Pack Your Sack & Grease Your Crease . . . We’re Going Rucking Tonight!

Pack Your Sack & Grease Your Crease . . . We’re Going Rucking Tonight!

Workout Date:





CrossStitch(AOQ-BombSquad); Fergie (AOQ-Warthog);(Baggage-Future AOQ); Quaker (QIC)

The Thang:

AO: BombSquad?

Conditions: 56-63 Degrees, Perfect, All Night (no rain, slight breeze in the morning)

YHC made the mistake of perusing the AllThingsRucking Channel (which I do periodically – always great mumble chatter in there!!) a few weeks ago and came across the MLK 54 Mile Challenge. I haven’t rucked since the GrowRuck22, so I thought it was time to strap on a Ruck once again. The regular Ruckers (Flop, Fergie, Penelope, Rousey, etc) were committed and a few new Ruckers (CrossStitch, Jedah) were stepping up, too!

I immediately reached out to CrossStitch to see if he would be interested in an 18 mile Ruck to get some miles. I had the route already formulating in my head. CrossStitch immediately signed on. He was committed & now so was I.

Why do 18 miles? Well the simple answer is that 4-5 miles just isn’t enough to get the juices flowing;  Oh yeah & if we timed it just right, we could complete the ruck just in time to do our usual Saturday morning BeatDown at BombSquad at 6:00am!!. YHC also believes that 18 miles falls within the ‘Goldie Locks Zone’ for rucking: It’s not too short; it’s not too long; it’s just right. It’s a distance that pushes you but doesn’t break you (like a 50 mile pier to pier ruck with my good friend Hamburglar).

The plan was simple: some of the ruck would be along CF Blvd on the run/bike path, some would be through the neighborhoods of Plantation Lakes and Berkshire Forest, and some would be off road. We would begin our trek at 10:45pm and finish sometime before 6:00am. Somewhere along the way we would cross 501 for a hot breakfast at the Waffle House.

All week long the weather forecasters were predicting 80-90% chance of rain throughout the night with wind gusts and the potential for tornados!  This was gonna be fun . . . no one waivered.

As Friday approached, we had some SC, some HC for a portion of the ruck, & a lot of questions being asked.  My answers, channeled through CrossStitch (minister of propaganda, I mean AOQ), was meet at 10:45pm and find out! Based on the weather & our inexperience, the ruck would remain ‘flexible’.

YHC arrived at the AO at 10:15 (I was excited to begin & knew that if I stayed at home any longer, I would have kept over packing useless things into my ruck). Fergie arrived next and stated that he may or may not do the whole 18 miles. He’d play it by ear & see how things were going. If he need to, he would turn around in Plantations Lakes. Baggage arrived next, he was a wildcard & a late entry into the festivities but we are all glad to have him join us! We were all envious of his shiny new Mac-V’s which arrived from Huckleberry just in time for this spectacular event! Last to arrive, but well before go time, was CrossStitch, who brought his whole family (M & 2.0s) out to enjoy the first 5 miles of the Ruck (& the wonders of the Waffle House).

For about 5 minutes we went back and forth with what we needed to pack and/or unpack. Some of us shedded a layer of clothing; other stood pat with what they were wearing.  It was a crap shoot.

We would be passing BS one time after the start & could re-evaluate our initial decision if necessary.  Baggage brought rain parkas (of course we wouldn’t need those!).

10:43 – 2 Minute Warning

After another minute or two of loading and/or unloading additional supplies into our rucks we were off into the Gloom for some fitness, fellowship, and  . . .faith that YHC would return this band of ruckers safely by daybreak.

Our first leg was southeast along CF Blvd. The plan was to hit the Waffle House early & fuel up for anything that may await us during the night. Once again, being rookies we didn’t realize that this pit stop could have created an explosive gastrointestinal event later on when we were off grid & far from any civilized facilities. YHC did pack some emergency TP. Luckily, however, everyone ate light & that problem never arose!

Before we reached the Waffle House we were faced with our first critical test: i.e. ‘How do we get across 501?’ Women & children first was not the right answer!! YHC & Fergie recalled our GrowRuck training and decided that patience and togetherness would see us safely to the other side. We watched the traffic pattern for a cycle & then waited for the right moment to cross so that we would not get stranded on the median. The danger was minimized as we reach the Waffle House about 45 minutes after our initial start from BombSquad.

The Waffle House feels a bit like the Cantina scene in Star Wars without the lightsabers or blasters, but this may have just been an off night due to the anticipated inclement weather. Either way, we got ourselves some coffee, ice tea, or OJ and some waffles and eggs.

After eating, a restroom break was made by some of us and one Rucker (it was later discovered) removed his underwear right there. He said it was for potential chaffing reasons but who knows? Besides who hasn’t taken off their underwear at a Waffle House? #Don’tAskDon’tTell.  Once again we minimized the danger and were in & out WH unscathed.

