Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for October, 2009

RETREAT? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 10/28/09

Oct. 28th 2009

I didn’t really want to go on a “sort of religious” retreat. It was a time in my life where I was “in the corner, in the spotlight” of a dark journey … a pilgrimage of emotional suffering and sadness and I didn’t want to be around anyone. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to be alone and wallow in my misery.

But the friend-girl who asked me to go thought I needed that retreat. And since the retreat would be held at a lodge at one of my favorite places in Arkansas, I agreed, reluctantly, to go.

There were about 40 of us, an equal mix of guys and girls, all of us single and 35 to 45 years old or so. With the exception of my friend-girl, I didn’t know anyone else. And it was just as well. I didn’t want to stand around making small talk with strangers. And she had plenty of friends who wanted to talk to her and that left me to myself after we checked into the lodge. Most everyone was just milling around waiting for the first “session” to begin, the pre-dinner session.

The session began with the session leader asking us to go around the room and introduce ourselves. I only paid the slightest attention. I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone or in making new acquaintances. I wasn’t feeling sociable and I didn’t really expect to see any of those people ever again. This of course isn’t my usual personality. I’m normally very eager to meet new people and get to know them. But like I said, I was in a dark and twisted place.

As the introductions were going around the room I thought about what I would say when it was my turn. Ordinarily I’d try to say something funny. But I didn’t feel very funny. As I was thinking about this dilemma I heard one of the girls introduce herself and say a name that I hadn’t heard in a long long time. She didn’t look familiar to me at all. But her name, I’ll call her Mandy Smith, was very familiar to me.

After that session, I found Mandy talking in a group of 7 or 8 others before dinner. I stood in the group and waited for an opportunity to speak to her. When there was finally a lull in the conversation, I said, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice your name … you’re Mandy Smith, right?”

“Yes, that’s right,” she said, a little confused.

“Hi Mandy, I’m Tony Ludlow … and I know this will sound like a very odd question, but … were you in a terrible car accident about 15 years ago?” I asked.

Mandy just stood there staring at me. The whole group said nothing waiting for her answer. She didn’t say anything for what seemed like a very long time.

“Yes,” she said at last, as her voice started to crack, “how do you know this?”

“Because I was there,” I said. And before I could say anything else she started to cry.

“YOU’RE THE ONE!!!” she screamed, lunging at me and throwing her arms around me, crying on my shoulder, to the stunned silence of everyone else. I just held her as she sobbed.

Finally, she pulled back and said to me, “I’ve been waiting all these years to meet you and to thank you for saving my life.”

Then she announced to everyone, “Y’all, this is Tony … he saved my life!”

Hardly.

Fifteen years earlier my son Matthew, only about 5 at the time, and I were driving north on I-55 back to Memphis from spending the day at Sardis. Just past the Senatobia exit, about 300 yards ahead of us, something bad was happening. Dust and debris flew into the air and the cars in front of us started suddenly veering left. In a matter of seconds we were on it. A car had left the road to the right, flipped several times, and was sitting upside down in a ditch.

I quickly pulled over and stopped! I told Matthew to stay in the car, and I jumped out to go help. One other man, a truck driver, had also stopped and he and I ran to the car. The car was empty and the whole shoulder area of the road was covered with the personal belongings of the driver. A driver we couldn’t find.

We frantically started searching the area for the driver. The trucker had gone one way and I’d gone the other. Almost immediately I found the driver, a young woman. I checked for a pulse. She was alive but unconscious and she lay in a terrible heap. I yelled to the trucker to go radio for help — no cell phones in the late 80’s.

The shear force of the accident and her being thrown from the car had literally ripped some of her clothing off and I yelled to Matthew to bring the blanket out of the car to cover her up. She was banged up really bad but wasn’t bleeding, but I was afraid that she might have neck or spinal injuries and so I didn’t move her.

The ambulance arrived soon and the EMT’s went to work. They put her on a stretcher and we all helped carry her to the ambulance. And then she was gone.

Matthew and I collected her belongings and found her wallet. Inside the wallet was her driver’s license. The pretty smiling girl in the photo didn’t look anything like that poor young woman we’d just found on the side of the road.

This was how I met Mandy Smith.

