Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Face The Music Friday #57

OK, so I lied. In my last Friday post, which was now two weeks ago, I said I’d still pick a song every week. I just couldn’t be bothered to write lately. There’s a lot going on with me and things take priority – this blog took a backseat so last Friday, you missed a song.

I’m hoping to get back to it semi-regularly, but I don’t know how to. I feel like what I normally write about isn’t worth writing. When I say I’m in a funk, it’s a big one. A mental one. I know…too much seriousness.

Anyway – an update of sorts. Since last we spoke, I volunteered at Tuff Scrambler with my teammates and cheered them on while wildly snapping an excessive amount of photos.

 

 

The following day, we rucked the Brain Injury 5K. It was windy and cold, but we had a great time.

 

 

This past weekend, I did some partial fall clean-up, cheered my friends on at the Monster Dash and had my first pedicure.

 

 

Monday, oh Monday. I went for my first run since my half marathon jacked up my foot last month. Interestingly enough, the foot that bothered me after the half was OK, but my “GORUCK foot” bothered me after. A few days later it’s perfectly fine so I’m just being cautious for now. But that’s exciting. I like that I no longer refer to my feet as “right” and “left”. They are now “Half foot” and “GORUCK foot”.

I was contacted through the blog by a marketing company asking if I wanted to check out YakTrax. Um, yes please! They’ve been on my Amazon wish list for a while so I’m really excited to try them out once the nasty winter gets here. I’ll fill you all in once I give them a whirl.

I’ve been doing rucking with friends and got back into going to Unleashed. I’ve gone to a Train Reaction class and two kickboxing classes in the last two weeks…so that’s a start. I’m still too overwhelmed to go by myself for now, but my friends have been amazing making sure I get out and do the stuff I enjoy so they’ve gone along with me for that added incentive.

 

Photo credit: Keisha Hayes

Photo credit: Keisha Hayes

 

This weekend, I’ll be attending my first Comic Con. Julie, Dan, Tara and I will be going to both days. There was a Groupon a while back for a VIP package for both days with early access each day, so we figured why not pull the trigger since we’ve talked about it before. I’m excited to see people from shows I love, including a former Doctor. It’s not a Doctor I’ve watched, but still cool nonetheless. I’m looking forward to the Walking Dead and Supernatural panels and it might be interesting to see Shatner and Takei.

Lastly, in just over 1 week, I will be rucking the Boston Marathon route to raise money for Carry The Fallen/Active Heroes. To those that have already donated, thank you SO much. If you haven’t, no donation is too small and ALL are appreciated. If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing my fundraising link and helping me reach my goal by next Saturday. Thank you in advance!

http://fundraise.activeheroes.org/courtneycrooks

For my song this week, I’m going with one I saw on a friend’s playlist on Spotify that I’m slightly obsessed with now. Hope you enjoy!

Spoonful – Barefoot Truth

 

 

 

 

 

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Face The Music Friday #56

Workouts? What workouts? Other than GORUCK on Saturday, working at the Scituate Art Festival Sunday and Monday and mowing the lawn with my ruck on Wednesday, I’ve done nothing. My mojo is gone. Even writing this post seems tedious. I’m not even going to get into it, but just going to say that friends are a valuable thing.

I’m helping out at the Unleashed tent tomorrow for Tuff Scramblers, then I’m going to ruck the Brain Injury 5K on Sunday since I still can’t run.

Since I don’t want to disappoint the “fans”, I’m still going to pick music every week. I’m throwing it back about a decade today. Have a good weekend everybody.

Evanescence – Bring Me To Life

 

 

 

 

 

11 Comments »

GORUCK Light Class 481

** I would like to note that this post will be extremely wordy, with very few pictures. Due to the horrible weather conditions, we had no one to “shadow” our class and take any pictures. I’ve got as many details as I could remember in there. **

 

These patches are earned. You can not buy them. Now let me tell you how I earned mine…

 

 

Let’s start at the beginning. A group of my friends from Unleashed all decided they wanted to do a GORUCK together. Several of them had already done one (or many) before, but we also had several rookies sign up, myself included. It says right on the website that “If you can do a mud-run or a 5K, you can do Light. Our Cadre will introduce you to the power of a team. You will also smile. A lot. We promise.” Since I train so much, and the event that was chosen would be after my first half marathon, I thought sure, why not and signed up during their Christmas in July sale for only $37.50.

