Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Hero Rush in Los Angeles was Awesome

I'm ready!  Let's do this!
Hey there.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the Hero Rush on June 30th!  I didn't get a chance to write about it earlier since it so happened that my vacation started that very day.  But before I would relax and enjoy my time off, the Hero Rush made sure that I would have one last day of hard work before I can just take the remaining week off!  And man... did it make me work.  Let me tell you about my experience.

Getting to the Pomona Fairplex was a breeze.  No more than a 30 min car ride for the kids and I.  Because the youngest one was just getting used to using the big boy potty, we decided that it would be best for him to stay home with the wife so that she can help him if he needed to go to the bathroom.  The Fairplex is a huge place and I wanted to avoid a set back with his progress if he didn't make it to a bathroom.  Anyways, once I walked in and received my pick up packet, I headed over to the Midway.

At the start and ready to go!
The Midway was a pretty cool spot, with food stands, a fire truck, and a small obstacle course for the young ones.  I also caught a glimpse of some of the obstacles that I would be taking part in.  Particularly the climb up a dripping tube with a cool slide to get back down and walking across a small pool with spectators blasting you with water hoses.  I also got a good look at many of the participants.  Many of them being pretty fit people.  I began to wonder if I would have the strength and endurance to make it through the course.  I'm not a very strong guy and I'm still trying to find my endurance.  What I do have is a pretty strong sense of determination.  I just didn't know how strong it was.  I definitely found that out by the end of the day.
My daughter hanging out by the mini obstacle course
Step into a fire man's shoes and don their uniform
After snapping a few pics with the kids, I headed over to the starting gate.  Many men and women were pumping themselves up for the course.  I was doing the robot entertaining the kids.  lol  Once the firetruck horn sounded, off we went up a small flight of stairs and down a firefighter's pole.  Not too bad.  The next obstacle to get through were weighted doors.  You needed to push hard through the doors to open them. Not too bad, except for the fact that they slammed back shut the moment you let them go.  I found this out once I jumped through the last door, which also was the heaviest, and it slammed on my ankle.  OUCH!  It hurt like hell!!!  I started to limp a bit but considering that it was just the start of the course, I refused to bow out.  I walked it off as best I could and hoped that the pain would subside.  Jogging helped but I ended up falling behind my group.

The Hero Rush gods demanded a sacrifice!
The next part is where the Hero Rush gods first tested my determination.  The obstacle before me was a pool with floating barrels in it.  The goal is to jump in the pool, swim under the barrels, and climb out the other side.  Because I was falling behind because of my ankle, I jumped right in, swam under the barrels and came up the other side in one smooth motion.  The only problem???  I emerged without my glasses!!!  NO!!!  For those of you that do not know, I am blind as a bat without my glasses.  I don't take them off for anything and I didn't think to take them off and hold them with my hand while swimming.  It just didn't occur to me.   Because the pool was covered in red jelly type stuffs, it was impossible to see the bottom of the pool so I spent some time feeling my way through the pool looking for my glasses.  After 25 minutes or so of diving under barrels looking for my glasses, I managed to find over 20 other pairs of sunglasses.  The majority of them in perfect condition.  It gave me hope that I would find mine unscathed.  But it wasn't meant to be...  the Hero Rush gods claimed my glasses and tested my will to continue the course... BLIND!  And continue, I did.

Because I stayed behind to look for my glasses in the pool, I was alone and way behind my group.  Luckily, my glasses still had one of the lenses so when I was lost, I would use that one lens to find my way.  I managed to get through those early obstacles without a hitch.  Running across tires, no prob.  CPR lesson, no prob (I couldn't help but think of Dwight while doing it.  lol).  Dragging a set of tires and walking through a creek, no problem.  Crawling through dark tubes with string and rubber bands blocking your way, no prob.  Then I got to the flight of stairs and a fire hose.

Between the obstacles, you would run/jog for a good 5 minutes or so.  I can see how some people could get winded between obstacles, but this one took the cake.  The fire hose weighed anywhere from 75 to 100 pounds and you had to carry that sucker through 14 stories of stairs.  14!!!  You know how many steps that is?  Way to many.  Once I got to the top, I felt the burning in my legs and thighs.  I felt heavy.  I felt tired.  Then the path led me another flight of stairs but this time, going down.  So as I made my way down, I told myself, almost there.  Almost there...  Once I made it the bottom, I was relived.  I wanted to drop the fire hose right then and there.  But my eye sight failed me and I didn't noticed that I had to do it again.  AGAIN!!!  Hero Rush volunteers cheered me on.  Some noticed the broken glasses in my hand and offered me a pass to skip the obstacle.  My legs are heavy.  I didn't know whether or not I would be able to make it to the top again.  My heart said I could do this... My body said I was crazy.  The Hero Rush gods were challenging my determination.  I took a minute to catch my breath... and took that first step back up the stairs again.  I felt my thighs and calves burning by the time I made it to the top again, but I continued.  Refusing to give up.  Once I made it back down again, I was greeted by Hero Rush volunteers, cheering me on, and offering water.  I appreciated it greatly.  I felt slightly rejuvenated, I felt good.  I did it.  I didn't quit!  I dropped the hose and jogged along the course.