I found her home phone number and called her home, told her mother what had happened and where they had taken her daughter.

A few days later I visited Mandy in the hospital. She was in a coma with severe neck and spine injuries. I left her belongings in her room with a note to her mom along with my name and phone number. I asked her to call me when there was a change in Mandy’s condition.

Over the next couple of weeks I got regular phone calls from Mandy’s mom updating me on her progress. Mandy was going to be alright, but she’d have to learn how to walk again and there would be many surgeries and therapy to follow. A month or so later I moved to Japan and never got to meet Mandy.

That is, until that evening nearly 15 years later at that retreat in Arkansas.

She and I were inseparable for the rest of that weekend. She knew everyone there and kept telling everyone and anyone, and I mean ANYONE (including the staff at the lodge), that I had saved her life. She insisted, against my protests, that I had. But I hadn’t.

In truth … Mandy had saved my life. That chance encounter at that retreat was the spark that had pulled me out of the pit that I was in. A pit that seemed to have no end and a darkness that often consumes those that are in it. Within that darkness a hand was extended to me. A hand that pulled me out. Mandy’s hand.

Mandy and I remained close after that weekend. And two years later she asked me to be her special guest of honor at her wedding. And even at her reception she was still ushering me around and introducing me as the guy who saved her life. Even her husband hugged me and thanked me! He was from out of town and they moved up north after the wedding.

When I said goodbye to her, she couldn’t help but say it again, “Thank you, Tony. You saved my life!”

No Mandy, you saved mine …

Happy Anniversary!

——————————————–

GOALS!

Last week I invited you to join me in setting some goals for January 1, 2010! Lots of you guys have written them down and sent them to me! GREAT! If you haven’t, do that now and send them to me!

My goals? One of my goals is to be jog/walking on a treadmill by 1/1/10!

Write yours down! Send them to me! Make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic in two months time. (S.M.A.R.T = specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time defined.)

————————————————-

HALF MARATHON TRAINING THIS SATURDAY!!

Our St. Jude Half Marathon Training continues on Saturday, October 24 at 8 AM!
We will meet in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms!

——————————————————

0645 and 0830 CLASSES ARE ACTIVATED!!

The 0645 and 0830, both MWF classes, are back in session!

——————————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes meet at St. Mary’s track. Those classes begin at 5:45 PM. St. Mary’s is at the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins. In the event of rain, these cardio only classes will be canceled.

——————————————————–

RACE FOR GRACE 5K

The Race for Grace 5K will be held on Saturday, November 7 at 9 AM @ Shady Grove Presbyterian Church.
This race benefits the Church Health Center!

—————————————————-

NO MT. FUJI WORKOUT THIS MONTH!

—————————————————-

NEW WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM!

Soon I will be announcing a partnership with a very successful and results oriented weight loss program! Stay tuned for more details!

To your continued good health and fitness!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding

Memphis, TN

901-644-0145

www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com

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GIVE ME PATIENCE! — SGT. TONY LUDLOW’S NEWSLETTER 10/21/09

Oct. 21st 2009

“We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway,
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day”

These are the opening lines to Carly Simon’s “Anticipation.” Years after the song dropped off pop radio’s playlist, it became the theme song of a ketchup commercial. Remember? Some guy was waiting for the ketchup to come out of the bottle. And as he was waiting … and waiting … and waiting, “Anticipation” was playing in the background.

It reminds me of the little rhyme:

“Shake, shake, shake,
the ketchup bottle.
None will come,
and then a lot ‘il.”

Anticipation is hardly anything we experience very much in our post modern life. Everything is quick. Fast food, overnight delivery, instant coffee, microwaveable meals in minutes. You know what I mean. And I like it. I’m a HUGE fan of things done quickly. Well, most things.

“Instant gratification,” a friend once said, “isn’t fast enough!”

We want what we want and we want it NOW!

This mindset effects our perception of exercise and weight loss too. Recently a new Boot Camper complained to me on a Thursday morning that she had quit eating her evil and besetting fat food indulgence on Tuesday, but now, two days later, there was no noticeable difference in her figure or the numbers on her scale! She expected an almost instantaneous result.

Say WHAT??

