GOQUIT

I quit my first GORUCK event over the weekend. 31-1 is the record. Bloody hell. Even with #goquit I had a great weekend! Maybe because of #goquit. Back in March I signed up for Heavy because it’s my favorite event and the best event ever and and it was a city I hadn’t spent any time in, Philadelphia, so hell, let’s go.

Lots of firsts this weekend:

  • Drank my first Zima
  • I did my first event without my main water bladder (MSR Dromedary) 😢
  • I saw us fly over another plane

I got to Philly and met up with VP-best-P who had ordered us roast pork sandwiches from Dinic’s which was an OK sandwich but I didn’t think it was amazing. It wasn’t no falafel or #shawarma from Israel. We checked into the room and napped. Rather, attempted to nap but I was wide awake so I got some water and did my prep for the event. 15:00 – we get in our Uber and ride out to John Michael’s to link up and carpool to the start point at Chadds Ford. We got to meet his lovely family. Also, Mark Witt was there 👀 Then we hopped in the car and after an hour, we roll into the parking lot.

John Michael ready to crush all the things.

Start points are the best. There’s a lot of “hey! We haven’t seen each other in a while!” and “man I know dat ass/boot combination but I forget your name!” Combine lots of chatter, lots of lube, lots of feet taping, interesting smells, some nerves and you’ll get the pre-game jitters of a GORUCK event.

  • Lots of cramping
  • Quitting my first GORUCK
  • Philly cheesesteaks

18:00 – the event kicks off in the parking lot of an elementary school. As people are forming into ranks, I’m scoping out the sun and where the shade is so I can get a comfortable standing spot. There’s probably better ways to spend your time but that’s what I went with. We get formed up into 8 companies, 2 regiments, 1 army. Then we move out, ready to wreck some shit. We wrecked some shit all right, and that was just walking. We advanced all of 100 meters when we pull over to get smoked in a soccer field for being unable to walk together (or cadre just fucking with us, same result). Here we picked up our first event withdrawal where homeboy got a concussion but he was OK later at endex.

Witt in his element…surveying everything GORUCK he’s about to crush.

There’s not much to my GOREV story other than we rucked, Top talked about history, we rucked, learned more history, saw some amazing fireflies along the road, and rucked some more. There were only a few interactions I had that were memorable as all we did was walk with our company of ten people while maintaining columns. I was company commander for Bravo Company during my brief guest appearance at this GOREV Heavy.

The first cool thing I saw was a large football-sized-field that was full of fireflies. There was some mist on the ground and it was like a light show. I just needed some glow sticks, some untz untz untz, and some bass you could feel in your chest to set the mood. Second was that as we walked along the road, we were told to keep a look around to appreciate the scenery. I looked right, saw the rolling hills of this nice neighborhood, and could see why people would love this area. I looked left, and imagined the same thing. All I could see was the bottom of a wall and then a fence. If I was taller I bet that shit looked dope though. The third and best moment for me was someone started talking about snipers and I mentioned “Oh yeah I saw that in The Patriot” when Top turns around, yells at me to never mention The Patriot again, then he runs back and yells “Babs, what’s the first rule of GOREV?” and she answers with “Don’t talk about the Patriot!” lmfao

The end.

Oh wait, there’s that part about me quitting #goquit

We were to do a 12 mile team ruck march after a 20 minute refit break. We all loaded up with water and I chugged a bunch of electrolytes but that didn’t work. At mile 2 I started feeling some cramping in my quads. Here we go!! Then a few miles later it moved to my hamstrings as I adjusted my gait. Then my calves. They weren’t intense like I’ve seen with others but I was behind the curve on that one and I couldn’t get ahead of it. I tried another pack of the Trioral salts and gave it a few miles but that didn’t work for me. I was contemplating quitting from the very beginning (like all events I do) but this was the first time I did it #goquit I felt shitty but I also felt great ’cause I didn’t have to worry about cramping anymore. That Trioral salt didn’t work for me. Lesson learned. I’m going back to Endurolytes.

aftermath aar 2

After getting dropped off at the 12 mile end point, Top (cadre Andy) comes over and asks us why we dropped.

*Top writing down why people dropped*

  • “Hip”
  • “Fainted”
  • “Electrolytes out of whack”

*ignores me*
‘hey Top did you put down that I just quit?’
“…yeah I got that.”

Oh 😨

get in that gross water! …ok

I’ve been thinking about how I feel regarding quitting this event. Initially, disappointment. After a few days, I find I don’t care. I don’t know if that’s ego saying I don’t care or if I truly don’t care. I’m not self-aware enough to know if I can differentiate the two. What I do know is that I like that I get to talk about being a quitter for a long time, at least until the next Heavy I finish.

