Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week 2 - "Not in Kansas Anymore..."

Well, I have completed Week 2 (our first full week of classes) and have begun to acclimate to Academy life.  I was able to travel home for our first weekend due to the Columbus Day holiday.  I was able to work the Georgia game (Go Cocks!) and enjoyed some quality time with the family.  I have now begun my longest stretch away, as I will not be able to return home again until November.

The FBINA is designed to challenge officers and provide training and development in a variety of areas in order to create well-rounded law enforcement leaders.  There is certainly a large academic component, but one aspect that sets the NA apart from other leadership schools is the physical training. Every officer who attends the NA must take a mandatory physical fitness class.  In addition, other opportunities are provided to tackle other physical challenges.  Each session of the NA is broken down into sections (think of a homeroom in school).  You go through much of orientation as a section, announcements are made through weekly session meetings, and you attend PT as a section.  I am a member of Section 1 (of 6).  I imagine that serious bonds will be forged through each of the sections since PT and the physical challenges will serve to bring everyone together.

A look back at your daddy's NA workout

Our fitness instructor is one of the few who is not an FBI agent.  As most of the instructors are agents, they are usually here for a short time as it is a temporary assignment.  Our instructor was hired for the sole purpose of physical training and has been part of the unit for approximately 17 years, longer than any other member.  On our first day with him, we underwent a fitness screening which included several screenings and evaluations designed to uncover any preexisting injuries or issues.  It also included a check of our blood pressure, a weigh-in, and some measurements.  We ran a timed mile run and performed maximum pushups.  In December, we will repeat this process with the hope that we have improved.

The moment of truth

Some new friends and running buddies from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Prince George's County (MD) after our mile run

The fitness classes are very comprehensive and include a classroom portion which focuses on health and nutrition.  The physical portion is primarily comprised of circuit training with a focus on variety.  We have used medicine balls, broomsticks, sandbags, elastic bands, and our own body weight.  We have done inch worms, bear crawls, and the spiderman.  The fitness facilities here are second to none with 24-hour access to a lap pool, cardio facility, weight lifting facility, and track.  The fitness training is designed to change an officer's lifestyle and provide them the knowledge and tools to continue with the program when they return home.  This is accomplished by stressing efficiency and providing options that require little or no equipment.

Another fitness component of the NA involves a weekly fitness challenge.  Based on the Wizard of Oz, each challenge pays homage to a scene or character.  Occurring on Wednesday of each week, the challenges become progressively more difficult.  The first challenge run is known as  "Not in Kansas Anymore" and is a 1.8 mile run.  The entire section gathered, grouped by section for the run.  In addition to our fitness instructors, several academic instructors and Academy staff members showed up dressed in PT gear to perform the challenge with us.  As the challenge began, the pack began to separate into the fast, medium, and slower runners.  The camaraderie that has been prevalent continued; as runners completed their run, they remained at the finish line to cheer on their classmates.  As the last few runners came in, they were joined by dozens of other students who had already finished but ran back out to encourage and accompany the last few finishers.

Section 1 before our first challenge run

Dozens of runners go back out and bring in the last few finishers

Some post run stretching with my buddy Ed.  (Alright Ed, I mentioned you in my blog)

I am actually looking forward to progressing through the challenges.  Keeping in line with the Wizard of Oz theme, officers who complete all the challenges including the final challenge, known as the Yellow Brick Road, are awarded an actual yellow brick.  These bricks can be found on book shelves and mantles of many NA graduates across the country.

Until next time...

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