Operation Horizon – Another 12 hour challenge

You all must think I am a masochist or crazy right? No actually I am a very determined individual that has a purpose and a goal in life.  I want to do all that I can do in order to be sure that the disease doesn’t win.   So yes last week I went through a 12 hour endurance challenge.  This type of a challenge challenges everything you are both physically and mentally.

This challenge started at midnight in the Morrison park and ride.  We were greeted by the Morrison police department, who wanted to make sure what we were doing was ok and to also call us crazy.   Right because how many people are out on a Friday night working out for 12 hours.  I know who some of the best people I know.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work out and endure this 12 hour challenge with.

An hour of PT in the parking lot was our “welcome party”, this welcome party included being handed an egg.  This egg was yours to protect and ensure that it doesn’t get broken.  Up someone in the group breaking an egg more PT fun would be had.   Our group didn’t last very long without breaking an egg, woo PT time.   In the first hour of being together we learned that we needed to operate as a group and start as a team and finish as a team.   By the time this was completed and we started off on our trek, we were going help each other no matter what may happen.  For the first time ever, I was able to carry another person during the Fireman’s carry portion, I was pretty amazed and proud of myself, considering I never thought I would be able to do such a thing.

Our first stop was the Vietnam Memorial in Morrison.   As we stopped there, David, our leader of the craziness, read a quote to us.   A single line in the quote will remain with me forever.  “Are you worth dying for.”  So many of our Americans risk their lives daily for us in Afghanistan so that we may have the freedoms we have and live the lives we live.  It is so important to pay respect to those individuals and ensure that we do live good lives.   Today I learned that in the parking lot of King Soopers.  I had ran to the grocery store to pick up something, and there was a Veteran in the parking lot whose cart was getting away from him and needed help.   I stopped grabbed his cart and helped him load the groceries into his trunk.  I thanked him for his service, and in turn he said to me “Not everyone is willing to help an old man like myself with such a small task”  I said to him, its the least I can do in order to help you.   He said to me something I will never forget “Little lady thank you so much, your smallest act made my day and I know realize that there are good people out in this world who realize that what I fought for is worth fighting for here. ”

We had some more PT fun with the 30lb rucks in front of the memorial, lifting the rucks above our shoulders and passing them in a circle.  Trust me your arms will be get sore.  We did other various activities of body weight exercises and ruck sack exercises.

We continued on to Red Rocks, while Indian Running and ensuring we stayed as a group to leave no man behind.   I partnered up with Shay, an awesome friend who is a Veteran herself.  Encouragement and working together is key to make sure we all are able to do this.  The ramp up to the Red Rocks grounds is a perfect location for PT.  Bear crawls, lunges, and Indian running up the steep incline.  We reached Red Rocks, and the view was breath taking.   Being able to see the city lights from the amazing view was simply awesome.   Our next task in Red Rocks, was climbing the planter boxes, while not breaking the three eggs.  We continued up the planter boxes.  The first couple were short enough that I was able to jump up and then be able to hold eggs or help others up.  As the planter boxes got taller Michael gave me a knee to use as a boost to get up the boxes.  We finally made it to the top and were catching our breath.  Well we were greeted by cops, go figure that it is illegal to work out at red rocks in the dark.  We were asked to leave.

Leaving Red Rocks the moon was beautiful, we didn’t our head lamps since it was a nearly full moon.  It was awesome to be able to just run and listen to everything happening around me.  During these times, I like to reflect on life and what has been handed to me, and what is truly my plan.  I know I have a disease that some would take as a punishment, but I don’t think of it as that any more.  I want to help and encourage others as I do these crazy events.  Yes I know I am by no means the fastest or strongest, but I am out there!

We made our way to Bear Creek River, WOOOHOOO cold water time.  As many people know I am all about the cold water and taking a dip in the river.  Our task at hand was full submersion push ups.  Well when David said full submersion, both Jennifer and I listened and fully submerged, head, face, and full body.   The pictures below show that yep no playing around, when I get challenged to something as simple as mind over matter in the water.  Ohh and leaving the water I did have to splash my fellow team mates.  Just had to share in the night.

It was chilly after that task.  See not only do I have Lupus, but have Raynaud’s syndrome as well.  This syndrome basically causes your extremities to stop getting blood flow when its kind of cold.  Now granted I do love the cold water, but its not a fan of my body.   My fingers and toes were not happy about this but really didn’t want any one to know that my hands and feet were hurting.  It would take some time but I knew it would be ok.