Our 501 crossing was once again uneventful and we arrived back at BS around 1:15am. Why does the return trek of any trip seem longer? #FoodforThought.  Anyways we arrived back at BS; checked the weather;  and emptied any additional gear that we would not need for the rest of the night. CrossStitch gave a moving good bye to his family (visualize DiCaprio saying ‘Good Bye’ to Rose in the final scene of the Titanic as he slipped into the abyss) and then 4 of us were off.

At this point Fergie was still uncertain if he was going to go the distance, but when we started to tell him about the super-secret passage way from Plantation Lakes to Berkshire he was hooked. I don’t know if he was envisioning crawling through a storm drain (ala’ Shawshank Redemption) or finding a Secret Passage through a faux wall. CrossStitch made a reference to Harry Potter which I didn’t get and then we agreed that it would most like be something more akin to an Indiana Jones movie!! The funny thing is that I knew the way & the secret but was just as excited to get there, too!!

Leaving the AO, we walked and talked our way down CF Blvd to the entrance of Plantations Lakes. We followed Shoreward Drive as it meanders through the community past the fountain and the clubhouse until it insects Oxbow Drive. We then turned left onto Oxbow and followed it around a bend then turned right onto Woodburn Drive.

At this point Fergie or Baggage mentioned that they had no idea where they were and if they got separated from the rest of us may never find their way out!

Before we hit the terminus of Woodburn, we veered right once more onto Atalaya Place. FYI – “Atalaya” means watchtower in Spanish and it was at the end of this road that the hidden entrance to the secret passage awaited.

As we near the end, a gate materialized out of the Gloom. After a few more steps and some magical words, we were out of Plantation Lakes and off the grid. Headlamps were lit and our excitement for what lies ahead ran high. It was everything Fergie & the others envisioned: A mystical, remote, piece of paradise that couldn’t possible exist in all this urban sprawl, yet it did. We rucked through sandy plains,  marshy  bogs, lush thickets , & along the Emerald Lake before emerging at Berkshire Forest.

I’m not sure what Baggage was experiencing at this moment because he thought we had emerged somewhere near Broadway on the Beach!!!

The headlamps were once again turned off as we moved through the well-lit streets of the ‘Shire. Passing the playground & the pool, we turned left onto Brentford Place and followed it through the heart of the community until it intersected with Augusta Plantation Drive.  Along the way, CrossStitch, Fergie, and Baggage asked several times, “Where are we now?  It was like taking the kids on a trip to the zoo, ‘Are we there, yet?’

After the 4th or 5th inquiry, I wanted to reply, “In your worst nightmare!!” , but I didn’t want to plant any seeds of discouragement or discontent.  After all, our feet were beginning to get ‘hot spots’ on them and the blistering was just around the corner.  More importantly, YHC was outnumbered.

We still had about 6 miles left to ruck.

At a lonely Stop Light 300 yards ahead, Augusta Plantation Drive met River Oaks Drive.  We crossed River Oaks Drive and turned left to parallel the road for the next 3 miles. Approximately ½ way,  we stopped at the middle entrance to WPP for a well-deserved 5 minutes of rest & stretching.  At this point the dogs were barking, if you know what I mean. The show needed to go on, so along we went. After another 1.5 miles, we intersected CF Blvd to begin our final leg of this adventure.

Although this is a familiar stretch of road (#EarlyRiserPrerun) every step was mind over matter. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” We pushed each other forward for another 1.5 miles until we reached the entrance of Indigo Bay. There we sat down, stretched, and took a pee break. It was at this point that CrossStitch took off his shoe and socks to see if that ‘hot spot’ blossomed into a blister. And blossomed it did. The blister ran along the entire inside length of his big toe. Luckily Baggage had some surgical tape in his ruck which was used judicially on the blister being careful not to pop that puppy!! After another minute or two we all peeled ourselves up off the pavement and away we went.

We arrived at BombSquad with 30 minutes to spare. Fergie said he needed to go home before planting the Shovel Flag at Warthog this morning. He gave himself a 20% chance of making it out of his house, though.  Baggage, CrossStitch, and I joined Rousey, Beefsteak, and King James for a few laps around the AO (Beefsteak & King James ran, Rousey shuffled, and the ruckers walked)

5:55 – Time Called

Total miles = 18.29

5:58 – 2 Minute Warning Announced by Beefsteak

6:00am – BombSquad BeatDown Begins!

NMMS: This was just another day in the life of a Pax. Things you never thought you would do . . .or ever want to do . . . get done. You do it to test yourself & you do it for the man next to you. In the beginning, in the middle, and especially at the end it is truly enjoyable and rewarding. Memories are made and friendships are strengthened. All you gotta do is HC!





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