The adventures of Peggie and Heidi – rucking in the hills edition.
So this past weekend my friend, Heidi, and I, took a gun course on Friday, in Rapid City, (home of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore) and brought our rucks with us so we could do a ruck on Saturday morning. We have been rucking pretty much every weekend for about the past six weeks or so. Heidi and her family had recently gone on a hike at this same place and found a nice creek during that hike. She told me the hike was challenging. It was rocky and had lots of change in terrain and inclines. Perfect. We love challenges.
We were feeling pretty bad ass after our gun course so why not push ourselves with this ruck? We had some coffee before we left and I had a few bing cherries and that’s about it. I really don’t recall eating any sort of breakfast. I had some pecans, and RX Bar and two small containers of olives with me in a zip-lock bag. I threw it in my ruck. We drove to the entrance of the trail and were looking at the map trying to figure our where we were. There was nothing telling us “you are here.” Well, that sucked already. Heidi thought she could remember the way she went before though, so we took off. It was a gorgeous day. Sun shining, little bit of a breeze and absolutely gorgeous. The pines smelled amazing.
The trail got tough almost right away. There were some serious rocks and a pretty big incline. It was so pretty though. This was going to be great. We felt awesome. We felt amazing. We felt like we could do anything. We always talk along the way on our rucks. It’s never so serious that we don’t talk. We talk about everything. There was one point that was really cool. It was almost as if we were enclosed in the trail. The trail was narrow and there was a wall of dirt and rock on one side and trees on the other. We saw monarch butterflies and all kinds of pretty wild flowers. It was a gorgeous day. We said that a lot. We don’t take the beauty of nature for granted.
We were in search of the creek. We got to a place where there were several options. Heidi led us in the right direction and we continued. As we got further and further in, we could hear the water from the creek. Woo Hoo!!! We were getting closer to the water. It was about another half mile before we got to the creek. It was all down hill. I remember saying I would much rather go up hill, because down hill kind of bothers my knees. Heidi agreed. It was a little tricky navigating down to the water, but once we did, it was breathtaking. We dumped the rucks and just looked around. It felt so good to lose that extra 20 something pounds. The sound of the creek running was so soothing. We sat there for about 15 minutes. I ate the pecans and olives and gave Heidi the RX bar.
From the car to the water it was about 2.5 miles. It took us a while to get there. Now to head back. We got our rucks back on and we took off. This is where the nightmare began. This is where the I don’t care if I die began. This is where the I fucking hate this began. We started up the hill. Whoever said they would rather go up hill than down hill is an idiot!! I got about half way up the first hill. Maybe half way. I could feel my heartbeat in my head and my chest was pounding. WTF??!!! Heidi had just stopped a little higher and I stopped and had to catch my breath. My God! What the hell was happening? Weren’t we in good shape? Why was I feeling like this? We caught our breath and kept going—for about another 10 yards. I had to stop again. I felt like shit. I kept thinking to myself, thank God I brought that food with me. I am sure I would have gotten sick if I hadn’t eaten it. Finally, we made it to the top of that incline. It feels super hot now. I was sweating like crazy. Whoever thought rucking would be fun? Ugh! It got serious now. We didn’t talk much for the rest of the way.
The next section was still incline, but not as bad. At least there was a little reprieve. A little. Not much. I had to stop several more times and steady my heart rate. That shit continued for another mile. I got to one point and was resting, looking down, back the way we came and started praying to God for strength to get through this. I was at the point where you get so frustrated and annoyed that you just want to cry. I wanted to just lie down. I didn’t give a shit that I wouldn’t get out of there.
I decided to keep going, I’m not a quitter. I kind of felt like I had a second wind. For about a second. Until I saw the next incline. Why did I have to look? Yuck! Did we really come so far down hill? How could we have? I had to start playing mind games. I took smaller steps and would not look up. If I looked up and saw the incline, I just got pissed. I had to quit looking up. I felt a trickle of something coming out my nose. I thought, oh great, I’m getting a bloody nose. Nope, just snot. At least I knew my blood pressure wasn’t so high that I was getting a bloody nose. See, I can see positive things in shitty situations. And, there were monarch butterflies.
Time for another incline. This was the last horrendous one. I could not look up or I was going to give up. At this point, I kept thinking what if I lose the key fob. At this point, I didn’t care. I didn’t care if I just stayed in there. I didn’t care at all about anything. The mental games I played with myself were ridiculous. The mind is truly amazing. I finally told myself, “The only thing you can do is to do it, so shut up and quit whining and get going.” At this time, I looked up and Heidi was sitting down. I had faintly heard her say, “Stupid rock.” When I got up to her, she told me she tripped and landed on a pointy rock and cut her hand. I told her I didn’t see it or hear it because I had my head down and I was breathing like a freight train. I was also having an inner battle with myself as to whether I was going to give up or keep going. I threw my ruck off and carried it farmer walk style. I quickly realized that was not going to work. Heidi asked if I wanted her to take it. I told her no. I threw the fucker back on my back and off we went. This last incline section was hell. I couldn’t wait until we got to the enclosed trail, then and only then I felt like I could make it.
We got to that point and I started to feel a little better. At least I was able to control my breathing and my heart rate liked me again. We were on the home stretch, probably about another half mile. I even took a picture of a monarch butterfly. See, I was feeling better.
This last little section was tough. There were A LOT of rocks on this trail and it was down hill. I love going down hill. Down hill is my favorite. We finally got down to the main trail and had about 50 yards to go to the car. It seemed SO FAR AWAY! Finally, we made it. We finished. We conquered it. Five miles of difficult terrain. Five miles of what the hell we were we thinking? Five miles of realizing we almost bit off more than we could chew. It seriously was close.
We got in the car and just looked at each other. We gave each other the, holy shit, did we just do that, look. I’m sure we started laughing at how crazy we can be. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Once we got back to Heidi’s parents’ house, we walked in the garage and I could immediately hear music playing. It was loud. We opened the door I could hear a Simon and Garfunkel song playing. I thought to myself how cool. It was refreshing to hear the music. It was refreshing to see her parents so in love with each other. This day was their 50th wedding anniversary. That morning before we left for our ruck, we sat out on their patio and were talking about their wedding day. It was adorable how they talked about each other. How they recalled their wedding day 50 years previously. How they reminisced. How they loved each other.
Heidi’s mom sent me home with lots of water and a bag of bing cherries. I stopped and saw my son for a while before heading home (that was the highlight of my day).
I hopped in my car for the 2.5 hour drive home. As I was eating the cherries, waiting for the stomach cramps to kick in, I kept reflecting on the day and how I was so physically and mentally challenged. It felt good to know that I made it through that tough, tough ruck. I felt awesome again. I turned the radio to the 60s station. A Simon and Garfunkel song was playing.