2.27.20 – The Thermopylae 150

After the Q promised a day of mud, the 13 PAX (Archive, Babe, Beaker, Cookies, DBC, Jazz Hands, Sparrow, Crash, Crack, K-Pop, Jailbreak, TBTF, Capt Crunch) who posted were greeted with a thick fog and and a decidedly un-thawed AO Mastodon hovering at 32 degrees instead of the promised 40. The main element of the day was still ice, and the Q kept to the hill, making traction the primary obstacle.


  • Motivators
  • Albatross Wings
  • Mountain Man Poopers / Bolt 45s
  • Side Plank Practice

Super SPARTAN Circuit:

  • Divide into two groups: one group will be Spartans, the other Base Camp, switching roles each round, each group will get 30 rounds of each role (if time allows). [Dear Reader, time did not allow]
  • Spartan = 30 Hill Sprints (or 100 yard dash), 10 Merkins at the top each time, walk/mosey back
  • Round 1-5, ARMS
    • Spartans: Sprint the hill, merkin x 10, return. 
    • Base Camp: AMRAP Albatross Wings: 20 x Moroccan Night Club, hold, 20 x Forward Arm Circles, hold, 20 x Backwards Arm Circles, hold, 20 x seal claps, hold, 20 x overhead claps. Repeat.
  • Round 6-10, CORE
    • Spartans: bear crawl the first half of the hill, sprint the rest, merkin and return
    • Base Camp will pick ONE exercise and AMRAP until Spartans return (switch exercises each round): Right Side Plank / Left Side Plank / Shoulder Taps
  • Round 11-15, LEGS
    • Spartans will lunge the first half up the hill, then sprint, merkin and return
    • Base Camp will pick ONE exercise and AMRAP until Spartans return (different exercise each round): Mountain Man Poopers, Monkey Humpers, Bolt 45s 
  • Round 16-20, ARMS [called here for time]
  • Round 20-25, CORE
  • Round 26-30, LEGS

Recover with 15 rounds completed. One half leftover to complete when the snow is gone.

COR/NOR/COT: |Prayers continued for Jazz Handz’ friends Lauren and Bryan — for Bloomer’s family — prayers for the PAX to keep pressing in and completing the hard things that await them in their week.

2.8.21 — Return of the Death-Sled

Mush! Mush! Mush!

On a lovely morning at AO Mastodon where it couldn’t decide if it was 1º or -1º, but 13 PAX posted for the first combined Ruck/Run day (Cookies, Shiplap, Da Vinci, Sparrow, Panhandle, Beaker, Big Mac, Jolly, Archive, Hand Warmer(FNG!), Crack, Banks, Capt Crunch). The Q had deliberated on whether some Dan Taylor variations or a PT Medley would best serve the PAX on a cold day.

Ultimately the snow and a desire to keep some good effort going the whole time got the better of him and he chose to enjoy the potentially fleeting opportunity to Q in sled-weather. And Feb seemed like a good month to work pulling muscles anyway. With the potential for a decent number of pullers on the team, a makeshift dog-sled harness was constructed to keep some distance while still affording a good 7-man team. An APB for weight of various kinds and the plan was set.


  • Motivators (the usual 7)
  • Mountain Man Poopers, IC x 14
  • Side Lunges, 14
  • Arm Circles, OYO for time
  • Michael Phelps

The Thang:

After our arm-heavy warm-up, the 5 Run Clubbers decided to peace out leaving 8 men to man the sled with 4 sand-bags and a spare ruck inside (estimated 280+ pounds). Rucks on, and sled behind we dragged to the near-bridge by Hoffa and dropped Banks into the sled. We proceeded to drag him across the island and then swapped him for “Old Nan’Tan” Archive and proceeded to the field of dreams.

Here the game changed slightly, to pay full homage to the “Bataan Death Sled” days of 2018 when we dragged tube-sand around the AO. We broke into teams of 4 and one team did 10 Merkins in the elbow deep snow and caught the other team to exchange the sled. After a few rounds Banks wisely recommended a non-hand exercise, and we opted for squats but transitioned quickly back to team-drag with one rotating rider.