I figured I had 3 months to get ready for this madness and would train really hardcore after my half was over. The events were almost exactly a month apart. What I didn’t plan on was injuring myself during the half since I had trained following the plan to a T. I was definitely concerned when I had the peroneal tendinitis because when it first happened I could barely put full weight on my foot. Thankfully, doing everything I could, I was able to walk normally and do a little training prior to the GORUCK.

Prior to Saturday, we were picking the brains of our friends who had all done one before. What to pack, how to pack it, will this work, will that work, etc. Finally, it was suggested we have a “packing party” so they could see what we had and help us out. I’m SO glad we did this because one tip I got about taping all of my bricks together and laying my yoga block flat might have actually saved the day for me. During training, I had the yoga block standing on it’s side and I had 2 bricks strapped together and the other 2 together, but not attached to each other so essentially they could shift. At the last minute, my friend Amy suggested taping the two 2-brick packs together so I decided to do it since I trusted her judgment and thank you for that!!

During my training, I threw a 4K (almost 9 lb) kettlebell on top of the bricks in my pack. I’m also super glad I did this because once I put in dry clothes, food, water, etc my pack ended up coming in around 28.5 lb with the bricks only being about 18-19 lb of that weight. We all took down some pointers from Amy and Corrine – our resident experts – and I think us rookies did OK!

 

 

I’m also glad we had this little “party” because while Chrystal was looking at my ruck in the picture above, Keisha happened to notice something fall off. Turns out, it was one of the clips that pulls my ruck in tight to itself, compressing the contents within and making it sturdier. It looked like the strap had never even been sewn in properly! Without time to get another one taken care of through Amazon, Tara took it to her mom on Friday and she was able to sew it back on and save the day. I never had any issue with it during the event.

Now that I’ve bored you to death with a little background, let’s talk about game day. I’ll just start with the weather forecast. In one word, it was Misery. 80% chance of rain, temps with highs only in the low 50s, oh, and we’d be on an island. Good times. I got up at 4:30 with the plan that everyone local was meeting to carpool to the ferry and would be at my house at 6:30. Tara got up, being the team “den mother”, and baked some pumpkin bread and cinnamon braids from scratch. There was no way I would be able to keep something like that down, being as nervous as I was, so I had my typical pre-race fuel: a bagel w/ peanut butter, banana and coffee.

Around 6:15 or so, Christine showed up with her friend Steve that was joining us. Everyone else trickled in slowly after that. Some ate some food, some took a potty break (drink all the water, pee ALL THE TIME!) and we finished packing up what we needed for the day. We decided there being 7 of us, we’d take 2 cars. I had Christine, Steve and Stephanie in my car and then Amy drove with Chrystal and Corrine.

 

 

Normally, with traffic it can take anywhere from 45-60 minutes to get to the ferry in Narragansett. It only took us about a 1/2 hour to get there, which is good because we ended up leaving 15 minutes later than we planned to catch our 8:15 high speed ferry to Block Island. Once we got there, we paid to park and walked over to wait for the boat. We ended up meeting two of our soon-to-be teammates, Jordan and Joel, and then another Unleashed friend Chris met us there with his friend Josh. I can only say that shenanigans followed and we probably annoyed half the people on the ferry on the way out there because we were all hyped up. I know I personally didn’t stop talking the whole time because I was so nervous.

 

Photo credit: Christine Dion

Photo credit: Christine Dion

 

The boat ride out wasn’t that bad, only slightly choppy due to the weather. I know some that would disagree that don’t enjoy boats very much, but we didn’t have any hurling so we’ll count that as a plus! Once we arrived, we found some lockers and got ourselves prepared to take only what we needed. It was about a 1.5 mile walk from the ferry landing to Veterans Park, where we were instructed to meet our Cadre – Logan. A GORUCK Cadre can only be a Cadre by being a former Special Forces member of the military and have participated in a GORUCK before (I’m pretty sure that’s right, but correct me if I’m wrong).

Once we left the landing and started our march to the park, it didn’t take us long before we were soaked to the bone. The rain was pretty unrelenting and damn cold. I was glad I had 3 top layers because I needed every last one of them. I led the way there with Chris because I had checked out where we were going earlier in the week. I looked at Google Maps and Google Earth to get a street view. The roads were easy enough to follow, but the street view image was very confusing and only made it worse once we actually got there. As I had seen online, there was only a dock and a large house, which I think was maybe a bed and breakfast. When we got there, there was definitely no park so I walked over and found a woman walking out to her car. She said we just needed to go back to the road we passed maybe 100 feet prior and go up it and we’d see the cannon in the park shortly after that. She said Google isn’t very reliable when plotting the island, which apparently was true. It only took us another couple of minutes to get there after that.