People have messaged me saying “it’ll be all right” and “you don’t have anything to prove” but hell, I’ve been all right. Failing an event is not the end of the world for me. If it were, I’ve had a very fortunate life. I’m not out there doing this because I’ve got something to prove.  If I was trying to prove something, like finishing an event, that was handled back in #281best28x or #heavy10takeakneedrinkwaterandpullsecurity I’m not saying that because I think I’m a proven commodity or I think I’m cool (note: don’t get me wrong, I think I’m cool but it’s not because of this) I’m saying that just because you’ve done it before, it doesn’t mean you will do it again. My pride was saying I could do events without training for them and thankfully I was proven wrong. Nothing like Life telling you that, hey! you suck and you need to #bebetter if you want to crush it and not be crushed. 

Here’s the deal- I’m out there because I enjoy it. The snarky comments, learning, yelling, becoming a team, not becoming a team, messing up, the smells (actually, I could do without this one tbh. It’s 2017 wear some deodorant you savages), the laughter, the joy of helping out your teammates, and most importantly, the suffering. All of that is what I’m there for.

I flew to Philadelphia, drove another hour, walked 15 miles in just over 9 hours, all to drop out of an event. Would I do it all over again?

Where do I sign up?

PT best T

More like PT worst T amirite?

And then Cadre Dan looks down on you as your face is in the sand and your ruck is crushing your sad little soul and he says ‘God Smiles on those he loves!’ And that’s the Bragg Heavy my friend.” – Nico

So Nico was trying to sell me on the Bragg dream and I guess that did it. A year later, I can finally use her quote. Only I didn’t get sand from Dan though. Cadre John hooked it up repeatedly. But back to the story.

This is the end

…a bonus lesson is that shit can go from happy fun time to terrible in a heartbeat. John and Flash said we weren’t allowed to have a break-in-contact so guess what we do right away. Break in contact! We put our coupons down, ran to a sandpit where we were given 35 seconds to dump a ton of sand into our open rucks and then we got to do ten minutes of burpees. It was heavy and felt like 60-70 lbs on your back. Doing burpees wasn’t working out for us (when do they ever?) so John takes over from Flash and hooks us up with an exercise where you simulate firing mortars (sand) at your teammates. We started off facing the back of the front rank and were getting sand in the face. Not wanting them to feel left out, we turned around and everyone got more sand on them. Hang em+fire! While this was going on, Flash calls to Jason to come over and he said we called him a weak cadre or some shit. Hey thanks Flash. So now we get to try do do inch worm push ups for what seems like forever but it was probably ten minutes. Ten minutes of staring at the crotch of the dude in front of you while failing to do push ups and inching backward.

Hold your breath and count to ten

Next comes, you guessed it, more PT but this time with logs and all sorts of fuckery. After a million hours of this, we all formed back up at the start point to carry more shit but this time as one giant team of 127 peeps. I ended up on one of the log teams with . Funny how as the day goes on, the log starts to feel heavier and heavier. I swear we were getting crushed  harder by the end, even with both tandems switching out every 30-60 seconds. Gravity showed back up I guess.

Feel the earth move and then

Soon after circling back, we put up the coupons in the cadre vehicles and refit our water. We were tasked with spelling “Joe” and we learned a lot more about the man. Awesome dude, wish I could’ve met him. But that was a lot of sitting around being cold and then we were told to hurry up and go wait somewhere else. Jason comes over with a shit-eating grin and asks us “hey are you guys cold?!” and this may have been the single, most unified answer in the history of GORUCK when the entire class yells “no!” and Jason walks away a little disappointed. How dumb do you think we are? We ain’t falling for that…again.

Hear my heart burst again

Right after this, we had the Farewell Party. Here, the cadre were swarming around us like sharks. The front rank got to run suicides while the rest of the ranks did PT. Like, this part sucks completely but it’s also one of my favorite parts because it’s fun. Just like on TV. Or real life military shit I guess. I wouldn’t know. When it was my turn to run suicides, I was right by cadre and my blazing speed made them question their life decisions. Cadre Doug said “Bee why the fuck are you so slow? Your kamikaze attack would be the slowest thing ever. You are the slowest Asian I’ve ever seen. Go see Sarkis!” Which was actually a relief because PT is way better than trying to run. Thanks Crazy Doug!

burpee+frog jumps in the water video here.

