3rd Instalment, Army Careers Experience 2010 recap!

April 12, 2010 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

Day 3

It was a 6am start as usual and I woke from a good sleep. Straight into the days activities- bed making, fatigues, showers, getting dressed, tidying bedrooms etc. We had to lay out our clothes for the assault course we’d be doing later that day so Sergeant could tell us if it was appropriate or not. I planned to wear my old running shoes, track pants and an old rugby jersey (I also wore a thermal, which ended up being not such a bright decision.. but we’ll get to that later). We were all feeling pretty groggy but by now at least we’d all overcome the culture shock and were just generally happy and thankful to be there.
We reported in the corridor at the usual time of half past 6 and we given a brief of what the day would hold and what we were to do from there. I can’t really remember whether it was this day or not, but one of the mornings we got punished because the Barracks weren’t perfectly tidy. That came to us in the form of 17 diamond press-ups 😦

By 0650 hours we were downstairs, formed up on the road in our Platoon to go to Breakfast. I made sure my breakfast was a hearty one as I knew I’d be needing that energy later on in the day during the assault course.

After Breakfast we marched back to the Barracks to change into clothing for the mornings presentations. It was verrryyyy cold this day and we were all bundled up in several layers. The morning seemed to go pretty quick and by midday we were back at the Barracks for a cut lunch and to prepare for the assault course. Our cut lunch was mean! It had a pear, 2 sandwiches, a le snack, a moro bar, an apple juice and one other thing which I forget…

We were all feeling less than enthusiastic at the prospect of doing the assault course that afternoon… We knew it involved mud and water and given the current temperature, there was not a lot to get excited about that. We had to remove every single bit of jewellery that we had on for safety purposes, that was quite hard for me because the necklace I had on is a bone carving I made two years ago that is very very special to me and I hadn’t taken it off at all since the day I put it on. But, you gotta do what you gotta do, so the necklace came off. (I have actually decided to leave it off. When I made it, it was during a pretty nasty time in my life and by holding onto the necklace I was holding on to those memories. Taking it off sort of symbolised that I’m genuinely a changed person since then and I lead a completely different life.)
I also had to remove my glasses, which made me nervous because I wasn’t sure how I’d go on the course with impaired vision. All earrings were removed too, so we were totally bare apart from the clothing we’d be running in.

We jogged to the gymnasium in our Platoons and then proceeded to stretch and loosen up our muscles a little bit. We then were briefed by the two P.T.I’s that would be in charge of taking us through the assault course and teaching us the safe ways of overcoming each obstacle.
From there, we marched as one big Platoon until we left the military base and then broke into a double march (jogging to the cadence being called, e.g. “left! Right! Left! Right!”).

Once we arrived at the course, we were split up into the teams we were in for the Physical Training session on Tuesday and the P.T.I’s were split up so there was one to each half of our group, just so there was less congestion whilst trying to explain the course. We were walked (or rather, RUN) through the course and the P.T.I explained the safest way to complete each obstacle with our Platoon Sergeant doing a demonstration.

I was beginning to get a little nervous when I saw how big some of the jumps we had to make were, and even more so when I saw the mud and water we’d have to wade through. But, before I came on the ACE, I made a promise to myself and my mother. I would not back out of any challenges I would be faced with throughout the week. I would rise to the challenge and prove myself to anyone and get stuck in and give everything 100%. So that meant no quitting, it was pretty good motivation for me.

Being walked through the course took quite a while, and we’d kept our heart rates up because we had to jog or run the whole way. Once we were taken back to the starting point to get ready, we stretched as a group, but then, because some people had kept their hands on their hips or their arms folded, we had to do some press-ups as punishment. That was ok though, it was good to keep our bodies warm.

Our team was the first to go, and the floor commander of my floor in the Barracks was our staff member to assist. I ended up being very very grateful to have her there. One of the biggest differences about Waiouru compared to Whakatane, is the difference in Altitude. Waiouru is about 700 meters above sea level, whereas Whakatane is AT sea level. This means that the air in Waiouru is thinner with less oxygen, so when you’re exercising it’s harder to breath because there’s less oxygen in the air. This makes all physical activity MUCH harder than usual. (Also why top athletes travel to high altitudes to train, it means they’ll be fitter lower down). Because of this altitude difference, I started to get puffed pretty quick and it wasn’t long before I realized that completing the assault course would be no mean feat.

