Thursday, January 5, 2017

RECIPE: Cream of Pasta

I adopt most recipes from recipes that I found.  This is one that I think I invented, which means that I don't measure anything.  All of the measurements are to taste.  I'll try to approximate.  I don't know if normal people think it's good, but I like it.  I like heat and cheese and vegetables and garlic.


Ingredients: (Serves 1)
  • Whole grain pasta (1-1.5 servings, probably)... I tend to like the shaped pastas better with this dish, like Penne, since it can hold sauce
  • Light Cream of Mushroom Soup (2-3 spoonfuls)
  • Either 1 serving of defrosted chopped spinach, or 1 serving of fresh spinach leaves microwaved for a minute with some water
  • Fat Free or Low Fat Shredded Cheese (1.5 servings)
  • 2-3 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
Instructions:
  • Make the pasta and put some in a bowl
  • Mix in the rest
  • Microwave as needed, to get everything hot enough
(I know it's not the most appetizing picture, but I like how it tastes)


ROLLING INTO THE NEW YEAR


The last week of 2016 marks the first week of Boston Marathon training!  Exciting.  After a year of not doing much running, I'm fresh mentally and probably physically, and ready to get back into structured training.

 

Sat, Dec 26:

DEEZ NUTZ WOD

  • Ruck: 1.8 mi
  • Sit-ups: 325 + 105 = 430 (these seem to be easier when I'm wearing heavier shoes)
  • Plank: 3.5 + 2 = 5.5
  • J-Jacks: 100
  • Flutter Kicks: 45 + 45 + 50 = 140
  • Push-ups: 25 (hard, as usual)
  • Squats: 100 + 100 = 200
  • + various 10lb dumbell exercises

 

I don't plan to do any Spartan Races until after Boston, to minimize injury risk and to not burn out my body, since those races tend to wreck my muscles and make me really sore.  I will miss it, though, and am envious of all my Spartan facebook friends getting ready for spring races.  Their posts are always inspiring and make me want to go out and get Spartan strong.

 

Thur, Dec 29:

Wanted to try to get in a quality speed session with sufficient time to recover and make gains before the Disney Marathon.  It didn't end up going that well, though.  I only made it through 2 reps of 0.5 mi @ 9mph.  4 reps of 0.5 mi would've been "the usual", and 4 reps of 0.75 mi would've been tied with my record.  Oh well, it's to be expected, when I have done almost no interval sessions this year, and haven't trained with much speed intensity.

  • 1 mi warmup in 8:04 building up to 7.5mph
  • 2x [0.5mi @ 9mph (3:20), 0.25mi @ 7.5mph (2:00)]
  • Had to take a break after that, even.
  • Got back on the treadmill after the break to do 3 mi in 24:33 (8:11 ave), to not make the day a complete bonk.  Looking forward to eventually getting my VO2max back.

 

Fri, Dec 30:

I don't run on back-to-back days often, but I wanted to get in what mileage and training sessions I could, before tapering for the Disney Dopey Challenge race series the following week.  The Boston plan had me doing a "long run" of 8 mi this week, so that would've been nice, but I just did 7.0 in 57:54, 8:16 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 7:56 effort.  This was after a 6abv beer, so that twas pretty good. 

I had rucked 2.7 mi in the morning with dad, around the neighborhood.

 

Sat, Dec 31:

Could've maybe run again, but I wanted to try to hit one last Amerithon milestone before the end of the year.  I pushed to 90 minutes of biking, covering 26.3 miles.  The last 20 minutes were really hard.  I set the bike on level 7 for the first time.  My usual is level 6.  It got me like 8% more mileage, but I had to work for it.  I got back from the gym with 15 minutes to spare before watching the ball drop on TV.


Tapering time for the WDW Dopey Challenge.  4 days of no workouts.  Doing it not so much to increase speed, but to reduce injury risk.  4 days in a row of running, capped off with a slow marathon, will be a lot.

Jan 3rd:
On a walk with my dad around the neighborhood. 