 

Photo credit: Christine Dion

 

Once we arrived, we realized we had a lot of time to kill. We found the best tree we could in the park and all penguin huddled underneath it to stay as warm as we possibly could in the conditions. At this point we were basically all shivering uncontrollably and hadn’t even started yet so I was a tad concerned. A little while after we got there, Jordan and Joel showed up, as well as Rich, Emily and Kim who had taken on the GORUCK Challenge the night before (for 10 hours). I don’t know how they found the strength to do them back to back, but they amazed me. So here we were, the 14 members of GORUCK Class #481 – ready to rock and roll.

Cadre Logan drove by shortly after and gave us a thumbs up and a smirk. It was at that point I went in to full blown panic mode, wondering what the hell I was doing on this island, in this weather, with bricks on my back. He circled around the park and drove off to park his truck. Once he arrived back to us, he had us line up and gave us a short introduction about himself and what we were about to embark upon.

There are three certain rules which were to be followed at all times – your ruck never touches the ground and you need to remain at roughly arms length apart. If you were to get too far away from anyone at any given time, you could possibly become a “casualty”. The last was that you always needed a buddy. You were never to go anywhere without someone else.

After our intro, it was time for us to embrace the suck. GORUCK Light had begun. We started off with basic PT. We did flutter kicks with our rucks on our chest, mountain climbers, push-ups and seated military presses with our rucks. Don’t forget – if we’re not holding the rucks, the rucks are on our backs. Once we finished PT, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was so tough, but only tougher because of how cold and wet we already were. This was the first point I seriously questioned what I was doing here and wanting to stop right then. I didn’t know how I could possibly make it through several more hours without knowing what would be coming next.

Next came log PT. There was a lovely pile of logs next to the small building in the park. So convenient, so nice of them to be there. We were broken up into teams based on height. He picked each team and then picked a log for that team to work with.  We then lined up and did some exercises while holding the logs – pick them up, put them down, curl them by bending in half at the waist and then back up, then we lifted them up and over from one shoulder over our heads to the other shoulder. That last part was the absolute hardest part for me personally. We worked well as a team though, so that made it a little easier.

From here, Cadre Logan asked us for two volunteers for the first mission. I volunteered to get it out of the way. I don’t enjoy being a leader so I figured I’d just get it over with. Stephanie volunteered to do it with me, so he took us aside and told us our mission. He said we needed to move 3 logs from the park about 2 miles and asked us how long he thought it would take us. Stephanie suggested 32 minutes. Since I use humor when I’m anxious, I thought I’d be funny and suggested 32:54, just to give us slightly more time. He told us that was fine, plus he gave us a few minutes to brief our team on what our mission was and then to get moving. I was called the PL (which I believe was “platoon leader”) and Stephanie would be my APL (assistant PL).

Stephanie and I were not allowed to carry the logs, so they had 2 less people to work with, but the same size/weight logs. I also carried the flag. The flag is always up front and never touches ANYTHING except the person carrying it. Our jobs were to make sure we stayed together as a team, never separating too far, and if someone needed a break to call it out. We were never allowed to walk on the road unless otherwise instructed or someone could become a “casualty”. This would prove to be a bigger issue for me than one would think. My foot/ankle was already still bothering me prior to the event, but walking on uneven terrain, tipping my ankle inward, made it much, much worse.

We followed the instructions given to us by Cadre Logan. He also had told us during our briefing that we would be allowed one map check and one time check during our journey, to make sure we ended up where he wanted us to go. We found what we thought to be the right road, but it appeared to just sort of end at some docks. We were going to use the map check, but I think he took pity on us realizing we were so close to where he wanted and just told us we should probably check out the road. We ran down together and left the team with the logs. We ended up finding some stairs at the end of a driveway and they led down to the beach he wanted us at, so we ran back and led everyone down there. We made our time goal!

He had us leave the logs where we were and we all walked down to the small beach at the bottom of the stairs. He filled us in on his time with a diving team and how they only had certain instruments to guide them underwater. We knew it was inevitable we were about to get even more wet and sandy. He had us all line up single file and link our arms together. He then had us step forward, or backwards, adding to the torment just a little. Once we were in the water, we then had to do flutter kicks. I inhaled more than a few mouthfuls of water on this one with the waves coming up over my head. We then turned and did some push-ups and sat and did more military presses. We all then had to turn and face the water, get down on our knees and stick our heads underwater.

