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    PrimalMama's Avatar
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    Primal Drum Corps

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    Perhaps this thread should be in the "journals" section, but I wanted to post about marching in a drum and bugle corps and attempting to maintain a primal lifestyle. If you don't know what this activity is, imagine a bad-ass marching band on (not literal) steroids... the two main organizations in the US for this activity are Drum Corps International (DCI - age limit of 22, tours the country for months during the summer, often referred to as "junior corps") and Drum Corps Associates (DCA - no age limits, more of a "weekend warrior" activity, and often referred to as "senior corps").

    I've only seen one other post on here about drum corps - a typical day involves anywhere from 8-15 hours of physical activity (running around a football field in the sun with brass, percussion or colorguard equipment), a ton of cheap, super-processed food (calories/carbs are usually considered a non-issue because of all the physical activity), sleeping on a gym floor or in a bus... it kind of sounds crazy to those who've never done it, I suppose.

    Most corps tend to have auditions or open houses around this time - I'll be attending one of those this weekend, and I'm hoping to keep as primal as possible... I'm excited and nervous all at once.

    Here are some of my primal concerns:

    Footwear: I grabbed a pair of Merell Gloves - I know lots of people in the activity wear fivefingers, but not necessarily while marching, and I decided that my beat-up nikes would probably render my back and hips FUBAR before the summer starts, so minimalist rehearsal footwear: check.
    Performances will probably leave me with no choice - I usually end up with an uncomfortable (not wide enough, though usually the heel-drop isn't horribly bad) marching shoe that I have to endure for a few hours (a uniform look is important). I'll find out if minimalist (or hell, just WIDER) performance shoes are out there, and if I'm allowed to substitute or if I have to wear the same brand as everyone else.

    Food: every corps has their own twist on food, but it's usually processed junk. There's ALWAYS PB&J available, but usually meals are pasta, sandwiches (cold cuts or chicken/tuna salad), hot dogs/burgers, SAD salad (low quality lettuce, pre-dressed, with croutons), HFCS pudding, cookies, chips, muffins/cereal for breakfast, powdered lemonade/kool-aid to drink... That's what's served during rehearsals and before shows.
    After rehearsals, people usually go out and consume mass quantities of fried junk, desserts, booze (senior corps), etc.
    There is also often a pre-show ritual involving sugar (Gu, pedialyte, skittles, whatever it is) and it's just not really an option to skip it... unifying kind of thing and whatnot, I guess.
    When I did corps and LC at the same time 10 years ago, I gained weight every weekend... possibly because it was nearly impossible to avoid junk, possibly because I was gaining muscle, not really sure, but it was frustrating to be surrounded by junk, people who wanted to eat junk and drink like fish (I didn't drink while I was doing LC), etc.
    The GOOD news is, I'm too old for DCI, and it's generally more accepted to bring your own food or eat more carefully in DCA. BUT... I don't want to seem like a snob or "difficult" - I've definitely seen corps have problems with vegetarians before. *sigh*
    My plan is to pack a bunch of primalpacs, paleokits, jerky, nuts, hb eggs, larabars, fruit/veg... maybe bring a cooler? I'll avoid the kool-aid type drinks like the plague and do water (supplement with electrolytes as needed). As for going out, I'll get a salad, and I'm a champ at nursing a whiskey on the rocks while everyone else drinks stupidly, so we'll see how it goes. I'm curious if there's something on the health form where I can list my dietary needs/preferences. If there's a pre-show ritual involving sugar, I will probably partake as part of my 20% - the fellowship is more important than a wee bit of sugar approximately 12-15times in a year.

    Sun: We're out in the sun more than even the darkest-skinned primal can probably handle without sunscreen, PLUS, we've got giant shiny things all around us reflecting and intensifying the sun. I've used a lot of sunscreen in the past, gotten a lot of sunburns in the past... ideally, I'd avoid both sunscreen and sunburns, but realistically... what sunscreen products are the least chemically/best to use? Should I start taking D3 supplements? *shrug* just another thing to thing about.

