GORUCK – Memorial Day Weekend – Light AAR

I was excited and nervous for my second GORUCK event. A light challenge in Chapel Hill over Memorial Day weekend. The theme of the event was Honor the Fallen.

A little back story on getting ready for the event.

After my last light event I realized I needed to up the intensity and frequency of rucking PT workouts and training. I was in the middle of a cycle of Pathfinder Training but had neglected the workouts in favor of the part of the challenges and the miles. I had to rush to get over half the workouts and 2 challenges done in the last few weeks to finish the program. There is a weekly recommended workout and there have been some GORUCK workouts as part of their monthly virtual challenges. I love the pathfinder program and plan on doing it for a long time, but personally i needed some more direct guidance on the workouts. After listening to an All Day Ruckoff on Heavy Drop Training and learning it was for all ability levels not just folks who wanted to do a Heavy, I reached out. HDT has 3 workouts, a care package, which is an amrap and either a run or a ruck every week. Sounded like what i was looking for to compliment Pathfinder, helping me with specific workouts. HDT was in the middle of a cycle but Bryan made an exception to let me in during the middle of the round. I got 3 weeks of workouts in before the Memorial Day Light. I felt better prepared and yet still a little nervous on what was coming our way.

To make matters more interesting, the weather has turned HOT earlier than normal. Highs in the upper 80s and low 90s all week. I reached out to my group of Pathfinder and got some great advice on tapering leading I to the event and about hydrating the week of and during the event. That advice was crucial to my success.

Event day comes and I roll up to the start point. Say hi to a few people I recognize and get everything ready. We do the admin portion and learn there won’t be a welcome party. The weight and the miles will be our main instructors of the day.

Sandbags. 3 – 80s. 5 – 60s. 4 – 40s.

1 can and 2 bladders full of water. And a team weight that the team leader carried.

We headed out and on the first evolution we just called out for “can anyone take the …..” and if you were lucky someone was ready to take your weight for a minute before you went to relieve someone else.

About 10 minutes into that first ruck I realized that the mouthpiece to my source hydration bladder had come off. I guess the good news is that they are designed to be able to be removed, so I wasn’t just leaking water, but I couldn’t drink any. One guy who had done several of these came by and reminded me to drink and I told him I couldn’t. He said he had an extra mouthpiece and he’d give it to me at the first stop we had. He was in F3, and his name is Uzi. Uzi really saved my ass and made the event bearable for me. I was going to ask the group of anyone had an extra but knowing that someone did and I’d have it in a bit was a relief. I’ll be ordering an extra or two so I can repay the favor and pay it forward sometime down the road.

After a good ways we stopped under some trees in a church yard.

We had some lessons taught by the Cadre and then had time to share stories on why we were there for Memorial Day. About half the class spoke and it was great hearing the why of so many.

Before we set off again we organized ourselves into 4 smaller teams. My team of 5 was awesome. We had a bladder, 40#, 60# and 80# sandbags. We rotated through them in a set order. I’m not sure the order was the best but we were at the front of the group, right behind the flag and helped set a good pace. That 80# bag was a monster.

I’m right behind the flag In these photos, with the 80#er. I would rotate off that onto a brief rest period before we would rotate again. I tried to keep getting fluids in as it was so hot.

We stopped again after about 4 miles, talked about what was working and what wasn’t. These are the times to get some food, go to the bathroom and refill water.

We changed team leaders and set out for the final few miles as we headed back to endex. Somewhere in the final mile to mile and a half the toll of all the coupons and the heat was catching up to me. I had to stop rotating into the 80# bag and ended up sticking with the 40 the last mile, until the Cadre stared eliminating a few coupons. I am in awe of the folks who kept rotating those monsters around and doing work. Our mission changed up the teams in the last half mile and we had less coupons. The team work and communication was still required because a lot of us were slowing down a bit.

One thing I noticed in the third evolution, was the front group and the flag had to be called to slow down many times. The back of the group was moving a touch slower and the group was splitting. That’s not something that is allowed. I think it would be interesting to take a few of the people that were slower and get them up front behind the flag. It might help give them some confidence in not falling behind and they might surprise themselves by going faster with other GRTs on your heels.

We rolled back into the park where we endexed. The class was roughly half men and half women and let me be the first to tell you, that everyone did amazing. Every person on our team that day carried some heavy stuff and just about everyone had the 80 on their back for a while.

Another thing I noticed out in the middle that it might be a good suggestion to rotate people in and out of the flag position because while they have a lot on their shoulders for pace setting the flag is usually lighter than other coupons and if they don’t also have a team weight it might be a way to keep some other folks fresh longer.

