Category - Jonathan Nolan

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The Ultimate Suck
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Midwest Super CFS Recap 2013
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My Road to The Death Race – GoRuck Custom #439
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My Road to The Death Race – What I’ve Learned since the POCAR
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My Road to The Death Race – Push Yourself

The Ultimate Suck

1274823_10200295655421937_681820070_oI had heard about last year’s endurance race that Joe Decker and his wife, Nicole, put on at the farm he was born and raised at in Cuba, Illinois, just west of Peoria. It was suppose to be the most physically and mentally demanding 36 hours out there. If you don’t know who Joe Decker is, he won the Death Race 2 times….in a row. That has never been replicated. He owns the Guinness Book of World Records for Fittest Man. Want to know more about him, Google him, you will have more to read than you can possibly stand. Talking to him you wouldn’t know it.

The event started Friday at 7 P.M. Candie and I thought we left with plenty of time to get to the farm with an hour or so to spare. As we were getting closer, it was apparent that we had not. We were the last to roll in, with a few minutes to spare before briefing of how things would be ran and who was doing what and when. As I listened to the information, Candie was busy getting my ruck ready to roll with everything I may need. Never underestimate whether you need crew to help or not, you need them period. Joe finished up with the specifics of everything and gave us 5 minutes to gather what we needed and meet back at basecamp. So, off we went, and I had to change out of my sandals into my trusty Xodus 3.0 shoes and put a pair of compression shorts under the ranger panties.

First task was to obviously get us stinky and wet from the beginning and test our resolve against the murky black water with green layer over the top. With how hot it was, no one seemed to mind getting in and the smell just became part of the task. My mind has a tendency to zone out of everything except the task at hand. I will talk to myself and others may not understand me. Out of the pond and a slight jog back to basecamp.1236255_10200554451969471_712775251_nFirst PT test up was the Marine Corp PT test. 100 sit-ups with 50 lb. sandbag, 200 hand-release pushups, and a Joe Decker 3 mile run. Yeah, Joe Decker distances are longer than what he says they are. Up to this point, I found myself right in the middle of the pack. On the return trip of the run, a young lady by the name of Taylor introduced herself and I found out she had won the Southeast Regional Suck and we jogged together for a little while just talking about how much we hated running and things Suck related. It ended with us having a nice little run to the finish line and we went our separate ways.

Something the Suck is known for is its love of the farmers carry. They are also called the bucket carry. 2 buckets, 2 50 lb. sandbags, and a long hike. Embrace the Suck. I started out and caught up with Justin Attebery and Steve Noviello. I shared with them a system I have been doing  for the bucket carries which we adopted and modified. We 1185327_10200554463609762_445750908_nstuck together for the duration of the bucket carry and it allowed us to get to know each other a little bit more and have a good time doing something that was not. It may have taken us a few hours to do that bucket carry, but as they always say, 2 hours gone is 2 hours nearer to the finish. We made it back to base camp and guessing by how few people had passed us we were guessing we were in 7-8 place, middle of the pack which is a good place to be early on. It helps establish who is going out to fast and who is reserving the tank. This was my thinking up to this point.1175312_10200554473970021_410671103_n

Another Joe favorite and staple is mini strongman competitions mixed in with the rucking, farmers carries, and spa like ponds…lol. So first one was throwing something that looked like what a hammer throw would use. You would have to stand underneath a pole running horizontal (looked like a mini goal post) and in a kettle bell swing throw it over the bar 4 times I

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believe. Since the bar was around 8′, it wasn’t too difficult. Next station was a log, 6-7′ in length, and flipping it end over end to a point and back. Final station was taking another log, roughly 8′ in length and doing 100 thrusters. I would have to say strongman competitions like this is a lot of fun for me.

1175461_10200554499010647_1012953625_nNext up, 3-4 hours into the event, we needed our ruck, a bucket, 50 lb. sandbag, life vest, tire, food, and water. The goal was to take off heading north from base camp and following what looked like a tractor trail off and to the left about

a half mile up and dropping into a creek bed a mile from basecamp. From there, I am sure the 3 miles that were told to us were a bit more. Justin, Steve, and I would drop into the creek bed leaving behind Steve’s wife, Kristyn, and Candie to tackle this on without our crew. It was slow going because, even though the water was low, it made for more things to tackle, like the logs that had jammed together which made getting ourselves and our gear through even tougher. I had started pulling away from the other two.