Once he finished with us in the ocean, he had us line up 2 x 2 and squat. He then instructed us to pick up handfuls of sand and throw it up in the air. When he instructed, we would change directions (left, right, forwards, backwards) but always tossing the sand with both hands. It was at this point I thanked my friends for suggesting wearing a hat! It totally protected my face from getting tons of sand in my eyes or mouth.

When we finished on the beach, we had to walk the logs back to the park. At this time, Cadre Logan told Stephanie and me that we were fired and asked for two new volunteers. I should probably mention, only rookies can be PLs. At this point, Chris and Josh took over. We had to get the logs back to the park and then march down past the park to Cadre’s truck to pick up some water jugs – 6 total. These were 5 gallon jugs I believe, and if my math doesn’t fail me, this means they weighed over 40 lb each.

We were told that we needed to march the water jugs to the end of Graces Cove Road. We didn’t know how far it was, but we had 45 minutes to get there so we needed to keep a quick pace. I started out carrying the flag and then cycled in to help carry the water jugs here and there. Everyone tried to give people rest who needed it if they weren’t carrying anything. I should mention we had also now picked up our team weight – a sandbag – which needed to be carried as well.

We made our time to the beach at the end of Graces Cove Road and this is where I was basically ready to throw in the towel and had my meltdown. My friends kept checking in on my throughout the march because my ankle was bothering me more and more as we went on. I didn’t want to be that diva, the weak one, the whiner, so I would just kind of shake my head when they would ask how I was doing. We got down to the beach and were then told it was time for “Logan’s Run”.

Logan’s Run was a nightmare. Essentially what it was, was that we would run down to a fixed point (in this case, a large boulder on the beach), touch it and run back to the start point. This would be our standard to measure the rest of this portion of the mission. Each time we ran after that first run, we had to run it with the water jugs. If we beat our initial time, we got to put down one jug. If we didn’t, we picked up a jug.

Our initial run was 40 seconds. We lined up with the jugs and ran as hard as we could. It’s at this point I should mention that we were not running on packed sand. Oh no, this was straight up soft as it gets sand, making it all that much tougher to run through. I knew there was no way I could carry anything while running with my ruck on so I purposely never took one and felt really guilty about it, but it only got worse. With each sprint we did, I could breathe less and less and my ankle was screaming more and more.  I don’t remember how many we had done, maybe 4, when I threw myself across the finish line to make sure we made our time. I didn’t want to be the reason we picked up an extra jug. I couldn’t get up. I vaguely remember heading “take her ruck!” and feeling people take it off my back, and unhooking the straps on the front, but it was all kind of a blur after that. I know my friends took my arms, my hands, anything they could and helped me finish out those last few sprints. We beat every time – we never picked up an extra jug. All of that is thanks to my amazing teammates. I cannot thank them enough for that moment.

When we finished Logan’s Run, he gave us a brief moment. I do remember at one point we almost had a casualty because someone was alone without a buddy. He then had us line up, arm in arm again, right in front of the water. He had us doing the step forward, step back torture again and we were sure we were going back in. At this point, I probably wouldn’t have minded it because I LIKED being in the ocean. It actually felt warmer than being in the freezing rain so I enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. After a few steps forward and back, he told us we had 20 seconds to grab all the jugs and run them back up the rocky trail that led to the beach. We barely made it up.

Chris and Josh were “fired” at this point. He then asked for two more volunteers. Things got confusing here. No one volunteered, and I’m not sure what happened, but we all ended up being instructed to get down and do flutter kicks. He then asked again and Chrystal stepped up, but no one else. He told us we were then going to do mountain climbers, but we all realized there was only Chrystal left that hadn’t done it. For some reason, it was thought that there were 6 rookies. We didn’t have to do the mountain climbers since that was the case.

This is where the bargaining began. We were told we had to march back to the park, however, in order to get any time we had to bargain with casualties. He said we could have 2 casualties for 20 minutes apiece. This meant we had 40 minutes to get back to where we were before. The catch was, we got to pick one person while Cadre would pick the other. We picked Amy because she is small and light and then, of course, Cadre picked Steve who was the biggest, heaviest dude we had in the group. Chrystal was instructed that she could only carry the team weight (sandbag) and nothing/no one else. We were given a couple of minutes to coordinate and then our time started.

