Monday, May 30, 2016

Carry the Load 2016 - After Action Review

These backpacks spent a ton of time together!!
Man, this year was awesome!! The weather was GREAT! I raised money this year thanks to a singular Wood Badge friend. And I did so much better than last year. I was hot and tired but I wasn't forced to take 83 naps throughout the night. It was a great, humbling, fulfilling experience that I recommend to all.

I was honored again this year to walk for Sargent Enrique Mandragon from The Colony, Texas. This years goal was 30 miles with 30 pounds. When I weighted my pack at home I was at 34 pounds. When it was weighted at the event is was a straight up 40 pounds. After last year's beating physically I had mixed emotions when I heard that. I contemplated getting rid of some of my stuff but elected to try it. I met up with my friend David who I met at last years event and we proceeded to walk the first 16 miles together. I got to admit the first 10 miles was an absolute mental battle with my brain. I had not slept well the night before and my neck and back were hurting from the horrible night sleep I had but I was stubborn enough to know that I had to wait to get into the zone. And it hit about mile 10. David was the only reason I got to mile 16. David has heart!

I finally got to carry a fire hose!!
Field of flags!!
I love this shirt!!
During the event people carry different things to symbolize carrying other's load. Firefighters usually carry fire hose. I ran into a female firefighter who is almost done with the Dallas Fire Academy and asked her if I could carry her hose for a bit. I carried it for about 3/4 a mile before she had to bolt to walk with friends but I was finally glad to be able to say that I was able to carry a fire hose at Carry the Load.

Saw some of my fellow Goruckers out there. Glad to be associated with such great people that actually care about veterans.

At mile 16 I met up with Christi. I wasn't very talkative nor was I very fast. Sweating from me eyes because I was so hot is partly to blame. Who knew you could sweat from your eyes? I had slowed way down but didn't need naps like I did last year. I think the better weather was the reason I wasn't wanting to pass out. I was pretty overheated last year. Plus the use of a cooling towel helped a TON. Almost every aid station I dipped it into the buckets of ice. My back was wet from sweat and my front was wet due to the cooling towel to help fight the heat. I was wet a lot during this event. I got two of the best blisters ever. One on the ball of my foot and the other on the top of my toe. Painful but worth it.

We had seen some awesome lightening and a little bit of rain all night. We were told storms would hit about midnight. I wasn't scared because the water would have cooled me down even further but the lightening became an issue. At about 2 AM it started to storm decent. The volunteers at aid station #3 told us they wanted us back at the Park. We elected to just go to our cars. One very long Uber ride later we were at our cars (more to come on this ride later). 

Final distance and time was 25.5 miles at 10 hours. For a fat guy with a 40 pound ruck on his back, that really isn't the bad. I would have really liked to have hit my 30 miles but it was not so this year. It doesn't really matter. it was more about honoring Sargent Mondragon and his sacrifice. 

I would encourage you to do a Carry the Load. You don't have to walk miles and miles like I do. You don't even have to carry a load. Just being there shows that you care.

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