AAR Team Assessment - Part 11: After
We highly recommend doing events with after parties. Jay’s hospitality did not disappoint. After we got our patches and did our interview with Jason, we found a buffet of BBQ and brownies and even some donuts along with many coolers of beverages. My buddy Bill who had to med drop during the Welcome Party had been a friendly face by the fire during our breaks. Now he caught a ride back to the park and returned with my car.
Bryan Singelyn had come down and we saw him rooting for us during one of the CulEx evolutions. It was cool to finally meet him in person and even more amazing to take a picture with everyone that had completed at least one round of HDT (which ended up being almost all the finishers).
One of the strangest sensations was the first time Shannon walked away from me after Endex. I immediately started to tell her to “Wait!” Afterall, we’d just spent the last 48 hours literally side by side. It was weird to go anywhere without each other.
Just like at every other event, I think about how good the food will be when I finish. Shannon and I had even planned what we’d pick up on the way back to the hotel. But as usual, I couldn’t eat that much. It’s like my stomach shuts down and I just can’t/don’t want food. But, man, did that cold beer hit the spot.
Shannon and I would have liked to hang out and socialize with the cadre and finishers longer but between the sun and food and the fact that we could finally relax, we were starting to shut down. Jen was asleep with her head on the table. So we said our goodbyes and thanked the cadre, Jason, and Jay and hobbled to the car.
But we took a little detour to look down The Hill one more time. Then we took pictures of our rucks in front of the pile of sandbags. Then we stopped and talked to some of the Ohio GRTs that had stayed after the Cloverleaf. Then we talked to Jason. Finally we made it to the car.
Everything Hurts and I’m Dying
I have a patch with that saying on it from a GRT friend. Never has it been more appropriate. We had packed post-event bags just in case we ended up as nasty as we were after Bragg but didn’t need them. We kept our hotel room as a fail safe. Ever since that tragic Bragg Heavy where we lost Jerome Gonzales during the event, we always spend the extra money to have a hotel room in case things don’t go according to plan.
So we picked up some french fries and ice cream and slowly made our way back to our room. We debriefed with Jennifer for a little while then she went to her room and Shannon gave me first shower. In addition to doing events with after parties, I also recommend doing them with a licensed veterinarian. Shannon had a horse-sized tub of epsom salts. I turned the water on straight hot and had a nice little doze while soaking my legs.
By the time Shannon had showered, I was barely coherent and really looking forward to sleeping like the dead. I had received so many messages and posts and tags from everyone congratulating us, but I didn’t have any words for this experience yet. But as we both drifted off to sleep the last thing I said was “I can’t believe we finished Team Assessment!”
The next morning we didn’t feel so badass. In fact we each took a solid 30 minutes to decide if we could even get out of bed. To say my legs were trashed is an understatement. Any time I activated any muscle in my upper legs, I would get sharp shooting pains. It hurt too much to stretch or roll. Wrapping was good though. Shannon thought we should have stayed somewhere that would provide stretchers down to the car. Alas, we had to make do with shuffling along with a luggage cart.
On the drive home, we stopped every one and a half to two hours per Singelyn’s instructions. We had to show Jen some tough love at the first rest stop. She wanted to just stay where she was lying across the backseat. We made her get out. I’ve seen that girl run by me carrying a 120# sandbag at the end of a Heavy. She’s no wimp. We were all in serious pain.
We then had a good laugh because we had to brace each other to step up on the curb. I can safely say I have never touched so many toilet seats in all my life. It was simply impossible to lever ourselves into standing positions otherwise. Cruise control was another welcome feature on our drive home. One time I was making my way into a gas station in Virginia when a guy coming out stopped to hold the door for me. He soon regretted this reflex because it took me an awkwardly long time to actually get to the door.
Recovering and Reality
It was an entertaining activity trying to reconstruct the event. You’d think between the three of us we could come to a consensus or at least fill in the gaps for each other. There was one evolution that Jen had no memory of. And Shannon and I disagreed about how many evolutions involved slosh pipes.
The high of finishing didn’t wear off for a couple of days. The ridiculous amount of pain (truly it was pain and not just soreness) took much longer. I thought I would sleep so well back at home in my own bed but that was not the case. Not only was every position uncomfortable, but also every time I moved the pain would wake me up. I’ve never taken this long to recover and I was not in the least bit tempted to do any kind of workout. Just going up and down stairs took concentration and a heavy reliance on handrails. It was a week before I could see my massage therapist and even then I had to tell him to ease off a few times (that’s never happened before).
I had to wait to see my chiropractor too because getting on the table and contorting into any position that involved bending my legs was simply not going to happen. When I finally did get to go in her reaction was straight up WTH?!. She’s worked on me after my repeated HTLs, Bragg, and Star Courses so she’s no stranger to the bizarre stories or pains. At one point she said “Whatever is going on with your left hip is a mystery.” That’s when I realized I hadn’t told her about falling and pulling my IT band and she said it made more sense. She finally let me go with a “I’ll see you next week.” (I usually go once a month.) Recovery from this event was going to be much longer than I anticipated.