I twisted my ankle on the first big jump because it was about 2 meters distance and the place to land was not big and was on a lean, so it was hard to jump fast and land safely. After that, that’s when things got REALLY hard. That’s when we encountered the first of the MUD. The mud was pretty much the equivalent of sinking sand, but mud style. We were half way up our shins in mud and it got hard to drag our mud-filled sneakers out. Little did I know that was was nothing compared to what was to follow almost immediately…..

That’s when we met the water.

It. was. FREEZING. It was a freezing cold combination of mud and water and we were up to our armpits in it. It was so so cold that I went into shock. I started crying because I was panicking and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe for two main reasons, first being that IT WAS FREAKING COLD!!!!! My chest had closed up from the cold and breathing was almost impossible. Also, I was exhausted and was already struggling to breathe from that.

I would’ve quit right there and then, but the only way of getting out of that ditch was to just get through it. Above us was barbed wire so there was no getting out there.

Oh, not to mention the fact that we were being BLASTED IN THE FACE AT CLOSE RANGE BY A FIRE HOSE.

Yeah, that wasn’t so much fun.

The rest of the course was of similar levels of enjoyment, and so physically challenging I was crying the whole way. I just had no energy, I was so fatigued and the tasks were so hard… My team were amazing though and super encouraging. We eventually finished and a wave of relief washed over me. Sergeant Te Kani was absolutely amazing. She stuck by my side the whole time and hauled me up banks when I needed it and held my hand when I was going to slip and fall. I couldn’t have finished without her.

Our group double marched in a small Platoon back into the Military base where the Fire Fighters had set up a decontamination shower. That was also painfully freezing and super high pressure. I was frozen solid (if it was possible to be anymore frozen than I already was) once I came out. The girls jogged back to the Barracks, we ran upstairs and stopped at the lino landing where we stripped off down to bra and undies and left all our wet stuff there whilst we all had hot showers. The shower actually burnt my skin because I was so freezing and the temperature change was so dramatic.

It did feel great to be in warm, dry clothing with clean hair 🙂 I just lay on my bed for a while and relished in the satisfaction that I completed the assault course from hell and didn’t quit even though I really wanted to.

It was only about 3.30 in the afternoon but we were all ready to hit the hay and sleep. We couldn’t though, we still had a huge afternoon planned- Dinner, further presentations and visiting the Army Museum.

We got to have about one hour of downtime to stretch, relax and get ready for dinner. During this time I wrote up some more blogs for the Army website.

Around 1725 hours we started getting dressed into warm clothing for Dinner at the Mess, followed by a visit to the Army Museum. I found it hard to get excited about the evenings events because all I wanted to do was curl up in a little ball and go to sleep. Also my ankle was really starting to aggravate me and it was constantly throbbing. I had no pain relief either which made it hard to deal with.

We were split into 2 groups to go to the Museum. The first group would go first and the second group would go to an Officer presentation while we were away and then we’d swap round.

The Army museum was incredible. It was beautiful and detailed and all the set-ups were incredible. We had a question sheet to answer to make sure we were actually reading the information instead of just walking around talking. Each group we were in had four people and my group wasn’t really a “group” as such. Hannah was the only one really serious about it, I was just keen to wander around and take it all in. I could’ve looked at everything for hours… It gave me a whole new appreciation for the Anzacs and all other soldiers who have fought in the New Zealand Army who died accidently.

Once we returned, group two headed off and we headed to a presentation by two Officers (one who happens to be a WHK local! Captain Copeland- some of you may know him). It was really interesting, we were given the opportunity to ask any questions at all that we had about anything to do with the Army, and it was the first presentation when I was totally hooked and genuinely interested in everything they were saying.

We were all exhausted by the end and ready for bed. We headed back to the Barracks, completed our fatigues and got ready for bed.

I wrote some more blog before switching off the light to go to sleep. I couldn’t help but smile as I lay there, the day had been very very successful and I was very proud of myself for what I had accomplished.

Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep so well, but it was a great day and I had such a good time, I couldn’t wait to see what the next day would hold! 🙂


Entry filed under: Challenge, Fitness, Health, life, race. Tags: , , , , , , , .

2nd Instalment, ACE 2010 Recap! Final instalment of ACE 2010 recap!

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Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Questions? Comments? Email me at jennyeatliverun@hotmail.com

April 2010
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