Cadre Blackdog and Cadre Doc spoke a little. Chris (aka Blackdog) said he wanted to see about a non welcome party event where the coupons and the miles did the work. I thought they did a great job with the event. The lessons in team work and communication were good and everyone got a heck of a workout.

Class Photo
I made it! You really do have to earn these patches.
Lou!
Uzi! The man, the myth, the Legend!
Mike – aka The year of the GORUCK

Corey! -Love this dude

That was one hot event. We covered nearly 7 miles with a lot of heavy items and had to really work together to keep moving forward.

It’s amazing at how different events can be. This is only my second and I’m looking forward to more in the future. Every Cadre has a rough outline of time to go by but can run the events as they see fit. Not knowing what you’re getting while you are there is a way to really get outside your comfort zone. I want to keep working to improve my fitness and endurance so one day I’m the guy who is still grabbing the heaviest item at the end to help out someone else.

Is GORUCK really building better Americans. It seems that way. The people that come out for this are already great people but getting some real world team work, leadership and communication training only makes people better. Better members of their families, work teams and communities. That’s pretty amazing.

GORUCK Constellation Changes for 2020

Cadre Machine was on the GORUCK show with Bomber and Lee today and gave a lot of details about the new constellation events. I’ve heard they were changing but hadn’t heard much else about them until today. If you are a member of the Tough our check out the interview. Below are a few notes i jotted down while watching.

If you are interested in more of the firearms training that GORUCK does check out the All Day Ruckoff podcast episode 41.

Some highlights of the Constellation changes:

Taking the parts of Jedburgh and Trek that were awesome and Incorporating them into constellation.

There will be 4 survival type courses.

  1. Constellation
  2. Navigator
  3. Ascent
  4. Immersion

Beta testing is happening in Miami or Fort Lauderdale later this fall, and also in Texas this fall.

Some of the events will be on the calendar in time for the Christmas in July sale.

Machine said that there would be 12, twenty four hour events. One a month happening all over.

He went on to say that constellation would also have 12 hour events that would run 8am – 8pm. (Maybe 15 hours if that’s what it takes to get the material in.)

I’m guessing those will be the normal version and that there will be more access to those than the 24 hour version.

Many of them will be done in conjunction with (Fire Rescue?)

And many will have a Force on Force event the next day from 8-5.

He said “this is going to be badass”, we will be repelling, getting CS gas training, hot working cars, locking picking, “all kinds of cool shit”.

I am very excited about the 2020 Constellation events. I did the 6 hour course this year and really wish I would have signed up for the 12. I wanted to learn more. 6 hours was great but it wasn’t enough time. The new curriculum sounds amazing.

Bitcoin Pizza Day & GORUCK

Pizza Patch

Bitcoin Pizza Day. Wait, that’s a thing?

It’s funny how you learn about things sometimes. I’d heard of bitcoin. I’d read a few articles about it a few years ago but hadn’t thought much about it since.

I saw a photo of the above patch on twitter a few months ago and was blown away at how cool it looked.

To learn about how this patch came to be and a little bit of background on Bitcoin Pizza Day read this GORUCK blog post.

Then if you want to see a twitter account that tells you what the worth of this pizza in today’s value is go here. @bitcoin_pizza

So, I decided I’d figure out how this worked. Ruck My Life on Twitter gave me a little info and then I headed off to Coinbase to make an investment. After a few weeks I was ready to be able to spend those bitcoins I purchased. The Padded Hip Belt from GORUCK is what I bought and man has it been a game changer for some longer rucks and ruck pt.

Bonus, I got this sweet patch. Win. Win.

I have no idea how long these patches will be around. I got mine in April 2019.

 

First Pint Given

I’d been looking to donate blood for a little while now. Seems like something simple to do and it would make a difference.

I just hadn’t found the right time. Once it was storming, like Tornado warnings. Another day something for work came up.

Last week I had an open morning and there was a blood drive happening not far from me.

Signed up, went over and got it done.

It’s a fairly simple process. Answer some questions. Have your iron checked. Get hooked up and go.

It didn’t take long to fill up the bag. I felt fine afterwards but didn’t workout that day. They recommend nothing strenuous the rest of the day so I adhered and took a rest day.

I plan on giving regularly from here on out. If you are able, I’d recommend that you try giving some as well.

GORUCK Bataan Light 2019 AAR

The first event. How can you not be a little nervous? Be warned, if you are reading this, you’re entering into a lengthy read.

As the date of April 7, 2019 kept getting closer I was nervous and excited. Ready to try a GORUCK event and worried I’d be the weakest link.

I rucked a ton in January for the Resolution Challenge. Kept it rolling in February and capped the month out with miles and miles of Rucking Disney. March, I took a week off. Then got a terrible stomach bug. Then focused on the CrossFit Open. Back on the wagon in April, but kicking myself that I hadn’t done more to prepare. I certainly felt nervous.

