A fierce competition. The reigning champ. Punishing conditions. Danger. This is why we came.

Wait! Don’t click away!

Why would you want to read this post?

  • To know a story of toughness and determination.
  • To be treated to enthralling images of tropical southern California.
  • To take a 5-minute vacation in your mind.  🙂

Come along with me as I set the stage…

Fierce competition: The most fit United States Marine from each base around the world, the best of the best, 17 males and 16 females, came to take the challenge.

Reigning champ: Calie. She won last year after training for 3 months for each specific event with the HITT trainers. This year she did NOT train as her body was too beat up from passing the Martial Arts Instructor course the month before. (Bruised and swollen elbow, sore knees and back, etc.)

Punishing conditions:  Back-breaking events and the HOT weather (official attire: longs pants and boots!)

Danger: A challenging swim. I won’t spoil it here. Details later.

Seven grueling events were planned for the week to determine who would be crowned champion. Certainly enough to put a mother on edge!

Hey! Welcome back if you’ve traveled with me to San Diego! If not, click here and here for the first two adventurous days of the trip. (The first “day” lasted 26.5 hours!)

You know the feeling, seeing your child give his/her all. Volleyball, music, soccer, dance, football, gymnastics. Pushing, straining, in pain, never quitting. Or perhaps it was you on that field, in that gym. Recall.

Well, that’s what Rick and I experienced watching Calie defend her title last summer through unbelievably demanding challenges. Exciting, yes, but oh so tough on the nerves! Today’s post will chronicle 2 of the 4 days of the competition.

2017 Marine HITT competition

First morning of the competition

Me and my shadow, with camera ready for action

HITT competition 2017

Part of Calie’s support team

This was the HITT (high-intensity tactical training) challenge which took place at Camp Pendleton in California last summer. Each morning there would be an event at the Fieldhouse. The afternoon would see us elsewhere.

Bright and beautiful, the sunny morning oozed with anticipation.

1st event: Make 8 trips across the width of the football field (50 yards), each time doing something different, sprinting, push-ups, rope maneuvers, etc. That’s 400 yards as fast as you can go!

As the champ, Calie went first for event #1, but for all the other events she went last.

Oh boy, here we go!

Reigning champ of the Marine's HITT competition

10 rope power jacks, broad jumps, then sprint to other side

Event #1 of the HITT challenge

Push-ups, then sprint

HITT competition on Camp Pendleton

10 Barbell snatch high pulls, 75 lbs. Notice the trainer encouraging her!

There was MUCH more, this is just a small sampling of what the athletes accomplished during their first event.

Calie placed 2nd in this event, 3.38 seconds behind 1st place.

Scoring was based on the completion time for the entire course.

The last-place girl took over 10 minutes to complete the course. Calie took a little over 5 mins. How they do so much in that small amount of time is incredible!

Massage table at HITT

A reward well-earned! Massages were available for the competitors. See her swollen elbow?

After a lunch break, event #2 commenced.  Maneuver Under Fire was held at the Paintball Park.

That was fun to watch; I’d never played or seen paintball in action.

Paintball Park, Camp Pendleton

Paintball Park, setting for event #2.

Calie came in 1st by 7.55 seconds!

Marine in the HITT challenge

She survived the paint attacks. Snipers shot at them as they performed their maneuvers.

Palm tree

Nice tree, hot day!

Palm tree

I couldn’t resist!!  😆

What an adrenaline-producing day! Calie did well.  🙂

With the competition done for the day, Rick and I tarried at the Pier and

later enjoyed a simple, beautiful evening with dinner on our balcony.

Waves coming in at Oceanside Pier


Waves on Pacific Ocean at Oceanside, CA

Same-colored sky and sea

The intriguing Oceanside Pier

The imposing Pier

Decked out bicycles at Oceanside Pier

You never know what you’ll see down at the beach!

Pacific Views Lodge

Simple dinner  🙂

Camp Pendleton sunset

See the ocean in the back? Goodnight Pendleton!

Welcome to day 2 of the HITT Challenge. Another gorgeous morning to start the events.

(I wish I was there right now!)

Paige Fieldhouse on Camp Pendelton

Picture perfect day

The morning’s event consisted of 8 trips back and forth again, but with different components than yesterday.

HITT Challenge, 2017

Calie talking to the man in charge of the competition. (the HITT-man!)

Day 2 HITT Challenge, 2014

Imagine doing this with a sore, swollen elbow!

