“Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I….”
Wait a minute… this is more a story about how I went to this thing with a bunch of nerds and did a bunch of awesome stuff and made lots of new friends and learned some stuff and did new things and got PR’s out the WAZOO and made lots of memories and there was food and trees and and and and…
So let me start from the beginning… and throw out a HUGE thank you to Jessica who bought my ticket when they went on sale and let me pay her back ever so slowly!! Without her there would have been NO CNF and there would have been a super sad Jenn. So let’s all tell her how much we love and adore her!!
(me and Jess)
Ok now the story can begin. I ended up working sun/mon/tue the week of camp. It was long and tiring and when I got off wednesday morning I came home and scrambled and found the last of the things I needed to pack and bring and make sure that the kids had everything they needed (it was my first time leaving them alone and I was SUPER nervous but they did awesome!)
Wednesday I drove down to Roanoke to visit with my super friend Heidi. Life decided to intervene and she was unable to make it to camp and she was sorely missed. We had an awesome time and drank some wine and just generally hung out and laughed about how crazy family can be and talked about plans for the future.
It was a nice drive but I was so incredibly tired
Heidi is this amazing yogi… I love when she does yoga/pilates with her daughter (who is like 40# or something… she isn’t light!!)
We hung out until I fell asleep on her couch. Then I woke up and she made me awesome coffee and I started driving. Over coffee she raised the question “what IS your super power” because everyone always asks what would you like your super power to be. But we believe that everyone already HAS a super power! (Mine is finding the positive in any situation.) I ended up asking this question to many campers over the weekend and made a thing for Heidi.
(I should mention that photography and/or photo editing is NOT my super power… just saying)
please comment and tell me YOUR super power!!
Driving was so super long. So at one point (my cardio trainer says I was in Unicoi County) I stopped for gas and I was so tired and cranky from sitting for so long that I asked the gas station attendant if there was a park nearby where I could sit under a tree for a bit. She did even better than that. Apparently I stopped at the most awesome gas station because they had a walking trail near by.
There was a little river and pond
And then I drove a million more miles and met with Christi (ChristArtist) and her amazing hubs Jim (wildross) and they bought me lunch (because did I mention AMAZING!)
I LOVE her smile!!
Then I followed them the rest of the way into camp. Because I totally suck at following written directions and the camp told us that Gertrude (GPS) would be unreliable and WRONG…
This is the first thing we see
(for some reason the wordpress editor won’t change the Will Byington pictures into real pictures… when I figure out how to fix it I will come back and edit so they aren’t clickable… SORRY!)
And then when we got there THE GOOBER himself (AKA Steve Kamb) was waiting at check in
It was amazing after so long of chatting with him by email and having skyped with him for the interview for the academy to finally meet him. (And I successfully resisted the urge to goose him. Because he is as cute in person as he is in pictures. Just Saying)
He was like the energizer bunny ALL weekend. I wish I had more time to sit with him and just relax. But it was nice to get a stevehug.
At check in there was all kinds of goodies!!
welcome to the first ever!
This was so full of info that I couldn’t swallow it all in one bite! All the classes and All the TIMES and STUFF And THINGS and AHHHHHHHH
ok… it wasn’t that bad but it did cause a lil bit of panic because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and when. And there was some difficulty because things overlapped or two things I wanted to do were at the same time. Also I didn’t REALLY feel well and so I kinda had to dial back my participation (although from the outside it didn’t look like it because I did so much but I did half of what I wanted to and I didn’t push as hard as I could have when I did participate.)
Took my stuff up to the hotel
It was a Jewish camp (so everything was kosher and there was Hebrew all over the place and these on the door.
Dropped my stuff off
And headed back to HQ. This was on the walk down.
This was the COOLEST little sitting area. I jumped back and forth between them. I felt awesome!
We just kinda hung out and waited around for people to start coming. Stopped at the merch table
Got to meet CHAMMY for the first time!
And then I hung out in the HQ and just waited for nerds to arrive.
I should mention a LOT of the pictures that happen that are just me and a people I am not entirely sure WHEN they happened… so if I get that timeline wrong I am super sorry…
CA SMFTexas and Gabe and me
me and CA
Then it was just hanging out until the opening ceremonies.
group photo opening ceremony
It was so amazing to see the look on Steve’s face as he talked to us. I think the grasshopper never saw it when he started NF so many million years ago (ok like five. but in internet years that is LONG!)
