P.A.R.E otherwise referred to as S.U.C.K.
If you have never heard of the P.A.R.E, it’s the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation that you must pass in order to be recruited as either an R.C.M.P officer or a C.B.S.A. officer (Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Canadian Border Services Agency) Personally I am going to refer to the PARE as the SUCK from this point onward. S.U.C.K; seriously unconventional contortions kids.
I am writing about the S.U.C.K. because I have decided to take a complete left turn in my career goals. I am currently in the process of applying to become a Canadian Border Services Agency Officer. In order to be accepted to the training college in Rigaud Quebec you must first pass the S.U.C.K.
If you have already ran the S.U.C.K and have passed then you will refer to this blog as unnecessary because well, you’re a super hero and you passed it with flying colors in a mere 2.2 minutes and negative seconds. I, however, a mere mortal, am having the utmost difficulty wrapping my head around this unbeatable unsurmountable unkind and unconventional obstacle course. Could be my age, or my mind, or a combination of both, who knows? All I know is that this course is beating me and I haven’t even toe’d the starting line.
What does the S.U.C.K. consist of?
20 foot run to obstacle #1 – The cone! Haha! Ok, so that’s not terrifying, however, after you round the cone, there is another 20 foot run, somewhere in the middle there is a 5 foot mat (yoga mat) and you have to jump it mid 20 foot run. Don’t let your feet land on the mat because if you do, that’s a 5 second penalty! CONE! Round the cone and you have a staircase. You have to run up one side and down the other and back up and down again; another 20 foot run and CONE! Round that one and it’s 2 hurdles snuck in between the next 20 foot run. Jump those hurdles and it’s CONE! Round the cone and you have to vault a 3 foot wall, then do a controlled fall (think BURPEE) either on your front or back and run to the finish… you have to do the circuit 6 times! Yep, 6! No, that’s not a typo, it really is 6 (SIX) times following that, you have to go to a “push/pull station”. I have yet to meet this contraption, but as far as I can tell, you have to push and pull a weight around a 180 degree half circle touching one side of a wall and the other with the outside of your foot … it’s supposed to simulate struggling with a person whom is under arrest… you have to do complete this circuit in LESS THAN 4 minutes and 45 seconds! Following that, if you haven’t died, or thrown up or called your mother, you then have to carry an 80 pound sand bag an undetermined amount of feet. That’s it. Done. Easy peasy right?
I consider myself to be a fairly fit 40 something, I mean, I typically hit the gym for some boot camp on Monday’s and Thursdays, Wed is YOGA, Tues and Fri I typically go for a short run and do a long run on the weekend. Passing the S.U.C.K. should be easy right? Everyone that knows me says “What are you so worried about? You are going to KILL this!” Granted, they haven’t seen me jump, sprint, lift or BURPEE; burp? Yes! BURPEE? Hard no.
When you initially apply for the CBSA, on the website, it asks you if you have passed the PARE, I selected no, it then tells you that it’s in your best interest to attempt and pass as soon as possible. It then goes on to say that the process is typically a 2 year process. As long as you pass your Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms courses before you apply, the PARE can be done as soon as possible. ALL righty then. Fast forward to beginning of year 2. I still have not completed my PARE and it’s getting close. What I mean is I have passed every other aspect of this process, it’s just the S.U.C.K. that I have left to do.
I looked online at the acceptable testing facilities near me and the closest one is in Moncton. MONCTON? Really? Ugh, that sucks! I was feeling confident so I emailed the coordinator to inquire about an appointment date. Turns out he is only testing until the 11th of December then he won’t be back until the 8th of Jan. The cost to take the test is $60.00 Ugh. Not only was I thinking I’d better be able to pass the first time due to the drive, I also best be able to pass for the cost of taking the darn thing. Double ugh. I initially opted for the 11thof December, but considering it’s so close and I still can’t jump, lift, sprint or BURPEE, I chickened out and changed it for the 8th of Jan. The jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll make that date. Such began the search to pass the SUCK.
I googled and googled and googled so much that my eyes turned into those little plastic eyes you paste on teddy bears. I quickly found out just how fit a person needs to be in order to be successful at the SUCK. ( I probably should have spent as much time squatting, sprinting, lifting and burping ah burpeeing that I did googling). Apparently it’s pretty fit. I downloaded exercises and the map of the PARE and my dear hubby actually set up a course (complete with 3 foot wall) in our backyard. I attempted the course and quickly realized that I can’t jump a 5 foot mat. Like literally. CAN NOT DO IT. I spoke with the SUCK coordinator in Moncton and he advised me that I need to work on interval training because the SUCK is very different than the marathon type long and slow running I’m used to. I spoke with a trainer at 360 fit who told me that the 5 foot mat jump sounded like an impossible feat, he really seemed shocked that it was something they would put on a test. Seeing his shock and horror really took the breeze out of my already quite deflated sails. (after I left with my head hanging low and my stride slow and defeated I decided he must have thought I was jumping UP 5 feet (like on a box) not ACROSS 5 feet)
I’m not a quitter. Back to the computer I went to try and figure out exactly what I needed to do in order to get proficient at this PARE. Surely there are exercises I can do to get me more comfortable jumping. Surely there are trainers out there that know what the SUCK is and know how to condition people to jumping. To my pleasant surprise, THERE IS! In BC. Ugh! (Redline Condirioning sounds like an awesome place to check out if you are in the area)
I have upped my interval training, if you have never heard of Jacob’s Ladder, I suggest you try and find a gym that has one, this thing is AMAZING! I can only do about 1-2 minutes at a time before I want to vomit and have to stop. I have done it twice now and I already feel my anaerobic conditioning improving. I’ve upped my lifting, well, I’ve upped it from nothing. I’ve been practicing my mat jumping and still can’t do it, but I’m still not giving up. I still have a little more than 4 weeks before I take my test and I plan on working my butt off until I get it. If I still can’t do the jump by then I will just put it off again until I can.
If you are looking for some training to either help YOU pass a PARE or just to up your anaerobic conditioning or tone up your muscles, the folks atwww.leofitness.ca have some amazing workouts and instructional videos available for free to help you out. They even have provided a 16 week Training Program that will take you from zero conditioning to hero conditioning where you can not only pass your PARE but probably set a PARE PR! Ha! This program is available for a fee, much cheaper than hiring a personal trainer. They are always available via email as well to help answer any questions you may have. They have been very helpful to me and I wanted to share their page with you. Even if you’re not training for the SUCK, you might find some useful tips and tricks to take you to the next level in your training.
As for me and my CBSA goals, well, I guess I’ll keep you posted.
I began my running journey in March of 2009. I began my journey of faith in September of 2012. Running releases stress from my body while my new found faith releases stress from my mind.