12 Hours of Parkour ACCOMPLISHED
My girlfriend and I readied ourselves for the trip. It would be a four hour ride from home to Two Harbors, where we planned to set up camp, then an additional half hour car trip to reach the start of the trail. We felt like taking advantage of our time up North so we planned a number of other visits along the way, such as touring Enger tower in Duluth and hiking to Devil’s Kettle. After hitting up some of the sites we eventually landed to Two harbors on our third day. We set up camp in the early morning then headed off to Eagle Mountain. While the trail was 7 miles long the actual summit was a 3.5 mile hike from the closest parking space. We readied our gear, checked for water, then hit up the trail.
The trek to the summit felt like a very easy walk. The silent nature that surrounded us was very captivating. By the time we started to hit the 2nd mile marker the weather got increasingly humid. We stopped by a small beach to dampen our faces with the cool water before quickly heading back on the trail. We arrived at the summit and found the trail getting steeper. We hit a nice clearing that we assumed only meant we were at the finish line. We would’ve stopped there too, if it wasn’t for a hiking couple who pointed out that the trail goes another mile upward.
The hike back down felt a lot easier than the hike back up. Eventually we hit the small beach and cooled our faces in the water. The rest of the trail was going to be very rock and very hilly from then on out. We realized we made the huge mistake of not packing enough water. The weather started to hit it’s peak temperature during our trek back. We started to become exhausted from the combination of dehydration, heat, and exercise. We finally got back to the car where we drank a bunch of Gatorade as a reward for our climb.
One of my first memories as a kid was when I fell into the water and nearly drowned. My second memory was when my mother took me to swim classes where we did a rendition of “The Wheels On The Bus” as she dunks my head in the water. As you can tell, my first experiences with water where not pleasant ones. Although, as I grew older I found myself ever more fascinated with water. Every camping trip we went on my goal was to get everything set up before dusk so I had time to go swimming. When I started exercising more my exercises consisted of a lot of running, and a lot of lap swimming. I felt like I could never escape the water.
A few years back I found myself also getting more interested in the outdoors. I loved being one with nature and wanted to be with it as much as possible. This lead me to an interest in wilderness survival, where I would study and practice how to live off the land for years. Eventually I realized I can make my love for the outdoors a career by being a Wilderness First Responder. Not only would I be able to challenge myself to face the dangerous beauty of nature, but I could help people who are in need.
Logically, my love for the water and my goal for being an outdoor rescuer led me to signing up for a Lifeguarding class. I felt that it will be a good preparation towards my goals as well as challenge me to be a better swimmer. Boy, did it challenge me.
One of the requirements for being certified as a Lifeguard is two swim 300 yards consecutively. I use to swim 20 sets of 100 yards when I was younger so I thought this was no big deal. I spent most of my 2014 Fall semester, and summer break training. It turned out to be a lot harder experience than I thought to build up to this, especially because I took a break from swimming for my marathon training.
Nevertheless, I put in months of training for my experience so I was going in with my all. The first day of class required a pre-test that took nearly half the day to do so. I regrettably did weight training with my friend the day before, so I was working on tired legs. I powered through the test and I was thankfully able to go through the rest of the class. Unfortunately, some of my classmates weren’t able to do so. After the pre-test the class dropped from 25 to 16 people.
The rest of the week was filled with a lot more physically straining exercises that went on for hours each day. Each day it was several hours in the water, a few hours of testing, then another few hours studying the Lifeguard manual. As the week progressed we saw a couple more students who didn’t make it through, and one classmate who had an emotional breakdown. I still strove on, determined to finish this to the best of my ability. After pushing through I managed to complete the test and officially became life guard certified.
Be Lifeguard Certified ACCOMPLISHED!
A lot of people like to refer to me as a fitness fanatic. Personally, I agree with that. I love to spend every day pushing my body beyond it’s limitations just to see if I could. I thought there’s no better way to test my body’s physical abilities then to complete in an obstacle race.
Fortunately for me, when I started to compile this list there was a Groupon available for a discounted entry fee to the 2015 Rugged Maniac, a 5k obstacle course. My friend, Xue and I both wanted to use this as a prep run for our future goal of running a Tough Mudder. Xue and I signed up as a team and were set to run the course.
We signed up for an early afternoon race. By now a lot of the more elite runners finished up so the competitive edge was not present among racers. After the runners finished gathering, the buzzer sounded and we were off. Remembering back to my marathon experience I decided to pace myself for this course. A lot of the runners ahead of us decided to sprint up ahead before quickly dragging behind on the up hill portions.
There were a lot of fun obstacles ahead of us, and fortunately for me, I was an avid Parkour athlete. With ease, Xue and I blew past the early obstacles. We climbed walls, vaulted objects, and jumped over obstacles to quickly find our way to the 1-mile marker. We drank our water and started approaching some of the more shocking obstacles. One said obstacle was to dive feet first into a 4 foot pool of water.
During our run, the weather was well below 60 degrees. After we took our dip into the pool it felt like the weather dropped at least to 30 degrees. We decided to jog around to warm ourselves up, but moments when we had to stop and wait to run some obstacles soon gave us that chilling feeling again. We reached many a more water obstacles between 1-2 miles. My favorite in particular was sliding down a plastic tube, crawling in a foot of water while underneath bar wire, then climbing back up to the tube to be greeted by the foulest smelling mud.
When we hit the mile 2 marker our bodies became more dirt than clothing. We headed our way past a number of other obstacles that challenged our strength and balance. When we got to the sand bags, Xue did not hesitate to grab the 50-lb bag as opposed to the 20-lb. I decided to do the same and raced him up to the top of the hill. We both dropped our bags down at the end of the obstacle then jogged our way towards the end. After literally jumping over fire and climbing a warped wall we were finally at the last obstacle, a slide down to another pool of freezing water.
We both looked at each then slid down while giving out our battle cries. We ended our race dirty and victorious. We went out to refuel on some much needed carbs before I went off to take two showers to get the mud off me. In the end, it was a fun experience and I had immediately signed up for another obstacle race for 2016.
Finish a Rugged Maniac ACCOMPLISHED!
It’s been a heck of a Halloween. I ended up dedicating a lot more time towards this holiday throughout October than expected and ended up losing a lot of my documentation process. On the bright side, I managed to make every October day a Halloween day. Throughout the month I managed to do a lot of wonderful Halloween stuff. I got to visit various Halloween festivities, I had a bonfire dedicated to roasting Halloween themed candy, crafted my horror crafts, visited many a haunted houses, and even did a traditional pumpkin smashing(Don’t worry, we bought our own to smash). It’s sad to say that the Halloween horrors are over now for this year, but next year I hope to make Halloween even bigger and better.
Do something Halloween related every day of October ACCOMPLISHED!
Another goal has been completed. On Saturday I hosted a party where we marathoned all the Star Wars movies. I decided to do this as soon as Star Wars VII was announced. I never really watched the original three Star Wars movies, so I thought this would be a fun way to prepare for the upcoming release. We started the movie marathon around 4 PM and did not conclude it well after 5 AM. It was a heck of a marathon, and I had a lot of fun with it.
Star Wars All Nighter Accomplished