Sergeant Tony's Blog

Being Chicked! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 8/27/2014

Wednesday, Aug. 27th 2014 2:53 PM

The first book that I ever read was a book about running. Well, maybe not technically. But the very first sentence that I ever read was about running.

“See Dick run.”

That was the first sentence that I ever read in my life.

Running — pure running that wasn’t associated with some sport I was playing — has been a part of my life since I was 18. I’ve been running ever since. I started coaching other runners in 1981.

Huffpost Healthy Living posted an article last week entitled “19 Reasons to Start Running.” None of those 19 reasons were anything new to me and if you’re a runner they wouldn’t be news to you either. I like the list. It’s a good one. But there’s nothing on that list that runners don’t already know.

I started keeping a journal of my running and weight lifting workouts beginning in 1977. When I moved back from Japan in 1998, I packed a box with the 8 precious journals I’d written in and filled up, covering 20 years of weight workout diary notes, running workouts, notes, and race results, triathlon training, notes, and race results, as well as nutrition experiments, equipment analysis, training ideas, trial and error approaches, and everything else you could imagine that covered my personal health and fitness journey.

When my shipment from Japan arrived here in Memphis, guess what was missing? I was devastated. The knowledge, experience, and wisdom gained over two decades was lost, along with everything else in that box. The written journals were lost, but the knowledge, hopefully, remains. One of the things in journal #2 was the lessons learned from my first triathlon.

In honor of Scot Bearup’s triumphant completion of the Louisville Ironman Triathlon this past weekend, I give you the lessons I learned doing my first triathlon in 1979. Oh, no need to worry that my performance in that triathlon might overshadow the awesome achievement of our friend, Scot … as you will see.

The lessons began two days before the triathlon. At the encouragement of an older wiser friend, I applied a liberal coat of a new “rubber enhancing” product to my very narrow bike tires. I’d never heard of “Armor All” before, but my friend suggested that I put some of this rubber rejuvenator on my tires. He thought it would increase traction and make me faster. Sounded good to me.

I was wrong.

On a short bike ride two days before the race, and with a nice liberal coat of that new stuff on my tires, I leaned hard and fast into a sharp right-hand turn. In a nanosecond, my bike slid out from under me and we both went airborne, but only momentarily. The whole right side of my body, from my right ankle to my right shoulder, became a human eraser skidding across the pavement, proving the law of gravity and momentum. Grinding along the asphalt at about 25 miles an hour, small rocks, pebbles, and other “road debris” became embedded into my soft underbelly. This gave me something euphemistically known among cyclists as “road rash.”

I lined up for my first triathlon two days later with my whole right side covered in a liberal coat of Neosporin.

First Life Lesson Learned from First Triathlon: “Armor All on bike tires, bad. Neosporin on road rash, good.”

If you’ve ever done a triathlon you know that the scariest part of the race is the swim start. There are just too many bodies and not enough water to swim in. It’s just confusion. It’s a human washing machine. Back in those greener days of the sport, event organizers crowded us up in a big herd on the sandy shore of a lake, aimed us toward a small eddy of the lake, then fired the starting gun, sending hundreds of running athletes toward the same little 16 ounces of water to swim in. You ran in through shallow water until it became deep enough to start swimming.

Once the swimming started, the race turned into a thrashing, kicking, slapping, and elbowing affair, similar to marriage. All of us tried to make some sort of swimming motion; all of us in this little fishbowl flailing about. It was crazy! You kicked others as others kicked you. You gouged others in the head, as others gouged you in the head. It wasn’t personal, it was just triathlon.

Second Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Don’t take it personally when others kick you.”

Thankfully, all of that madness at the beginning of the swim start only lasted for about 5 terrifying minutes. After that, the field of participants starts to spread out and you can find a little pocket of semi-private water to swim in. At that point, you can actually start to make strokes that resemble swimming, and not just flopping about trying not to drown.

Unfortunately, in that initial chaos of my first triathlon, my goggles had practically gotten knocked off by the kicking and gouging of others and was cockeyed on my head. They’d become worthless and filled up with water. Plus the “road rash” running the length of my right side stung from the water. And even though the other swimmers weren’t trying to hurt me, every time they kicked or grabbed my right side, it hurt more than just a little.

“Why am I doing this again?” thought I.

Third Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Keep swimming forward! Always forward! You’ll drown if you stop!”

After about 20 minutes of swimming, I got a glimpse of the finish line coming up. Thank God! A few more minutes of swimming and I could see swimmers ahead of me standing up and running toward the shore! At last, I reached water shallow enough to stand up in and I started running out of the water.