Weeks before the race, as Candie and I talked about what approach I wanted to take, I always stayed together with someone as a team. With most that I usually teamed up with not being in this event and knowing Erik Krantz and Josh Cuthbert teaming up, I knew I wanted to take a different approach and push myself beyond what I had before. So, there I stood, with that going through my mind. My decision is something I rarely do, but I made the decision for myself to keep going and see what happens. As I started going, I noticed I was picking up speed, as in having a little jog associated with moving down the creek bed. Passed 2 people, the count goes from 7-8 to 5-6. Not bad, means I must be moving at a pretty steady pace. Than Erik and Josh, thank Sean, and than another 2. I get to the bridge which has a few volunteers and I ask how many
would have been too, I think I did it in half the time. I was in 1st!have already passed. They yell back 3. I am a bit puzzled, but maybe my calculation was off, so I quicken the pace even more. Granted, at this point, I don’t know if I can even keep this pace up so I am just using the energy since its there. I caught up to one more on a steep hill and he had taken the wrong way while I just so happened to find the perfect “stairs” up. I come flying through to base camp to Joe, Nicole, and everyone’s surprise because of how fast I got through there. Candie was told I would be out at least 3 hours so when she heard my name from the campsite, she was doubtful. I

556354_10200554505570811_1353809845_nNot sure what time it was but I was pumped, focused, and felt a different way than I normally had during these types of events. I was on to the next task with hardly a break. Another strongman event. Perfect!! I know there were tire flips, rock squats, maybe more? Memory isn’t very strong on this one. Off again with my life vest, shovel, shotgun, and axe. Sort of a circuit. Apple shooting first, roughly 10, 20, and 30 yards in the dark, well except for my headlamp. After shooting at all 3 of them without them so much as moving, I thought I was in for some penalties. Luckily I checked and had hit all 3 of them. Next up, digging a hole for 30 minutes, shit that was 1235201_10200554516731090_360731344_nboring!! After that, axe chopping and a reason why you do not want to me in 1st place for that. I had a log from hell that when I made contact either threw the axe back at my head or sunk it in so far it was rough getting it out. Chopped the wood in no time besides that and started carrying all the wood to the wood pile back at the farm, about a 1/10 mile walk. Took me 4-5 trips. I was feeling alive as I speed away on my next task.

The next task, after hiking back down Polecat Rd. was to do 10 push-ups, 10 dips, and 10 high knee jumps all the way down to 1 of each, then drop down into the creek and, as would most of the ones involving the creek bed, had me going through Joe’s Day Spa where you first coat yourself with a nice top layer of green algae base layer cream and top if off with black soul water to soak the skin giving off a cologne-ish smell that any Abercrombie model would die from. As if 1 pond wasn’t bad 1175564_10200554540531685_501961406_nenough, a 2nd made it all seem just right. Needless to say, as you swam through the pond, there were spots that were really cold and others like someone had just “warmed” it for you. Figure that one out. Making it to his brother’s place the task was to take 28 bales of hay and, lucky me, being 1st, I got to take them to the furthest point to stack them. So, with dawn breaking and 14 trips later, stacked and done. Three chain climbs next, made 2 of them so 10 8-count man makers. After that, what I had heard people talking about, the gas chamber. I had to do 10 burpees in order to make it out. I closed my eyes, opened the door, knocked them out, came out and dunked my head in the horse trough. Task done and I had to follow my steps in reverse, back through the 2 ponds, down the creek bed to the bridge and back up and around to basecamp.

1184871_10200554569212402_44112082_nSo, hitting the 12 hour mark now and still feeling pretty damn good. Sun is coming up which always seems to wake us crazy all nighters up and a little PT to loosen the muscles up. A Joe Decker 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 hand release pushups, 300 squats with our 50 lb. sandbag, and another beautiful 1 mile run. The heat at this point was getting pretty bad and the hottest part of the day was still to come. At this point, I knew I had to keep going and push even harder. I knew if I could do this for another 24 hours, I would win and this heat would give me an advantage. I just didn’t know how much.

