Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Embrace the Suck - GoRuck Challenge (part 2 of 4)

This is part 2/4 on the GoRuck Challenge. Make sure to check out parts 1, 3, and 4.

Welcome Party

Starting at 9:00pm on Friday night, the welcome party was the first 2.5 hours of the night. This is where we were "introduced" to our Cadre (our instructor for the night). I can confidently say this was the hardest part of the night. We had 2 people drop within the first hour. The welcome party is the "individual" portion of the night. After this point, it was entirely team oriented.

Our welcome party was at the Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha. This was a fun little spot because the Taste of Omaha was going on just a couple blocks away, plus it was a Friday night; so, we had a lot of onlookers. First there was a simple inspection of our bags to ensure we had the necessary additional weight (6 bricks), proper safety lights/reflectors, ID, cash, and water.

Opening our bags for inspection. Notice the water to the right
After the inspection, we were all told to get into the water. Most of us got into the water with a little more trepidation than our cadre liked (if you've seen the water at the Gene Leahy Mall, you would too). We were instructed to get back in, but this time like we meant it. Thankfully, we learned this lesson quickly and we all more-or-less canonballed in. After this, we were told that anytime we heard "INCOMING", we were to stop what we were doing and jump in the water.

Now it was time to start our "calisthenics". Remember, all of these exercises were done with our 30-40lbs packs on. The Cadre chose our first team leader which was, thankfully, not me. Later on, I realized that this team leader had the hardest stretch of the night. She had to deal with figuring out the group (other team leaders mimicked some of the stuff she did) as well as keep us in synchronization through the calisthenics.

A few guiding rules for the calisthenics:
  • If we weren't synched up the Cadre would call out "zero" and we would have to start at the beginning.
  • Our team leader needed to make sure to keep an appropriate pace for the group
  • If we needed to rest, we needed to let the team leader know

The calisthenics consisted of the following (in no particular order):
  • Jumping jacks - I'm fairly certain we did over 400 jumping jacks. My quads started to fatigue after the first 100 or so, but they weren't too bad.
  • Hamstring stretches - These were a nice little break from the other activities, nothing crazy here.
  • 8 count body builders - The hardest part of this exercise was keeping in synch with the rest of the class.
  • Squats
  • Lunges - these were walking lunges where we had to hang on to the person's pack in front of us. This is where we started having to work as a team because 2 lines of 8 people each need to work together to move in such close quarters
  • Pushups - We had 25 pushups, these were the hardest part of the night. I thought for sure I was going to have to quit simply because of these stupid things. We weren't allowed to break these up. The resting position was still a plank, not on your knees. So, the only option was to bust them out. I saw several other people "snaking" in their pushups, so I started to as well. Without doing this, I couldn't have done the 25 without resting. Thankfully, these were the last strict pushups we had for the night.
Lunges across the bridge
During this time, I felt a little like puking and a lot like quitting. One of the main things that kept me going was that I had come with a friend and I was the one that had this dumb idea in the first place. I kept thinking about how I had kept going during my 50-miler and my strategies for that simply didn't work here. In the 50 miler I just had to keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other and I would make progress. I didn't have that here.

A bunch of "incomings" and their corresponding canonballs were thrown in the mix here. Eventually we got through it. It was time to go grab some water.

Indian Run

We had two modes of transportation during the night, indian runs and carrying railroad ties (more on that later). We worked our way through downtown to the closest place to buy some water, all the while doing an indian run. This was interesting doing it at midnight in downtown. As we were doing this, I kept thinking about how many girls military men must get. We weren't even military, but a lot of girls thought we were and were fawning over us.

We made our way to Cubby's, I peed in an alley, and nothing else much happened. Once we got some water and Gatorade (something I haven't drank in years), it was time for our next mission. We were to get to our destination within 20 minutes, otherwise we would get a negative mark (which we pay for at the end of the night).

Along our way, we came across some grass with the sprinklers going. The Cadre felt the best way to go by these was to get on our bellies and army crawl along the grass. I disagreed with his assessment, but got down anyway. We made it to our destination but were 2 minutes shy of our time goal, giving us our first demerit of the night. Time to get some "Wood Fusion".

I think you underestimate the sneakiness...
Check out parts 13, and 4.

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