Almost 9 months post-surgery I was back on the start line with some awesome Elite female racers. I was content with my training and knowing how far I have come and how far I have left to go. As we start off on the beautiful Castaic Sprint course I knew instantly I was not back where I was. I was not expecting to see a top 5 finish, but I knew I could push some and get an idea of where I am at. Running is not my strong suit, but obstacles are my jam. Catching up on the grip strength and heavy carries I was able to move ahead. With down hills still being uncomfortable I would continue to go back and forth with a few ladies. I knew if I could nail my spear I could take home a possible top ten spot. I did not nail my spear and sure enough was passed by a few ladies. In the end I came out in 13th place with a time of 1:03. Although this was a great race to come back to, this was NOT my idea of a comeback. Taking on my next task and completing it would make this weekend an epic comeback.
The Spartan Endurance event, the HH12HR was my next task. Knowing what Steffen Cook “Cookie” and Kyoul Cha “Cha” had in store for us I knew I was in for a good time. The talk of heavy, long carries was an understatement. This shit literally had me wanting to quit. I never have wanted to quit anything. Especially when the weather is perfect and it was still daylight!
The low chatter of those participating was almost meditative. As I stood there thinking about what I was about to embark on with all these individuals, I was ready to see what my body and mind could handle. Waivers signed and gear laid out, we started at around 6:30am.
The first portion was mostly team work and as we made our way on to the beach I knew we were bound to get wet. Separated into three teams, it payed to be a winner, and well... I wasn’t a part of that winning team. Getting a bucket of water thrown on me was least of my worries. As we set out across the venue we started toward where would be our home base for the next few hours. We continued with team efforts, carrying team weight in sand bag in addition to our rucks. Going through the dunk wall three times just to make sure we were wet enough we then headed out to the venue where we would be greeted by Sally. Sally brought us up… and Sally brought us down. Squats, squats and more squats.
Then as we made our way back to home base the individual portion would begin. First to go to the lake and fill our buckets half way. I on the other hand took the initiative to fill mine more than half way since spilling was going to happen. After that we trekked along the course with our bucket of water to retrieve our sand bags. Then again back down to home base to measure our water. This task sounds easy, but with a taped up (I mean completely taped up) sandbag and bucket of water, it was no joke. First task complete and on to the next. This task was to be the hardest of all….and hardest thing I have ever had the pleasure of doing. Our ruck, our taped up sandbag, another sand bag and our 5 foot 2x4. Totaling up to 110+ pounds, we had 10 minutes to figure out how we were to complete this task. We were to make our way up, almost a mile, with hills and this weight. The most awkwardly heavy shit and if you think bucket brigade is a back breaker, you haven’t tried this. I looked at Cookie and told him there is no fucken way I am going to do this. His response to almost everything, “We beta tested it multiple times, it can be done.” After more than three people dropped before they even sent us off, we start with what felt like a death march. What first started as a yolk with sandbags, turned into a duct taped sandbag to a ruck with another sandbag constantly being thrown down. I owe a lot of thank yous to those that were on the course helping me out when I couldn’t get my ass back up off the ground. I was convinced that I was going to quit. I told myself if my knee gives, I am done, I am not risking it. My knee never gave. I pushed on and then told myself I wanted to quit, but if I quit what kind of an example am I setting for my clients. I pushed on. If I quit I would still have to take this shit back to home base so might as well just finish. I pushed on. By the time I was close to the end I was at peace knowing that I was too slow and didn’t make the cut. I was even looking forward to getting cut. I didn’t get cut. I arrived with time to spare and told Cookie that was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
As we moved on, many more were cut from that time hack. We were off to the next task which after the previous task, felt easy. Sandbag carry almost 2 miles to retrieve our code from a location. We then carried it back and showed our code. If code was wrong, we had a penalty lap of the bucket brigade. Easy enough.
After that we head to check point #4, on the beach, where the last individual portion was to happen. Those sand bags were left at home base. We then had to run back to home base and bring sand bags back to check point #4. We had one hour to retrieve as many sandbags as possible. This is where I got my second wind. I was able to run. Run with NO weight and damn did it feel good. The hour was up and then some were cleared to the next round where we would be back with our group. With 20 people left, there was no way we were going to let anyone quit with less than 90 minutes left. Left with PT and group tasks I knew it was coming to a close.
Twelve hours later we are congratulated with our shirt, patch and Delta piece. Kyoul, Cookie and Tony say their words and we are all relieved and proud to say we have finished. Bonds were made and I could not thank the Krypteia enough for giving me the experience that I needed to make this comeback a complete success. I will no longer live in comfort and complacency. I will strive to do something more every day and to get uncomfortable.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.