In a mad dash, we were all running around, trying to find our cycling clothes. The early days of the sport didn’t have a “transition area” so there wasn’t a place to rack your bike in an organized way. Bikes were everywhere, leaned against trees, bushes, cars, whatever, wherever. It was a mess! The whole area looked different now, seeing that area coming from the lake, I was disoriented and desperate to find my clothes and get to the changing tent.

Yes, there was a changing tent. There was one tent. Singular. One tent. For everyone.

In those days, we changed out of our swimsuits and put on full fledged cycling clothes, as if we were going to race in the Tour de France. Nowadays triathletes compete in one suit, never stopping to change clothes from swim, bike, and run. But that wasn’t the case back in the late 70s and early 80s when the sport was brand new and none of us really knew what we were doing. So we changed clothes for every leg of the race.

The changing tent was a giant green army tent (think MASH 4077) with very little, if any, light inside. You could barely see inside the tent, with the only light being the early morning light coming in from the front door flap of the tent. There also wasn’t a “boy’s side” or a “girl’s side.” We all ran into the tent and frantically tried to find a place inside to change. Once inside, my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit conditions and I could actually see the person next to me.

The attractive naked female person next to me.

Ordinarily, an attractive naked woman within arms length of me in a dimly lit room would be cause for celebration and high fives! Such was not the case! I couldn’t have cared less. I was in a hurry to get moving. I hardly paused at all in my frenzied fumbling, trying to change into my Tour cycling clothes and get out of that tent!

Imagine that!

Fourth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “Sigmund, you were wrong, it’s not ALWAYS about sex.”

Once I had changed, gotten on my bike, and was riding down the highway, I found some other guys to group up with. Drafting was allowed in the early days of triathlon, so we formed up like the peloton seen in professional bike races. There were about 10 of us riding together.

Being the lead rider isn’t being “in the lead.” Being in front is a duty. Being in front is doing most of the work. You see, the front rider in those groups is working hardest because he’s riding against wind resistance. Everyone behind the lead rider can kind of coast in the slipstream. Group riding etiquette says that everyone takes their turn at the front and it also means that there’s a fresh rider at the front, ensuring that the group will ride faster as a group than a single rider could do alone.

So there we were, riding like the wind on our fancy expensive Italian and French made bikes, wearing fancy cycling shoes, fancy cycling shorts, fancy aerodynamic cycling helmets, and fancy tight fitting colorful cycling jerseys. We were doing our best to imitate those colorful cycling teams seen racing in Europe. And I have to admit, I felt pretty cool, riding fast and looking like I was riding on the Champs-Élysées!

After about 6 miles into this 40 mile bike race, we became aware of a faint mechanical sound somewhere in the distance behind us. Somewhere back there, something was making an awful sounding mechanical sound.

It was making a grinding scraping metal against metal sound. Because we were in a rural area, I thought a farmer had entered the road behind us driving an old tractor, maybe dragging an old rusty combine or plow. None of us turned around to look. That would have violated proper “peloton protocol.” And it would have looked uncool too. Looking back was for sissy-boys, NOT for us cool guys.

As the noise got closer I became aware of a sound that was missing. There was no tractor engine noise. But that sound of rusty, grinding, metal against metal scraping kept getting louder and closer. We murmured among ourselves about the noise and the source of it, but none of us looked back.

At last the noise reached us and was starting to pass our peloton. That’s when we got our first glimpse of the old farmer and the rusty old combine. Turns out that it wasn’t a rusty old combine at all. It was a guy on a bike!! WHAT???

We looked to our left, and passing us, yes PASSING us, was a guy riding a nasty old, rusty, dirty looking early 1970’s era “Sears Free Spirit 10 Speed Racer.” We were being passed by a bike made out of plumbing pipe and sold in a hardware store! None of us would have been caught dead on that bike, much less compete on it! And to make matters worse, the dude passing us was wearing a ratty old t-shirt, cutoff blue jeans, a FOOTBALL helmet, and Chuck Taylor high-tops that were LITERALLY duct-taped to his pedals.

And did I mention that he was PASSING US??!!!

Awwwww haaaal nooo!!!

This would NOT do!

In one determined simultaneous move, we stood up on our pedals and sprinted past that upstart hayseed racer wannabe, putting him in his proper place BEHIND us! How DARE he try to pass US?! Did he have no respect for our coolness, for the glory of our beautiful, shiny, new bikes? But the thing is … he gained on us, he caught us, and the only thing that kept him from passing us completely was our united efforts to keep him from passing us!

Fifth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about the bike … it’s about the motor.”