    Can't wait to LHT (my horn) and do intervals (running drill sets)... and hopefully figure out primal drum corps while I'm at it

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    Swarley's Avatar
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    Definitely have fun with that! I did marching band from high school through college (was even drum major 2 years in high school and one in college). My college was actually a magnet for kids in The Crossmen back when they practiced in Delaware (very very close to the University of Delaware). If you do decide to create a journal for it I'd definitely follow it! Every other year or so I go up to Allentown, PA to watch the DCI show there. Always a great time if it's your thing!
    The greater the achievement the more difficult the path. The easy road is granted to those less fortunate as a consolation prize.

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    Hey congrats on going into DCA. I did DCI in 04 and 05 and I gotta say, I have no idea how I would try to adapt today with a Primal lifestyle. I suppose DCA is more lenient... how long are you guys on tour for at a time? It might be easier to stay primal for shorter periods. I really don't think it would be possible to do that in DCI, especially considering how poor most of us were.
    ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaserBD04 View Post
    Hey congrats on going into DCA. I did DCI in 04 and 05 and I gotta say, I have no idea how I would try to adapt today with a Primal lifestyle. I suppose DCA is more lenient... how long are you guys on tour for at a time? It might be easier to stay primal for shorter periods. I really don't think it would be possible to do that in DCI, especially considering how poor most of us were.
    DCA is essentially weekend warriors... you go to work (or school) all week, corps on the weekends (1-2 times a month during the winter, every weekend starting in May or June)... basically insanity with free time from June through September. There's a lot of opportunity to do your own food thing if you plan ahead.

    SO... to update the thread, camp this weekend was more of an open house - we did pick up horns (learned the entire opener, in fact!), and did some marching basics, and learned a little bit about how the corps runs.
    I felt MUCH better holding the horn and marching and everything than I did 10 years ago... yes, my arms were tired, but the soreness was nothing compared to what I remember (but then again, it was not a long rehearsal, either). Marching was a piece of cake - partially because we were going nice and slow and learning the basics of this particular corps, partially because of the activities I've been doing lately, which involve foot coordination.
    As for the food... I'm very excited to say that this corps is "bring your own food" for most weekends. They fed us a "snack" which was the longest table I've ever seen of sugar and carbs... muffins, cookies, PB&J halves, chips, pretzels, cups of fruit cocktail, candies... I don't even know what all was on the table... there was 1 tin-pan of whole and half bananas, I grabbed a banana and a half. I had bp coffee + some non-bp coffee in the morning, after a sprint to catch a train (carrying a heavy backpack, too!), and I did eat some junk at arbys after rehearsal... I should've packed a cooler or something, and I will next time.

    I'm still trying to figure out what to list on my health form under "special diet" - perhaps "sugar free, no processed foods" or...?

    Sun is not an issue yet, as we're indoors.

    More to come after we rehearse next!

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    Okay, 2nd rehearsal weekend was a full one. I was away from home from Fri. evening through Sunday evening with about 16 hours of total rehearsal, lots of holding up the horn.

    I packed a cooler, ate spaghetti squash (with homemade sauce & sausage), carrots, avocados, bananas, oranges, HB eggs, grass-fed butter & cheese, handfuls of nuts/coconut/dried fruit trail mix... drank lots of water and a little bit of coffee, ate bunless burgers and chicken (w/ham, cheese, mushrooms and wine/cream sauce) as meals while with people.
    Someone took the time to point out to everyone that I was eating "strange" things... someone else said "actually, eggs are a great source of protein!"
    I also overheard a conversation with someone recommending "eat lots of protein" to help with muscle soreness.