We didn’t start out well. It’s very tough to have so much stuff and even less people. Due to my stupid friggin’ foot, I started out cautious. I took Amy’s ruck and wore it on my front and carried the flag. This way, she was lighter for whoever carried her. As we marched along, I helped out as much as I could, grabbing the handle of a water jug here or there or whatever I could do. We were picking out points in the distance and saying we would walk to the pole and take a break, or walk to the tree and take a break. It was just tough and we were zapped and, after 40 hellish minutes, we finally just ran out of time.

It was bargain time again. This time, we were told we could have 5 minutes per casualty. We opted for 2 since we thought we were pretty close and could do it in 10 minutes. This meant we now had 4 people to be carried, none of whom could help carry all the stuff we had. We worked out the next 2 casualties and trucked on. With about 300 yards to go, we ran out of time again – we took 2 more casualties for 10 more minutes and knew we needed to get it on this final push.

At this point, I had a ruck on my front, my own ruck on my back and would have to carry 2 water jugs as well. There was no escaping the math. I took the two jugs with straps tied on them figuring maybe I could have them over my shoulders, but that just didn’t work. I tried to Farmers Carry them and fell behind VERY quickly. I was in the back all by myself, nothing left in me and the Cadre was next to me. I asked if I could drag them and he said yes, on the grass only. I said hell yeah and let them fall to the ground and dragged those bastards as fast as I could. We had to cross two streets, so I did have to carry them again briefly, but the dragging made all the difference. I never would have made it if I had to carry them straight up. Towards the end, I ended up swapping a water jug for the final street crossing and took someone else’s ruck in exchange. We were SO tight on time by the time we got back in the park. I don’t know what it was, and I remember he told us, but I was just so happy that hell was over.

He had us put the water jugs over to the side and had us line up single file arm in arm again. I remember thinking I don’t know how much more I can take because I barely made it back. It was at this time he said congratulations, we were done! I couldn’t even believe it. I just remember the BIGGEST hug from Amy and I didn’t want to let her go because I was SO happy it was over. We all stayed in line and Cadre came to each of us individually and shook our hand while giving us our patch. I’ve said it over and over – of all the medals and race shirts I’ve gotten over the last two years of racing, this is my most favorite “bling” ever!

All total, we covered about 5.5 miles and took around 4 hours 20 minutes to finish. Below is a graphic shared by one of our team members on Facebook.

 

Credit: Rich Erwin

 

These are my teammates. Without each and every one of them supporting me, this never would have happened.

 

Photo credit: Christine Dion

Photo credit: Christine Dion

Photo credit: Christine Dion

Photo credit: Christine Dion

 

While I’m elated at finishing, I wish I contributed more than I did. I did everything I could that my body would allow, and even more because of them. Would I ever do another one? At this point, I say no. I don’t like feeling like a failure. I’m my own harshest critic and this was really hard for me. Really, really hard.

Thank you to Amy, Christine, Chrystal, Stephanie, Corrine, Steve, Jordan, Joel, Chris, Josh, Emily, Rich and Kim. I will forever thank you whenever I look at that patch.

 

 

22 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #55

So basically, my week consisted of lots of this:

 

 

Whether it was outside, on the elliptical, in my living room – it involved my ruck. You see, tomorrow I take on my first GORUCK Light. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. I’m trying to figure out ways to just pump myself up. This video will show you some of what I may or may not be undertaking. No one knows how long, how far, or what will be done in a GORUCK so…yeah. A “Light” consists of 4-6 hours, 7-10 miles – those are our rough estimates.

 

 

I’m keeping it short and sweet this week because I have a lot to do between getting everything organized for tomorrow and then working the rest of the weekend at the Scituate Art Festival to help Julie sell her Jewels by Jules.

If you have already donated to my fundraiser for Active Heroes, thank you! If you would, please continue to share and get the message out there. Word of mouth is just as powerful as a donation! We have a few more weeks until I ruck march the Boston Marathon route and I would love to reach my goal by then and give them as much help as we can.

This week’s musical selection will pump anyone and everyone up for anything – I don’t care what you’re doing. If this song doesn’t get you revved up, you may be broken. Have a great weekend everybody!

