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Hawthorne Grill (the End Is A Beginning)

So this is it – my final MC blog. The end of a chapter, like the end of Episode IV, but so much more left to do. Montgomery College has been (and still is – I still have a couple weeks left) amazing. One year ago, I had no idea I’d be doing what I’m doing now, and thought I had found my purpose. I’d only found something that I enjoyed doing. Since then, I’ve found what I have to do. This semester, I’ve written several different exercise programs, written a group exercise class, done some aquatics aerobics, and even learned CPR (not an invitation). Tomorrow, I’m being tested for my actual VO2max. What’s that? Well, in short, your VO2max is the quantification of your cardiorespiratory fitness. It’s your heart health number. Typically, a person performs a submaximal test, and a projected VO2max is calculated and used as the baseline on which to build a program. Tomorrow, I will find out my real number. Needless to say, I’m a little nervous. But it’s not often that someone has the opportunity to do something like this (safely).

Montgomery College has provided me that opportunity. A year ago, I was content making syrups out of turmeric that I cooked sous vide and using them for cocktails at private supper clubs. This year, I am driven by returning my body to its former self, 139 lean pounds, in shape to fight three rounds of Muay Thai against a guy ten pounds heavier. At 100%. I registered for fall classes and the rest just kind of fell into place. I’ve met some really cool people – mostly in the PE building at Rockville since that’s where I spend most of my school days. People I really hope to keep in contact with (I mean that in the least creepy way), and professors I really hope to keep on as my mentors. I’ve learned more this past year than I have in the last five (six courses and a lab will do that!), or at least have retained more.

I feel better about the future. I’m pushing myself to the brink every single day, and sleeping harder than ever. It’s a beautiful series of oscillations. It’s very exciting to think about moving forward, and beginning specialized courses in Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, but it’s also kind of a bummer leaving MC. I’ll be doing a couple of summer courses to finish the degree, but after that my time here will be limited to the occasional pop-ins to chat with my favorite professors, and probably to keep checking out the Wellness Fair. Which, by the way, WAS AWESOME. If you  missed it, make sure you catch the next one. Yet another thing I’m grateful for, and yet another reason I’m convinced that taking the leap and registering for classes at MC as a 32 year-old bartender father of three was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


My name is Raul Torrento. I am a local, born in DC proper and raised in the area (Aspen Hill, Springfield, DC, Falls Church, Annandale). Music, gymnastic strength training, and Muay Thai are just a few things I enjoy. I also have a slackline and a skateboard. Those get used.

I am a lover of complete and total physical and mental exertion. Finding new ways to achieve that panting glory is what keeps me spry. Music is something I’ve always loved, since my hands first touched the congas at age 4. A father of three, I appreciate every little moment I remember to focus on – because they tend to pass by in a blur as a result of trying to keep up with them. I don’t take myself too seriously, instead I focus on the importance of my work – whether that’s practicing a tuck handstand, fine tuning an L-sit, finding a new groove on my bass, nailing a new recipe, or whipping up a classic cocktail for a complete stranger. Oh yeah – I’m a bartender too. More importantly, I am a student. Of everything. Forever.

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