30 Jan SEEK TO SURVIVE: S.E.R.E. PERFORMANCE 001B
27JAN12 – Washington D.C. The Frozen Chosen Few
“So there I was…”
A few months back, a buddy of mine who happens to be the owner of INFIDELUSA started posting a few things about a new nationwide adventure event called the S.E.R.E. Challenge. So I emailed him and asked him what the hell this challenge is all about. He responded;
“I can’t give you the details. I am working on the website right now for my buddy Keith Jolly he was the one that put together the USMC Ultra Ruck Off (an epic 170+ mile Ruck from Philadelphia PA to the Iwo Jima Memorial in just over 80 Hours). He has multiple military Spec Ops inspired challenges. It’s the real deal, it’s for the people that want more than GORUCK or a Tough Mudder, longer distances and some crazy stuff. I was reading the challenge descriptions it’s insane and I’m loving it.”
So just like that I decided I was in, from the day I signed up until the event kicked off we had no clue what would be in store. For most competitions, obstacle courses, races, etc..I will try to get as many people from the gym involved as I can. For this, I really wasn’t trying to get a group of people together from the gym to do it. What the hell would I tell them? “Yeah dude, show up in D.C. in the middle of winter and you have to wear a 50lb ruck for 12 hours.”
But the funny thing is as soon as I posted on Facebook I was doing it..Troy, Zak, and Brandon immediately contacted me and told me they weren’t going to let me have all the fun by myself. What is even cooler is that Tia, Ninjy, and the Cyborg said they wanted to come to watch and support us along. That is why I love PSKC, nowhere else to you get the massive amount of support that the people of PSKC offer.
So Friday morning the 7 of us load up in a sweet minivan that my boy and PSKCr Luke D hooked us up with from Enterprise (plug – you need a rental car? Go see Luke D). 8 hours later we arrived in D.C. and it was game time. We all double checked our gear from the required packing list (which included 20% of your bodyweight in sand) and headed out into the unknown. We knew our rally point was the east side of the Washington Monument and the time to be there was 2200. As we headed out, the 4 of us all received numerous texts of support and encouragement from you all. The Facebook page was lit up as well. That would be huge for us later on as we wanted to make you all and Scioto County proud.
I’ll do my best to recap the event, but there’s lots I forget and will omit. After all, I was up for 30 hours and the challenge itself lasted 14.5 hours. There were approximately 40 other deranged individuals assembled at the Washington monument with us. After some admin time for waiver signing, we needed to get warm with some pushups.
Then a bag of shirts was dumped out as our class uniform. But before we could wear them, a couple gallons of water and several pounds of sand had to be added to them. Who likes a clean white shirt anyways? Each person was also issued an egg that was to be carried along during the first mission . It wasn’t a good thing if an egg broke… (later on after the eggs were used, he had to dispose of them. We had a cool idea to just go ahead and eat the raw eggs).
|wet, sandy shirts + windy winter weather = awesome|
From there we rucked around each War Memorial/Monument. It was very truly a great experience to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for us. We ended at the WWII Memorial, after a couple hundred meters of low crawling holding onto our egg. At the memorial we had to work as a team to figure out where our next objective was.
|enjoying the low crawl through the National Mall|
|working the puzzle|
From there we had to ruck down to the Capitol Building within a designated timeframe. Once at the Capitol building, we were given our next clue and set out traveling to the next rally point. This leg of the journey seemed to be the worst…it was long and it took forever. Plus this was around 0330-0530. This was also when the herd started to thin and I got to witness one of the coolest things ever. We had a girl who completed 5 rounds of the World’s Toughest Mudder. She accidentally ingested some cashews (which she is highly allergic)..so she started throwing up violently. So a 3-4 guys hauled ass to CVS to get some meds for her. After she puked A LOT…she chewed the Benadryl tab, drank some water, smiled..rucked up and moved out. That’s the kind people that participated in this “fun” little journey.
|late night lunging in front of the Lincoln Memorial|
At our next rally point we were “rewarded” with another low crawl. This time it was in a very rocky creek. If you ever find yourself getting tired, I highly recommend low crawling through a cold and rocky creek in the middle of the night. From there, it was more miles until we arrived at a muddy tunnel. Guess what? More low crawls, this time through some very aromatic mud. After the tunnel, we followed along the river until we reached Fletcher’s Cove. However, along the way we made sure to stop at different points at the river to do some much needed flutter kicks in the water.
At Fletcher’s Cove, as a class we did dive bomber pushups in the river and held the bottom of the pushup as we recited Admiral Nimitz’s famous WWII memorial quote.
“They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side…To them, we have a solemn obligation”
Fletcher cove marked our last water event. But we weren’t finished yet. From there we rucked back to the Iwo Jima USMC memorial. Once there we were treated with several 100 reps of different exercises to mark the culmination of the event.
|2 thumbs up! My response to being told to do 100 burpees|
12:30pm – 28JAN12 we finished. All 4 started and finished together as brothers and teammates.
Of the original 40 we had some quit, some get injured, and some get hypothermia. Proud to say the crew from PSKC enjoyed the 14.5 hour journey. Altogether we were up for 30+ hours, the event itself lasted 14.5 hours, which we logged approximately 15-20 miles with 50lb rucks on. Not to mention the several 100 meters of low crawling and 100s of reps of pushups, squats, flutter kicks, and lunges along the way. We are all very proud members of the Inaugural S.E.R.E Basic Challenge – Class 001B – The Frozen Chosen Few.
What We Learned:
Training at PSKC will prepare you physically and mentally for anything…bottom line. That is not some bull$#t marketing statement, that is the verified and tested truth. That has been a mantra we have preached for awhile. But in the last 8 days, we really wanted to put that to the test. The previous Saturday, Zak, Brandon, and I competed in the Crossfit New Albany Winter Throwdown. A series of 4 short duration competition sytle AMRAP workouts that involved rope climbing, clean and jerks, burpee box jumps, deadlifts, squats, kettlebell swings etc. The longest workout lasted 10 minutes. I’m not saying we finished in the top 5, but we held our own.
Exactly 7 days later we embarked upon this 14.5 hour long multiple mile endurance suckfest style event. So what secret cool guy training protocol did the 4 of us do to prepare us for these events that were on such opposite ends of the spectrum? We worked out at PSKC 4-5 days a week doing the daily workouts religiously. (Also by the way, 3 weeks ago both Zak and I PR’d in our deadlifts).
However I will say, 1-2 times a week we modified the daily workout so we could wear our rucksacks in order to get used to the weight and make adjustments to our rucksacks as necessary. That was the only thing we did different from normal class workouts. The majority of our workout durations we were in the 10-20 minute ballpark and we never did any long distance marches or runs.
Yes, we were sore and stiff when it was over. Take a look at my foot (try not to puke).
This reminds me; Troy completed the challenge in a pair of Inov-8s with Zak and I rocking our New Balance Minimus (can’t remember what B wore). I can’t say enough good things about my NB minimus, they survived daily beatings from workouts, a Tough Mudder, and now a SERE challenge. This basically confirms minimalist footwear is the way to go, assuming you’ve broken your feet into this type of shoes.
None of us had any injuries (our post event recovery did consist of Yeungling and an amazing Brazilian Steakhouse) and we all hit some kind of workout on Monday, lending further credence to the benefits of training at PSKC (injury proofing your body).
S.E.R.E. Performance kicked ass. As we were the beta-testers, it will only evolve, grow, and get better from here on out. If you want to step up and test yourself mentally and physically, this is definitely for you. Who knows…maybe there is a possibility for an event to come to Ohio…..Southern Ohio even..