The rest of the bike race was concluded without further incidence. We raced as fast as we could to the end of the bike leg and to the transition of the bike to run. The organizers had porta potties at the transition area, so I ducked into one of them, changed into my running clothes, and took off on the last leg of the triathlon, an 8 mile run up and down some horrible hills, but not before I gulped down three FULL cups of Gatorade. Turns out that wasn’t a good idea. A half mile into the run and I had to duck into the bushes alongside the county highway we were running for 8 miles to the finish.

Then at about 2 miles into the run I heard another sound. No, not the sound of grinding metal against metal, but the sound of feet. I could hear the footfall of some guy gaining on me. Since I don’t particularly like being passed, I thought I’d better speed up a little, so I increased my speed, thinking that it would hold him off, but I could still hear the sound of his feet hitting the deck moving quicker than I was. What??? He’s gaining on me?

OK, “time to make him hurt,” I thought. So, I sped up a little more.

But no, this guy kept coming!

“OK, dude … you wanna race? FINE! C’mon then … I got somethin’ fuuh ya … I’ll let you get up close and then I’ll make you hurt, I’ll start sprinting,” I said to myself.

That’s what I was thinking right up to the point where SHE got right next to me!

That’s right … SHE! She was PASSING me!!! She was some little sawed-off 5 foot nothin’ of a girl!! A GIRL?!! It was the first time in my life that a girl ever bested me in a sport of any kind. My Neanderthal ego took a big hit that day — a huge hit — as the pitter patter of Little Ms. Smartypants passed me, her evil little ponytail swaying in the wind. I tried to catch her … but … well … she was FAST!!! In racing parlance, to get passed by a girl is to get “chicked.” (I have been “chicked” in every single race since then!)

Sixth Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about gender either.”

By the way, I did this triathlon 5 years in a row and this same girl passed me at the same spot EVERY TIME! By the third year, I was paranoid approaching the 2 mile mark. “Where IS she???” Knowing that she was about to appear, like the she-devil she was!

The rest of the run leg of that first triathlon went as expected. Up and down hills in sweltering heat and humidity. The finish line was on a horse racing track inside a fairgrounds. Runners were to enter the fairgrounds, run onto the track, and take one lap around the track to the finish. So with “Rocky,” “Chariots of Fire,” and “Eye of the Tiger” blaring from the big speakers set up in the infield, I entered the horse racing track and tried to pick up the pace a bit. I wanted to finish strong.

With about 150 yards to go, I started hearing a wheezing gasping sound from someone behind me. “Good lord, someone’s dying,” I thought. But the thing was, the dying sound was getting closer! What???? The dying guy was gaining on me???? That’s not right! How’s that even possible?

With about 100 yards left in the race, the “dying guy,” with the gray hair, passed me. PASSED ME! I tried to keep up with him. I tried to stay near him. But I was spent. He wasn’t.

The old dude beat me!

I crossed the finish line, proud of my first triathlon. My finish time was respectable, not bad at all. I was proud. But post-race, all I could think of was finding the “dying dude.”

You know how people linger after races, eating free snacks and gulping down Gatorade. The gray haired gentleman (aka “the dying dude”) was eating a banana when I found him.

“Congratulations on a great race!” I said to the man who humbled me at the end.

“Oh, thanks,” he said, kind of embarrassed.

“You passed me right there at the end … and you were moving pretty fast!” I said.

“Oh, sorry ’bout that,” he said with a slight chuckle that said that he wasn’t sorry at all. And then he added, “I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Sir, I hope you won’t be offended by my question … but … how old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Sticking his chest out with pride, he said, “I’m 65 years old!”

“You, sir, are my new role model … my goal … my HERO!!!”

And this unknown 65 year old man has been my hero ever since.

Seventh Life Lesson from First Triathlon: “It’s not about age either.”

Those things I learned in my first triathlon have been true in my life and not just about triathlon. It shattered many of my misplaced notions and prejudices. It helped to realign my thinking about things. They were not exactly the lessons I thought I would learn, but proof that one of the cool things about life and about sport is that we can continue to learn, with or without the humble pie!

— 30 —

And Scot Bearup? He’s my new hero!


That’s 23 min. of cardio followed by 23 min. of runner specific yoga! I’ll see you in the gym.

During college football season wear your favorite team’s shirt or hat or other gear every Friday! (Or whenever your team plays!)



by Staff Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Hot! Hot! Hot!

The temperature and humidity has made for a very hot August. This increases your risk of dehydration and even life threatening hypernatremia if you exercise in the Memphis heat. But just how much and what kind of fluid should you be taking in?

For those shorter runs and for some general hot-weather fluid tips, try these tips adapted from the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines:

Before exercise: Try to drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours before your planned exercise session and then drink two or more cups of fluid two to three hours before exercise. This will help keep you hydrated while allowing your body time to get rid of any excess fluid before your exercise session begins.

