Let me set the scene for you: as I type this blog, I’m sitting in bed with ice under my butt, ice on both knees and surrounded by enough food and drink to keep me stocked for 5 hours. Because I don’t believe I’ll be moving from this spot until it’s time to get up and brush my teeth for bed. My muscles are warm and tight, my body is tired and my hands are a bit shaky.
Now, let’s back up to this 6:00 this morning. I arrived at the Boot Camp gym as per my email from Laurel:
Holy Crap, this is going to suck like nothing has ever sucked before!
You will meet me at the gym on Sunday at 6:00 am….Yes, am!
$10.00 in change
Clean clothes and shoes
Food, water, phones.
I came with all this stuff plus stuff to start a fire as per her second email received on Saturday. Lucky that Ricky and I had just practiced starting fires not minutes before getting that message.
Laurel met us in the dark and told us our first task. We were to take the telephone poles to the bowl, down the slope, across the bowl, up the other side and onto the bike path into the woods. We wrapped up our poles (about 4 foot sections of pole) with wide tie down straps and started up the Boot Camp parking lot. Somewhere in the parking lot, my strap snapped and I fell on my butt. Hard. So, we got back into the gym and gathered some large metal chain, wrapped up our poles and started for the second time towards the bowl. I made it there by walking backwards taking little baby steps. By the time I got to the bowl, I was very tired already. I rolled my pole down the slope and dragged it across the grassy area and lugged it up the other side. Once we were on the bike trail, things were much slower going as we headed into the woods and our poles collected sand, pine straw and other debris. Ricky definitely had it worse though as he was ahead and seemed to clear the area for me a little bit. We hit lots of roots and I did lots of tugging. After about 45 minutes (I think), Laurel said it was time to turn around and head back to the gym.
Upon returning to the gym, we started our second task. This time we were to flip tires around the block, stopping at the bowl, flipping down the bowl, across and up the other side. When we got back to the street, we were to continue around the rest of the street, returning to the gym. I enjoyed this task much more than the poles because it was more lower body than arms. Ricky said he missed his pole. Shortly before getting to the bowl, my knees did start bothering me from all the squatting. Then, going up the far side of the bowl, I tweaked something in my right knee. Good news, though, was that when I got back to the road, Laurel declared that we were just going to head back to the gym (a much shorter route than continuing all the way around the other way). Bad news, though, was that we were going to have to stop at the hill (an inclined driveway leading up to a business), flip up the hill and back down before continuing on. After I had flipped all the way back to the gym, my knees were pretty much done.
The next task was to take our $10 in change to the Publix on Mahan and get bills. Ricky changed into some dry clothes and I had a Gu. It was about a 1.5 mile round trip (we walked, which I think helped stretch out my knees some). The Coin Star machine took 8% of our $10 each at which point Laurel said that she hoped that wouldn’t come back to haunt us.
We left the gym and started the drive out to Dawn and Chris’ house (I believe it was about 10:00 at this point) where we were told to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who would get the high road and who would get the low road. I won and was given the envelope that corresponded to the high road. The paper inside said that I was to build a 6″ tall fire wall around my fire pit using the concrete pieces piled in the yard. But first, I was going to have to remove the marble pieces already circling the pit and place them in the wheelbarrow outside of the yard. Each time I left the yard, I had to close the gate. And to get to the wheelbarrow, I had to crawl in the mud under 3 hurdles. The hurdles were made of Ditto’s agility jumps which meant that the bars would fall down will the smallest tap. If I made a bar fall (going to the wheelbarrow or returning), I had to retrieve the marble taken on that trip, return to the inside of the gate and try again. I dropped 3 bars. The mud crawling was actually fun and squishy. By the time I started on my firewall, Ricky was nearly done with his. His tasks differed a little from mine because he had no marble to remove and his pit was much farther from the cement pile than mine.
It took many trips to the pile to complete my firewall. After it was finished, I had to go to the back porch and ring the bell to have someone come and inspect my wall and approve it so I could get my second envelope. Inside that one was instructions telling me to light a fire in my pit. If I wanted to use anything outside my pit, I had to take it to the back porch, ring the bell and ask for approval. And, I had to tend to my fire and keep it burning for the remaining of my tasks. Once I got my fire going, I was to report to the front porch and receive my next envelope.
Fire starting is a lot harder than it looks on tv. Frown. I came with a magnesium block and a striker because in our practice yesterday, my magnesium failed to start a fire, but I managed to get 2 going with Ricky’s striker and his help. Unfortunately, the fire gods were not smiling upon me this day. Chris gave me his assistance and lots of great advice but it still took forever to get a small flame going and we had 3 small flames but none of them caught on the big stuff. I should insert here that the fire starting was the most trying task of the day. 1+ hour of log pulling, hard, but doable. 1+ hour of tire flipping, also hard, but also doable. Mud crawling, fun, though tedious. Fire starting, incredibly frustrating and mentally trying. I almost cried a couple of times. I almost said, “I give up.” I stepped away, ate some food, grabbed some water, put my head down and stuck it out. And I also must interject that I had no claim to that fire that finally started to roar. After a long time, I was given the option to buy a lighter with 10 burpees. I got it going with the magic flame but Chris kept it alive and pretty much tended it for me. Though I did learn a lot through this process, I have to give all the credit to the lighter and to Chris.
My next envelope tasked me with chopping a section off of an oak log. Oh, and I had to buy the axe for $10. Since I only had $9.48, I had to do 20 burpees for the remaining amount. I had watched Ricky chop and chop and chop while I was on my fire starting task. My log was much smaller and by the time I got to it, Ricky had finished completely. Again, Chris helped me out with my technique. It was tough, especially since my aim needs lots of work and my strikes were all over the place in the beginning. I took several breaks to check on my fire and got through that big, bad log. That felt good, I have to say.
The following envelope instructed me to take the path behind the house to the driveway, look on the trailer parked there and follow the instructions. This was a nice little walk and I was happy to take a few minutes to memorize a few names. I got back to the front porch and recited this:
Love is a burning thing.
Ring of fire sung by
Upon successfully reciting my lines, I got one last envelope that said I was finished!! Total time: about 8 hours and 40 mins.
Laurel and Dawn took lots of video and pictures and I’ll get those up as soon as they are available. Can’t wait to see them myself!
Thank you so much to Laurel, Dawn and Chris who spent most of their Sunday afternoon with us, for the use of Dawn’s house and for setting up so many awesome Death Race tasks. (And a special thanks to Dawn for feeding us Cuties!)
I spent most of last week resting my lower body because of my knees and my upper body because my elbow started in on the joint pain. It felt good to get a very, very long workout in after so many days off. At this point, I’m wiped, but happy.
I see a sports injury specialist on Tuesday and I’m hoping that I get some great advice as well as the go ahead to resume training (I still miss running!).
Please excuse the lack of interjected humor and the stray typos that are in this blog. I am very, very tired 🙂