After that, we circle up around cadre and we are endexed. 7th Heavy complete. I’m never doing this shit again.

Post event questions and thoughts:

Bee, do you just have the biggest happy trail? One of the cadre was like “hey uh do you just have the biggest happy trail?” so I showed him the magic and he was like “thanks for satisfying my craving!”

Was it harder than other Heavies? Yes and no. More PT because we didn’t have to walk all over but less chance of heat death. You’re also there to memorialize Joe so instead of counting reps we yelled “Joe” every time which is awesome because you don’t have to keep up with a count. Physically it was a beat down, possibly the hardest in terms of PT. Mentally, it wasn’t that difficult. Except for the cardio portion. Pick shit up, put it back down. Pick up other shit. I never got to where I questioned all of my life choices. Maybe I leveled up in the GORUCKs?


How did you feel after the event? I felt great! I had a lot of beer. Then caffeine. My feet weren’t wrecked so maybe that’s why I felt good. That and the 660mg of Aleve in the morning.

What worked? I used new shoes and a different lacing method and didn’t lose my toenails. No blisters. It’s a freaking miracle. Hydration was good as I kept peeing clear all the time. Even when cramping.

Attitude! Mine was pretty good. I didn’t hit any low points or yell at anyone. I heard a few comments from others about being positive. I guess that’s my only strength. I’m not strong, fast, tall, smell good, or contribute anything useful but damn it, I can keep up a good attitude.

Heavy log? This scooter looks good!

What didn’t work? There was not enough (as in zero) rucking/cardio in my training regimen.

More PT for the PT gods.

I brought too many Clif bars (3) and I ended up giving away one bar (shit’s heavy right?) and two people were like “hell yeah.” I ate two Clif bars, a peanut m&m, and maybe a bite or two of other things. I don’t get too hungry during these things. I need to remember to bring caffeinated jelly beans.

Cramping in the triceps and lats (but does that mean it’s working?)

GRTs trying to line up in four ranks– this was probably the biggest issue. We litrlly do it every time we stop. Get four people to line up on the end and fill in down the line. If there’s a gap, move over and fill it up. It doesn’t take a long time. It’s not complex…yet we keep messing it up #grt

When it looks right!

Buddy carrying a casualty– new people always try to three man carry a casualty. Fuck that. Pick him up and charlie mike.

Not that I’m grumpy. Those things happen and will continue to happen. It’s a part of GORUCK. Meditation makes it easier to accept.


In happier news, a part of my GORUCK experience is that people come up to me and say it’s nice to meet me. Uh…thank you, but don’t make me curse you with my friendship. You obviously haven’t been listening to me bitch all night in the back but thank you for the kind words. Even more appreciated, though, is when someone says they’ve read my blog (almost always the one about finishing HTL) and laughed! That makes all the PT and cardio worth it, I think.

 

Handley low crawling away from my bullshit!

Wisconsin cold as hell er

As we leave the best Arby’s of all Arby’s in existence, I pop another benadryl and knock out for the next 4 hours to Madison. I’m the worst co-pilot ever- all I do is sleep and not talk to you.

~*4 hours later*~

Dumb man on ice, 2017
As I come to, Sam is exiting the highway and we’re in Madison! Best road trip ever. It’s been a journey of 17 hours. Sam is a talker. Man. I didn’t tell him I’m writing this but dude can talk. He’s probably talking right now. Hi Sam. Jill can talk too. Hi Jill. The idea of the trip was, for them, to surprise their Midwest crew as 4 of the five ladies from the Miami HTL team were going to be there so Jill and Sam wanted to surprise them and again, my schedule is pretty light on actual commitments so that worked out for us. We check into our hotel (with free breakfast!) and then proceed to rock out.

Not our hotel but lots of signs! Ace of Base time.
If you haven’t traveled with a bunch of GRTs before then you’re in for a treat. Everywhere you turn, there are these damned backpacks (“rucksacks” whatever) because you need one backpack to carry your travel gear and then another bag for your event gear. Everyone starts out with one bag. Most people I know end up with 2-3 bags because you “need it.” Funny how that works out.

We get up in the morning, have some breakfast, and then head out to the start point, which is conveniently a 10 minute drive from the hotel. Madison is a cool town. Heading into town, we’re driving into downtown with Lake Monona on the right and holy shit, there are people sitting on the lake. ON A LAKE. ICE FISHING. This part of the trip has been promoted to best part of the trip now.

Sitting on top of a lake!! In a hut. Crazy.