Completing the circuit back to Hoffa gave us enough time to enjoy two very different hikes up the hill. The first time YHC enjoyed a well-timed turn in the sled. The second and final time, he made the ill-advised change of putting all of the rucks in the sled and having the now much lighter PAX drag a much heavier sled up at about half the speed of the previous attempt. Cresting the hill the final time, we saw run-club back from their 3.2 miles so we shoved the sled (and the Q) down the hill to rendezvous back at the parking lot.

It’s all fun and games from the comfy seat.

COR/NOR/COT: Prayers for health, especially Big Mac’s friends’ M finishing up chemo and Hot Box’s M as she weathers Covid — prayers that the PAX would keep the momentum of the day at work and home, that the week would be productive and we would support those who need added strength in their week.

1.20.21 — The Slippery Slope of the TAR PIT

A light dusting of overnight snow added a little sparkle to an already snowy Gloom. As the snow plows worked the parking lot, six hearty PAX (Shiplap, Banks, Cookies, Noodles, Tortuga, Captain Crunch(QIC)) (Flag count: 2; Tar Pit and Mastodon) found a spot to warm up before venturing to the location of their mystery beatdown.


  • Motivators IC x 7
  • Mountain Man Poopers IC x 15
  • Goofballs IC x 25
  • Jog to the slope on the peninsula (East end of the AO)
  • Dan Taylors down (up to 8+32)
Who lives here? Looks a lot like Dan Taylor’s house

A Bicycle Built for Three?

Arriving at the slope, the PAX found a pre-staged sled, dropped off at Crunch’s house in July by an anonymous PAX (thanks Gummi Bear!). The PAX added Banks’ sandbag to the current load of Bertha plus two rucks (pushing somewhere around 200 lbs). The TAR PIT flag stood about half-way down the peninsula, beckoning.

The groups divided up in teams of three, (Banks, Tortuga, Cookies) (Shiplap, Noodles, Crunch). Shiplap’s team took the first leg, and were “timed” by the number of reps the other team could complete before they returned. Lowest score wins that heat. The AMRAP team did Overhead Claps, Merkins, and Star Jumps.

Round 1: Sled Team with sand-bag, go down the hill around the flag and back up the hill.

Round 2: One PAX rides the sled until the final return slope.

Round 3: Stop the sled at the base of the hill, run the sandbags and rucks out around the flag and back, then re-load the sled and get up the hill.

The return trip

Banks’ team was decidedly victorious on each round, but graciously suggested that they owed it to some cleverness on their part in getting to rest before doing their reps and not letting us have the same break. YHC noted that they had two PAX with Yaktrax™ while we only had one, but couldn’t fault anyone but himself for being under-prepared for his own Q.

With time once again being the friend of the PAX, we called it and avoided a Tar Pit ABPOCALYPSE for the second time. Flags were collected and the gear sled dragged back to the parking lot.

COR/NOR/COT: Prayers for the good conclusion of Noodles’ internship — For Tortuga’s family travelling for the next month away from home and his responsiblity and virtue on the home front — for our country to be peaceful and responsible on this day as we inaugurate a new president and for our mutual respect and good will to grow from this low place — for the brothers across the nation to lead and serve well.

12.21.20 — The Three Kings

8 PAX (Gummi Bear (35!), Panhandle, Big Mac, Beaker, Jolly, Tortuga, Too Big To Fail, Capn Crunch (QIC)) started this week like it was any other, rucks shouldered in the Gloom, ready for whatever randomness awaited them.

Today, with Jupiter and Saturn converging overhead, it was also the meeting of too very opposing themes. On the one hand, the spirit of rivalry over who would ascend their hill more often or complete more cycles of reps for their team (Santa vs the Snowman). On the other, the spirit of honoring, following in the footsteps of the magi, humbly seeking to offer token offerings to the great king declared in the heavens. Afterwards they enjoyed a good loop around the park for old time’s sake.


