50 miles on foot is a loooong way. Carrying over 30 pounds on your back is no picnic either. However, when you’re teamed up with some real HIMs that motivate you and pull you along with them, it makes the journey a lot easier to conquer. And CONQUER we did! Not just our team, but all 11 men of F3Louisville that took on the Columbus Star Course.
PAX: Huggies-Team leader and Comms Director, Fanny Pack-Navigation, and Plumb Bob-Navigation
Weather: One word-PERFECT! It was about 50 degrees when we set out at 21:00, had an overnight low of about 45 degrees and daytime high of about 60. No rain and hardly a cloud in the sky for the entire journey.
Due to the fact that some had to drop out out due to injury or time commitments our team was kinda thrown together last minute. While we all had rucked together at various times we had never trained together as a full team. Who would lead? Who would be the one to pull us along at night? Who pull us along those last few miles? Would we even be able to stomach each other for the better part of 20 hours?
As the starting time approached we were all ready to get this thing started. Finally at 9:00 we got our 22 checkpoints to journey to. It took us around 30 minutes to enter all of them into our app, find them on our paper map, and get confirmation from our cadre that we were ready to go.
Our route had us first winding through some of the sights downtown with the highlight being the Arnold Schwarzenegger statue outside the Columbus Convetion Center. We next hiked through the area known as “Short North” that had a lively bar hopping scene. This proved to be difficult to navigate around the crowds but made for some entertaining people watching. We saw some sites on OSU’s campus including the Horseshoe and the Jack Nicklaus Museum.
An 8 mile trek up to the northern suburbs was one of the hardest segments. We started at about 2:00AM and hiked for about 2 hours straight. Huggies was definitely pulling us along at this point. Knowing we could make up some time by not having to stop at a checkpoint, kept as all moving at a pretty solid pace. Near the end of that segment we caught up with Kilo, OJ, Nino, and Diablo. Diablo was fighting some monster blisters but just kept on trucking.
At around sunrise Mrs. Fanny Pack met us with our drop bags. A change of clothes, socks, and addressing some medical needs came at the perfect time. But most importantly she brought us some Sausage McMuffins! The perfect high calorie meal to get us going. An 11 mile trek back toward downtown through a not very good part of town was the hardest part of the route.
With about 5 miles to go we teamed up with the aforementioned team pulling each other along as we meandered downtown towards the finish. The last little bit as we walked across the park, we could see the finish and all the other people cheering us on including the team of Catfish, PK, Meter Maid, and Miyagi.
Finally, it’s not too late to donate to Angels in Disguise. It’s a great cause for a special group of kids. Just a few more donations and we can reach our goal of $5000 which would fund an adoption for a child with Down Syndrome.
From Fanny Pack: When you look at it on the map you know it’s an accomplishment!
We didn’t get to train that much together but we did great, Huggies on the comms, Plumb Bob and I doing the nav. We worked well as a team. Huggies set the pace that was good for everyone, once we got past the the half way point, Plumb Bob said now just have to do the Mockstar. from that point on we knew we had it. The 11 mile movement was hell if Teri didn’t meet us for resupply I don’t think I could have made it. Thanks Honey. Love you. Rouge was the point I knew Huggies was hurting but he pushed on. That helped me keep going. Plumb Bob just soldered on with no complaints. He just stayed positive. We did the last points with Kilo and friends. Thanks Huggies and Plumb Bob we what we set out to do finish in less than 20 hours!
From Huggies: Fifty miles. It’s hard to wrap your head around that kind of distance. It’s more than quadruple the max distance that I’d ever traveled on foot prior to this event. How can you prepare for something like that? I was asked on a few occasions before the event if I was prepared. My answer was no, or I don’t know. How can you know? I completed a go ruck tough event last summer and prior to signing up I noticed that it advertised a 94% completion percentage. That’s pretty good I thought. The completion percentage for the 50 mile star course was not advertised, if it had been I doubt I’d have even attempted it. The Columbus event ended up with a 68% completion rate! Needless to say this thing was hard. Maybe one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…at least in a single day.
I thought the first 10 miles and the last 10 miles were the worst. The first 10 are bad because you know you have more than 30 miles ahead of you. If you’re feeling any discomfort at that point, which you will, then you know it’s only going to get worse from there. Miles 20-40 were ok. Yes, I was in pain, but I got a 2nd, 3rd and maybe 4th wind. At mile 40-53 I hit a wall. It was daylight, the sun was out. The heat was rising off the asphalt. My back, legs and feet hurt but I started to get this visceral pain sensation deep in my stomach. It got in my head a little bit. The musculoskeletal pain I could handle but this was different. I felt like I couldn’t get enough to drink. I couldn’t eat enough. My body was craving something but I couldn’t get it. I’m sure it was dehydration but I really wasn’t prepared for it.
Anyway we pressed on. I knew I’d come that far and there was no way I could quit. My team was great and they pushed me along. I wouldn’t have made it without them.
In the end we made it, finishing in 19 hours 11 minutes. it was a great accomplishment and I’m very proud. Proud of my team and proud of our charity, Angles in Disguise.
I wish I could say all the pain went away the minute I sat down at the finish line but it did not. It took 13 hours of comatose sleeping that evening for me to start to feel normal again. Can’t wait until the next one!
From Plumb Bob: When I told my wife back in November that I wanted to do something stupid her immediate question was “What do you want to sign up for now?” When I told her all she could do was shake her head and say “Whatever!” She knows me better than anyone and knows that I need to set very lofty goals in order to keep my focus. A fifty mile ruck is definitely lofty.
I started to get a little anxious Wednesday afternoon. Once Friday came, I was a nervous freaking wreck! It couldn’t start soon enough. Once we got started I was fine. Some parts were better than others, but overall I enjoyed the journey. The first half was mentally tough. At one point we’re hiking on a trail by a small river and around 2AM. It was peaceful and serene. We still had probably 35 miles to go and all I wanted to do was sleep but I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The second half was the more physically demanding part. The sun was up and we were heading toward the finish but my body was hurting. Seeing Diablo struggle yet continue with each painful step kept me going.
Thanks to Huggies and Fanny Pack for the incredible journey. Thank you to Mrs. Fanny Pack for the assistance along the way. Congrats to the other men that conquered this event. Thanks to all the men of F3Louisville that constantly strives to push one another to be the best version of ourselves. Thank you to my wife, Ashely, for being my biggest supporter and meeting me at the finish line (I may have teared up a bit.) and for putting up with those crazy training schedules.
The journey and crossing that finish line ranks as one of the greatest highlights of my life but it was without question the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve already got my sights set on another one!