The start point was about an hour and a half from my house. Determined not to rush or be late due to traffic, unless it was out of my control, I left about 2 hours and 45 minutes prior to go time. Hit one rest stop. Then grabbed a few very plain (chicken, rice & cheese) tacos at Chipotle. Only ate 2 because I didn’t want too much sitting on my stomach.

As I pulled up to the start area I was immediately a little more comfortable. There were people milling about, chatting, smiling, getting their gear ready and more. I was more comfortable once I got there because A- I knew I wasn’t late, but more so because B- it looked just like a run or bike rose starting area and I’m comfortable and familiar with that atmosphere.

Soon after my buddy Josh from the Camel City Ruck Club rolled up. I said hello to him and he gave me the 12 Mile Ruck patch from the January Ruck Club callout. It’s a cool patch but not the one I came to earn on this day. After I finished getting ready and dropped off the can food from the GRT led service project I headed down to the front area with Josh. He introduced me to a few people and we talked for a few minutes until it was officially time to get the show on the road.

There were about 80 signed up and about 55 or so that actually toed the line. We had two Cadre, in GORUCK your cadre is the leader of the event. They are all former or current US Special forced military members. We had Fagan, from SC and Cleve from Jersey.

This GORUCK Challenge Light event was the third event of the weekend. The Heavy is a 24 hour event with about 40 miles of rucking. The Tough is 12 hours and up to 20 miles. The Light is 5 hours and 7-10 miles.

If you’re crazy you can sign up for multiple events in the same weekend. If you’re insane you do all 3 and earn a special designation as psycho, kidding. You become a HTL finisher. An amazing endurance feat. There were 7 or 8 hitting the third leg of their HTL as we started the light.

Many of the events are themed and this one was Bataan Death March. I’ll include some links below so you can actually learn a little about this historical event. It’s wild. Take the time to learn a little about it.

Bataan Survivor Story

Bataan Survivor Story – 2

Bataan Survivor Story – 3

We were broken into 2 predetermined teams. A quick gear check to see ID, Water, Weight and Quitters Cash and we were on our way to a soccer field for some PT. (Physical Training)

We were told that another cadre had passed away for Cancer in the prior week. We would be doing the workout that was created to honor him. That was out welcome party.

Rooney WOD:

Cash in: 400m Run

5 Rounds

75- 4 count mountain climber

75 Squats

200m Run

75 – 4 count – Flutter Kicks

75 – 4 count – Arm Claps

Cash out: 400m run

We rotated team members in the middle of the circle to count out the reps and when to break. I jumped in during a round of the squats, the movement of the 4 that I was comfortable with. Cleve has his drone out and I came away with this cool picture.

That took us about 2 hours. We were sufficiently smoked after that.

We went back to the start point to get all of our coupons. And I do mean ALL of our coupons. Cadre Fagan like to make sure everyone has something so they don’t feel left out. Thankfully there were some veterans on each team that helped organize things and distribute them. The pushed us pretty hard to get the stuff and get ready to head out.

Around the school. Down a big hill and off to a park we went. Cadre Fagan team had an early lead when we caught them. Then teams became intermingled and spaced out. There was some shouting, yelling and some lack of team work for a bit. The liter was being carried by 4 people and i took a turn on it pretty early. I didn’t stay under it as long as i wish i could have, but i was under it for longer than i was comfortable being. That thing was so heavy. Cadre Cleve’s team took a moment to regroup and then we headed down a different street from the other team. As much to get ourselves together as to shave some time. Once we made that split, we got a little more organized and made good time. We beat the other team to the park by several minutes. We grabbed some water, snacks if you had them and wanted them and at that point we started sharing some of the stories of Bataan that we had researched. I ate some beef jerky, drank some water with Nuun tabs and finished it off with some sour patch jelly beans. After the other team arrived we all shared some more stories from Bataan and got some lessons from the cadre. They talked about team work and how they pushed us to get out in a hurry on purpose. They reinforced team work and yelling and cussing at your team mates probably isn’t the most effective way to communicate. Since we arrived first we got to hand off a sandbag to the other team.

It was time to head back and the cadre switched teams. We were with Fagan for the return trip. We set a team leader for the return trip and I had grabbed the 25# team weight that was on a big chain and then someone needed to grab a flag so I had the NC flag. I’m glad I got to be up front with a flag for a while. To be honest if i hadn’t had a team weight with me I would have felt like I should have rotated out and got a coupon. I looked around a few times to see if someone needed to rotate. Being up front as a “Flag” was more challenging than I thought it would be. The heavy Litter was right behind us and we were trying to keep moving so they could. Then we would be hearing yells for Flags to slow down since the group was splitting up. I felt bad for the studs carrying the heavy load that we needed to slow down but Tate, one of the HTL guys explained that people were saying flags but was really talking to them since they knew they were the ones really driving the pace. The group splintered quite a bit on the way back to the school so we had to stop several times to regroup. Thankfully, another HTL, Navigator Mike kept us going in the right direction. We got back to the school first.