Monday, January 2, 2017

First Christmas in Charlotte 2016 & Lots of Rucking



Wed, Dec 7:
Stayed at a hotel with no gym, so I had to improvise with a hotel room strength session.  No water fountain, either, so I stayed hydrated with hot tea from the Keurig.  Didn't have much time for a full session, after spending time hunting for a gym, but better than nothing.  Still trying to chip away at the Deez Nutz WOD.

  • Sit-ups: 175
  • Plank: 2.5 + 3 = 5.5
  • Flutter Kicks: 65 + 45 + 45 = 155
  • Squats: 110
  • Push-ups: 25
  • Mt Climbers: 100
  • Stairs: 30

Thur, Dec 8:
At a better hotel tonight, did 5.0 in 40:40, 8:08 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 7:49 effort, at 6am.  Temps were 64 degrees but still felt warm with not much air flow.  Kept 7.4mph most off the time, which felt reasonable.  Nose breathed all but the very beginning of the run.

Sat, Dec 10:
Started doing my usual long run at the Whitewater Center, but it was anything but usual.  Either they changed the trails, or things look different in the winter, because the paths I took were different.  And later on, on the flattest section of trail called the "Lake Loop", I sprained my ankle.  I roll it about every other run here and have been able to keep going after those incidents.  I had to stop and limp back to the car, on this one.  Fortunately, it was at the beginning of the trail.  6.0 in 1:09:30, 11:36 ave, 433 feet of elevation gain.  It was my first time running in new shoes called the Saucony Nomad.  I had it on tight, too tight, if anything... usually, it's having shoes too loose that's the problem.

Sun, Dec 11:
My ankle was perhaps a little bit swollen, so I considered biking or doing a strength session, but all my body wanted to do was get some speed in with running, so I went for it.  6.0 in 49:13, 8:12 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 7:52 effort.  Glad to be able to run the day after a sprain.  It's the first run in a while where I've felt good and in shape.  I pushed the extra mile to hit 6, to be able to compare yesterday's stats to today's.  Trails are slow going.  Immune system felt kind of down today, before and after the run.

Fri, Dec 16:
Another run at the hotel gym.  This time, pushed to 7.0 in 58:18, 8:19 ave, 2 degrees of incline = 7:59 effort.  Temps felt better today at 68 degrees.  Happy I could do 7 more easily today than I did with the past couple 6 milers, where I had to count down 0.01 mi increments in the last mile to get through it mentally.  Still counted down today, but not with as much desperation.  Trouble sleeping (normally, not the case).  Was going to bike, but body wanted a bit more exertion than that after 4 days off.  Even walking seemed more appealing than biking, to at least have body weight effort.

Dec 17, went to a local park.  Forgot to bring my ruck, though.  Still had fun.  Got a couple of geocaches, and explored the park with my dad.

 (See-saw)

Sat, Dec 18:
70 min biking session, covering 19.2 mi.  Also rucked today, 3.85 mi around the neighborhood, plus 6.45 mi at Kings Mountain National Military Park on the lake trail with my dad.

Tue, Dec 20:
Deez Nutz WOD while watching Spartan Race on TV - great combo.
  • Ruck: 1 mi
  • Sit-ups: 105 + 110 = 215
  • Plank: 3.5 + 2.5 = 6
  • Squats: 135
  • Burpees: 60
  • Stairs: 27 + 17
  • Flutter Kicks: 55 + 65 + 50 + 40 + 45 = 255
  • Lunges: 165
  • Push-ups: 25 + 25 = 50
  • Mt Climbers: 100
  • J-Jacks: 105
Thursday - Sister came, and we played Pickleball and Bocce with my dad.
( A perfect shot... of my sister completely missing the ball)

(Bocce... yeah, none of us were close on this one)

Fri, Dec 23:
Rucked 7 mi today at Kings Mountain, this time on the Battlefield trail and up to Browns Mountain, with my dad and sister.  Rolled my ankle again, kind badly, but walked it off without making my dad or sister notice.  It was flat ground again, too.

 (Kings Mountain National Military Park)

 (Rucking with 20lb + bag/water/food, to make it more strenuous)

Later, ran 6.0 in 49:29, 8:15 ave, on 2 degrees of incline = 7:55 effort, after rucking another 1.8 mi to/from the gym.