I think that NF is so much more than he ever imagined and it’s going to continue to grow and be ever more amazing. The rebellion will endure long past any of us!
I was so super tired at that point, and had to walk UP (so much up this weekend) nine bajillion steps to my hotel.
the walk up the hill to bed
Apparently there was Karaoke on thursday. And I missed it because I thought it was EVERY night. But it was only thursday 😦
I also visited the campfire 🙂
(they named it the Beacon of Gondor)
For info sake. This includes thurs/fri/sat. I did about zero flights of stairs in the week leading up to it.
Friday morning I woke up at 0500 and was WIDE awake. So I headed down to HQ to get some coffee (COFFEE!)
the view from the deck
Sat down and listened to praise and worship music for over an hour.
A little birdy joined me as I watched the sun come up and praised the Son.
(I have never been so loud so close to a wild animal who didn’t run away. I DID respectfully wait for the sun to come up to have any volume. Although, I was far away from any cabins, I apologize if I woke you up 🙂 )
When it was time I went and met Chammy for the “5k fun walk” to the waterfall.
most of the group that came down went down the stairs. I just went across the top and climbed down over that big log and then walked about on the river and then went down and then back UP the stairs.
At some point I had coffee in a treehouse with Devyn
I miss her face
We also walked by the lake (this may have been on the way up to the treehouse or down… time is different at camp 😉 )
I promise I am not as psychotic as I look… really…
Then there was food.
LOTS of food. I never should have worried that the food would be good. I never should have worried that the food would be sufficient. I should have trusted that Steve would know that nerds EAT a LOT.
Meals were a buffet style. Mostly paleo (there was some rice in a couple meals. One it was in the soup so I skipped that and another it was just on the side and easily skipped) The staff was super helpful at telling us what was in things and they were so nice and always smiling!
Yes those are BOTH my drink. I may or may not have a drinking problem. I admit NOTHING.
I don’t know what meal this was… but it was FABULOUS… and yes that’s a guacomole PILE on top of it
(I guess the shirt was the one I wore saturday so it was I think dinner on sat)
So walk, then foodz, then I headed to the low challenge course for “Basic Parkour Skills” with Dakao Do. At first I looked at the things he was teaching us and was so super discouraged. I could EVENTUALLY see me doing those things. But he just made it look so super easy (I don’t know like he had been rolling for like 5,000 years and was just here to show us mortals how awesome the Parkour Gods are.)
Anyway he helped me to SUPER break down the steps because I couldn’t see how to make the babysteps he taught even simpler. And he put it into yoga terms so that I could understand what he was talking about.
I did my first forward roll. Then the one we caught on video was more of a sideways roll. But I actually went down and rolled and stood up at the end. I call that success. I can’t figure out how to load the videos from picassa web albums (my hosting site) so I may end up having to download them all and upload them to youtube and make a new post with just videos. It will happen. Eventually. There is awesomeness!
After parkour, it was grip strength with Jim Bathurst. After listening to class I talked to him about my arthritis and he suggested doing grip exercises with a dumbbell (picking it up one handed from the roundy end and just holding it) and working on that kind of strength first and then doing the other strength exercises. I thought it was sound advice 🙂
Went straight from there to the success stories panel. I was surrounded by greatness! Saint, Joe, Staci were all there. This is the event I was most nervous about because I WAS UP THERE WITH THEM. For the longest time I debated talking on this panel. I don’t FEEL like a success. I mean. LOOK at those guys. They are all ripped and skinny and amazingly strong. Also, I had told myself that I would be “successful” if I had made it to less than 200# before camp. With all the injuries and illnesses I have had this year (and PREDNISONE three times!!!) I was lucky to just maintain. But I have REALLY inspired a LOT of people and I was strongly encouraged to just “manup” and talk. So I did. And nerds aren’t as scary as I thought they would be. And no one laughed at me except for when I made a funny.
After the success panel I went to alignment and movement with Kate. I think this was the only workshop I attended that I wasn’t entirely happy with. She was very full of energy and knowledge but her teaching style and my learning style didn’t really mesh. And I thought it was going to be more about moving and aligning my body but the first 10 ish minutes were about energies flowing through your body. My yoga is more about stretching and strength and less about chakras and energy. After that though she taught us some good shoulder stretches and hip stretches. And afterwards she helped me to figure out one of the issues with my squats.
