Under two months now until RAGBRAI, and the event is really becoming real now. June will be my last big month of high mileage training before I start to taper off the start of July. Knowing that I only have one more month of hardcore training to pack as much into as I can is quite intimidating, but sobering at the same time. I’ve got a big month ahead of me to do some big weekend runs I’ve been eyeing and stay healthy at the same time!
A variety of factors collided to make this week a relatively easy and restful week. My morning Physical Training (PT) runs on Joint Base Lewis McChord were interrupted by some Army traditions for group workouts. Our Brigade Staff, which I am a part of, is beginning Monday morning group PT sessions to encourage unit cohesion with fellow Soldiers you might not see soo often. Thursday our Engineer Company led Officer PT for our Battalion. This was some superb training that showed artillery officers what Combat Engineers do for their job by building bridges, calculating and emplacing demolition charges under duress, minefield clearance, and general Engineer Soldier tasks. Not only did the officers from different companies work well together, everyone was dead tired by the end as well as gaining a better understanding of what our Combat Engineers do. Friday morning our unit had a motivating Battalion Run. Our five companies ran in formation down our
Brigade road singing cadences the entire way to keep us in step. Good for motivator, bad for my training. Overall, my mileage was pretty low this week, but worked just fine to have a nice easy week.
Weekend activities consisted of a climb of Mount Shasta, one of the more southern of the active Cascade Volcanoes! This 14,179′ mountain towers over everything in the area and offers some of the best variety of climbing in the area. The trip was an annual birthday for one of my new friends, Ken Huskey. Our group was 13 large with some of the most friendly and happy people I’ve met. I can’t even begin to describe the entire weekend besides terrific. It really demonstrated for me that while mountains are fun, they can be even more fun with a great group of pals. The weather, the climb, the skiing, the hanging out at camp, everything was superb.
What I really loved to see was the motivation and determination of those who had never climbed before. A large portion of our group had never been on a mountain of this size before; some never even on a mountain at all. Despite the 7,300 feet of elevation gain, the thin atmosphere, slushy snow, blisters, nausea, and a variety of other ailments and obstacles, no one ever had a negative thing to say. There was no complaining, only an acceptance of the issue and moving forward. Almost our entire group made the summit, a first for many. It was quite moving to see the excitement and sense of pride in those attempting and accomplishing such a large goal.
This helped cement my love for pushing your limits. Those climbers stepped outside their comfort zone and saw what was beyond. Everyone’s current skill or athletic ability is different. The only thing you can do is to constantly be improving yourself. Quite often, you’ll find you have hidden talents and abilities you never knew about. Find your own challenges in your life, and figure out how to make them a reality. If your goal isn’t challenging enough, then you need a new goal. RAGBRAI is the culmination of many smaller goals I have set along the way, all increasing in intensity as I go. The only one holding you back is yourself. Go for it!