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.

 

GORUCK May Challenge – Honoring Service

This month the virtual GORUCK challenge is 5 workouts in appreciation of those who serve.

Teachers. Firefighters. Police. EMS. Military.

I started with the teacher workout. With my beautiful wife being a teacher, it was a no brainer to start with this one.

The plank hold was probably the hardest part of this one. Lunges got challenging. Miles added up since I did a Heavy Drop workout immediately prior to doing this.

Next up was the Fire Workout. Hands down 100m of Bear Crawling was the hardest part of this one. I’m glad they were in there because it was great practice.

Knocked out the EMS one as the third one. It was the shortest one of the month. Did it before a CrossFit class. It went well.

The Leo Workout wasn’t the longest one but was probably the most challenging one for me. I did it after a long day of work, then a few hours of yardwork. It was on the schedule and I was determined to do it so it was done on the treadmill. I’m thankful we have it but I really don’t enjoy rucking on it anywhere near as much as I do outside. Push ups and Sit Ups were not with a ruck to simulate the APFT.

Second time I’ve done 12 miles. It was a little quicker than the last one but was still a grind. After 2 miles I knew that it was going to feel like a long haul. I’m glad I took my older shoes out because wearing the newer Cascadia’s I would have DNF’d. They were hurting my feet and killing my calves. Switch to the old Adrenalines and things were fine for the rest of the miles.

12 miles for this and a Pathfinder Training Challenge! With a Light this weekend, I wanted to get this done so it wouldn’t have to be on one of the last few days of the month. I probably won’t do 12 again until the 12 mile Star Course in Charlotte on June 22nd.

May GORUCK Challenge is complete.

I’m ready to see what June will bring.

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.

 

Java GR2

I was looking for the right pack for Rucking. I knew it was a GORUCK pack but wasn’t sure which one.

I went back and forth over whether to get the Rucker or the GR1. Ultimately 2 things led me to the Rucker.

  1. It costs way less. These packs aren’t cheap. But they are built in the USA and guaranteed for life.
  2. The GORUCK website told me which pack to get. Need to protect a laptop, get the GR1. If you don’t, get the Rucker.

IMG_7079

After I got my all black Rucker in I noticed there was a beautiful dark brown color on the GORUCK website. And the color name was Java. What!? I love coffee. Java. It was perfect. I reached out to a few people and asked how dirty the pack might get at an event and what they thought about black vs java. Both of them suggested that for events, the black is a good safe bet. I agreed with them and went on about my day.

Now that I had my hands on my Rucker, I knew how solid it was. I love it. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the Java pack. GORUCK also had their larger pack, the GR2 which comes in a 40L version in Java. I did a little more digging around on the site and found out that the color name was in homage to Jason’s (the Founder and CEO of GORUCK) late chocolate lab, Java. Java had been in many of the product shoots and was being remembered with this color name. We had lost our beautiful dog Trixie not a month prior to this and now it just seemed like the perfect storm leading me to this bag.

Here is the story behind Java Forever.

https://www.goruck.com/stories/the-dog-behind-our-java-rucks

I love GORUCK products. I love made in the USA products. I love lifetime guaranteed products. I love Java (coffee), and I love and miss our dog.

I had a Reebok CrossFit 41L backpack that was my gym bag and it was great. One large compartment. Velcro on the front and sides for patches, laptop compartment, etc. But I couldn’t get this out of my head. Those Reebok bags go for a good price on Ebay. I sold it and then pulled the trigger on the GR2 during the holiday sale.

This pack is beautiful. It’s well made. Has more compartments that my last bag and it will be a great travel bag. Is it overkill for a gym bag? Yes. Does it make me happy every day I pick it up and take it with me? Also, yes. And that, my friends, makes it worth it. Java lives on in the name and having it, right now, makes me smile and reminisce about Trixie.

img_7314

I’m looking forward to having a GORUCK event patch to put on this bag in April.