Good old bucket carries. Taking the same path as when we did the first ruck down the 1235930_10200554593773016_589564147_ntractor path. This time, during the hottest part of the day. Luckily, there was still some shade along much of the path up to the tractor path. Doing my normal routine with the bucket carries and stopping in the nearest shade for a few minutes got me going pretty good. It was like an army with Candie, Heather, Breton, and myself all heading down the road side by side. These 3 people not only made sure I was taken care of, but that Candie was taken care of. If you ever want to see some of the most compassionate people in racing, not just the 3 special people I had the honor of crewing for me, take a look at these endurance events. Found out how fast Breton is. We were completely out of water and he took off and was back in what seemed to be minutes and we were still a good ways out from basecamp. That was a life saver and I 1006360_10200554599813167_1732215226_nmade the last home stretch a lot quicker than I thought I would. During the whole trip back, I hardly noticed anyone, and those that were coming through were stopping because of the heat. I figured I gained a good 30 minutes on everyone there. After that, I was pretty exhausted and overheating because of how hot it was. I probably rested for a good 30-45 minutes just to get myself right and make sure I wouldn’t suffer from heat exhaustion.

1157708_10200554601373206_38644565_nBack to the strongman circuit!! A tractor pull, a REAL tractor pull, not the Spartan Race kind. Had never done that before and was pretty entertained by it. Yes, I said entertained, if you don’t understand why I said that, next time look at the nickname on the back of my Corn Fed Spartans jersey. Second in the circuit, take a empty half keg and toss it over the “goal post” bar, this time 15-ish feet in the air. Third was the concrete ball toss from 10′ away into the center of a tractor tire. NAILED IT!!! Onto deadlifts of 220 lbs. till failure. I stopped at 25 reps because the event wasn’t even half over. Might as well save some. Lunge thrusters with the same 8′ log from earlier, 100 of them followed by 200 lb. farmers carrier, roughly 40 yards. Lifting heavy stones, overhead, chest, waist. I love lifting heavy shit!

1229816_10200554616133575_420281153_nAnother round of life vest, shotgun, axe, and shovel and I was off. Made the 2 closest shots but missed the 3rd this time which earned me 30 8-count man makers. 30 minutes of digging followed by some more great logs to chop and carry over. This is where I got worried. On one of my trips carrying wood, I noticed Mark Jones had really cut into the lead I had and was chopping wood maybe 30 mins behind me. I got done with my last amount of wood and headed out on the hike which took me back down to the bridge and followed the creek back to the farm but right before the farm, Joe blocked it off and I got directed to go to the left, which was definitely the path less traveled and took a bit of planning on how to get around certain obstacles which if you can guess it by now lead back to the pond. Crossing both ponds and back to Joe’s brothers house to take the stacked hay and put it back into the barn.

At this point, I knew I had won. I knew because of a few things. I am not sure how 1236371_10200554666574836_44589006_nmany people in the group were taking 2 bales at a time which cut time in half. I also pay attention to what is going on, the time and I always put mini goals in front of myself to make sure I stay on task and going hard. Hay done and chain climbs, got 2 out of 3 again so another 10 burpees thrusters with a cinder block. Then back in the gas chamber for 15 knees to chest from pushup position. Came out and splashed water on the face and was off back to basecamp, roughly ¾ of a mile away.

I got back to basecamp around hour 29 and had the last strongman circuit, which was everything. Tractor pull, keg throw, deadlifts, tire flip, log pull with chain, heavy rock lifts, 200 lb. farmer’s carry, squat thrusters, and sled pull.

Last but certainly not least, the final bucket carry. This one was a killer last year, and Joe made sure to save the best for last. Such a sweet guy! I started strong but getting a ¼ of a mile out where it got quiet and dark made for an interesting time. Each time I put 1185596_10200554699455658_1443964042_nthe buckets down, it was everything I could do from not falling asleep. Getting to the hill that seemed like it went on forever was pretty uplifting and as we all turned around, I felt my body and mind focus a little bit more. With every step, every time I lifted those buckets up and walked, each corner turned got me going a little faster until we all turned that last corner. We could hear yelling, like a battle cry as the rest of the group had started their bucket carries towards us. We all started getting motivated and about halfway through the group, Joe stopped me and announced me as the winner. It was the words I had been waiting for and was shocked, overjoyed, emotional (even though I didn’t show it), and relieved. Candie had went to sleep during that bucket carry because of how exhausted she was and Heather went to wake her and as I was coming up on the tents, she came out and we all shared a moment, at least I thought it was a moment. Finishing up the bucket carry with a nice little jog was nice, 1239720_10200554700695689_385889699_nand partly because my grip was shot.

