Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It don't GTMO extreme

This is Jerry once again posting by popular demand.

Last Saturday found us participating in the GTMO extreme which is an event similar to a triathlon but thought up by people less physically fit with a similar pain tolerance. I should also mention describing this event without prolific profanity will be difficult as it was not well planned (interns) .
The event consisted of  a 3-mile team canoe, 5-mile mountain bike, and 5-mile run with obstacles. The canoe circumnavigated 3 navigation markers. Each buoy had a 12 ft rope with team tags hung at 4 foot intervals. Once at the navigational marker a team member left the canoe and dove to retrieve all three team tags for a total of 9 tags.  At the first buoy the water looked like parana going after prey; thrashing gasping, and looks of panic as people were trying to find their team tags with 12 other swimmers, trying to find a gap to breath, with 12 canoes, and not becoming fouled in the line.

Many didn't far well during this event. We left the water 6th of 12 and transitioned quickly for the 5-mile mountain bike. 

What a ride, about half the route competitors were carrying bikes up hills because the hills and loose gravel made it impossible for tires to gain traction. During the bike I lost my seat, went over the handle bars, and had to replace the chain. Despite all this, two of our three-man team  were first and third finishers.  Our third member struggled with the bike portion but God Bless her, finished the bike and pressed on when many around her quit. 

The 5-mile run  sounds easy but this was no ordinary run. During the 5 miles, each runner had to complete the Marine Corps Obstacle Course, Carry a 45-pound weight across an olympic pool, and run through a paint ball gauntlet, not to mention the run was on the same terrain as the bike route; steep and unforgiving.

Since two of our team finished early we decided to run to obstacle course, run the course, and wait to assist our remaining team member. On the way to the course, within the first half mile, I rolled my ankle and knew it was going to be a very painful remaining 4.5 miles.

Our team made up a lot of time in the pool as we moved the weight through the deep end more efficiently. We threw the weight in and held it in front of us with arms extended, allowing gravity to help us walk on the bottom. When it was time to breath you threw the weight in front of you, popped up for a breath, and returned to the bottom to pick up where you left off. 

We then ran about 3 miles without water, in high heat, and humidity to the paintball course. This is where I have a hard time not using profanity. Imagine 20 or so paintballers, which are much worse than dungeons and dragons people because paintballers actually believe they are better than gamers. We had to run through a gauntlet of these nerds too afraid to do something significant with their lives, we are unarmed, and had to protect a member of our team.  All while these paintballers indiscriminately fired. For the first half of the course we did really well. We moved quickly from one covered position to the next. When the paintballers were not hitting us they simply left their perches and walked up (within 15 ft at some places) and opened fire. They could do this of course since we did not have weapons to return fire. Once again, interns planned this. As the Marines returned we informed the interns that if they didn't fix the paintballers taking intentional headshots at close range, the Marines would return to take headshot of our own, with fists and in the parking lot. The problem was immediately  corrected.  Paintballers!

This is the team running in after 4 hours 43 minutes, and 51 seconds of moving. Below are five of the shot from the paintballers I can show you without the site being reclassified as pornographic. 
Finally, This is my right ankle and the condition I had to run the obstacle course, pool, paintball range, and remaining 4.5 miles of the 5-mile run. 

I had a blast running this event with the young Marines. It was especially rewarding to watch them hit a challenge and watch them work through the challenge.  I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who love to do this and look forward to doing better next year.

1 comment:

Mark J said...

The triathelon sounds tiring. I'M tired!! Who are these interns, anyway, and why do they have autority over marines, especially Marine officers?