AC/DC – Thunderstruck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments »

Active Heroes

 

Remember that big challenge I had coming up that I said I would write a post about? On Saturday, November 8th, I will be ruck marching the entire Boston Marathon route over the course of 12 hours to raise awareness of Veteran suicides.

 

 

Currently, 22 Veterans a day are committing suicide. A DAY. That’s too much. Through Active Heroes and Carry The Fallen, we are trying to get that number to zero.

“Active Heroes’ mission is to strengthen active duty military, veterans and their families in order to provide the coping skills to manage the stress and the triggering points that lead to suicide. Active Heroes is dedicated to connecting and helping America’s military families through physical and mental therapy, home repairs and community outreach, financial assistance and community reintegration to halt the triggering points and stress associated with “hard times” that lead to suicide.”

Please take a moment to read about Active Heroes and Carry The Fallen. They are raising money right now to build a retreat where members of the military can integrate back into the public. There will also be times that it’s open for those with greater PTSD that are just not ready for that yet.

I’d also love it if you would consider a donation, no matter how small or large. You can donate through my fundraising page at http://fundraise.activeheroes.org/courtneycrooks. I would love to raise $1000 by the time we do the march and I’m almost halfway there. If you can’t donate, please consider spreading the word and getting this information out there. I would love it if all my blogger friends could share this around the interwebs. Share their page, share my fundraiser, share anything – let’s get 22 to 0!

 

 

 

 

18 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #54

 

Saturday – RI Run for the Fallen

Later Saturday into Sunday – New England Fitness Challenge

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 3 rounds of this circuit, 10 reps each:  4-count flutter kicks, push-ups, squats, bear crawls and 30 second plank

Wednesday – Rest – spent the night fighting with electronics

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Rest

 

I had made a last minute appointment to have my foot worked on again at the chiro last Friday for this past Monday night. I got a call around noonish that the doc wasn’t feeling well and would be canceling her appointments – HUGE bummer. I’ve been doing everything possible to get my foot better faster and that would have helped a great deal. As of this morning, I’m glad to say I’m not in 100% pain with every step – probably only 80% at this point, and I’ve even taken a few steps in the last two days that were pain free!

Wednesday I finally got around to backing up our phones and iPads so that I could install the new iOS. I even did a full back-up of the Mac through our G-Drive and then finally upgraded our iPhoto. It. Took. FOREVER. I feel better now that it’s done though.

Not much going on this week. This weekend will be all about resting from activities. Last weekend was a blur and next weekend will be, too, so this weekend will hopefully be yard work, organizing some rooms in the house and hanging out with some friends on Sunday. I hope the weather plays along.

Throwing it back just a “few” years this time. Enjoy the song of the week and have a great weekend!

Social Distortion – Story Of My Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Comments »

NEFC Recap

 

This weekend, I tagged along as “team manager” to the Metro Swat New England Fitness Challenge, held at Gillette Stadium. My friends and teammates from Unleashed (as well as some I didn’t know) were competing and I wanted to be there to lend support and help them in any way I could in what I knew would be a difficult challenge. This post will be pretty long, full of pictures, so grab a blanket and curl up.

 

 

The event would start at 10pm Saturday night and end at 9am Sunday morning. We all agreed to meet up at Unleashed at 4:30 for the hour long drive up to Foxboro so we could carpool together. Tara helped me pack anything and everything we could possibly need, including some freshly baked banana muffins she made. I brought any first aid you could possibly think of, extra TP, paper towel, tons of different snacks, cases of water, foam rollers, stretching strap, extra blankets, chairs, sleeping bags, etc. If you could think of it, chances are I had it! This didn’t leave much room in my car, so I only had Chrystal with me on the way up there and she already had a ride home planned.

 

 

We met up, moved stuff around, got people packed up and took off. The traffic flowed well and we made good time. We found a primo spot in the parking lot to set up our tent and unpacked our creature comforts. Then it was tailgating time! People went all out. There was someone down the row from us with a full-on trash can fire, people brought RVs, a person had a crock pot hooked up to their car battery. You name it, people thought of it. Our spot was even super close to the portapotties, but even early on in the evening they were already gross. Luckily, they had the stadium restrooms open for us with a short walk – score!

 

 

At 9 pm they started the opening ceremonies. They had the flag presented and National Anthem and then they had the team captains all meet in the middle of the field for a briefing. Our team captain Joey got all the info we would need for the night and a printed schedule. There were 40 teams competing, broken into groups of 4 teams. At each event, you would compete against 3 other teams – the same teams for the entire night. Our group ended up not having 4 teams though, and we never found out what happened to the 4th team. We were given the order that our teams would go to the events so we could plan ahead. Each team had 15 members and, in all but 2 events, only 10 members would compete.

