by Joe Loomis
Let’s start with the fact that I have never done any endurance events beyond a Spartan Beast. I know that a Spartan Beast isn’t considered an endurance event regarding things like a Hurricane Heat (HH). I have been curious about an HH after finishing my first beast in 2016. However, I was afraid that I wasn’t in good enough shape and would be the weakest link. It wasn’t until I joined the Beasts OCR team that I felt like I had the confidence to try my first HH. I was nervous still but felt confident that I was about as prepared as I could be for this event as the Beasts OCR giving me the confidence that it was a team event.
As with all HH, there was a special item that is required for 146 was two standard bricks with HH-146 written on them. I have been watching different events item lists, and when people post pictures of the event, I looked to see how similar items were used. So, with two bricks I expected that the Kryptiea was going to have us build something or stack them and move them around. I was again thankful for Beasts OCR for preparing me for the event as during the gear check I was prepared as I had my wavier (Thanks to Toni as I seemed to misplace the one I had brought), my glow lights attached to my pack (Thanks Adam), and I had the location scoped out due to other Beasts. Unfortunately, others were not as prepared as we had 300 burpees owed to the Kryptka for forgotten waivers. I also gave out my extra twist ties to a participant to attach her chem lights.
I was shocked to find out that we weren’t building anything, but the bricks were only going to be carried by the participants the entire time. We couldn’t cradle them, stack them, put them down, or anything else. They were meant to be in our hands the entire time. I will admit that at this point I was extremely worried as I had been having carpal tunnel problems for the last month. Also, Kryptiea wanted us to rest in what he calls “Horse Stance” (picture below) which is sitting in chair pose with arms extended straight in front of us while holding the bricks. At this point, I was nearly fearful that I wouldn’t be able to finish this as I expected that if people failed to look perfect that the group would be punished. Thankfully, the event wasn’t as I feared and the Kryptiea was forgiving of a participant standing and shaking out the legs and arms.
I started to feel more confident as the Kryptiea jogged us over to a warm-up area. As I was jogging over, I started to hear people yelling to hold up. I turn and saw that everyone behind me couldn’t keep up with the group and what was the four part of the warrior ethos? Never leave a fallen comrade. The fact that I had never done an HH before I slowed down for the rest of the group to catch up. Unfortunately, that was the wrong thing to do.
The Kryptiea was upset and said “That the fourth rule is not a scapegoat for sandbagging. That, if someone falls behind, the group will go back and get the person who fell behind after the first rule is complete.” So, as a reward, we had to do fifty burpees facing downhill and remember we have bricks in our hands the entire time. The ground under me while doing the burpees was unstable. My bricks kept sliding down the hill when I would go into plank and so when I would push to stand up I would slide. After twenty downhill burpees and seeing two people drop out I was on the verge of dropping myself. Thankfully, the ground stopped moving under me, and I was able to push through to the end of the first onslaught of burpees.
The Kryptiea then had us line up in four lines or teams, and we were off to jog to our first team obstacle. I was towards the back of the line and someone towards the front was not able to keep up with the jogging pace. Several others slowed up to try and help her along, but I had learned my lesson. I gave her some words of encouragement as I jogged by her, but I wasn’t about to slow down. The Kryptiea wanted us to do the first obstacle at the six-foot wall, but unfortunately, it was already taken down. Then while the Kryptiea talked on the communicator to find another location, the person unable to keep up with the jogging pace dropped out. That was a total of three that dropped out, and where fifty-nine people started, we were now down to fifty-six.
The first team obstacle ended up being the vertical cargo net. The goal was to get the team over and the team’s bricks over. The caveats were that only one person could sit at the top of the vertical cargo per team and the other was that the person could only receive their bricks once they were over. Remember we couldn’t set them down on the ground. The first team over had zero burpees, second ten, third twenty and final team thirty. The Kryptiea then talked about how once people have sustained heart rate above 150 bpm (I’m pretty sure about that number but not100%) they will start to lose manual dexterity and some higher cognition understanding. His example was in horror movies how people seem to lose their ability to make sound decisions or are unable to get a key in a door lock. He had explained the rules of the vertical cargo net he asked if anyone needed them again and I realized that I had heard the Kryptiea, but I had no recollection of what we were supposed to do. Thankfully, he explained again, and I felt like I had a good grasp of what we needed to do.