We just get so accustomed to having things happen quickly that waiting for something, anything, is practically out of the question. And I’m no fan of waiting either. I wish I was more patient … well, sort of … I don’t really care for the means by which we learn patience. Namely, by having to wait for stuff. I’m more like the guy who prayed, “Oh lord, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!”

That said, I’m going to invite you to join me in a little anticipation.

You might have noticed that I’ve got a little knee issue. The tennis tournament injury that led to surgery on October 2 to repair a torn meniscus and quad tendon have forced me to reevaluate my short term goals.

I can’t walk without an “upper thigh to ankle brace” and two crutches. My physical therapy consists of efforts to bend my right knee. I’ve gone from 60 degrees to almost 90 painfully acquired degrees of knee bend. Yippee! One year ago this weekend I was in Washington, DC running the Marine Corps Marathon. And now, a year later, I’m just trying to bend my knee. It feels pathetic and I want to be well NOW!! (See, NOT very patient.)

With the consultation of my surgeon and physical therapists, I’m working on goals for January 1, 2010. I’m inviting you to do the same.

Join me in formulating your own goals for the new year! Set a weight loss goal! Set a running distance goal! Set a 5K finish time goal. Set a goal of increasing your dumbbell weight! Set a percentage of body fat goal!

Your goals might be different from these, but you get the idea. Your goals need to be measurable, so “getting into shape” doesn’t qualify as a goal.

The anticipation of an acquired goal, two months from now will give you a sense of focus and motivation!

Come up with your goal(s) for January 1, 2010 and email them to me by next week. I’ll keep ’em and come January 1, I’ll post the names of those who achieved their goals. I won’t post the details of your goal, but that YOU achieved them!!

Put your thinking caps on! Give it some thought and send your list of goals to me ASAP!!

—————————————————–

RACE FOR GRACE 5K

The Race for Grace 5K will be held on Saturday, November 7 at 9 AM @ Shady Grove Presbyterian Church.
This race benefits the Church Health Center!

—————————————————-

NO MT. FUJI WORKOUT THIS MONTH!

—————————————————-

0645, 0830, and 5:45 PM CLASSES

Due to the demolition of the Timothy House, and the cleanup to follow, the 0645 class and the 5:45 PM class will be conducted outside in the “courtyard.” That would be the inner area of Christ Methodist Day School where the flag pole and playground are. The 0830 class will be held inside the recreation building in the “aerobics room.” I’ll let you know when the coast is clear!

—————————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes meet at St. Mary’s track. Those classes begin at 5:45 PM. St. Mary’s is at the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins.

—————————————————

See you on the Quarterdeck!

To your continued health and fitness!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding

Memphis, TN

901-644-0145

www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com

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Tuesday Evening’s Workout 10/13/09

Oct. 13th 2009

Due to the rain, tonight’s track workout on Tuesday Oct. 13 is canceled. See you tomorrow!

Sgt. Tony

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The Indy — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 10/8/09

Oct. 10th 2009

In July 1945 a Japanese submarine torpedoed the USS Indianapolis. The ship sunk in less than 12 minutes. Of the 1,196 crew aboard, some 300 men never made it off the ship and disappeared along with her as the ship slipped out of sight just after midnight.

The rest of the crew faced exposure, dehydration and shark attacks as they waited for rescue with no lifeboats. Most of the men were covered with oil and poisonous fuel from the doomed ship. Those 900 men were set adrift with no food and no water as they floated in the water.

Four days and four nights they struggled to stay alive. They were finally rescued, quite by accident, when a Navy plane flew over the place where they drifted in the open sea.

Of those 900 men only 316 survived.

Four days and four nights drifting in shark infested waters with only a shoddy life preserver to keep them afloat. Life vests in 1945 were only good for three days in the water. After that they became waterlogged and worthless.

The survivors told stories of unbelievable agony, depression, despair, and hopelessness as one by one, shipmates and close friends were attacked by sharks or they simply gave in to the hopelessness. Hopelessness claimed as many lives as the sharks.

You might remember the Indianapolis story from “Jaws.” In the movie, the fictional character “Quint” was an Indianapolis survivor and told the story of those men who really lived that experience. While Quint was fictional, the story he told was very real.

