits as well.

Three out of the four of us then decided to swim over to the far side of the lake to Tessie (a blow-up dinosaur). It was a nice refreshing swim (although the life jacket did keep floating up and trying to strangle me, which was inconvenient). I’d heard a rumour there were meant to be black gems (worth 5 points) as a reward for anyone that swam out to her, but we didn’t find any. We towed her back across the lake to base.

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After that it was about dinner time but I wanted to get a chance to swim in the forbidden pool as well so I got out and went over there, even though my other blobmates decided to head for dinner instead. The pool was nice and quiet in a secluded area, with just one other person there when I got there and a couple of others who joined as I was leaving. Everyone else said it was cold, but after coming from the lake it didn’t feel that bad and once I got used to it actually felt quite nice and refreshing!

After I’d worn myself out with multiple laps of this I decided I’d better get out of my swimwear and down to dinner. Back up that hill again!

Evening: Time Travel Night

Tonight’s theme was time travel night and we were encouraged to dress as time travellers from any period (past or future) in history. I did already have 80s gear from a different party, but I’d decided to go for a 50s theme because they have those cool hourglass-shaped dresses that really suit me (I have a skirt and a coat in that shape somewhere) and I thought it would be fun to give it a go. So after getting back from the pool I needed to grab a quick shower before dinner so I had time to set my hair in rag curls so that hopefully it would dry over dinner!

At dinner (a tasty salted roasted chicken thing) it turned out a few people were dressed already but I dashed back to my room to get ready so I wouldn’t miss the start of Back to the Future!

Well it turns out that the amount of makeup that ladies wore in the 50s takes a long time to put on! To create the look (which I had researched beforehand) I had primer, foundation, blusher, eyebrow stuff, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow in four slightly different subtle shades, eyeliner, three coats of mascara, lip liner and lipstick. I had to write it all down to remind me what to do. Just as well the rest of my costume was only a dress and heels really!

The hair didn’t turn out that well (funnily enough, it was only when watching Back to the Future, the 50s part, that I realised the look I was meant to be going for with the rag curls) but apart from that I was really pleased with this outfit. I never wear lipstick and rarely wear dresses, so going out in bright red lipstick and a bright red dress felt just as bold as going out the previous night in my underwear – in some ways more so.

I’m glad I did it though as it felt good, felt right for me, and I got several compliments on it.

Anyway I got down there and watched Back to the Future (I missed the starting scenes where you see Marty and his family “before”, but I saw the scene in the carpark with the Libyans and testing the Delorean) on Hyrule Field beneath the stars. I had grabbed the oversized shirt that I’d used for the Delirium costume the day before for a little extra warmth, but even so it was a bit chillier than I expected.

After we had got Marty safely back to 1985 I went looking for the room where Safety Not Guaranteed was being shown, but I couldn’t find it and ended up going back to the games room instead. I wandered around for a while checking out other people’s historical and futuristic costumes, which included:

  • Charlie Chaplin
  • cavepeople
  • 80s kids
  • 90s wear
  • Victorians
  • Star Trek
  • cowboys
  • Viking
  • flapper
  • a tardis

Then I played a bit of Cards Against Humanity, which was fun and included a non-native speaker misunderstanding what “give your pet lamb a Brazilian” meant.

Then a man came along with a quest:

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His quest hat was cool but it kinda broke up the game as everyone went off to complete the quests (and for some reason I wasn’t allowed to do the quest they got).

So I wandered down to the campfire, which was kinda nice, but I felt a bit awkward and was getting sleepy, so I headed to bed after a bit.

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Then, after removing all that makeup, I went to sleep.

Oh, and I completed my Havik quest today as well.


Photo credits: Most of the photos are mine, with a few exceptions: any with the official logo on were taken by Will Byington, the yoga mats by Zelda Helena, the one of Tessie by Amanda Brooke Cockerham, the CAH table by Heather Ashcraft, and the one of Loren Wade (quest man) is his.

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Eking every last drop out of the baggage allowance

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A lot of people have said their first trip to Camp Nerd Fitness was or has been life-changing. Continue reading “Back from Camp: My Scattered Thoughts”

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