Then it was straight to the big 4 lifts taught by Staci and another guy (who’s name I forget SORRY!!! I think it is nightwatch)
We did some lifting with PVC pipe. And they form checked us. My biggest issue out of the big 4 is my squat. I have a SLIGHT kyphosis (curvature of my upper spine) that isn’t big enough to cause pain/need intervention. But it does interfere with things (like a back squat!) He helped me figure out the right place to hold the bar so that I could avoid the hump and be comfortable and still squat. I didn’t get a chance to try my new form with weight (and won’t until after the 3rd because of issues with health/gym membership 😛 ) but I am certain when I actually get to try it for realz I will have serious gains.
Then it was dinner and hanging out for a bit before going back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the costume party!! Take a look at Will’s pics (link below to the gallery) where you can see lots more pics) I didn’t stay long, the music was louder than I like. I went upstairs after photos and played games 🙂
I went as the mad hatter.
The academy girls and our flexing friday foto. Aren’t we flexay?
when we were together it was Jenny Ginny and Jenn 😛
the guy who came as Steve (do I need to say more?)
I went to bed kinda early (for me.) I think I was back at the hotel by 2230 or so. I was so tired and not feeling well at all. I had this nagging ache in my right upper quadrant in my abdomen and it wasn’t getting better. I had invited Ginny to share my room so she could get some good sleep and it was nice to chat for a while before falling asleep. I love that girl!
I actually slept in (until 0730! gasp!) and started heading down and ran into Chammy on my way to the COFFEE. She was going to the fun walk so I took her some coffee before I went down to breakfast. I decided that it was time to “rest” and switch to 50% activity since I was feeling crappy. Not going to post them here but there is a link to the whole folder of my pics and you can see the giant bruise I had on my belly. It wasn’t pretty.
I am kinda confused as to my timeline here because I circled the big 4 lifts on both fri and sat. I don’t remember when I went! I did breakfast and I know I did inversions and slackline and “body image and self esteem” then dinner and closing ceremony. I spent a LOT of time sitting in the dining room on saturday, staying out of the heat and just relaxing. I felt like crap.
So, Inversions. Taught by Jim again. This man doesn’t need slowmo cameras. He creates his own slowmo. So impressive. He taught us some stretches. Warm up for the hands and wrists that I need to incorporate more. With the arthritis in my hands it’s kinda hard to practice on my handstand. With the warm ups though that Jim taught us I didn’t have ANY arthritis pain afterwards. Which is phenomenal. Normally I have an insane amount of pain after a session like that.
rebel gym sign
First we did some hollow body holds and rocks trying to get the main alignment necessary for handstanding.
Then we worked on headstands
(yes that’s my butt… and Devyn is a good spotter)
I feel like I fell a lot
headstand is difficult for me. I feel like I suffocate myself trying to get into the knees on elbows part. (my BOOBS get in the way… sigh… it WILL get easier.)
I did manage to lift that second toe for a microsecond. Which is better than EVER before.
Then we did chest to the wall handstands. I got that. I got pictures of me all over the country doing handstands on stuff 😛
(and most of this is in video… so you have to wait for those to be uploaded to youtube over the next bit)
Ginny was goofin off
Then he taught us how to pivot our legs forward in order to get both feet off the wall. I am SOOOOOO close. I managed a microsecond of both feet off the wall. I was no where near as graceful as Jennifer thougth.
GRRRR sorry I can’t show the videos yet!!
screenshot I made… because… I wanna
Then I went to lunch and had more amazing foodz. So much foods. Saw this sign I don’t remember when they put them up but I thought it was nice 🙂
I met this guy
(he plays the puppeteer on Heroes – Save the Cheerleader Save the World!)
FILL YOUR WATER
After lunch was the slackline class, again by Jim. I got there a few minutes after it started and missed the first bit but they looped me in and I started practicing.
just sitting on the slack line
It felt so natural!
So Jim was over on the other line (they had two set up) teaching more advanced moves and everyone was pretty much just standing around so I kinda showed the new people who came and took lead and was encouraging people to try it. It was pretty cool.
me spotting Ginny on slackline
spotting on the slackline
At one point one of the girls kinda was afraid to lean into the spot so I broke into “Lean on me” and everyone started singing as I was spotting her. It was amazing!
Most of my slackline photography was in video form so you have to wait but I am just gonna leave a couple screen shots here
yeah. I never did anything like that. I keep wanting to qualify it by saying “yeah but I had TWO people sitting on the line to stabilize it”. But NO! I am just going to accept it. I walked on a slackline. There is video proof of BOTH times I walked. I am so excited.
