A few weeks ago I wrote about physical fitness and the importance of it. On my last attempt to do a forced road march of 15 miles, my feet blew out just short of our “finish line”.
My friend and I, fell back to our home bases, did a regroup and this past weekend we re-attacked the trail. This time we kept our goal at 12 miles, the weather was awesome and stayed in the low to mid 60’s. We kept up a pretty good pace and hit our 6 mile mark in just under an hour and forty five minutes. We stopped for some lunch (Yummy MRE’s) did a change of socks and a liberal application of mole skin on my feet. We continued on our little adventure with the wind at our back and the sun to our side. Full bellies and much jocularity. What a day! what could go wrong?
About mile 9 I had extreme intestinal discomfort that caused an emergency diversion off the trail and into the woods. Here is another lesson, always carry toilet paper. The little folded pieces of TP that are found inside a MRE bag are woefully inadequate. My friend had enough foresight to have stuck half a roll of TP in his pack. What a life saver!
The last few miles went uneventfully, and we exfiled to our waiting driver code named WF and her pretty gnarly truck.
Carry TP! the weight and the relatively small size of half a roll stuffed in a ziplock bag is worth its weight in gold. I personally have never experienced the urgency that I had in the field like this before. I don’t eat to much junk, but something I ate the day before just did not agree with me. If I had had an “accident” sooner in the day, I sure would have been miserable and been in for a long afternoon.
Take care of your feet. Keep moleskin and foot powder in your kit. I wore the same boots as last time but used my powder and moleskin liberally. I also pulled the laces a tight as I could stand them. This kept my feet from sliding around in my boots.
Continue to eat and drink even on the move. Dehydration sucks, even on relatively mild days the elements can suck you dry. And if you are suffering bouts of diarrhea drinking is even more important. Carrying some sort of anti-diarrhea medication is probably a pretty good idea also.
I would also throw in some chest and shoulder weight workouts into your routine, it will save your upper body hauling a pack for a long periods. We only humped 35 lbs. packs (dry weight) not including water. My ruck buddy and I discussed getting some blue guns to carry on our next ruck, just to add that little bit extra and realism to our exercise. But with the current gun paranoia in this country, I am sure we wouldn’t get but a couple hundred meters down the road before some douche would have the cops or DNR hassling us about open carrying two inert 9 lbs of blue plastic.
Anyone who hasn’t done a long road (ruck) march (regularly) has no clue how long it will take them to get from point A to point B, let alone with with any sort weight on their back. FM 21-18 is a pretty concise instruction on road marches and all the planning that goes into pulling one off and the physical requirements needed.
I really don’t want to come off preachy, but for those that believe that they can not be physically fit to survive what ever apocalypse they are preparing for are delusional. With some friends and spouses help it can be a motivating experience to at least try and get in shape.