"The timorous may stay at home."
~ Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 N.Y. 479, 483 (N.Y. 1929)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mission: Unknown

If you looked up the definition of "creature of habit," I would be highly surprised if there wasn't a picture of me sitting there. My alarm goes off at 4:22 a.m. every morning, I hit the gym, I go to work, I come home, I eat, I sleep.

Repeat ad infinitum

If you asked my parents how I handled change or the unknown growing up, they would answer: "Simple. She doesn't." I admit--you threw me off my routine, and I would kick and scream. But at some point, during some strange event of maturation, I began to crave the unknown. I began to want to take risks. Perhaps years of routine have finally pushed me over the edge...

Dear TSA: This is not coke. Though I dare you to snort it.
Enter my next event, the inaugural S.E.R.E Challenge. Next weekend, I will fly to D.C. with 39 others to partake in the first challenge, Class 001B. And while there has been much speculation among our ranks, very few of us, if any, know what to expect.

This makes it difficult to explain to, for example, my co-workers why I will be out-of-pocket next week. The convo goes a bit like this:

Co-worker: "So why are you flying to D.C. next weekend? A race?"
Me: "Ehh, it's really not a race. More of a challenge."
Co-worker: "A challenge? What does it involve?"
Me: "Um, not sure. Starts at 10pm Friday night and lasts until mid-day Saturday. All I know is that we have to carry 20% of our body weight in sand in a ruck, bring the required items on the packing list, and that there will be some type of swimming/water involved."*

[Co-worker slowly backs away. This seems to be a reoccurring pattern in my life]

I mean, I suppose I can elaborate a little. It's a 12+ hour urban mission-based adventure to test you physically and mentally, with emphasis on survival, team-building, and evasion. (Evasion? Please tell me this involves chasing me through the streets of D.C. at 3am. I can't wait to get someone arrested) While this sounds AWESOME to me, I apparently am so batshit crazy that I decided to participate in the extended mission: S.E.R.E. OPCON. According to the S.E.R.E founder, Keith Jolly, OPCON is

"Where hand picked athletes selected from a the 12-18 hour grueling Basic Challenge, also the first of its kind, will be put through a mental challenge that will push most seasoned war fighters to their brink.  Playing off the already physically fatiqued athletes, S.E.R.E. will compromise them in ways unimaginable to most.  These athletes will push through the continued sleep deprivation and learn who they are or are not!"

Soo...let's make that 12+ hour mission into a 40+ hour mission in which we REALLY don't know what the eff is going on. Sound like fun? For sure.

So, in no particular order, here are the things running through my head one week until 40+ hours of massive suck:

(1) While I've done 24-hour races, and worked for 30+ hours straight, 40+ hours is going to be the longest that I've ever been awake. And, really, it's more than 40 hours. I'll be awake starting 6am Friday morning (to fly to DC) until at least 2pm Sunday (assuming I can sleep on my flight), but more likely 7 or 8ish Sunday evening. So we are looking at 50-60 hours of no sleep. And work Monday morning. Wheeee!
(2) My stomach does not like sleep deprivation. At about 24 hours awake, I've learned I start getting quite nauseous. Hence, me puking on Joel during World's Toughest Mudder, or me puking in the bathrooms at work on a 30 hour stint. So watch out, fellow OPCON'ers--it's boot and rally time. I'll try to puke solely on Joel again.
(3) The team packing list includes a "16-18inch bike with pink streamers" and an inflatable boat. Enough said.
(4) I've met a lot of crazies through adventure racing, but my fellow SERE Basic and OPCON'ers might be the cream of the crop. I'm looking forward to reuniting with some of my favorite crazies: Joel, Todd, MCCABE, Webb + Deavilla (the "Handwarmer Duo"), Petrizzo, and Ms. Sherry Post and Simple Fuel-goddess herself (partnering with S.E.R.E!), and, of course, meeting dozens more. Special douchesparkles, you all are.
(5) It goes without saying, but I have no military experience. I am the furthest thing from a "seasoned war fighter." It took me about 15 minutes to realize that "RP" meant "Rendezvous Point," and I had to google "MOLLE" before I realized that we weren't talking about a girl. Thankfully, I do know how to read a topo map. So I can get us off a mountain. But that's about it.  I can also scream real loud for help.

The unknown awaits me. Letsdothis: I couldn't be more excited.**

*Current temperature of the Potomac: 35.4 degrees Fahrenheit
**Unless it involves ketchup and bacon. Then I could be more excited.