My official finish time was 32:25:59. Obviously, Joe made sure we got out 36 hours in by having us put the rest of the hay back in the barn, and this time I carried 1 bale at a time.

My heart is so full from this race. It is truly the hardest event I have been a part of. Sure, the Death Race is all about pushing you past the point 1236800_10200554701415707_715047847_nand sometimes being downright cruel at times. But, I can say that hour for hour, task for task, The Ultimate Suck was by far tougher, and this is with everyone, from Joe and Nicole to all the volunteers and everyone involved being positive, uplifting, supportive, and showing love too all the racers and crew. If Joe and Nicole wanted people to quit, they would have no finishers, that is a guarantee. A special thanks to Joe and Nicole Decker for being 2 of the most gracious, honorable people I have ever met. I am honored and humbled to even know you.1236869_10200559933586508_792065534_n

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Midwest Super CFS Recap 2013

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Things happen in life that are not fair, that test your faith in people, maybe even give up on society.  We all have been there at some point or another so when you become a part of something so pure, whole, and unstoppable, you hold onto it and would die protecting it.  That is the Corn Fed Spartans OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand it was no different at the Spartan Super at Cliffs Insane Off-Road Park in Marseilles, Illinois on June 19-21.  With camping a half mile away and a weekend of Corn Fed, things always happen and it’s a perfect combination of the best medicine to get people back on track.   Personally, I took a different approach to it this year.  This race 2 years ago was a sprint, the first of many which catapulted the drive to bring a race to Indiana and, more importantly, create a team that holds the standard for pushing the envelope all the while keeping a family feel to it, the Corn Fed Spartans.  I did not participate in the Hurricane Heat but instead got another involved that I have a feeling will take Spartan Race by storm with his extreme motivational talent and drive to make his clients be the best they can be.  Coach Pain Dwayne has quickly became a friend and motivator for me and to see 1003321_10151739997808766_1695130555_nhis excitement while driving the HH group was exactly why all of us lean towards Spartan Race as being the best OCR out there.  From seeing the pictures from the HH, it looked to be one for the ages with the pain yet happiness in their faces.  Great job HH’ers.  You have earned your spot in this elite team of great individuals.

Saturday morning Candie and I promised Mike Morris, Head Race Director, that we would pre run the course to make sure to properly tag areas that may cause people to get lost.  Having done the first half and going backwards on the second half, it looked to be a rough, rugged course that reflected the very first race Spartan Race put on here….except twice as long!  Being the only one on the course and out in the middle of nowhere gave me time to think about what the last 1 1/2 years has meant to so many.  What these races mean to so many.  How the difficulty of mud, water, obstacles, and some running gets people out of the house and makes them accomplish things they never thought they would.  I love this stuff!

With the team heat getting closer, we were pleasantly surprised by Spartan Race.  We were not the biggest team on Saturday but they graciously gaveOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA us a team tent we all could meet in with a nice thank you letter on how much they appreciate teams like us that are so willing to give them our time to help them get set up. Thank you to all who volunteered and became a part of the Spartan Race family.  The buzz within our team is always pretty intense and motivating.  It gets you so caught up in the moment of like minded people who only know you through Facebook but share the passion of OCR’s and the team that things seem like they fly by when in all reality the time is going slow.  Team pictures went off a little early, missing some people from the picture.  Sorry to those who missed it.  We all try so hard to get everyone in and are bummed when we can’t.  Indiana was the same way.