After backing into a parking spot, Sam sees Connor outside and he goes to surprise them. My plan I didn’t tell anyone is I was going to record it on my phone but my damned hands are inside some warm ass mittens and as I’m trying to pull them off quickly, I knock the phone onto the floor. I’m fumbling around trying to grab my phone and I finally get the phone up, I’m out the door, phone still not ready. Jill passes by me and hugs her peeps as well. I finally get my phone ready to record video and I missed most of it. Oh well. I put the phone up and go sit inside the car because it’s cold as hell.

En route to #goldbestold
3 minutes later I check my phone and sonofabitch it’s still recording. I had one job.

Damn it.

So the event starts at 09:00 with very minimal admin time. We’re facing Lake Mendota and the wind is whipping across the lake at us and Cadre Brad gets us moving. We  I didn’t learn until we got to the Capitol that Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and hey, it’s all uphill. Maybe if it wasn’t so cold I could breathe. Maybe if I did cardio I could breathe. Maybe I should do some cardio before Bragg Heavy.

State Capital!
Yeah OK.

The Light is fun. Save for all the walking (“this is bullshit!” was said once or twice) we did and the freezing temps, it was really fun. So we ruck here and there, Brad talks to us about dressing for freezing cold weather and he says we should always strive to be “comfortably cool” when out in conditions such as we were. There’s always something to learn on these events. Sometimes the only lesson is that you’re a dumb ass but lucikly that was not the (only) lesson this time.

Below Zero class 001
We rucked to the top of Bascom Hill at UW which is, all the way uphill. Seriously, level this shit out Wisconsin. It’s like Normandy. Fucking hills. When I rule this bitch I’m going to make everything flat. Take that, nature. From there, we learn some climbing skills that I’ll never use because outdoorsy shit, nope. But we ruck to a gas station and make our time hack by a few seconds. After like 20 minutes of break time, Sam goes to grab the team weight (a piece of plywood that looks like the state of Wisconsin) and Jill says “oh Sam is finally going to carry something!”

Sam, I think she’s talking to you.

Sam’s feelings hurt, we ruck to a park by a small pond. The major lesson I learned this day was to not trust the other teams when competing in a 3 squad race. Winner gets to choose the exercise for the other two. So we had to play a game and spell out letters using the team to form the letters. I was fortunate to be on the team to win the first three exercises in a row so we had them do starbursts, monkey fuckers, and the chicken dance. Not bad for the first three rounds. The fourth round we somehow lost (also bullshit) and the winning team chooses that “Bring Sally Up” exercise and really dude? Next time we win, flutter kicks in the water. No, we don’t care that you have to break ice to get in there. Bitches. Sally finished, we proceed to crush the next two rounds.

So cold. I’ll never let go Jack. I’ll never let go.
In the final round, some of the other peeps (Meghan, Stephanie) thought it would be a good idea to bumrush the team that screwed us over (turns out it was Cadre’s idea) and we chased them and they ran away like we were going to lay hands on them. We get back and lose the final round and we get to do the Macarena. I couldn’t do that in 8th or 9th grade but hell, there were quite a few who were dancing it like it never went out of style.

After the event, we all went out to eat some cheese curds. Which were really awesome to eat but if I never have a day in my life where I eat them again, I guess I’ll be OK. I get to talking to the locals and they mention ice fishing and how it’s just an excuse to sit on a chair, in a hut, on the ice, and drink beer. I think I’ve found my calling. There were quite a few newbies to GORUCK and some regular GRTs which is always fun to chat with. Background, why they paid to prove they are bad at making decisions, things like that.

GORUCK Light 1433
Then we did some drinky drink things, ate breakfast, got #gold in #scavenger with #outoftowners, headed home, saw the St. Louis Arch at night, saw Tulsa at night, pull into to parking lot 15.5 hours after leaving Madison.

anybody want a beer

“Anybody want a beer?” he asks at the beginning of our latest break in class 281 best 28x. We have just set down all of the dumb ammo cans and ammo crates after carrying them all the way up McKinney Ave in Dallas. We were taking a ten minute break and everyone learned themselves the ruck flop. Immediately, people are reaching into their ruck and grabbing all the food they can eat but this dude grabs a beer.

img_2073

Lee is the type that always will offer you a cold beer as a welcome. When you say no, he will still hand you a cold beer. ” – Rimee A.

At this point, all I could do was lay down, try not to cry on the outside and try not to move. Not moving is surprisingly not difficult when you are blasted so far out of your comfort zone. My battle buddy Chase offers me some food but I decline, less afraid I’d get an upset stomach and more afraid of the effects of that upset stomach. I couldn’t feel my ankles anymore and by this time, I had managed to quit cramping like a giant bitch. But beer, really? Not food? That’s how I knew I didn’t hate him or his dumb nest thermostat shirt.