Getting over the net was supposed to be like a cog in a wheel, but unfortunately, my team took the longest and finished last. While my team banged out thirty burpees relatively quickly, I spared a glance at the other teams, and they seemed to be doing lateral arm raises with their bricks while they waited. So, no one was standing to wait or resting.
Then it was a short jog over to the kid’s course for the start of the second obstacle a trip through kids rolling mud and then onto the adults rolling mud and dunk wall. The caveat for this obstacle was to keep our bricks from getting wet. Getting your bricks splashed, covered in mud, and just about anything else was ok as long as we didn’t put our arms down and get our bricks wet. The kids rolling mud was a cake walk, and everyone was successful. The adults rolling mud was a different story. I slipped down the mud hill at uncontrollable speeds and thankfully was able to keep my arms up and didn’t get my bricks wet. Then we went under the dunk wall, and that was the only time we could put our bricks in the water. Then we just lined up after the dunk wall. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only that had lost their grip and slid uncontrollably into the water another person on my team did, and they lost one of their bricks. So, the Kryptiea had us hand off our bricks to the teams next to ours, and we went diving into the water to find the lost brick.
Now, this process should have been easy, but with 50+ people going through the water, there was a good chance that the brick was pushed deep into the mud. I spent several minutes and neck deep in water digging at anything that felt even remotely brick-like. I also pulled up several large rocks, but no one seemed to be finding this brick. The Kryptiea had us line up shoulder to shoulder, and he started to explain how he wanted us to search, but while I was lined up and listening to him, I was still digging into the water. I was fortunate enough finally find something that was smooth and felt like a brick. After pulling it up out of the water before the Kryptiea even finished explaining I had found the brick. Thankfully, no penalty burpees were assigned to my group.
We did twenty-five burpees and then was given a short rest for food, drink and bathroom break. Unfortunately, in someone’s desire to run to the bathroom they had left their bricks on the ground. Abandoned bricks were bad news as it caused the twenty-five prior burpees to be wiped away and we started over. After another fifty burpees, we had to do a bear crawl to the slip wall. I didn’t have much trouble with the bear crawl and wasn’t able to tell just how far we went. I would venture a guess at over fifty yards, but not quite a hundred. At the slip wall, it was the same expectation as the vertical cargo net. People over, bricks over, bricks couldn’t go over without their person to accept them and last team over gets thirty burpees. Again, my team was the last team over and another thirty burpees.
After a short jog, we approached the Herc Hoist. The fencing was gone, the bags were all piled together, but the uprights were still together, and so were the rigging and pullies. A quick call from the Kryptiea and his assistants hooked four weighted male bags and four female weighted bags back on and another competition. The four groups were split up by gender, and the first team with all its members finished first wins. I thought that pulling the Hoist with no fencing to brace against was going to be hard, but thankfully it wasn’t. I watched as my team seemed to finally rock a team event as we finished with time to spare. I felt relief that we wouldn’t have to do another set of thirty burpees, except that the Kryptiea announced that one our members wasn’t able to finish the hoist. I had forgotten that indeed one of the members just after me couldn’t even get the thing off the ground. I had offered to help, but the Kryptiea said I couldn’t and told the member that if he couldn’t then he couldn’t. A DNF meant we came in last again and my spirits dropped again.
The Kryptiea must have felt a little pity for my team because he gave us a chance through a team competition to give our thirty burpees to another team. The competition was that each team had a burpee judge from another team and if someone was not performing correct burpees then the judge could make the team start over. My team started strong, and the judge watching us even gave words of encouragement. Unfortunately, by twenty he said that someone wasn’t jumping at the top of the burpee. Another twenty burpees just got flushed down the toilet, and so did any chance of pawning off some of our burpees. So, we once again started over at one and had to work through thirty burpees. At this point, I had to swallow my burpee pride because up until that point I was still jumping back from the down position into plank. I knew that my limits had been met and didn’t want to screw the team over, so I started the step back version. It hurt my pride but made the burpees a lot less difficult. Thankfully the second time we made it, but everyone else had already finished. I suspect that none of the other groups had to start over, but it is only speculation on my part.