 

Love this one! Amy, Chrystal, Stephanie, Christine, Corrine

 

The order of events was as follows with whatever pics I had of it:

Keg Relay – for this event, each team member had to line up on a 10 yard line (10, 20, 30, etc). Starting at the goal line, they would sprint out to the next team member with an empty keg, pass it off, run back, grab another one, repeat until all were passed to the other end. They then had to pass them all back to where they started.

 

 

Sandbag run – each team member had to either carry a Wreck Bag (sand bag) or push a wheelbarrow full of sand bags around the inside of the stadium and back.

 

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

 

Sand pile migration – each team had a huge pile of sand they had to move from one end of a parking lot to another, using only 5 gallon buckets, shovels and brooms.

 

 

Puzzle – each team was given a map to a location with a bag of puzzle pieces within the stadium. They had to get all the pieces and return to the start and assemble the puzzle.

 

 

Log carry – each team had to carry a log together to a check point. At each check point, the team would kneel down and another team member would cross the log. They would then return to start, team member would cross the log and they would move to next farthest check point. At the end, they all had to lift the log up and down until each member had crossed the log.

 

 

Super tag – all teams were given flag football style belts with 2 flags a piece. On go, they all basically just chased each other in a free-for-all and the last team standing with any flags was the winner.

 

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

 

Operation – each team had a station with a truck tire, 3 sledgehammers, a Wreck Bag and the board game Operation. While 3 team members hammered the tire at any given time, one other team member would run with the Wreck Bag up the stadium steps, across, down and back. They then had to take a piece out of the Operation game board and then jump into the rotation of hammering until all pieces had been removed.

 

 

Dolly – each team had a dolly they had to push up one of the stadium ramps with another team member sitting on it. Whoever was pushed up last would then run back down with it and pick up the next team member. This was repeated up a few flights and then they had to run back down.

Truck pull/Tire flip – each team had to pull a cement truck 50 yards, then run back and flip a truck tire to meet up with the truck. This was repeated 4 times. This was one of the two full team events where everyone was to compete.

Stretcher – each team had a medical stretcher. One teammate was strapped into it and the rest had to carry them up several flights of stairs and then back down before un-strapping them and running to the finish.

 

Photo credit: Stephanie Santucci

 

Final Run – an approximately mile and a half run around the perimeter of the outside of the stadium (approximately mileage based off of a teammate’s pedometer). This was the other of the full team events.

My team knocked it out of the park every time, but unfortunately it wasn’t our night to win anything. I think the big win was working together as a team and becoming closer in the process. In addition to managing who was doing what and making sure everyone was as comfortable and fed as possible, I took tons of pictures throughout the night. I was also official coat hanger, water bottle/phone holder and overall goofball, trying to keep things as light as possible. This was definitely crucial in the wee hours when we all had the ability to get a teensy bit cranky.

 

 

Once the events were over, our friend Keisha arrived just in time for the end and brought everyone coffee and bagels! Everyone got changed into some clean clothes and headed over to CBS Scene for the after party, not realizing it was only 9am and they weren’t letting anyone in until 10! Everyone was severely bummed after that. Half the team left, but a few of us stuck around. While we were milling about outside, a reporter came over to ask me some questions and I begged Christine and Stephanie to come over and do it with me because I was nervous! They both ended up getting quoted in the story here.

 

 

We ended up getting let in to CBS Scene a tad bit early and found some comfy couches in the corner to crash on. We really just wanted the food they told us we would get after the event but all that was out at the time was a MOUNTAIN of cheese (not really an exaggeration), crackers and grapes. We hung out until 10:30, some drinking coffee, others their free beers, and the real food never came and awards were never announced. I went back and re-read the website and it appears that was supposed to be at 11am. I have no idea why they would possibly make us wait 2 extra hours after we’d already been there since 6 pm the night before. Out of the extraordinary organization they showed throughout the event, this was a really poor ending to it and the one really big negative I have about the whole thing. Other than that it was completely awesome. The only other suggestion anyone had was to compete against different teams in each event, instead of the same teams all night.

All in all, even despite the exhaustion, it was a fantastic night and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t wait to join the team and do it next year!

 

 

 

 

 

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