Sun, Dec 25:
First Christmas in Charlotte...



Rucked with mom, dad, and sister on the East Main trail at the Whitewater center.  It was Pokemon Go time for me and my sister.  That's my least favorite trail, since they seemed to just want to fit as much mileage as possible within a certain area = lots of gratuitous switchbacks.


 (East Main trail at the USNWC)

 (First time taking over a gym)

Made Tofurkey for Christmas Dinner...

 
How to get my sister to come to the gym with me: Pokemon Go and the promise of seeing Pokemon on the way there.  Got in only 60 minutes of biking, since she did her run then had nothing to do.  At least there was Modern Family on TV.  Covered 16.7 mi.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

RACE REPORT: Spartan Atlanta Super 2016

The Week Leading Up:

Tue, Nov 29:
5.0 in 40:28, 8:06 ave, 7:47 effort on 2 degree treadmill at the hotel.  Slightly warm at 68 degrees, but ok.  Hard to get out of bed for the early morning pre-work run, since I needed to catch up on sleep, but afterwards, I felt great, wishing I would do this every day.  Counted down 0.01 mi increments in the last 1+ mi.  This week ended up being an unintentional taper for the ATL Super, since my dad's visit threw off my usual weekend workout schedule.  The timing of my last interval session and strength session the previous week was perfect, too.  The run felt harder than it should've, for marathon pace, but hopefully,  I'm making progress on getting speed back.

Wed, Nov 30:
90 min biking, covering 25 mi.  With 1.8 mi rucking.  This was my last workout before the race.

Pre-Race:

After a long work week, with traveling to a different city, having to wake up at 1:30am early Saturday morning to drive 3.75 mi down to Atlanta wasn't ideal for racing, but it's what OCRers will do to do what they love.  It was low 40's, and I thought that I'd end up racing in long-sleeve gear, but I ended up going with my Plan B of my wetsuit that I wore in Tahoe.  It may get a bit warm, but it was the last race of the season, I was mostly doing it to finally get a double Trifecta, and I was more concerned about not being too cold than optimizing speed.  The wetsuit ended up working pretty well, and I was only too warm for maybe 20-30 minutes of the race during the first half.  However, because the wetsuit was my back-up plan, I didn't pack of the accessories that I'd usually wear with the wet suit, like calf sleeves.  I also opted to not use gloves, since I hadn't brought a waist pack to stash them in on obstacles that needed flesh for gripping.



The Race:

With the temps and the month, it's a smaller race than other ATL Spartan races, attendance-wise.  I guess all the hard-core ones come.  Had a 7:45 start time.  Hurdles were a bit more of a struggle than usual, maybe due to the wet suit, or maybe I'm out of obstacle/strength shape, but I did them.  2 hay bales, over-under-through walls, 7' wall was also more of a struggle than usual, since I had difficulties getting my right foot  hooked over the wall.  Made the monkey bars for the first time, using the technique that a Spartan facebook friend posted a video of on... a fellow short girl ;)  By lecheing to build up momentum, it was easier to get a good grip on the uphill bars.  I was so excited to make it, and even kicked the bell at the end because that seemed easier than risking another transition to a bar and letting go with one hand.


Atlas carry, barbed wire roll, bucket brigade without gloves but it was OK and made it without putting the bucket down.  The sticks and thorny vines coming out of the ground from bushwacked trail were very noticeable during this race, since I was bare-calved/shinned for the first time.  Wish I had the calf sleeves!  Got cut up and bruised on my shins.  Devil's staircase, Herc Hoist was doable for the first time in over a year for me.  Mounds of grounds, dunk wall.


Rope climb - did it for the second time ever at a Spartan race - I was able to use the foot technique that I had finally practiced and nailed down at Crossfit Mecklenburg a couple of months ago.  What a difference that technique can make.  It was still not easy, with the rope coated in a thin layer of wet mud, but I made it.  Failed Tyrollean Traverse about 40% of the way through.  On the Slip Wall, it wasn't as pretty as usual, haha, but got it done, as you can tell from this sequence of shots.