The team heat started with Coach Pain giving a hell of a motivational speech that got us all pumped and ready for battle.  For the first time, I did not run elite and only did the CFS sweeper heat, something we officially started in Indiana with being the last of the Corn Fed members to cross to make sure all of our team would make it through.  Since we knew it would be a walk/jog pace, I decided to wear a 60 lb weight vest.  This later turned into a near disaster.  Along with me, Bret Byerly, Justin Lahrman, and Candie Bobick all wore OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAweight vests.  Honestly, I don’t remember seeing anyone else doing that, member or non-member.  Wonder why?  The heat got released and we were off to take on a brutal course that eats off-road vehicles for breakfast.

A certain mindset is needed when doing a race with a weight vest and being a part of the CFS Sweeper Team.  Obviously the weight vest the longer you wear it will cause joints and body to get more fatigued and eventually swelling will happen along with a little bit of muscle failure.  The best thing to do is get through the race as quickly as possible.  This contradicts the very reason the CFS Sweeper Team is out there. We will go slow and make sure everyone we come across, member or nonmember, get over obstacles, through barb wire, and across the finish line…..oh yeah, and get lots of pictures! Team is the word of the day because if we didn’t use each other to get OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAover and under obstacles, we wouldn’t have made it.  We rely on everyone in the group to make sure we are there when we need them.  I can’t remember the obstacles in order but over unders, barb wire, tire flips, tire drags, Hercules hoist, tractor pull w/ log carry, hobi hop, walls, cargo nets, and sandbag carry is most of them if not all.  Half way through we came upon a pond which was used for the rope climb the first year this race was here.  Instead now, its 18 foot deep in the center.  Till now, I had never went through water with a weight vest.  You always have to try and push the envelope, right?  I figured, hold onto the rope, pull myself across and its all good.  A few mistakes were made.  I picked a rope in the center instead of the outside (rope was looser in the middle).  I made it halfway out and when I knew I was going down, I should have taken a deep breath and just went and pulled

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myself along the rope until getting to the end.  Halfway out, I went down, and when I mean down, I went DOWN with no chance of getting back above water for air.  So many thoughts flashed before my eyes in the seconds I was inhaling water.  It makes me tear up just thinking about it.  My son, Ethan.  Candie, friends, family, CFS, and the memories to go with it.  I’ve not told anyone this since its happened because of the emotional feelings I have behind it.  I also only told one person that I teared up right after talking with Mike Morris on our way to the spear throw.  Lucky for me there were capable divers and lifeguards who brought me back up and allowed me to cough and puke water up so I could breath.  In her haste to get to me, Candie, who was also wearing a weight vest went down which prompted them to leave me with 1 girl to get her.  Yeah, I went back down but was brought back up quickly.  That was a scary experience and looking back at it, would cause a lot of people to quit or pack it in.  I am thankful that we did neither!

The 45 degree wall and rope climb were next.  The 45 wall was okay with getting lots of help from Jeff to get over and after heOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlping our team and a few others up, the rope climb was next.  A very difficult climb and being 3 feet away from the bell and not going any further was a big disappointment.  After a short jog we came upon the spear throw.  I believe I have learned a trick to the spear throw though.  Under handed throw works like a charm.  There is a video showing it here.  With half the race being completed, we knew that we would be out for another 3 1/2-4 hours.

A series of steep hills, muddy paths, and difficult obstacles are always made better when there is family with you in the trenches going through the same shit you’re going through.  Our crew was starting to get tired, sore, and weak and everyone, especially towards the end was ready for the race to be done.  Traverse wall, barbed wire, under a wall in water, and more barbed wire gave us the site we were looking for…..the gladiator pit.  In CFS fashion, we created a wall much like a kick return in football does and barreled through the center of them with our flag secured in the center and all of us crossing the finish line 7:18:58 after we took off from the finish line.  Medals around our necks, shirts in our hands, and another race where the Corn Fed Spartans used good old fashioned teamwork to get each other across the finish line.

