Tuesday, August 1, 2017

RACE REPORT: Green Beret Challenge - Guardian Centers 2, Andersonville NHS, Spartan Volunteering

The most I've driven for a normal distance OCR event is like 3.5 hours.  I was willing to go 5 hours one way for a 5 mile race, though, for the Green Beret Challenge's potentially last race at the Perry, GA Guardian Centers.  It was such a cool venue for Behind Enemy Lines.  I had to do a race there while I had the chance, especially because I hadn't gotten to experience all parts of it during BEL. 

All I did was one 7-mi run on Monday, Jul 17.  Legs felt surprisingly good, given two days of workouts over the weekend.  My right knee was iffy for the first couple of miles, and it was a hard effort for the rest of my body.  The perceived exertion level was much more than it should've been.  I wanted to outlast the girl on the treadmill next to me, though.  7.0 in 57:02, 8:09 ave.  Could've pushed on, if I wanted, or I even could've done a strength session, but wanted to taper for the GBC.

Thursday, my college roommate visited from Texas! 
Tupelo Honey Cafe, Airport Overlook, and Catching Up over a couple of beers.


I normally just leave super early in the morning for events that are far away.  This especially long distance would've meant leaving at 2am, though, assuming no stops.  I figured that driving for 5 hours right before running wouldn't be the best for my run, so I decided to leave after work on Friday.  Made my way down, and slept for a few hours in the car, before going to the venue.

It's a more intimate atmosphere at GBC, but everyone there is a superfan.

There were 2 waves of elite racers, and I went out in the first wave.  This was a mandatory completion race, so completion was my main focus, as opposed to speed.  The running part is predictable, but obstacles are not.  The first one was jumping over cars.

We navigated through some building windows, like in BEL.  Then, an insane farmers carry.  I thought I was pretty good at farmers carries, but this was super long and heavy.  Lots of breaks.  It went all the way around the long lake that we had swum across during BEL.

We got to run through a fake subway, which was fun.  Climbing up and down buildings, a rope climb that was slippery, but I finally made it up.  Tire flip, climbing over stuff.  A sled drag that was also really long and grueling.  Barbed wire crawl.  Then a yoke carry.  I was very inefficient at first, then I figured out how to hold the bar on my shoulders, and then I was able to move better, with fewer breaks.  Always a learning element, with these OCRs.  Not just pure strength, but also technique.  I rode buses for the most part from K-12.

We got to climb into the bus fire exit, like little kids on buses have always dreamed of doing.  Next, swimming through the flooded city.  An inverted ladder climb.  I had seen pictures of their rig previously, and it looked tough... 4 ropes, followed by something more like monkey bars, but with ropes.  The 4 normal ropes were the most worrying part.  How much would I have left by that point?  Fresh, I can do rigs ok, but after going through everything else, it gets more iffy.  I was so excited when I got it on my first shot.  As a bonus, the volunteer at the rig was Agent Harden from BEL!

Then, a fire ladder climb and a rope climb that I fought hard through.


After that, the end.  I was so excited to have completed everything successfully.  I had possibly been third in the heat, based on the number of completions at the rig that far, but there would be more coming in the second heat.  I ended up with 2nd AG, which was cool.  I'll have to come back to collect more of these!


I'm a big fan of the National Park system, too, and Andersonville NHS exceeded expectations.  The POW museum was fantastic and really immersed you in the experiences of POWs from all kinds of conflicts through history.  They made you think about what it would be like to go through it yourself, going from capture, to life at the camps, to ways of coping, to possibly freedom.  It was powerful.  Regardless of the conflict or the era, there are many commonalities between experiences.  We're all humans, and struggle through the same kinds of things.

I watched a couple of videos there, and listened to a talk. It was all fascinating.

I then went outside to the old stockade.  It's crazy to imagine that so many people had been packed here, in real life, at one time.  It's so peaceful and quiet here now.  But this place had been like hell on earth at one time.


After Andersonville, a 5 hr drive up to Asheville, where I'd be volunteering the next morning.  Another beautiful place.  While I love the West, the Southeast is pretty amazing, too.

I helped to build blade banners, saran wrapped trucks, small tents, big tents, and fences.  Not a bad place to work outside!

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