Could've maybe made it a bit further if I had pushed, but I didn't have calf sleeves, and it was pretty hard... not sure I could've made it without the gloves and calf sleeves, even if I had pushed 100%.  That ended up being the only obstacle where I felt like I didn't give it a full go.  This race, since it wasn't about going super speedy and was more about just finishing, was about doing the obstacles well, and not mentally giving up like I had at the Carolina Beast in several obstacles.  This race felt like more of a willpower game more than a physical one, and I feel like I did redeem myself.  At the spear throw, I probably did my best yet at it, scraping the bale, but at a totally bad angle.  Still haven't made it yet, but maybe I'll tweak the angles next time... one day.... I'll yell so loud when I finally do get it.  Sandbag carry through trail and a creek that was deep, where I face-planted with the extra help of the sandbag on my upper back at one point.

 
One thing I really liked about the previous Conyers race was the back half where we went through some tunnels with water, and where we ran over giant boulders.  I had done several races at the Horse Park before, but this was our first time going there, and it was special.  This year, we did that again, but I was expecting a similar short out-and-back and saw people coming down in the opposite direction, but we ended up continuing on the boulder part for a long time (I call it "Stone Mountain"), and we crossed the road into a different part of the park where we did a wide loop, so it was an interesting and unexpected twist.  We didn't end up coming back to the "back" part of the out-and-back for a long time, and as I saw people going out as I was coming back in, I thought to myself, "you guys are in for a surprise if you think it'll be like last time!".  At the z-wall, it was about patience, again... that and avoiding 2 daddy long leg spiders that were right at belly level.  8" wall also harder than usual for me, like all the other walls on this day, but I stuck with it and eventually made it.  Was it the wetsuit?  Or did I lose strength?/  Plate drag, multi-rig failed again transitioning from the pipe to the ring, although this time, I was more patient trying to build up momentum before the transition, but still no luck this time.  A-frame cargo, barbed wire army crawl uphill, and a fireless finish, due to the fire ban.



8.6 mi in 2:11:56, 15:20 average, 95 burpees.  Didn't place above the 50th percentile this time.  Oh well, that's ok.  I had obstacle redemption.  Last race of the season done.  Volunteered later that day.  I'll be taking a break from OCRs until May, to focus on training for Boston without risking injury.  It's been a big year for me in OCR...
  • ATL Sprint & Hurricane Heat in March - my last time not making the tall walls or hurdles
  • Asheville Super in August - finally made hurdles and walls, and haven't looked back since
  • HH12HR in Fort Campbell in August - proud to have made it
  • Fort Bragg Sprint in September - showed that Asheville wasn't a fluke, made the rig
  • Tahoe Ultrabeast - not something I'd typically do, but wanted to get my Endurance Trifecta - lucky to have finished, in October, also locked the 1x TRIFECTA
  • Carolina Beast in October - some mental giving up on obstacles
  • GORUCK Tough in Columbia, SC in November - I think I like the variation in activities of HH12HRs more, but still interesting to experience
  • ATL Super in December - obstacle redemption, willpower event, 2x TRIFECTA earned

Thanksgiving 2016

Post-GORUCK...

Tue, Nov 8:
Biking 17.1 mi in 60 min, nose breathing.

Plus 25 min of strength:
  • Push-ups: 20 + 25 = 45
  • Plank: 2.5 + 2 minutes = 4.5 min
  • Sit-ups: 95
  • Flutter Kicks (4-count): 40 + 45 = 95
I didn't feel like I had done a whole lot of strength stuff during the GORUCK, oddly, so it wasn't too soon for a mini-session

Thur, Nov 10: 
3.5 mi on a 2 degree treadmill at night.  Didn't have my watch, so I only knew the total time.  28 min, 8:00 ave, 7:41 effort.  It was short, because I went until my lower digestive tract couldn't handle it anymore, with running too soon after dinner.... could've otherwise gone on.  Felt harder than it should've, maybe because of digestion, maybe from not having trained with anything faster than long run trail pace in the past many months, or maybe it was because I was sick since Monday.

Fri, Nov 11:
90 minute bike covering 25.4 mi.  Nose breathed.  Along with a 18 mi ruck.