During exercise: Drink 6 to 12 ounces of cool fluids (water is fine) every 15 to 20 minutes. If your exercise session or run is less than an hour, a sports drink is not needed. These drinks contain calories, many up to 200 a bottle and can add to weight gain if they aren’t counted.

If, however, you are to be exercising longer than 60 minutes, you will definitely benefit from the extra sugar/carbohydrates and electrolytes from a sports drink. The carbohydrates help to fuel your muscles and the electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, reduce urine output, speed the rate at which fluids empty the stomach, promote absorption from the small intestine, and encourage fluid retention.

After exercise: Be sure to continue drinking after your exercise session is over. You can weigh yourself before and after your runs. Try to drink about 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost. Don’t forget to include some sodium (salt) either in fluids or with the post- exercise meal. Sodium can help in the rehydration process and increase your desire to drink.

If you are curious to see just how much fluid you really need when you exercise, then be sure to check out the USA Track and Field’s Self Testing Program for Optimal Hydration. This test uses a formula to determine how much fluid you need based on your weight, the weather conditions and your exercise intensity. You can find this self-test at:

Knowing how much fluid you need is just as important as being fitted with the right running shoes or following the perfect training program. Too little or too much fluid can have serious, even life-threatening consequences. Be sure you know how to properly hydrate by following the above guidelines and by following your thirst.

And a BIG thank you goes out to young boot camper Mae Walker, who helped me with a Nutrition 101 project where she researched four canned foods items: lentil beans, diced tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and aduki beans. She gave me their nutrition information and listed the ingredients by weight. She was a HUGE help. Thank you Mae!!


MAKE A $&(#&@^#!*% FACE!!!!



What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!







Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

Congratulations to the following members of the Sub Seven Club:

Private Sam Podesta
Private Ben Newsham
PFC Tim Jacobs
Corporal Lee Chase,
Corporal Chris McLelland,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Staff Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
And Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick.



Are you coming up on promotion? Let me know! If you’ve been in the program for 6 months straight, you should be on the roster!

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!


Under 6 months is a Private

Private First Class is more than 6 months but less than 1 year.
– Steve Pike 9/2013
– “El” McCain 11/2013
– Angela Moore 12/2013
– Jenn Bonner 12/2013
– Brett Bonner 1/2014
– Riki Jackson 1/2014

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Teresa Reed 2/2012*
– Emma Crystal 5/2012
– Megan Collins 6/2012
– Maria Wyatt 6/2012
– Susye Clark 7/2012
– Orli Weisser-Pike 9/2012
– Morgan Johnson 10/2012
– Chuck Miller 11/2012
– Diane Gorney 12/2012
– Lexie Johnston 12/201?
– Ashley Summers 2/2014
– Ben Summers 2/2013
– Sam Lee 2/2013
– Louise Biedenharn 2/2013
– Jay Biedenharn 2/2013
– Ragan Washburn 2/2013
– Mary Holland Doan 4/2013
– Kay Barkoh 4/2013
– Melissa Campbell 4/2013
– Gina Tice 4/2013

– Mallory Raffensberger 8/2013
– Ashley Bowles 8/2013
– Greg Gaston 8/2013

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– JD Dombroski 4/2011
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– Tait Keller 8/2011
– Heath Alderson 9/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Rachel Phillips 2/2012
– Jean Maskas 2/2012
– Keith Renard 4/2012
– Alan Compton 4/2012
– Steve Havard 5/2012
– Beth Stengel 2/2012
– Chris Kelley 6/2102
– Lora Gubanov 8/2012

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Ashley McClure 7/2010
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 8/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010
– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Michelle Moss 5/2011
– Becky Lawler 5/2010*

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008*
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Malinda Miller 3/2010
– Jay Mednikow 3/2010
– Ashley Holloway 4/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Keith Renard 6/2009*
– Tim Romanow 8/2010

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009
– Robert Hunt 8/2009

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– Matt Prince 6/2007
– Frank Jemison 10/2007
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 5/2008
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*

– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Michelle Crockett 3/2007
– George Rose 5/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007
– Leslie Garey 6/2007

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Gary Thompson 10/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006

– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003
– Amy Singer 9/2003
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Hank Brown 3/2004

Over 11 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 3
– Pat McGhee 1/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003
– Peter Pettit 5/2003

Battalion Executive Officer
Major Richard Bourland, 9/2003

* broken time



We should be!


You should totally do that!



If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee!

(This is not in conjunction with other discounts and is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up yourself with your bank usually online and easy as pie!)



0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)
5:45 PM: Monday through Thursday, 5:30 on Friday.



First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name.


You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.


What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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