There are always lessons learned from each and every race.  Anything is possible, you could die tomorrow, right now even.  Have you done everything OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAyou have wanted to do with your life?  Have you went to the places you want to go to?  Is there something you keep putting off because you think you have time?  What is stopping you?  Work?  School?  Home?  A lot of people say life gets in the way of doing the things they want to do.  I say this, life is not getting in the way of you, you are getting in the way of life.  Is it your purpose in life to hold yourself back, to create so much you “have” to do that you can’t slow down and daydream a bit?  My advice, which may not be worth much, is to see something new everyday, try something you haven’t tried, create a bucket list and actually do it.  Life is short, take it in your hands with a death grip because that is the only thing that should stop you from completing “your” life list.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Road to The Death Race – GoRuck Custom #439

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Coming into this past weekend and the custom GoRuck that awaited, I assumed having done a few of these endurance events would prepare me for what was waiting for me and the other CFS members.  The time of 12 hours doesn’t scare me anymore and the carrying a pack is nothing new.  Being out in the middle of nowhere is a welcome invitation and the other people being worried about a hospital being several miles is something that anyone that goes backpacking or camping already knows.  As Chad, Tim, Brad, and I prepared our packs to take on another thing normal people call “crazy,” we were settling in quite nicely.

I use to get nervous with these but I have started to get a little calmer, focusing on what my body needs me to do to keep going, to keep chugging along.  We started at a bar named “Duffy’s,” in a room in the back that must have been opened by a few firefighters because of the memoribilia that was everywhere.  We got there 2 hours early, which could make anyone start to rethink what the hell they were doing at such a place getting ready to go out into the cold, with hypothermia a definite possibility, and paying someone to beat the shit out of you for 12+ hours.884415_10100746418543379_92108447_o

Around 12:45 AM, we started getting around after our cup of coffee with loading up the gear onto our backs never to allow it to touch the ground till we were done. That is 1 rule of GoRuck.  Never let your pack touch the ground unless you are wearing it, no matter what.  If you need something, rest it on your foot but no more than that and do it quickly or the team suffers the consequences.  As we are standing around joking about no possibility of taxis being here, a taxi van drives by very slowly, turns around and stops right by where we were all standing, its back tires nearly touching the wheel wells.  The sliding door opens, and I can’t make this shit up, out comes a wedding party, that’s right, bride, groom, and a few others, completely dressed in full wedding apparel, and they are going into Duffy’s for drinks…what is even crazier, the matron of honor (I think) is drunk off her ass already dancing around like a retarded chicken!

883781_10100746418343779_608607628_oNever a dull moment, even in a hick town!

A little after 1 AM, our Cadre, Bo, takes roll call and starts filling us in with the whats and whys of GoRuck explaining that it is more than just another thing to do, it is a family of people, military and non-military, to work together and push each others limits for the good of the team.  Honestly, even with playing football for several years I still was unsure of how deep that went.  With that being said, we were off to a parking lot across the street to set our “baseline.”  Baseline is like a point of reference, a default system that the entire team knows to go back to when it needs to be on the same page right away.  Like our Cadre said, it can take 15 minutes or 5 hours.  I guess  our group decided on getting as close to the 5 hour one as possible.  With those of us that were new, it was something new that needed figured out but the alumni were having issues as well which frustrated everyone.  Punishments were handed out by turning what felt like 15,000 times, bear crawling, centipede, running, and whatever else the Cadre thought up.  Establishing a baseline was as simple as all 25 of us turning the same exact way every time, and then using that in every aspect of PT we were doing.  It only took us 3.5 hours to figure it out.  I do have to point something out because under normal circumstances, no one would do this.  The centipede, although kept us warm, is not something you want to spend an afternoon doing, especially if everyone has been eating beans.  Imagine 25 people lying on the ground, with each person’s head being buried in the ass of the person in front and so on until the last person and we had to move like a centipede, which really made the stomach hit the ground more than usual.  I will leave it at that.

After that time, we figured it out and officially became the class of #439, which was a huge accomplishment.  Problem is, we all knew there was more to it than that.  What followed was missions that we needed to carry out with a time limit being placed on them.

MISSION #1

We had to meet up with Timmy Allen, 5’4″, shorter than a door.  He had a missing front tooth and was from  Arial, New Jersey.  He liked the Philidelphia Phillies.  He was the leader of the resistance fighting against the zombies.  We had to get from the center of town out past the bridge in 30 minutes, or something like that.  But first, we had to lower our body temperture to disguise ourselves from the zombies, so we had to do face down snow angels.  Somehow, I don’t think that would actually work but whatever….LOL!  After that, we set out on our mission in formation recanting the information so we would remember.  There was really nothing to this, just a simple march with our rucks.  When we got to our location, in under the time, I believe Timmy gave us information that we needed to blow up the boat dock that was a few miles away so the zombies could not get supplies.  This is where our packs became bombs and we had to carry the straps on our forearms for those miles.