Saturday...
Volunteered at the Charlotte Marathon, in the VIP tent, keeping it clean and serving food.  It was my first time in uptown Charlotte since moving here, oddly.  They had cool spinner medals, so maybe I'll do the half next year.  I did some geocaching afterwards, and explored 1/4 of Uptown (not a huge city, area-wise).





I had planned on going to the Whitewater center and running afterwards, but after being on my feet all day volunteering (that was fine) and then walking a lot on top of that (that put it over the edge), not possible.  So instead, I had a picnic at the airport overlook ("picnic" makes it sound more glamorous than it was... it was a tupperware of carrots and apples, and maybe a chunk of cheese, if I was lucky).  Then, I went home and read some more of the "Training Essentials for Ultrarunning" book... this may be the first book that I've read in like 2 years... getting close to the end of it!  

Sun, Nov 13:
Did get to the Whitewater Center today.  12.3 mi in 2:17:27, 11:09 average.  Trails: Figure 8 -> Carolina Thread -> Academy Loop -> East Main -> Lake Loop.  It was sprinkling at times.  Half-rolled an ankle, but it was fine.  Ate nut & fruit bar @ mi 6... could've eaten more.  Could've gone on farther after drinking some water, but I called it a day.  A good run... could've gone on, but no reason to push it now... it's supposed to be the off-season.

Monday...
Got to catch up with a college friend in Chapel Hill.  So glad for the chance.  The past couple of months have been hard, so it was good to be able to talk to a good friend. 

Lots of long days at work.

Thurs, Nov 17:
Treadmill run at a hotel... kind of a sketchy one, since my usual one was booked.  5.0 in 41:46, 8:21 ave, 3 degrees of incline = 7:43 effort.  Felt harder than it should.  Ran at 5:30 am.  Was going to do just 4.5 mi, but I pushed it to 5.  Had drank some before the run, but not at usual hydration levels.

Fri, Nov 18:
60 min Strength session for the Deez Nutz WOD:
  • Ruck: 1.4 mi
  • Pushups: 25 + 20 = 45
  • Plank: 3.5 + 2.5 = 6
  • Situps: 205 + 130 = 335
  • Lunges: 45 (knees less happy than usual, so I may need to get strong again, after not having done them for a while)
  • Flutter Kicks: 60 + 50 + 50 = 160
  • Burpees: 60
  • Jumping Jacks: 100
  • Squats: 135 (out of practice in my quads)
Sat, Nov 19:
Wildfires have been making air quality at yellow level, and it was anticipated that they may stay active until early Spring.  I don't recall ever having this impact my decisions to run or not before.  It was windy on this day, so I decided to get in a run while I could, on a day when the air may be a bit clearer, since I wouldn't know how many such chances I'd get over the next few months.  Did the Figure 8-> Carolina Thread -> Academy Loop -> East Main -> Lake Loop, at 3pm, with 902 feet of elevation gain.  Felt good and fast in my first Kinvaras.  No food or water needed.  It's odd that I've done the same route several times, and I've gotten distances of 11.2, 12.3, and 13.1 mi on those runs.  That's a lot of variation, for runs tracked by iPhone data!  Met a snake on the trail.  I don't like crawly things or slithery things.  Yelled at it until it slowly went away.

11.2 mi in 2:15:00, 12:03/mi.

Sun, Nov 20:
90 min of biking, covering 24.6 mi.  Not fast, but it helped to flush out everything from the past 3 days of consecutive working out, which I don't do often.

 Good food and beer with dad... my dad has been helping me a lot as I've moved cities.