  • Ruck-Motivators ICx5
  • Abe Vigoda ICx10
  • Mountain Man Poopers ICx12
  • Form Demo: Ruck Thrusters, ICx5
  • Form Demo: Ruck Swings OYOx10

The Thang: The Battle for the North Pole

Teams divided up at the base of Hoffa and each PAX took an exercise:

  • Seeking the Star — Hill sprint + 10 Ruck Merkins + 10 Ruck Star Jumps + return (one point for the full trip)
  • Offering Gold — Ruck Thrusters (each full set of 12 completed is one point)
  • Offering Frankincense — Ruck Swings (each full set of 25 completed is one point)
  • Offering Myrrh — Ruck Plank (no points. just do it)
    (PAX work on their exercise, completing sets until the Star Seeker returns. Then Star Seeker offers Gold, Gold offers Frankincense, Frankincense offers Myrrh, and Myrrh becomes the Star Seeker)
  • Once all PAX have been Star Seeker, the group lunge-walks away from Hoffa, while singing the first verse and chorus of We Three Kings. Then repeat the exercise AMRAP for 20 minutes. (about 4 full cycles)

Cooldown Ruck: Archive Mile ~ 15-16 min mile pace.

COR/NOR/COT: Prayer and praise for Tortuga’s daughter’s continued recovery after having 5 wisdom teeth pulled — for the spirit of Christmas to fill our homes and hearts and families this week, and for God’s presence to abide with us.

Meditation: May we, like the magi, offer our wealth, our prayers, and our bodies to the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords who has drawn near to us to save us from ourselves.

11.7.20 — Jacked!

MASTODON PAX: HotBox, Archive, Noodles, TBTF, Jolly, SAGA, Cookies, Panhandle, DaVinci, Beaker, DBC, Jazz Hands, Sparrow, Big Mac, Captain Crunch (QIC)

Special Mention: Shamu, Tortuga, T-Bone, Gummi Bear, and Wishbone(T-Bone’s 2.0) made the Name O Rama after touring 13.1 mi of Wheaton.

It was a gloriously warm November morning and the PAX were eager to close out on the first week of DaVinci’s madness, the last thing between them and the glories of decorated coupons was whatever came to mind in the twisted brain of YHC. With eyes on the prize they braced for impact.

Warm O Rama

  • Motivators 7 + 7 + 7
  • Batwings ICx20
  • Mountain Man Poopers ICx20

Thang 1: Jacked Dora 7-7-7

For each PAX, At least one hill-run (up) must be crawl-bear and another must be inch-worm another Bernie, lunge down. Reps below are split, except for Pistol Squats

  • 700 x Hundreds (or American Hammers)
  • 70 Pike Push-ups
  • 7 Pistol Squats (that’s 7 for each leg, for each PAX)

Yurpee for the 6! (Just a burpee with a clap merkin + 2-tuck jumps, no big.)

Followed by a plank circle with each PAX doing one Yurpee around the circle

Thang 2: Spartan (Light)

  • 5 x hill sprints with 10 merkins at the top

Thang 3: Yoga Time! But first, Ironsides!

Ol’ Ironsides (Boat/Canoe + IC x 20 American Hammers, repeat as needed. This time, just 2 rounds)

Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather, we did some light yoga for the last 15 min to help those who plowed through the week. Table, Low Lunge, Crescent, Half-Camel, Camel, then wrapping up with Pigeon, Half Happy Baby, Spinal Twist

COR/NOR/COT: Prayers for both Cookies and Hotbox as they hit the road for work this week and for good sleep for Jazz Hands and work opportunities for his M.

10.3.20 — The Menagerie Mile

17 PAX made it out for a standard 7:00 start at MASTODON (Fruit Loops, Sparrow, DaVinci, Archive, Noodles, Wet Burrito, CATS (the Musical), Jazz Hands, Cookies, Panhandle, Bloomer, Tortuga, Smokey, Double Beef n’ Cheddar, Loafers, Big Mac, Captain Crunch). The goal was to have a good memorable time and work out like animals.