To be fair, the more I think about it, the less I think I’ll care if a pack gets dirty etc, during the events. Event tested with any scrapes etc they will get. I might end up with another color sometime and at that time I’ll have a nice black bag we can put some bricks in as I start to recruit some friends to join me on this crazy journey.

 

Rucking Gear – Keep It Simple

I can nerd out over things. If you know me, that won’t come as a shock to you. I like to know a lot about things.

For my upcoming GORUCK events, especially since I’m doing the Light Challenge and its 4-5 hours and not the 12 hours of the Tough event I’m really trying not to overthink it.

But for me that rides a fine line between

Underprepared

Overprepared

OVERTHUNK and WAY OVERPREPARED.

I’m trying not to get to the last one. I am immersed in podcasts, blogs, YouTube AARs (after action reports) and more at the moment. I want to make sure that I’m aware of what’s to come and more importantly that I train for it.

I know from my time in CrossFit that you can get into a stage of having all the gear in the world. And while much of it serves a purpose for some people, most of us don’t really need 3 jump ropes, 2 pair of knee sleeves, multiple wrist wraps, more than one belt, weight lifting shoes, each brand of CrossFit shoe, 7 pairs of hand grips, etc, etc, etc.

It’s easy to want to try all the things, but what really works best is finding something that works for you and sticking with it. It is, after all, the work that you put in that advances your ability to exercise a little better than the newest piece of gear.

IMG_7079
Heading out for a 6.5 Miler. Sipped coffee for 2 miles before throwing the cup in the Rucker. 

All that being said, I’m doing a lot of reading and research on the “best” gear for GORUCK events and rucking in general. I’d like to learn from other people’s experience and just get a few good pieces that I can use over and over again. That’s why it took me a painstakingly long time to settle on the GORUCK Rucker. It’s a great pack and I’m just using it for Rucking. If I wanted to swap back and forth one bag for rucking and everyday use I’d have probably went with the 26L GR1.

I’ve read things from Ruck.Beer, All Day Ruckoff, and many more. Those sites are pure gold if you’re looking for rucking material.

I found this on a site that hasn’t been written on in 2 years. But I think it’s probably great advice.

“GORUCK Light

Your primary goal here is to have fun. Don’t overthink it. If the weather is decent, just wear comfortable clothing that isn’t going to hold a lot of water. Bonus points for looking kinda ridiculous.”

The art of manliness has a post outlining mostly simple gear. So far I’m using simple gear.

I’ll have another blog on what bag I ended up with for use as my gym bag / travel bag.

As I find any gear that I think is a must I’ll probably write about it.

Current Gear Set Up:

Shirt – Whatever Dual or Tri blend shirt I have on. I haven’t tried a tech fabric yet, mostly because I hate teach fabrics but I do think they dry faster so I am going to have to pull out an UA shirt and give it a shot. Even if it’s only for events. Ugh.

Underwear – UA 9” Boxer Jock. The legs don’t ride up. These are my goto gym underwear and I haven’t had a reason to think I’d need to change.

Shorts – Whatever. Mostly I have Lulu shorts so I’ve mostly worn those.

Pants – UA sweat pants. I have a few pair of tech pants I’m about to try.

Shoes – Brooks Adrenaline – I’d like to try the brooks Glycerin for something with a little less arch support, and it’s what Road Runner Sports recommends in their shoe picker for me. I’d also like to try the MACV1 from GORUCK. .

Socks – Shout out to Ruck.Beer for the Toe Socks under a wool pair. I’m using the local company Farm to Feet hiking socks. I made the mistake of one Ruck with shitty cotton socks that I thought would keep my feet warm. It was a 4 miler. Hot spots formed after 2 miles and I’m lucky and blessed that I didn’t end that one with massive blisters. For now, I’m also back to adding a little duct tape before I start. I had to do that until my feet toughened up when I was at outback and I’m doing it again now.