THANKSGIVING, NOV 24:
At noon, did my first interval session perhaps all year, after waking up from a post-breakfast nap.  Drank a Fit-Aid right before.  I think I've done that before, but not a good choice today.  My left kidney had a side stitch, and it was generally difficult, although part of the difficulty may just be me not in speed shape.  4.0 in 30:21, 7:35 ave, 7:17 effort, at 2 degrees of incline.
  • 1 mi warmup to 7.5mph in 8:12/mi
  • 0.5 mi @ 9mph in 3:20
  • 0.25 mi @ 7.5ph in 1:58
  • 0.25 mi @ 9mph in 1:40
  • 0.25 mi @ 7.5ph in 1:58
  • 0.25 mi @ 9mph in 1:40
  • Rest (couldn't have continued like I was)
  • 1 mi warmup to 7.5mph in 8:11 (got back on the horse)
  • 0.5 mi @ 9mph in 3:20

Not stellar, but it's step 1 for getting back into speed shape.  The Ultrarunning book covers lots of topics, including designing a training plan, and one of its principles is moving towards specificity as your plan goes on.  Speedwork is the opposite of marathoning, so now's a great time for it.  I need to get it back before I get deep into the phase.

My dad and I like Black Friday shopping.  I know many people prefer to avoid the crowds and chaos and consumerism, but it's kind of a tradition for us.  We like sales, the thrill of the hunt, people watching is interesting (there is some craziness), and getting into the season.  I typically don't get much more than a couple of DVDs and towels.  One year, I got a pre-lit Christmas tree that I now use, and this year, I finally got the Deer that I've wanted for many years.  Now, I have a yard of my own to house them.

(Daddy Deer, Mommy Deer, my Sister Deer, and Me Deer)


("Expecto Patroni!")

Saturday...
Went to the Whitewater center with my dad to get in a walk/ruck.  We feel better when we can exercise a bit.


Went to IKEA afterwards and got some furniture for my dining room/bar for my beer glassware and swag:


Sunday... 
Went to Freedom Park, for a walk.  It looks like a decent-sized place to do marathon long runs in the future.  The Whitewater center is great for escaping into nature and putting in time, but you don't get to work on speed, and your tempo is thrown off by all of the elevation changes and technical portions.  I'll need flat grass to be able to cover the required distances with the required speed, and this looks promising.


Thankful for friends and family.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

GORUCK TOUGH Class 2123 - 2016 - Columbia, SC

I'd normally start with a recap of my training leading up to the event, but in the week between the Spartan Carolinas Beast and Friday night's GORUCK Tough, I didn't do anything.  My plantars were roughed up from the weekend's activities, and I was simply tired.


How'd I find myself in a GORUCK event?  For the Spartan Hurricane Heat 12 HR event, we had to carry 20lb plus supplies, and the GORUCK GR1 was the most recommended backpack model.  You didn't want to go into a big event with time hacks and all kinds of unknown rough activity with lack of confidence in a bag that may give out from the weight and wear partway through.  I visited the website periodically, and on July 4th, there was a great deal on a GR1 which included a free standard event.  The GR1 did great in the HH12HR in August, even with my makeshift waist belt (they had sold out of real ones on the website).  Even after everything it went through, you could hardly tell it was used.  I continued to wear it on my walks to the fitness center, to make those walks a little bit more challenging, and to keep my body used to carrying weight.

I didn't do much training specifically for this event.  It was 12 hours and overnight.  I did one incline treadmill rucking workout with some ruckless body weight strength exercises after each of the three one mile rucks, a couple of weeks earlier, but that was the only ruck-specific one.  I figured that my usual combination of strength and cardio for Spartan training would be enough to get me through.


It was different to have an event on a Friday night.  I drove down to Columbia after work and killed some time after getting there early.  I found a parking spot and went to Finlay park where fellow ruckers gradually amassed.  When it was time, we got in formation with our rucks in front of us, and the Cadre came.  There were three for this event, since a large group of 60-70 was expected, although just 44 showed up at the start.  Cadre Montreal, a super funny guy, checked our names off the list.  One Cadre was named Shredder, which is frightening.  There was a surprising amount of women at the event, and a good mix of newbies and experienced ruckers.  It was different, not quite knowing what to expect.  I had checked on a couple of blogs the previous day, so I got the general idea, but this would be interesting.
 


We started with some sprints up and down big stairs, for gear checks and some PT punishments along the way.  Then, we went to the trailer to get our "coupons" for the event.  I have no idea why random heavy items that we have to carry are called "coupons", but they included various logs, boxes, duffels, jerry cans of water, ammo cans and fake pumpkins filled with concrete or something, and sandbags.  We started along a paved walking trail, carrying the coupons.  We did a human conveyor belt for the coupons, then worked as a team to get the coupons up the slope under an overpass and sang the national anthem afterwards.





