Firefighter Challenge training. I'm too old for this s**t!

Allright, this being my first blog, I'll try to stay on task. I started strength training about three weeks ago for a Firefighters Challenge coming up at Cody Fire School in May. It will resemble a CPAT test and a few of the same challenges at the National Challenge (not as long of a course). I am turning 40 in June but dont feel it. I am in pretty good shape (so I thought) and am just trying to finish as close to the top 10 as I can. Chances are good because they appear to only have 8 or 9 guys sign up so far. After setting up a training course at the fire hall yesterday, Im not so sure this was a good idea! Holy crap!! I suggest that the next time someone spouts off about how good of shape they are in, get them into some turnouts and pack up with air flowing and try running one of these courses
1. Crawl 15 feet under 5 barriers- 1 second penalty for knocking off barrier.
2. Keiser Sled
3. Zig-Zag through 6 cones- 1 second penalty for knocking cone over
4. Drag Charged hose 50 feet and then open nozzle to hit target
5. Pull a 75 lbs drag box 25 feet toward you.
6. Simulate overhaul with pike pole knocking over 4 cans, 2 by pulling down and 2 by pushing up, 1 sec pentaly for knocking the can the wrong way.
7. Drag a 110 lbs dummy 50 feet.(ours is 140)

This by no means as difficult as many challenges out there, but it certainly humbled me. As I was finishing the course, I thought my chest was going to explode. It took everything out of me for the rest of the day. I couldnt even get up to go to the gym this morning. I was spent. Now that I have run the course, I have a bit more respect for the competition. I will modify my workouts to target what was really sore today as well as place much more stock in the cardio aspect. Im not to keen on the idea of my wife spending the life insurance with some young kid when she gets the call that I had a heart attack at fire school. Dont ask what my time was on the course, my Asst. Chief was laughing too hard to start and stop the watch. He says he will do better next time.

Cheers All!
Doug

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Comment by Jenny Holderby on March 16, 2008 at 2:41am
Several years ago (mid 90s) before the Firefighter challenge became popular, I took a class @ our local annual fire school, "Advanced SCBA". Late August, 90+ deg temps, 70% humidity, kinda hot & sticky without full PPE. But we donned our gear, ran up a 3 story smoke tower carrying a roll of 1.5" hose & let it down to the ground with a rope, then back down the stairs (I don't rapel) & hit the sled, drug the dummy through the cones, crawled through the pipe that I had to take my SCBA off & push through in front of me then put back on & then RUN back to the starting line. Well, for some stupid reason, although I was about to drop and not even upset that it took my middle age body with short legs several minutes longer to complete than the young muscle guys, my bell had just started to go off on my pack. My instructor wasn't happy with that. He wanted the face piece to suck in & touch my nose so I had to walk around & around ( I couldn't run) until i ran completely out of air. It took 38 minutes for me to FINALLY get to the END of the tank. I thought my lungs would burst!!! Then after I took the pack off, my butt hit the concrete. My sugar was 43, I was dehydrating & suffering heat exhaustion. I can still feel the burn if I think about it. But I did it!!!
I have never worked that hard @ any fire, working on a farm or giving birth to either of my children.
A couple of years later the fire fighter challenge was offered @ another regional school. I watched. These days when they say Fire Fighter challenge, I offer to keep time.
Good luck. Jen
Comment by Doug Fisher on March 14, 2008 at 2:14pm
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I also used to smoke quite a bit (college and shortly after) I still enjoy a backwoods cigar but I am even now trying to quit them. Im feeling much better after hitting the gym this AM. I do think I'll give the challenge course a break till next week. At least now I know what lies ahead.
Comment by Wolfy Lang on March 14, 2008 at 9:29am
The City of Columbia SC uses the Challenge as their physical entrance exam. That being said, I smoke a pack of Marlboro's a day. WHEN I was 25 or so, I went to do this without really knowing what it was all about. BIG mistake for me. I out did some pretty beefy guys who couldnt complete the course which kinda impressed me. But by the time I was done in 4:47 EVERYTHING glowed. Buildings, people, lines in the road. Now that I am a couple years past 40, I would probably pass out. I feel for ya brother. Stamina is important. and remember, SHORT CHOPPY Strokes on the dead sled work better than beating it to death

Peace and Fair Journeys
Wolfy
Comment by Joe Stoltz on March 13, 2008 at 10:24pm
Yeah. Makes my muscles ache just reading your blog. They say life begins at 40, unfortunately your body isn't the same as it was at 30.

TCSS Doug

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