I wasn’t planning to go to any more events. I just wanted to go and rest up a bit before dinner and the rubix party. But I kept feeling pulled to The body image and self esteem workshop. So I went. And it was good. I got hooked up with a girl with Asperger’s who spoke out during the workshop about some issues she is having. And I stayed afterwards and talked to her with Amy for a bit. (That’s about all I want to say about it publicly but I am glad I got hooked up with her!) Then I stayed and talked to Amy for a while. She’s an amazing woman who has struggled with depression and totally turned it around and now helps others find their strong.
Pay her a visit. Pass her website on to anyone you know who might be dealing with depression.
Please. Depression isn’t weakness. Unleash your strong!!
And then it was dinner (seriously, this was the one event where I felt I had enough to eat!)
It was super sad to head to the closing ceremonies. SUPER SAD
And the rubix cube party. Basically we showed up wearing the colors of the cube. And then we traded with people to solve for the color we wanted.
I went for red
most people stayed and did multiple colors. If you go to Will’s site you will see so many colors… I went upstairs and played a game where it was quiet and less flashy (they had dance/club/strobe lights and it was irritating my head)
Sunday morning Christi and I went down to the lake for a bible study. She wore the bandanna I made her
isn’t it pretty?!
We stopped to take pictures on the way to breakfast
I love this swing
I don’t know what this was but thought it was pretty
again… I don’t know what this was/said but thought it was pretty
Then it was breakfast and lots of “see you laters” (but no good byes!)
I called her pigtails all weekend and she called me Jennenn
did I mention photography isn’t my super power?
my Judi (and photobomber!)
Liam this kid is old enough to drink… I don’t believe it!
I ❤ her so much!!
it’s funny how much Shukar had to crouch to be my height… or not funny… something
food and friends
my fav pic of devyn
I stopped at Heidi’s again for dinner before going home. This was the most beautiful sky
All in all it was an amazing weekend. I love what Christi wrote on my thread.
Posted 20 September 2014 – 11:09 PM
I lost jenn in the midst of colors… but every where she went, something awesome happened!
When I got home it took like twenty minutes of running and jumping before Ezra finally settled. … then she is laid so close to my arm (that she accidentally scratched) that I feel her breath on me. …I think she missed me
She wouldn’t let me get up 🙂
I think my favorite thing of the weekend was that we all felt like family. And more like “good family that likes each other” than “Jerry Springer family”, I felt utterly at home all weekend and I don’t usually feel so relaxed among strangers. Many of you though I have known for SO LONG on the boards it just meant that you were coming from my own home. You have been in my home (on this little electronic screen) for so long you are automatically family. I was SO super impressed with the encouragement and the fellowship and the way we just fit together and did amazing things.
And in the “aftermath” (as it were) seeing so many new “friends” on facebook, and this #CNF365 tag that keeps popping up. So many people with renewed vigor. So many new goals. So many new PR’s. So many people trying new things because of courage found at camp. Truly we learned how to conquer our inner demons. Whatever they may be they hold us under their power NO MORE because the rebellion has our back. We met new nerds and branched out and learned that the world is maybe not as scary as we thought it was. And even if it is scary, we learned that we aren’t alone. There are people who have been on the same trail we are on. Some are ahead of us and will reach back and pull us up when we get to the parts that are too steep or difficult so that we in turn can help those behind us. Some are right next to us on the trail and are compatriots and they understand our struggle and they are a sounding board for frustrations and they are our cheerleaders and our support. They are our family! But we know now that we aren’t alone in REAL LIFE it’s not just images and words on a screen. We learned that it’s OK to reach out to strangers and that amazing things will happen when the rebellion amasses.
And we know that the best is yet to come.
Until next year (and all the years after) my friends 🙂
Most of the pictures here aren’t mine. Some of them friends posted on facebook. Some of them come from here http://www.willbyington.com/campnerdfitness (those are watermarked with the CNF logo and Will’s copywrite. If you borrow any of them PLEASE give him credit and don’t remove the watermark and stuff! That’s just rude to crop it out!) Some of them are indeed mine and you can see my whole folder here (https://plus.google.com/photos/114182837992218300521) Or on my facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jenn.groppwiegelfrye) I didn’t get everyone’s names and whatnot when I took pics… and I tried to only put pics on here that I was in… so if you see a pic on here that you don’t want on here please let me know and I will take it down)