I got up to Detroit Friday afternoon and found a close parking garage to the start point downtown and nestled my car in a corner with plans to "shower" with gallons of water post-event. I got there plenty early so I scoped out the area and made it to the start with plenty of time. I had a few objectives during this event, besides having "fun" and engaging with my Team in a positive way to get the work done.
- Test out my Prana Zion Stretch shorts. They came highly recommended for events in the pant form but I picked up the shorts, too.
- Test out a new pair of Inov8 trail shoes. Boots don't work for me and I don't need the ankle stability. Trail shoes are best given my running background when it comes to foot care and minimizing blister creation.
- Test my fitness. How will I do and how well will I recover?
That's really about it. I packed super light, too. I normally don't eat between 9pm and 9am so why pack a lot of food for this? All I "packed" was a baggie of beef jerky that I kept in my shorts' zipper leg pocket and 2 Hammer Gels, one with caffeine, both also in my pocket. I wanted the minimum IN my ruck if the cadre decided to empty rucks into a community pile. Plus, that keeps the food warm and easy to chew/digest when the time comes. So in my ruck were BodyGlide if chafing became an issue, the requisite $20 and ID, and a nalgene full of Hammer's Fizz electrolyte. I'd sip that when able throughout the warm and humid night. I did glance around during gear inspection and I was amazed at how much stuff people brought and water bladders not full. A bladder holds 3L of water and they shouldn't be floppy at the start. Full and fat.
|Some "warmup" PT at the start.|
To sum up this event, it is pretty simple and I don't have photos to share. In many GORUCK events, we have "shadows" who follow us and take photos. Shadows are typically local GRTs who aren't in the event but tag along as if they aren't there. We had a few but they quickly disappeared after a few miles. Essentially, if Pike took us past a patch of grass, we stopped and did some "stretching" as he called it. He loves push-ups...a lot. All with our 30lb minimum rucks on (unless you're under 150lbs...then 20lbs), of course. We did our fair share of wall-sits as well. Shortly after midnight, we got into a very sketchy area. It was an area I'd never drive through on my own. We had strict instructions to not talk and move quick. Lots of parked cars in dark areas, abandoned homes, countless dogs barking at us behind chain-linked fences, and not a Detroit cop in sight anywhere. I kept my head on a swivel and took up the rear of the team. I didn't want any stragglers behind me who couldn't keep the pace. Once we reached our destination, a park, we didn't spend much time there, either. We had some verbal training there on buddy carries and then got moving. We eventually made our way out of there and didn't see another area like that again. The PT continued in parking lots, grassy patches, etc. when a "break" was needed from our quick rucking pace. "Rest..." ha!
|One of the many locations we spent some time doing wall-sits.|
After our session in the field, we were off again and luckily came across a drinking fountain. We were all running very low on water so this was perfect to fully restock my 3L bladder. We started moving towards downtown again, as expected since we were now in the 2nd half of the event. One interesting thing Pike did in this event was the use of recon scouts. He didn't bring a bunch of sandbags for us to carry but instead, constantly sent out two people ahead of us to scout the route but their rucks had to be carried by the team. He'd sent them out a mile or so with the expectation to run. We took turns doing this. It was nice to be out from under the weight and run a bit, actually. It was less fun to carry someone else's sweaty ruck but hey, that's what we do! This went on for the majority of the event, except for the final 2 miles.
It was around 6am and we took about a 20min break in a field just outside of downtown and near the Motor City Casino. Pike told us that the next 2 miles towards the Endex (finish) will be the hardest of the event and to get our minds right. We knew from earlier that we'd incur casualties at some point and have to carry others and expected that time was now. After our rest, he briefed us on his expectation, that being that it's broad daylight now, we are carrying Old Glory, so we'd better keep it tight and look good. Like they say, the first rule of Special Forces is to look good. We took off and sure enough, a few blocks in we took our first casualty. Pike didn't choose our one and only female at 115lbs, rather a 215lb man. Then another. We did a few fireman carries but that quickly got old and we transitioned into 3-man carries as we could make it an entire block before switching out. At this point, it was in the low 80s and very humid. I actually don't normally sweat like I was at that point. I could fling it off my arm! With casualties, it's not just carrying them. Their rucks have to be carried by others as well. Plus, we need to move together as a team. This became quite an issue as we cut the distance in half to downtown. The flag was drifting ahead and the casualties as well. Then, we got another casualty. Luckily, he was light enough to be carried by one guy. This disorganization and totally crap communication got Pike the most fired up of the event and he passed on some good "wisdom" to us on that sidewalk. We got our act together and moved ahead. There were a few folks looking pretty bad and beat down but no one quit. When we got to within a few blocks of the Endex, Pike ended the casualties and we formed back into 2 ranks and enjoyed the relief.
We arrived back at the Endex around 8am, 11hrs into the event, covering 15 or so miles...I'm not really sure. We had a little more "stretching" and then got patched. Pike gave us an 8 out of 10 as compared to other classes so I'm happy with that. Plus, our 14 GRTs who started all finished. We didn't get our special July 4th patches but instead the regular patch. The July 4th ones are being mailed to us. After we grabbed our group photo, I headed on back to the car, ready to drive straight home and salvage the weekend with my girls.
I felt awesome. I walked up to the 3rd deck of the park garage with no issues, I had no blisters, no chafing AT ALL, and had more left in the tank. To not have even a hot spot after so much concrete all night or some chafing is pretty awesome. I really felt like I nailed it all.
Thanks, Detroit and GORUCK!
|Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood to celebrate!|