To a man, the survivors of the USS Indianapolis said the same thing about their survival. Hope kept them alive. A belief that they would be rescued. A confidence that somehow someway they had to hold on. They kept hope alive.

My experience over the past couple of weeks isn’t anything like the men of the USS Indianapolis. Not even close. But I’ve discovered that hopelessness can come in a variety of ways, in a variety of places, and it visits us all. Everyone of us. Ours may not be the hopelessness of drifting at sea. It may not be the dramatic despair of someone in a life threatening situation. But it is no less real.

Hopelessness can find you in the suburbs or in Central Gardens. Hopelessness can find you in a college dorm or in a VP’s office. Hopelessness can find you in the carpool line or in the unemployment line. Hopelessness makes no distinction of socio-economic status, education, or family connections. Feelings of despondency can find anyone, anywhere, anytime.

The men of the USS Indianapolis who succumbed to their hopelessness simply took their life vests off and slipped into the deep. They believed that it was easier to die than to try and survive.

The survivors of the Indianapolis refused to give up. They refused to give up even in the face of near certain death. They refused to give up even as the sharks attacked all around them. They refused to give up even with the sounds of their shipmate’s screams in their ears. To give in, would mean certain death.

Some took off their life vests and slipped away less than an hour before the Navy plane spotted them.

Encourage those around you! You never know what effect the kind and positive words you speak to others will have on their spirit. If you’re having a tough time, hold on. Worry about things you have no control over will only make things worse. The survivors of the Indianapolis said they couldn’t control the shark attacks so they quit worrying about them. It was out of their control. If it’s out of your hands, out of your control, nothing you can do … worrying about it will only add to your burden and won’t do a single thing to resolve the issue. So let go of that … and hold on.

If you’ve been a reader of this newsletter for a while then you know that I have a great love for the video of REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” I think you ought to watch it every so often … so … here ya go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pudOFG5X6uA

As for me and my knee. Well, I’m trying not to go stir crazy. Trying to be patient. Trying not to be depressed. Trying to remember that my recovery is measured in months and not years. Trying to remind myself that there are millions of people who have it worse than me. Way worse. I’m holding on.

I’ve posted a picture of my knee on the website (www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com) on the blog page. It’s password protected to ensure that a casual web surfer doesn’t get creeped out by it. If you’d like to see it, the password is “knee.”

When will I return to the Quarterdeck? I’m hoping to be there on Monday! I’m blessed to have a number of very capable assistants who have stepped in to teach in my absence. I want to thank each of them! Many, many, many thanks go to Richard Bourland, Anne Emmerth, Mike Barta, Taylor Taylor, Andrew Forsdick, Jean Johnston, Teri Trotter, Oscar Adams, David Caffey, and the Princess: Margaret Caffey. Without you guys I’d be worrying about how to keep my business alive, how I’m gonna be able to buy Spam and pimento cheese! I am indebted to you all. From my heart, thank you all very very much! YOU ALL ROCK!!

——————————————————

BABYSITTER SERVICES!

In my efforts to also be a staffing service, here’s yet another opportunity. Once a week or so I get asked if I know of a good sitter. If you, or someone you know, is a baby sitter, let me know. Send me your contact info and I’ll be happy to pass it on!

————————————————

TEAM TERI

As many of you know, our own Teri Trotter is a recent breast cancer survivor. Friends of Teri have established a tribute to Teri. “Teri’s Trotters” tee shirts are available. A portion of all sales will be donated to Race for the Cure in Teri’s name. This will make a perfect shirt to wear while running the race!

Contact Genna Brooke Dattel at Mgdattel@aol.com

———————————————–

Dr. Alan Shaffer, 0645 Boot Camper sends:

“I sell latisse, a glaucoma drug that has recently been approved for lash growth. I also need some help promoting lasik. I have been performing lasik surgery for 13 years. The Lasik surgery is $1800/eye but I will discount it $200 for boot campers. The Latisse is $99 per bottle. I can have it available at boot camp at the 6:45 class!”

————————————————

HALF MARATHON TRAINING THIS SATURDAY!!

Our St. Jude Half Marathon Training continues on Saturday, October 10 at 8 AM! This will be our 11th half marathon training platoon!

We will meet in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms!