Since you don’t have a watch or phone out during these events I wasn’t sure what time it was when we made it back to the school but the prevailing thought was that the event had something else in-store for us. And then we waited. And waited. Where the heck did the other team go?

Cadre Fagan took the opportunity to chat with us a bit and told us that this was not a normal light. This was a tough light, i had to chuckle at his play on words. Apparently most welcome parties aren’t quite the beatdown that the Rooney wod places on us. Or for that amount of time. But remember, all the events are different and you don’t know what you’re going to face. That’s something that really intrigued me about these events. It’s getting prepared and having an unknown team and not knowing what you’ll be doing but getting it done.

As it turns out the other team took a wrong turn and ended up doing an extra half mile to get back. When they arrived both of the cadre took a moment to talk to us. Reinforce that often the Lights don’t have that long if a PT session and that we should be proud of our accomplishment. We were at Endex. We were patched and then handed a cold beer.

I had a great time at this event. I was worried that I wouldn’t be ready and while I still have a lot of fitness to achieve I made it through the event. You never want to be the weakest link, and I wasn’t. But, I was far from the strongest link. There are some amazing endurance folks that do GORUCK events. Special shout out to the fellas who did the HTL. Because even after all they had already endured they were under heavy weight and helping the team out. The Light was about 5 hours and 5 miles. Because of the honor we laid to Cadre Josh Rooney our actual rucking with the coupons was less. Believe me, there were still some valuable lessons learned.

I need to continue to work on the PT (physical training) aspect of this type of endurance / fitness event. The flutter kicks were a major weakness of mine during the welcome party wod.

One of my 2019 goals was to do one or more (because I had already signed up for more) GORUCK events. I am really proud of the effort and accomplishment. This event was on my moms birthday and I think it’s a testament to both of my parents for instilling a hard work and effort equals success mindset in me. I would have and maybe still do a little bit consider this type event outside my comfort zone. I’m an analytical person. Calculating risk when possible. Planning most of the time. For GORUCK you can train and get ready to handle it. Embrace the suck, in a way. It makes you stronger. It brings you together with other people who also want to get better, and be more human. It was a great experience.

If you want to push yourself physically and mentally. Learn to communicate in a co trolled stressful situation and get some good livin (fitness and friendship) in; find a GORUCK event and sign up today.

Josh & I

That was hard. And very worth it.

I warned you that it would be a long read. If you’re interested in rucking, or doing an event, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll point you in the direction of some resources that I’ve found super helpful. Some I’ve already blogged about I’m sure.

January 2019 Challenges

I had already signed up for the Monthly Rucking Challenges (MRC) series this year when GORUCK released a monthly virtual challenge as well.

Who doesn’t like a challenge?

MRC’s challenge was a 20.19M Ruck. It was suggested to do it at once if you could but don’t worry if you needed to break it up into chunks.

Then the GORUCK Challenge came out. At first glance, 50 miles. It’s a resolution ruck.

Wait, upon further investigation it’s 50 miles in the first 15 days. Yikes!!

I’d never rucked that far, in that amount of time. Ever. But I figured it would be a good way to start getting some miles on my feet. So I jumped in.

1/1/19 6.52
1/2/19 2.5
1/2/19 2
1/3 2
1/5 5.18
1/6 5.04
1/6 2.08
1/8/2019 9.03
1/10 3.8
1/12 5.1
1/12 2
1/13 5.15

Boom! I got it!

I learned a lot during the process. Started taping a few spots on the balls of my feet since I get a few hot spots in those certain area’s and a little tape really helps. I also learned about the Injini toe socks and Farm to Feet socks make a great combo.

2019021311515298-IMG_8203GORUCK-Resolution-Ruck-2019-Patch

I used the Resolution Ruck patch in Disney. Now I have to figure out where I put it so I can put a real photo of that patch.

 

Happy Easter – 2019

I go so long without writing because I have so much to say and I don’t want to ramble on and on, but I also don’t want to leave anything out.

I do enjoy documenting things so maybe I should just set aside the time and write more.

I’ve got a number of topics I want to write about starting with my first GORUCK event. I’ll get started on that soon.

Today is Easter Sunday and I am so thankful that we are blessed with everything we have. What God’s love has done for us and how it changed the world.