One Team, One Fight. GORUCK Challenge.

After Action Review follows the pictures.

Friday 6/20/14 @ 16:30 - Portland, Maine
I am about to embark on a Goruck Challenge in 4.5 hours. I feel intensely calm. I am physically in the best overall shape I have ever been.  

I don’t know much of anything that will come starting at 9:00pm and will last until the next morning. That, for some, may be a scary thought, but why be afraid of the unknown?  I will take whatever is thrown at me one evolution at a time. My ruck is packed. The starting line is close.

I have been mentally and physically preparing for this day for months now. While I am physically strong, it is my mental control that will guide me.  I expect things to be tough, in fact it will be the toughest training I have ever completed.  But that’s all it is - tough. I will not quit. I will be an example for the team, always helping out when I can. I will not fail.

Saturday 6/21/14 @ 19:33 
I completed the Goruck Challenge. Some of the beginning beach work was tough. In fact, I held back a bit at the beginning, which I should not have.  I lost mental control the first hour in. But once I got my groove, all I can say is it was mostly smooth sailing.  By smooth sailing I mean the hardest 13.5 hours of my life.  We were cold, wet and sandy within the first 30 minutes, and continued that way until the end.

Log carries, buddy carries, team weights, extra rucks, bear crawls, log  pt and 21 miles of rucking until you can’t feel your shoulders, legs or feet.  All said, I enjoyed it, and had a smile on my face  My physical - and more importantly mental - training has paid off. I still have a long way to go. Up the training, up the events, up the toughness.  

My body feels like hell and a half. But I earned it. 

One Day Later
The Goruck Challenge was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have completed.  Much harder than a marathon, by orders of magnitude.  I couldn’t be happier.  It’s weird. All I can think of is…what’s the next hardest thing I can do? Easy day.

There were some particularly interesting things to me about the Goruck Challenge:

It is a team event.  You start as an individual, but they beat that mode of thinking out of you pretty dang quickly.  You become a team real fast - it lowers the suck factor, as they say.  While most people showed up in pretty excellent physical shape, people’s mental weaknesses become very apparent as things got difficult.  Conversely, some team members showed such a presence of mind during the toughest moments it was inspiring. Me? I won’t consider myself the toughest person out there, but I sure as hell had a big smile on my face pretty much the whole day.  I told bad jokes, sang bad songs (Katy Perry, Lion King, Sesame Street, Eminem), just whatever I could to keep my mind off the unpleasantness. I mean, the suck is inevitable, so why not have some fun with it?  All pain melts away when the class is chanting Go Ruck or One Team, One Fight at god knows what hour in the morning while buddy carrying through downtown Portland.

  • I peed on myself more times than I can count. At a certain point, it doesn’t matter. My hands were sandy, I was cold and wet…so peeing on myself was simply easier and more warming than trying to hold my shriveled and sandy member.  
  • I have years it said many times, but you you are capable of much more than you think you are. I carried more and more weight, offered every opportunity I could to help with a team weight, buddy carry, hold the log, etc. Not because I am special, but because after a while, I realized my shoulders weren’t falling off my bod, and my legs still worked.  Limits are learned.
  • Cadre Brad is a boss. I couldn’t have asked for a better intro to GORUCK.
  • If I had to plan it all again, I probably would have made a few changes.  I would have worn my lightweight combat boots - less sand in the shoes. I would have practiced rucking with more weight - the minimum ruck weight is your pack - usually a lot more than that. I would have done more PT with the ruck. Bear crawls, flutter kicks, etc are much harder with a ruck. 

All in all, the Challenge is done. Next up - Goruck Heavy…or better yet, an HCL. Cant wait.  Thanks class 1069.