MISSION #2

Carrying that much weight on my forearms for that kind of distance was new and a bit painful.  Our mission, explained above, didn’t 858708_10100746424381679_573273894_oseem to bad, but this is where people started struggling.  We carried those things for what seemed like an eternity and seen a sign for the dock.  Problem was, we still had another mile.  Something that was really awesome about GoRuck was the encouragment to get to know each other.  We bullshitted, had fun, and just talked about anything all while doing hard shit.  Comraderie at its best!  As we were approaching the boat dock, daylight was hitting us.  It was hard to believe that half our time was over already!  Our Cadre had us plant the explosives, meaning he had us take our socks and shoes off and submerge our feet up to our ankles in the cold, oily water!  A bit cold but not bad, as he had us pull them out, he told us to put them back in so he could take a picture.  We got them out and put our socks and shoes back on and, by this time, because we were doing everything as a team, we rose as one, from being on the ground and one person would yell out the next step to getting up so we would all do it in unison.  Locking arms and standing up was the last part.  From there we were told to run around in a big circle to warm out feet up.  This is where I am thankful I 858734_10100746425659119_1805690675_owore my boots.  I was worried how they would hold up and how my feet would adjust to them.  Both held up great and kept my feet warm and protected them from abuse.

MISSION #3

We had to carry artillery up to a location (Starved Rock) that had a position on the river that would provide excellent offense against zombie boats.  What our cadre meant by artillery is to find some long heavy logs.  Not sure of the mileage but this is the part that kind of sucks for me.  Being tall means that when I pick a spot on the log, usually in the back, which is the heaviest, 2+ people can no longer have it on their shoulders.  The pace was kept pretty constant which brought us to the base of Starved Rock.  At first, because the steps were icey, that is where the logs would come to rest.  A few of us noticed that there was room on the side to get the log up it so began our trek up the hill.  I say hill because of what Vermont showed me about hills.  What made this difficult was the fact that several hundreds of pounds was sitting on our shoulders as we started climbing ice covered steps all the while making sure to do so in unison with each other.  It was a true test of ourselves, not individually, but as a unit that was only hours before trying to figure out how to turn around in unison with each other.  When we got to the top, mission complete, right?  Not quite, and all I can think about is how the Cadre was seriously looking for some Spongebob song he wanted to play.  Although he couldn’t find it, he chose 3 random songs and had us do push presses and squats with the logs in beat with 426557_10151477030233766_596745124_nthe songs.  What I remember that ended this mission was doing 3 push presses with each one yelling louder than the last 4……..3……..9, and on the last number pushing that log as hard as we could over the edge of Starved Rock.

MISSION #4

Our mission was to meet up with Timmy Allen, from Jacksonville, NC.  He had 2 girls, 1 boy and likes the San Diego Chargers.  I am a little fuzzy about the wife, something like an Every Tuesday wife.  After a series of steps going down then up, we were up to the lodge in search of some sort of statue carved out of a log, where we would catch up to Timmy Allen.  We all proceeded to the front of the lodge and contemplated whether to all keep marching around as a whole unit or to send out a search party.  Our leader of this mission elected to send out a search party so we were able to get schooled in the art of setting up a basecamp and how to form a pattern of overlap so that nothing gets missed when scanning the terrain.  They told our Cadre they only needed 15 minutes which only gave us an additional 10 minutes to find it if they didn’t.  The hunt was on and as they headed out, all we could do was watch them disappear around the bend in the road and hope they were going the right way…….to be continued.

What have I learned up to this point? That I love survival and getting back to the basics.  Life is simplified to the person on my left and right with no cell phones, internet, computers, or other distractions to keep me “plugged” in.  If the end of the world comes, I have a really good feeling our CFS brethren will all come together with our families and survive.  Giving up is overrated and a crutch.  The mind is a powerful thing if you let it and if it is strengthened, nothing can stop you.