At this point, I feel pretty spent.  I was no longer running.  I was jogging down the course.  The sun was hot and that water really helped.  After a few more crawling in the dark obstacles and lot of slow jogging, the next wave of participants caught up to me.  Even though I lagged behind, I was glad that other participants reached up to me.  I now had a guide.  I no longer needed to look through my broken glasses to find the path of the course.  I simply followed the person in front of me through the stables and dirt part of the course.  Then we reached an obstacle where a "body" needed to be placed on a stretcher, carried over barricades, helped under barbed wire and carried back to the starting point.  No way in hell would I be able to do that alone.  Partnering up and working together with a woman that caught up to me, we made easy work of the barricade and barb wire crawl.  After a quick high five at the end, we jogged along.

Dark tube with dripping water to climb
Knowing that I was close to the end, I pushed through the heat.  The next big test for me was the rope climb and tight roping it back down.  I stopped at the obstacle and stared at it for a good minute.  I'm afraid of heights.  Well... let's put it this way.  If I'm secured to some type of harness, I'll be OK.  No fear.  But when there is no harness and it's you against gravity, I have a tendency to freeze up.  The Hero Rush gods were testing my will to overcome fear.  I told myself...  My glasses are broken, I can't see, I pushed through pain, and I've made it this far.  No way in hell am I going to stop now.  I grabbed that rope and I climbed the hell out of it.  Once I made it to the top, you had to walk down, tight rope status.  There was an additional rope for you to hold on to, but the fact that you were so high and had to carefully walk across was a real challenge.  This is where I believe that me not being able to see the ground really helped me.  When you're afraid of heights, you hear, "Don't look down and you'll be OK, " a lot.  But in this instance, I needed to look down to see where I was stepping.  Because I couldn't see how far the ground was, I blocked out that fear and made my way across.  I felt pretty damn proud of myself after this one as well.
My daughter waits for me at the bottom of the slide
Drenched and tired... but still going!
A few more obstacles later, I found my way back to the Midway.  I'm almost done!  At this point, the kids run up to me as I'm waiting in line to climb the dripping tube.  I tell the kids what happened to me, show them the glasses, and tell them that I'm almost at the end.  I climb the tube, I slide down and off I go to finish this course!  I get through the house of smoke and finally see the finish line.  All I need to do is get through the pool where spectators blast you with water.  About 3/4 of the way through the pool, I stop and do a few spins.  I was pretty damn happy that I was able to make it through the course.  I climb out, walk through the fire pit and cross the finish line.  YES!!!  I COMPLETED THE HERO RUSH!  I get a few bananas, I get my cool Hero Rush shirt, and I get this awesome Hero Rush medal to show that I completed the course.  I did it!!!
Do a little dance, Metallman!
My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my body hurt, and I'm pretty sure that I got a tan, but man I finished the course and I was pretty damn proud of myself.  So proud, in fact, that I put on my Hero Rush shirt and medal and wore them the rest of the day.
I finished!  Too bad my glasses didn't make it!
I am extremely grateful for the invitation to give this obstacle course a try.  As an added bonus, I also got a free ticket to the L.A. Fair!  This is the Hero Rush's inaugural year.  They have shown a strong presence in all of the major cities on their tour so far.  If they are in a city near you and registration is not yet closed, DO IT!   I've already decided that the Hero Rush will be an annual activity for me.  I decided early this year that this would be my year of fitness.  Who knew that it would also be a year where my determination and will power will also be tested.  Later!
My Hero Rush medal!

2 comments:

It's nice seeing another blog that chronicles what happened that day. I was there by the firefighter's pole. Restore from fire damage was my theme and my kids had a great time then. You pretty much summed up everything in perfect order! I hope there's another installment for this event some time again this year.

Hey there Geoff! It was definitely a great event and I loved the overall atmosphere. I've been getting Emails from Hero Rush ever since I was invited to participate in this event and it seems like there will be another installment coming to Southern California in the coming months!

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