Warm O Rama:

  • Motivators IC x 7
  • Goofballs x 15
  • Goofballs #2 IC x 15
  • Bat Wings (IC x 20 on each of the following: Forward Arm Circles, Backwards Arm Circles, Seal Claps, Overhand Claps)

Duck walk to the Tennis Courts

Thang #1: Animal Travel

  • Bird Dog IC x 20
  • Bear Crawl one tennis court
  • Orangutan one tennis court
  • Inchworm one tennis court
  • Lizard crawl one tennis court
  • Crunchy Frogs x 20
  • Crab walk one tennis court
  • Orangutan one tennis court
  • Alligator Merkin one tennis court
  • Lizard Crawl one tennis court

Duck walk to the other tennis courts

Thang #2: the primate house

  • Howling Monkeys, circles of 8-9 PAX each.

Repeat Thang #1 and Thang #2 (but three times around the Monkey circle with one round of Gorilla Humpers)

10 Minutes of Mary:

  • J-Lo #1 IC x 15 each leg
  • J-Lo #2 IC x 20
  • Flutters IC x 50
  • Flutters IC x 50

Lest one think there was no method to the madness, these exercises were all core and back focused, giving a good work out to the stabilizers that we depend on to not hurt ourselves. With any luck we all escaped injury this time around and helped work those muscles that will keep us from injury in the future.

COR / NOR / COT: Prayers for strength, courage, and endurance, for the week ahead — for unity for our nation and our people and healing for our president — that we may be examples of brotherly love and faithful witness amidst trying times — for TAR PIT, it’s growth, and our finding of the people who most need this in their lives.

9.26.20 — 3rd Anniversary Ruck

Every ENDEX is a new STARTEX.
14 Ruckers (Triple XXX (Family Restaurant), Wet Burrito, Cookies, SAGA, Smokey, Noodles, TBTF, Gummi Bear, Tortuga, DaVinci, Shiplap, Banks, Archive, Captain Crunch) Some old hands, some new recruits, some returning, some just waking up out of habit at this point.

All woke up slightly earlier than usual to commemorate three years of consistent effort at AO-MASTODON and to connect that with the breaking of new ground at AO-TAR PIT. Shovel flag in hand, they shouldered their rucks and started the trek. Having expressed their joy and affection in the heart-language of concrete blocks on Thursday, today they chose that brotherly, common language of time-under-load called “ruckership”.

Across differences of life experience and opinions about acceptable coffee-drinking pace and concerns about the Q’s sense of direction, the conversation flowed freely in the Gloom as the PAX rucked double-file. Work, unemployment, parenting, gardening, and the whole round world was ranged in our broad collection. YHC marveled at the assortment of interests and talents on display in such a narrow subset of individuals as had descended on F3 Wheaton in the past year. The miles ticked off quickly as the fellowship sped on in merriment.

Having received intelligence of a potential large object that could be “returned” to the dig-site of our mascot, we made a quick detour to try our strength against a discarded remnant of Perry (a broken chunk of telephone pole). While our heart was in the attempt, and even as the best among us were digging deep to soldier on at all costs, we ultimately saw wisdom less than 200 yards later. Nails, bulk, and the inability to get enough men underneath the load convinced us to let Perry repose in the Gloom only slightly nearer to our destination than before. We did however manage to bring a considerably smaller but no less symbolic relic of Perry along with us, and traded off carrying the more manageable load.

Crossing the new AO we wandered out the other side on to side streets and down dirt paths (even as the PAX’s doubts began to mount once more). But we had arrived at that forgotten remote spot where Perry had been unearthed years before. Our resident historian-bard, DaVinci said a few appropriate words to mark the occasion, and we set our relic adrift on the waters as the dawn rose.

Returning to the TAR PIT, Archive lead us in a prayer of gratitude and hope, as we asked for blessing on this AO and to the PAX who would labor there in the Gloom. Then, flag planted, and mindful of the time, we celebrated the moment with some Thrusters IC, before beginning the return trip to be present for the beatdown that was soon to take place at MASTODON.