    Which brings me to... I'm SO much less sore than I was when I took up this activity many years ago, despite several factors (arms are not as strong, I'm 10+ years older than the first time I picked up a horn, I haven't done this in several years, etc.) that would make me think I'd be SO SORE. Maybe there's something to this "protein" thing, eh?

    Overall, the food situation wasn't as bad as I thought - I think I can do almost all less-perishables (fruits/veg/HB eggs in an insulated lunchbag w/an ice pack) next time... so far, so good.

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    Glad you're having fun AND able to adapt to the lifestyle. It's usually easier than we think. Just have to plan ahead.

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    Anyone have thoughts about getting the cardio in gear for drum corps?
    The show will be 10-15min long, from what I've seen so far, we might very well be RUNNING (or damn near running) the entire show.... of course wearing a full long-sleeved (with gloves and gauntlets), long pants & hat (read: warm) uniform.... oh yeah, and it's not just running, it's putting a large amount of air through a horn and keeping in the right mental and physical state to make it SOUND good

    I'm a big non-fan of running (sprinting's okay, but jogging/running is - to me - the DEFINITION of chronic cardio), so I think I might have to hit the pool again... and after a bit of that, I might actually have to run. *sigh*

    Any suggestions to get a person who hates running into better shape than ever are appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimalMama View Post
    Anyone have thoughts about getting the cardio in gear for drum corps?
    The show will be 10-15min long, from what I've seen so far, we might very well be RUNNING (or damn near running) the entire show.... of course wearing a full long-sleeved (with gloves and gauntlets), long pants & hat (read: warm) uniform.... oh yeah, and it's not just running, it's putting a large amount of air through a horn and keeping in the right mental and physical state to make it SOUND good

    I'm a big non-fan of running (sprinting's okay, but jogging/running is - to me - the DEFINITION of chronic cardio), so I think I might have to hit the pool again... and after a bit of that, I might actually have to run. *sigh*

    Any suggestions to get a person who hates running into better shape than ever are appreciated.
    What tempos are you guys getting up to? I think your sprinting should cover it. As someone who HATES running, and I mean with a passion, I can say doing HIIT has helped me immensely. We ran A LOT when I was in drum corps (not as much as some of the corps, but more than I would have liked, about three times a week) and I can honestly say that at this point in my life, I am both faster AND if I had to, could run longer, than I did when I was in. I do Crossfit four days a week right now, and long walks with my dog. I think for the breathing aspect, swimming would help out a lot, maybe even doing 50m sprints on an interval would be the most beneficial? I think your rehearsals should cover the rest of the endurance you will need, without you having to train with long runs.
    ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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    our opener is... 180 or 190?... we haven't gotten the rest of the music yet, but the closer should be FAST.

    Since it's DCA, not DCI, I do have to do a lot of training on my own, rehearsals won't cover it...

    Guess it's time to figure out which city pools are open for the winter and fit my location/schedule (my normal pool is closed for renovation... WHHHHHYYYYY?!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimalMama View Post
    our opener is... 180 or 190?... we haven't gotten the rest of the music yet, but the closer should be FAST.

    Since it's DCA, not DCI, I do have to do a lot of training on my own, rehearsals won't cover it...

    Guess it's time to figure out which city pools are open for the winter and fit my location/schedule (my normal pool is closed for renovation... WHHHHHYYYYY?!)
    I remember going out on a track and doing different tempos over the length of a "show" one year. We would start off "running" (slow jog) with a met at about 120 bpm to simulate marching from the warmup zone to the stadium, then we would run in block in step at whatever the opener tempo was which I think was eventually 180, for the length of the opener, then slow down to a jog for the length of the ballad, and pick it back up for the closer... I think that, coupled with some swimming, plus sprints, and the body weight stuff from PBF, would definitely be sufficient. Plus, then you'd only be "running" for around 18 minutes every time you had to go out and do it. Maybe two or three times a week? Not that bad.

    Also, major lameness to the pool renovation... BOOO!
    ~All luck is earned in the end.~

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