The competition was tough!

Calie placed 2nd by 1.39 seconds in the morning’s event!

After lunch, as the temperature climbed fiercely, we set out for a place called Engineers Hill. Brush, rocks, barely any trees; basically the desert.

We baked in the 100-degree shade as canopies offered meager protection.

The Tactical Hill climb was on tap. Picture this:

Travel 200 yards up the hill; pick up a rubber rifle with no sling. (I believe it weighed 8 lbs.)

Travel 200 more yards continuing up the hill with the rifle and pick up a 30-lb ammo can.

Continue on another 200 yards (uphill) with the rifle and ammo can and put on a 40-lb pack.

Travel the final 200 yards up the hill with the rifle, ammo can, and pack to cross the finish line! 

In the desperate heat each (female) Marine wore a cami, t-shirt, long pants, tall socks, and boots, as she ran 800 yards uphill!  😳


One female Marine did suffer heat exhaustion.

Engineers Hill event, Marine HITT Challenge, 2017

 At the starting line…(Calie is 2nd from the left)

Tactical Hill Climb on Engineers Hill

I can only say GRUELING!

HITT Engineers Hill run

She not only survived the run, but won!  😯

Calie finished 1st, coming in 32.07 seconds ahead of 2nd place!


We went back to our place before going to Ruby’s on the pier for dinner with Calie and Kayla. The landscaping around the lodge cried fun, and I just had to explore! See below for a spattering of the unique plants.

Suite in the Pacific Views Lodge

Our room was like a little apartment

Pacific Views Lodge with mountains in the distance

Nice view  🙂

Small fuzzy baby leaf

This leaf starts out so tiny, but ends up huge!

Tree with giant leaves on Camp Pendleton

Walking around the lodge I came upon this interesting tree; its leaves are HUGE.

Huge leaf from a tree on Camp Pendleton

Look at the size of this leaf!

Blue aloe vera plant

It’s nice how they coordinate the color of their plants and pipes  😎

Striking green plant at Pacific Views Lodge

Delightfully large plant

Purple fuzzy plant

I usually manage to spy a purple flower around somewhere!

The amazing Oceanside Pier

Finally, sunny blue skies greeted us at the pier.

We took in more sights and after we consumed burgers and fries, we waited for the sunset to put on its show.

Beautiful day at Oceanside Pier

This is the first sunny day we had at the beach  😎

Seagull on Oceanside Pier

These guys were pretty tame

Oceanside Pier

I’d like to be on that balcony at sunrise and sunset!

Palm trees and ocean

Ahhhh. Palm trees as far as the eye can see!

Under Oceanside Pier

Getting near to the “golden” hour

Kelp (seaweed)

Golden seaweed

Oceanside Pier

See the restaurant at the end of the pier? We ate there.

Strolling on Oceanside Pier

Heading to Ruby’s at the end of the pier.

Dinner at Ruby’s

Oceanside Pier

You know Bootstrap Bill? That’s what I felt like here!

Enjoying sundown at the pier!

Stunning and serene images captured my attention that night.

Calie “introduced” me to the Pacific Ocean as we waded in together. It was surreal!

Golden waves of Pacific Ocean near Oceanside Pier

Golden scenery

Mesmerizing waves under Oceanside Pier

Fascination held me spellbound under the pier

Mom and daughter walking on the beach at sunset

My first time in the Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean golden sunset

Making treasured memories!

Sunset under Oceanside Pier

Pretty awesome scene!

The orange sun going down under Oceanside Pier.

Night settling in

Oceanside beach at sunset

A sublime ending to a wonderfully-eventful day!

Four events completed, 3 to go. As of now, Calie’s in 1st place by 2 points.

Tomorrow’s field event is strenuous,

 and the danger I mentioned at the beginning looms in the afternoon!

I do hope you enjoyed your mini-vacation.  😀

Be on the lookout for the next installment of our adventures in San Diego.

Can’t you feel the water on your feet?! ⇒

Waves coming in under Oceanside Pier
Even the seagulls like to walk on the beach at sunset

Even the seagulls enjoy a walk on the beach at sunset!  😀

Be sure to check out my Giving Grace Facebook page for weekly doses of delight.

I’m in the business of spreading joy.  😉

I will bid you adieu for now.

Blessings and blooms,


Thanks for sharing this post! See purple buttons below. I would love some feedback.


Author: Pam

Glad you’re here!