I have posted the training schedule on the website. The password is “Jude” (case sensitive): http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/2009/09/16/2009-st-jude-half-marathon-training-schedule/

——————————————————

0645 and 0830 CLASSES ARE ACTIVATED!!

The 0645 and 0830, both MWF classes, are back in session!

——————————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes meet at St. Mary’s track. Those classes begin at 5:45 PM. St. Mary’s is at the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins.

——————————————————-

“When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on …”
~ “Everybody Hurts” by REM

To your continued good health and fitness!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Memphis, TN
901-644-0145
www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com

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Protected: Tony’s Knee

Oct. 6th 2009

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.


SPONGE BOB — Newsletter for 10/01/09

Oct. 1st 2009

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” Plato said.

This is one of my favorite quotes. Everyone bears a burden. Usually unseen or unknown. I try hard to get an A in “give-them-the-benefit-of-a-doubt-ology.” I know what it’s like to be misjudged and falsely accused. I bet you do to.

Most people’s burdens go undetected. So be kind.

Since last Tuesday night one of my burdens has become known. Kinda hard to hide it! A big black brace on my right knee and a cane, along with a noticeable change in my strut, sort of lets the cat out of the bag. I’ve got an issue.

Knee surgery tomorrow (Friday) will begin my journey back to full duty status. Dr. Robert Miller of Campbell Clinic — and Boot Camper Nancy Miller’s husband — will put me back together again! He said it would involve drilling, bailing wire, and duct tape.

OK … he actually DID say “drilling.” I kind of quit listening at that point and broke out into a cold sweat. “Drill,” I’ve discovered, is a word you do NOT want your orthopedic surgeon to say.

Many of you have been so very sweet to me as a result of this burden. I must admit that I’ve been overwhelmed by your kindness and help. Offers of food, crutches (thank you Kay Shelton), and a vehicle with an automatic transmission (thank you Eric Flanders, owner of Fleet Feet Sports!) have touched me deeply! Thank you everyone!

I’m taking applications for “temporary wife.” Duties will include light cleaning, light cooking, running a few errands and three times daily sponge baths. 😉

Seriously though, thank you all very much! Boot Camp marches on! Classes will meet and I will be there ASAP!! DO NOT SLACK! Support me AND yourself, get thee to ye olde Quarterdeck!

————————————————–

BABYSITTER SERVICES!

In my efforts to also be a “staffing service,” here’s yet another opportunity. Once a week or so I get asked if I know of a good sitter. If you, or someone you know, is a baby sitter, let me know. Send me your contact info and I’ll be happy to pass it on!

————————————————

TEAM TERI

As many of you know, our own Teri Trotter is a recent breast cancer survivor! (Love you Teri!) Friends of Teri have established a tribute to her. “Teri’s Trotters” tee shirts are available. Great running shirt! A portion of all sales will be donated to Race for the Cure in Teri’s name. This will make a perfect shirt to wear while running the race!

Contact Genna Brooke Dattel at Mgdattel@aol.com

———————————————–

Dr. Alan Shaffer, 0645 Boot Camper sends:

“I sell latisse, a glaucoma drug that has recently been approved for lash growth. I also need some help promoting lasik. I have been performing lasik surgery for 13 years. The Lasik surgery is $1800/eye but I will discount it $200 for boot campers. The Latisse is $99 per bottle. I can have it available at boot camp at the 6:45 class!”

————————————————

HALF MARATHON TRAINING THIS SATURDAY!!

Our St. Jude Half Marathon Training continues on Saturday, October 3 at 8 AM! This will be our 11th half marathon training platoon!

We will meet in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms!

Cost of the three month training is $75 for Boot Campers and $125 for “friends of Boot Camp” (non-boot campers).

I have posted the training schedule on the website. The password is “Jude” (case sensitive): http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/2009/09/16/2009-st-jude-half-marathon-training-schedule/

——————————————————

0645 and 0830 CLASSES ARE ACTIVATED!!

The 0645 and 0830, both MWF classes, are back in session!

——————————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes meet at St. Mary’s track. Those classes begin at 5:45 PM. St. Mary’s is at the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins.

——————————————————-

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
~ from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

To your continued good health and fitness!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Memphis, TN
901-644-0145
www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


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