The route home was direct, but hilly. YHC, unable to shake his one year of cross-country training, took it upon himself to charge up every hill of significant speed, exhorting the rest of the PAX to do the same. Flagging energy, but excellent pace saw the PAX quickly returned to their starting-place, to be greeted enthusiastically by the PAX who held down the day’s regular schedule. Partnering up, they moved seamlessly from Rucking to Blocks, to cap off not just an historic day, but an historic month for F3 Wheaton. And all before breakfast.

The PAX spent, they sat down to feast on burritos and (eventually) donuts and coffee. The energy of the day seemed a good omen for the group as we turned to our dual objectives of growing into two AOs and weathering the deepening Gloom of another Chicago winter.

9.18.2020 — EC Yoga Day, take 4!

As Shred-tember continues the valiant HIMs of F3-Wheaton have been making their mark. In order to survive the remainder of the month and keep pushing, they paused to limber up and catch their breath for the road ahead. And also to get one more coveted EC point.

Panhandle, Wet Burrito, Banks, DaVinci, and Crunch followed the flow set by their trusted yogi, Yoo Toob Vedayo. Mainly a reprise of the previous weeks to stretch out those legs and hips, YHC did add some slight modifications for warmth (it was 51 degrees at the start) and some upper-body spice with some extra sun-salutations and Crow-pose practice.

All in all another good day of limbering up despite the chill. We’ll see how next week goes as we round out Shred-tember!

COR/NOR/COT: prayers for Mrs. DaVinci on her birthday! — for Panhandle’s friends, one awaiting a cancer diagnosis and another with a court hearing — for the health of the group and Archive’s family in particular as they await testing results

9.14.20 — Ruck Merkin Mileage

While Crack had to bail to wake up early and move weight around like a crazy man, Crunch managed another ruck-day take-over in which 9 PAX (Archive, Shiplap, Big Mac, SAGA, DaVinci, Gummi Bear, Panhandle, Sparrow, Captain Crunch (QIC)) woke up early and moved weight around like crazy men. At least Crack had the excuse that he was paid. For the rest of us, grit was its own reward. The brief was very simple, with the added benefit of prepping for IPC on Wednesday.


  • Motivators (no ruck) IC x 7
  • Don Quixotes IC x 15

The Thang:

  • 400m ruck + shuffle
  • 25 Ruck Merkins
  • 50 Squats (after round 1, down-graded to 30 squats, but with good form)
  • Repeat the above 4 times, circling the park

The Extra:

The circle completed at the hill, where we marked off the distance from one fence to the other. AMRAP of the below (we ended after about 2 rounds):

  • 20 Lunges (each leg)
  • Bear Crawl Ruck Drag (30m)
  • 20 Overhead Press
  • Rucked to the flag for a quick set of Flutters IC x 40

COR/NOR/COT: Prayers for the people, property, and emergency workers in California and for an end to the fires. — for integrity in our work, home and personal lives — for Wheaton’s campus and the general health of our city.

MOLESKIN: On the heels of two 6-packs, finally having gotten consistent about bedtimes, waking times. (after 3 years) Really appreciating the gauntlet being thrown down this month and the opportunity to be as regular as I’ve wanted to be with my morning routines. Still approaching that 100 merkin hurdle on IPC week 3 with some trepidation, but we’ll see how Wednesday goes.

9.11.20 — IPC week 3 EC Recovery Yoga

After a long week of solid posts and getting after coupons, squats, and general exertion, YHC invited and guilted various PAX down to the AO for some active recovery. The recipe was the same (see previous lists), but except for myself and Big Mac the players were all different! 6 PAX (Gummi Bear, Crack, Big Mac, SAGA, Tortuga, Captain Crunch) posted for the typical jog and some good time stretching out.

Nicely cool but no breeze. The clouds gave us a slight misting at the end as we wound down, which was well timed as a soft closing to our week. The feeling after was very chill and loose among all the PAX (check the Name-o-rama vid!).

COR/NOR/COT: Prayers for flexibility and grace with others and sustainable effort through the weeks — against injury and over extending — for the wisdom to know when to rest and to abide