PT in the parking lot near the river was also some more fun.  A large variety of exercises allowed us to start warming up and being our next leg of the adventure.  We were told we were going to the top of Mt. Falcon.  This lovely hill climb in the dark was hard.   Hills and I don’t get along.   I stayed in the back chatting with Michael and Shay.  We wanted to make sure that no one would be left behind.  Michael and I had chatted at the last event about why I do what I do.   I believe sharing my story is not asking for sympathy but just encouragement for others.   The hill was a mental and physically struggle for me.  As I was able to fix my hip issues with accupucncture, my knees now are not happy.   Small successes.  I will  get there eventually.  I broke down in tears for so many reasons.  I know that many people who have this disease, stuggle and are in continuous pain because of the disease.   However, I am out in pain because I am pushing my body to the limits.   This is what I do.  I was thankful for everything and so frustrated with the disease it self.   Its not easy for me to let people know I am weak.  I hate it.  David asked if I was ok, and simply said yes.  He asked if I was crying and I said nope.   Shay was having a hard time with the hill as well, and Michael suggested both of us go to the front to lead the group.  I couldn’t, as much as I wanted to be a support for Shay, I could let my group know I was crying and weak at that point.   I want Michael to know that I would have gone to the front just wasn’t strong enough to do it at that point until I could get my tears under control.

Our goal for this trek was to make it the top of the hill for sunrise.  As we crested the first point, we were given a choice of a B for the city and sunrise view or make it to the next field area and see a better sunrise.   The group truly needed a break and decided for the better of the group we would take the B.  Now no matter were we were the sunrise was truly beautiful, with a little yoga in a field.   Simply breathtaking.

After sunrise we continued on the trail.  Solving riddles and learning how well our group worked together.  The Walker Ruins was next up on the chopping block.   At this location we were required to do PT while two of our team mates, went to look for two shirts.   This was to be used for the next adventure.  The only problem was instead of returning with shirts, they returned with a white brick instead.   Time to improvise.   We need two shirts to make an emergency gurney.  Other people had extra tech shirts and we were to use that.  I was the chosen victim this time.  We had to not only carry a log but the victim, plus our team weights to the next location.  In order to figure our path on this adventure we needed to solve riddles.

We were able to find the next location without any problems.  The sight was amazing and breath taking.  We were able to see several of the 14ers from this location and take in the sights.  Not only do you learn about yourself but beautiful locations in Colorado.  I never knew this patio was there that you could sit and take in the sights.

As we continued on our journey, we were required to keep the fence posts with.  Michael being the trooper he is used the straps and carried both of them.  I carried and protected his egg during this.

As we were making our way down the trail, Shay rolled her ankle.  We were still a ways form the trail head, were we contacted Laura, and she was waiting for us.  We made the decision to find a walking stick and ensure she was able to make it down.   David told the rest of the group to go ahead, but I chose that since we are a team we needed to stick together.  I don’t care or didn’t care that Shay was moving slow, there was no way to leave her behind.  I stayed back with Michael, Matt, Shay, and David.   At some point David chose to carry Shay since her ankle was definitely not happy.   I stayed a little ahead of the group letting others know that we had an injury and David was carrying her, so that we wouldn’t surprise anyone.

As we made our way to the car so we could get Shay to rescue, it was definitely getting warmer.  It was a beautiful day out and for that alone I was thankful.  I was thankful for what I had been through that evening.

We left the rucks at the car with Laura.   From there out we were to run the distance back to parking lot.   As many people know trail shoes aren’t made for pavement and that it makes it a killer on the knees.

We made it back to the parking lot knowing we had finished and survived the evening, and we didn’t die!

David let us know that we had one more task at hand.  Heck after everything we had been through that evening what could one more be.  As we approached the cars and gathered in a circle, David explained to us what we were to do.  David had collected money and can goods for the event.   It was at this point that him and Laura surprised me.   The money that was given to David, would be donated to the Lupus Foundation.  I was beyond emotional at that point as seen in this picture.  I know its not a lot of money but every little bit helps and I was beyond thankful and emotional about the whole occurance.  The next task to help celebrate my 30th birthday was burpees! As everyone who knows me knows that I love burpees.   My favorite exercise ever.  Heck I did 300 for my 30th birthday the week before.

As I led the group in the burpees, I was able to be extremely thankful for everything that happened.   I was sore and hurt but it was a good kind of hurt.  My body was thankful and grateful for being able to push through and complete another 12 hour challenge.

I want to thank the group that I ran the race with.  You were my rock and strength when I wouldn’t be able to do something or anything.

I decided that doing the next week’s adventure was probably not a good idea and that my body needed a break.  I wanted to shadow though in order to be able to support the others who were doing the event.

I will write a separate post about that.

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