My Road to The Death Race – What I’ve Learned since the POCAR

For many of you, you may not know what POCAR mean or stands for.  Along with Michael Sandercock, Erik Krantz, and Josh Cuthbert, we attempted to do this potential 48 hour orienteering challenge that is hosted yearly by the Purdue Outing Club and the info for them is http://www.purdueoutingclub.org/pocar/.  Anyway, I am not going to go into depth on this but will only touch base of what happened and what I learned from it.  It started Saturday at noon, and we started out strong and covered ground quickly….one thing I learned about myself is I can burn up some hills and can do it quickly and over and over again.  That was, for me, a personal challenge after seeing what Killington Mt. did to me.  Someone mapped all the points we got, somewhere around a third of the total, and point to point, it covered 50K worth…so we know we went way over that with some of the paths we had to take.  With Michael and Erik with the compasses, we never got lost or turned around and never walked away without finding the points.  Great job guys!  Josh and I were more along for the ride which may have been worse because we didn’t have the course to keep our minds busy… after grabbing the 9 points and heading back for more, we took a break, ate, and were off, this time to the furthest ones away which seemed like an eternity…literally!  Having got those, we were all pretty beat and, despite our better judgement, decided to get a little sleep and see where we were in the morning.  Big mistake!  Not only were we a little sore, but it was damn cold!  The race was over for us but the lessons learned from this I will take with me into another endurance of its equal.

Lesson Learned:  Never stop, no matter what or how good it may feel, because if you do, the race is over.  Keep pumping my legs because if I had that much success just by running more, hitting the weights hard to add more power will only increase the success I had.

There, done with the wrap-up…I know I may be missing things but getting knowledge from the few things that stuck out in my mind are what’s important.

So, since the POCAR, I have upped my game in hopes that it will prepare me for the hardest thing in my life right after the most sacred thing in my life.  I will be getting married roughly 24 hours before I, along with several hundreds of the worlds finest athletes, go into a mind battle with Joe and Andy.  My meals I am eating consist solely of a Paleo nature and combining that with the supplementation I have been on has really been showing big gains in such a short amount of time.  I bought a new pack and boots and tested them out yesterday in order to see how my body and mind would react to them.  I have never carried an 80 lb. pack and haven’t worn boots since I was a child.  I was telling people I was going to do a 20 mile ruck but to be honest, I didn’t know how far I would need to go before knowing.  You may ask knowing what?  I can’t tell you that, that is for each person to find that answer to that question themselves.  I can only describe that as a connection between your body and mind.  It is like the two of them come together like when the train engine hooks up to its cars and they click together (only analogy I could come up with).  It took me 9 miles, actually 7 to feel that click, I had to walk an additional 2 miles under the scrutiny of the DNR officer to my van…I bet he loved seeing that…a guy completely covered walking with a pack big enough to hide a dead body and an axe and machete sticking out the back.  Do you know the feeling of when you are warming up for the big game and you are zoned in nothing around can stop your warm-up?  Last time I felt that was in high school when I started as defensive end….

 

My Road to The Death Race – Push Yourself

As I got back from bettering my 3 mile run by more than a minute and I took off my trusty coldgear, there was so much sweat that it was dripping from the clothes.  To some, that’s nasty or disgusting, but for me it was a testament to myself that I can push my body past the plateau I have been facing for the past week or so.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  Pushing yourself past the plateau in your job or your relationships.  If you can push yourself for that, this simple little thing called training or running should be a breeze.  Others can take it this way….if you can push yourself in training, what is stopping you from taking that to other areas of your life?  I can tell you what it is, its YOU!!

leonidas-2012-mosaic

You should never be the reason you quit or fail.  I have not had it easy either.  Sixth grade started off with my parents divorcing, my father not giving a shit about us and taking off,  and realizing my mother only cared about making sure the other 3 were taken care of more than she worried about what I did.  I remember having so much anger that it was hard to control which led me to football and I had a rage that made me successful.  Went from a straight A student to barely passing.  That was just middle school for me.  Fast forward 15 years later and meeting Laura.  Our relationship and my college career happened to start at the same time and things were looking up, and college ended with a 3.98 GPA, a handsome little boy, and a job I am proud of.  Always remember, that no matter what, people are there for you, to push you and help you become great.  You just open yourself up and let yourself be EPIC!!

 

 

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