So, we once again finished the competition last. The Kryptiea pointed out that we had a chance to give away some of our burpees but still lost. That meant another thirty burpees for my team (p.s. we still had our bricks HH-146). After this set of burpees, we had another eat and drink break. At this point, I was noticing that my sweat was dripping off of me and was as salty as the dead sea. I started to worry about cramping and pounded an oral IV which made me feel loads better.
The next competition was put up as a last man standing competition. Each group could choose a way to hold their bricks, and whoever could hold the position the longest won. The positions of choice were straight out in front palms and bricks down, straight out to the side palms down, and straight out to the side palms up. My team chose palms up out to the side. I didn’t do well. I wasn’t called out by a Kryptiea to stop first, but I barely lasted two minutes. Once you failed, you had to go down and hold the plank position. I was thankful for plank because it gave the opportunity to see who was still going strong. People started to drop quickly after a while, and it was down to the last two. A member of my team (Jessica you ROCKED) and a member of another team. My team started to cheer our team member on as she was a rock star as the last two probably lasted what seemed like minutes longer than the rest of us. Finally, she was unable to go any longer and had to drop her arms, and the other team won. At this point in the evening, I will admit that things were starting to get a little blurry, but I am fairly sure that no burpees were given out after the competition.
After another short jog, we approached the barbwire crawl. The Kryptiea spoke about why the barbwire was there and why you had to crawl under it. It is to mimic spray fire from enemy troops for maximum casualty and injury. That meant that often members of the military would have to drag injured across the battlefield to safety. The Kryptiea choose three “bodies” from each team, and two members from each team would have to drag the body from one end to the other. After reaching the end the people chosen as “bodies” would come back to the start and be dragged another time until everyone had dragged a body. I was chosen as a body as I was one of the bigger people. My teammates dragged me quickly, and it was rough on the body to start, but then the Kryptiea assistants started to spray water on the crawl. It made being dragged a little better.
It took my teammates a while to drag me the length of the barbwire crawl. My teammates were rock stars and finished with me first. I went running to the other end when the Kryptiea announced that every group of three people would instead run to the front and drag another member of the three-person group.
It meant that I would have to drag people rather than just being dragged. My small group seemed to have a great strategy as we just simply dragged the other members by the arms through the crawl. We were moving so quickly that we had to zig-zag across the crawl to pass people. After we completed the second trip down, we noticed people started to “crack” their chem lights. So, we popped ours and went back to the front of the line and went a third time. Once again, we were making good time weaving in and out of traffic and about halfway through we heard the call for headlamps out and on.
I thought my group was pretty much leading the whole time as we finished the third and final barbwire crawl, but once we got to the front people were already standing around and not going again. I was shocked but felt like at least we were done, and the Kryptiea wasn’t making people sit in horse stance as we waited for the others to finish. The Kryptiea then walked over and called my three-person team his “A” team. So, I suspect that they had stopped the other teams from going again and that possibly my three-person team might have been the only one finished or one of the few that finished.
I didn’t realize, but this was the end of the event. We jogged back to where we started the entire event did one last horse stance before we sat down. We heard some inspiring words of wisdom for the Kryptiea and his assistant (thanks Adam). We heard that ninety-five people signed up and fifty-nine showed up and fifty-six finished. I received a handshake from the Kryptiea and asked if he were to describe HH-146 in one or two words how would he describe it and said, “Ball Buster!” I received hugs from the two assistants (Adam and Patrick), and the event was finished.
I knew that there were a lot of Beasts OCR members a part of HH-146, but I only knew a couple. I was also shocked to hear that my teammate through all the extra burpee’s Jessica was one. It was amazing how we can be part of a team and not realize that the person you spent hours behind, in front, and dragging under barbwire was a Beast.
I must admit that at first, I didn’t know how I felt about it. It was one of the hardest things I had done to date. I was muddy, tore up, exhausted, and this face said it all.
It wasn’t until two days after that I started to think about what I had done. I had done over two hundred burpees with freaking bricks in my hands the whole time. I would have never thought that I could do two hundred burpees ever let alone with two bricks. I started to feel good and proud of what I had done.
The final thing that judges an event is the question “Would you do it again or do another?” and my answer is undoubtedly YES!