Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Carry the Load 2015 Experience

My Carry the Load 2015 experience was crazy awesome and crazy hard. 40 miles doesn't sound like a lot but my feet beg to differ.
My bricks for Sgt. Enrique Mondragon
Dallas has gotten some crazy rain lately and been more humid that a shower. Carry the Load 2015 was humid as all get out even when the sun went down. We were expecting rain during the event but other than a few sprinkles, I was pretty dry from rain - not from sweat.  It was so flippin' muggy. Was like coming out of the shower but I was grateful for no more rain during the event.

The back of my tribute shirt.
The front of my tribute shirt.


Tribute signs for some those lost their lives in the line of duty.
I started this event knowing no one. I didn't get any takers on coming to walk with me (which I will change next year mark my words). Actually a friend Michell allowed me to piggy back on her son's Scout Troop to do the event but I wasn't planning on walking with anyone because I just didn't know anyone.  About 5 miles in a police officer by the name of David ran up to me and started talking to me. He had an arm full of people who had served in the military. It was awesome he was honoring them.

I stole this picture from the Dallas Morning News of David's arm.
David and I spend a ton of time together suffering together - mostly in silence. He was carrying a much heavier backpack than me. Mine was 43.5 and his was 52.5. I know that is only basically 10 pounds but I am sure David and my knees and feet would agree that 10 pounds is a huge difference. David did this event having never rucked before and just going for it. He did a GREAT job! I look forward to walking with him next year too. Hopefully my feet will be harder by then.

The field of 6000+ flags for each who has passed.

This is coming down the path. Going up was KILLER.

My "ruck" honoring Sgt. Enrique Mondragon.

So I had planned to do 40 miles with a 40 pound pack to honor Sgt. Mondragon. I knew I could do about 20 minute miles as that is what I have done in the past but this event blew up my times. I was slow. I was hoping to be done by 4 AM but with a 4 PM start I wasn't done until 10 AM. I have to admit as certain points I had to take a few naps. At about 1:30 AM I pulled into a water station, took off my shoes, socks and backpack and went to sleep using my backpack as a pillow. When I got up about 35 minutes later a volunteer stopped me on my way out and told me he had never seen someone fall asleep so quickly on concrete. I told him I was an ex-Scout leader and I had learned to sleep in some crazy places. He laughed and I walked on. Between 1 AM and about 5 AM I was falling sleep between steps on the trail. My feet hitting the ground woke me up only to fall asleep again before the next step. I couldn't walk in a straight line. It was crazy. On another nap, I had just planned to stop and stretch but I ended up (again) falling asleep on a concrete parking spot in a parking garage. A volunteer at some point covered me up with a blanket they had brought. I woke up wondering where the blanket had come from. I found the volunteer, thanked them and then headed out for some more walking. When I checked out in the timing station and told them I was done the volunteer told me that I had one of the highest weights of those who registered their weighed packs and that I had done a good job. This achievement wasn't for me. It was for Sgt. Mondragon. 

So what did I learn from this?
  • I learned again how many great patriots there are out there. Between 1 and 5 AM there were people out there hiking honoring their heroes. It was awesome. Americans are freaking awesome!!
  • I think again I learn that while I struggled like no other, I can do hard things especially for other people. Sgt. Mondragon deserves so much more than this but this is what I could do personally and so this is what I did for him. I hope his family knows we have not forgotten about him. They have not been forgotten either.
  • I learned that I am still not as mentally tough as I personally want to me. In talking with a friend tonight about this and life he mentioned to me that the middle of a trial is the part that sort of sucks. This was true for this event. Between 1 AM and 5 AM was the hardest. I contemplated quitting more than once but thinking about the sacrifice Enrique made being away from his family to serve our country and then his ultimate physically sacrifice, I kept going.
  • I am glad I did this. This wasn't about me. This was about someone else and about their family. If they ever read this, thank you!!!
  • Would I do this again? HELL yes. It is the least I can do.
I had blisters on both feet located on the balls of my feet. Even now 10 days later they hurt like heck and haven't completely gone away. I need to work on hardening my feet. I have something I am going to try. So next year I would like to put a group together to divide the 40 miles or do an 8 hour hike (4 PM to midnight). I want my kids involved in this.

Just as a small side note, I think I burned close to 8,000 calories and a Clifbar tastes pretty awesome when you are hungry enough!!

Nap locations: In a handicap parking spot, in a parking garage and on a stone fence. 

Goruck had nothing on my personal standards for this event. Granted I was able to take this at my own pace but the distance and weight were KILLER!! I had my butt handed to me and I was very humbled physically by this event. It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically.

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