This event ended up being a special one for Veterans Day.  Each of us brought the picture and story of a veteran to honor during this ruck.  A few times over the course of the event, we'd stop and share the stories of our vets.  There were many who had grandparents who had served, and it was really touching to see the ruckers challenge themselves with this event in their honor.


We continued carrying coupons through different parts of town.  There was one coupon called the Krakken, which was three logs tied together with heavy ropes, and no part of the Krakken could touch the ground at any point.  There were time hacks in this event, too, although unlike the HH12HR with individual challenges, you passed or failed as a group, and failure meant more PT.  All of the coupons were heavy... you thought the sandbags were heavy, but you try the pumpkin and ammo can, and it's no easier.  All heavy.  I no longer think happy thoughts when I see pumpkins, haha.  I thought farmers carries were my strength, but the coupons showed my weakness. 



After the first couple of legs of our trip, where the men had taken on the Krakken, there was a surprise twist... the females had to take the Krakken now.  I thought "no way", but we started.  I thought we'd just have to take it a short leg of the trip, but we ended up taking it for a few long [never-ending] legs.  I wasn't able to contribute that much, unfortunately.  I was a few inches shorter than the rest, so I couldn't carry any of the load while on teams of three.  In teams of two, I don't know whether it was where I was relative to the center of mass, or whether it was like that for everyone, but it was only tolerable on my shoulder for very short periods of time, before someone had to pick up my slack.  A couple of times, on teams of two, I could actually make it, and it seemed to be when the log was able to sit on my ruck instead of my shoulder.  


The other women, though, they were beasts.  Some weren't much bigger or taller than me, and they suffered through that thing for long periods of time like champions.  It wasn't easy.  I felt pretty useless, but they'd be carrying it then lifting it overhead repeatedly, to switch shoulders, and they'd take on the weight when others needed switching out.  They were so tough.  There was even one girl who had shoulder issues but toughed it out and would help with that crazy heavy stuff as much as she could.


 
 
We continued through the night, carrying coupons through residential areas and bushwhacking through tall grass and a little stream.  Didn't do so well on all of the time hacks, but we tried.   There were sprint challenges, and there were casualties.  I was a casualty.  Despite the smiles, being a casualty isn't as easy as you'd think.  Your arms get stretched in trio mode, and you get bruised all over in farmer carry mode.



Finally, the sun began to rise.  Throughout the event, different people got to be the Team Leader and practice their leadership skills.  It's a tough job, wrangling a bunch of ruckers and trying to keep them in formation.  You have to keep everyone together while keeping everyone going fast enough to have a chance at the time hacks.  You also have to coordinate distributing the workload - always more coupons than people, and the logs don't get any easier.  At the end of your leg/trip/mission, the group gives you feedback, and you give the group feedback.  The TLs that night (lots of men and lots of women) all did great, and the hardest TL role was the one as the sun rose, when everyone had gone through a long, hard night already and was cranky and tired and ready for it to be over.  They did great, though.  The sight of the sun rising in the morning was so very welcome, but the Cardres did not let up on us at all, continuing to press on us with time hacks and the need to stay in formation.




Finally, we got back to the park.  I had hardly eaten or drank.  There wasn't much time, and I used Nalgenes rather than a handy hydration pack.  I didn't use the restroom, either, since it meant going into the woods with a buddy.  Thankfully, just 12 hours, so it was doable.  We ran into the park with our flags, paid up our PT for the demerits, and finished with tiered climbs up to the top of the park, where we received our patches.  The newbies became GRTs and were welcomed into the family.  44/44 finished.





Final Thoughts: What a tough and dedicated group of people.   Met some great people who were very encouraging.  At personal cost and pain, many took on great loads for the good of the group.  Like with some other events, in the midst of it, I think "one and done", but a few days later, I start thinking about signing up for another.  Supposedly, each GORUCK event is a bit different, so there's always something new to look forward to.