Editor’s note: One of our friends and readers at SOFREP, Heath Hansen, has frequently contributed to our site with his experiences. Here is another story of his, and you’ll no doubt enjoy this one as much as his other fine work. 

November 1st, 2017. I get a call from my buddy — my buddy rarely calls me: when we communicate, it’s through text messages. “What’s up, bro?” I asked. “Hey, my Ragnar teammate just got called for duty, he can’t make the race. We need a runner.” I didn’t know what a Ragnar Race was, but the name sounded interesting and I accepted the invitation. “Oh yeah, one more thing, every person on the team was in the Marine Corps. You and I are the only Army vets.” “Great,” I sarcastically replied.

I decided to read up on the Ragnar Race. The info revealed I had nine days to train for a race that required roughly 14 miles of running. The race would take place over the course of two days at the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, a 25,000-acre preserve in the middle of the Southern California mountains. The terrain would be treacherous — up and down mountains, patches of thick vegetation, and rocky paths. On top of this, I wasn’t a runner — in fact, I hated running with a passion. Luckily I did CrossFit workouts regularly and had a pretty clean diet. At least I wasn’t starting from rock bottom.

The next day I decided to go for a four-mile run near my house in south San Diego. It sucked, but I finished without stopping and maintained a pace of about 8 minutes per mile. The next two days I was extremely sore but managed to do a few more short runs leading up to the 10th of November.