Thermostat shirt…really?

Earlier in the night I was incredibly annoyed by this dude when he was amazed at a gas station that also sold tacos. He was all “tacos…gas station…wtf?? Texas is awesome!” Go away, Nest-thermostat-guy. To be fair, he’s from Oklahoma, so maybe that’s not a thing up there? I’m not sure. He’s also a bit of a talker but if you know Lee then you already knew that. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t mad at Lee but he is always a convenient target. It’s easier to blame someone else rather than yourself. I was actually mad at myself. Nobody likes to admit to themselves that they’ve bit off more than they could chew. My first Challenge was certainly more difficult than I anticipated it was going to be. I thought it was still better than 30 miles of Indian Runs like I’d been reading about online.

Despite their obvious differences in personality and proclivity for male pattern baldness, Lee consistently sides with Jason even when it goes against his own best interest.” – Dmily E.

Loyal to a fault.

The Lee in his natural element, taking selfies.

This is when I knew Lee was the real deal. Who the hell drinks a warm, foamy ass beer halfway through an event? Lee does. Idiot. The sun had been out for a few hours now and we were mostly in good spirits by then. He drank his beer and we were all lollygagging when Jason was like “wtf are you doing? You’re not topped up with water? OK Boom these 12 people are dead. Figure it out.” So Lee was like “OK whatever I got this” and he buddy carries/manhandles Eric Wang marriedest Ang (thanks Mristina ‘preciate it) and just waits for the rest of us to see what’s up.

Hey man my name is Lee, nice to meet you.” – Eee, to Lric

That’s Lee, just a solid teammate ready to help out whenever needed. He also saved my life earlier in between me hating and then bromancing him. He gave me some Gatorade chews when I was cramping up something awful in front of said gas station.

So fast forward a few years and now Lee is THE MAN working at GORUCK. I don’t actually know if he is the man and I don’t actually know if he works. I think he just drink beers and take selfies and based on his Facebook posts, I might not be far from the truth.

As GORUCK grows they will always need somebody who is a big GRT and who can relate to our customers and their needs.” – Bhris C.

THANKS LEE

He’s also celebrity af. Check him out…checking himself out in Men’s Health!

Just can’t get enough Lee.

I just wrote this because Lee was tired of reading about people not named Lee McCarthy. Not that I have an obsession with him. He doesn’t even own an IABY shirt.

I mean you can always add that he’s a pretty [all right] ex boyfriend haha.” – Camber C. (my anonymizing doesn’t work with her name)

So he’s all right. Dunno if he’s “have-a-post-on-bee’s-blog-all-right” but here we are.


So Lee, I’m certain there are people out there who like and respect you but I didn’t get a chance to talk to them today.

meditation best ation

A few months ago I started listening to this podcast called 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Dan and it got me interested in meditation and meditating um…infrequently. It’s a great podcast where he talks about what got him into meditation (panic attack on-air while hosting some popular TV show), his practice and interviews other meditation practitioners. He also takes a skeptical approach to it and it’s cool that he is Buddhist (but not smells and bells type) so I can relate to some of his approach.

before_after_meditation
before and after meditation (I’m lying)

For my personal practice and “sit” time, I started out aiming for a five minute session once a day. That first day of the first week was awesome. I woke up at 04:30, set my phone timer for five minutes and sat on the ground. This is not a verbatim transcript but it might as well have been of my first sit – “OK be cool. You got this. Five minutes is easy. Unless you’re in front leaning rest (push ups) with your ruck on. Or even with your ruck off. I need more push ups in my life. Man, is five minutes up yet?” I glance at the timer. Litrly 30 seconds have passed. This isn’t going to go well. More thoughts like that enter and exit my mind and it turns out, that’s OK.

One of the persons interviewed said that, with this kind of meditating (as opposed to transcendental meditation ‘TM’) that whatever it is that pops into your brain, you acknowledge it, and let the thought go on about its way. No need to clear your mind because that’s not easy at this level of meditating.

So roughly 8 weeks into it, I’m caught up with the podcast (haven’t listened to the guided meditation app that he has as well) and when I sit, it’s five minutes (8 minutes when I’m feeling saucy) and the results are pretty good.

  • I’m less stressed.
  • I care less about things.
  • Things that do bother me bother me less.
  • I am quicker to apologize to people.
  • More appreciative of people in my life.
  • Go Cowboys

For those that know me, they know that I have a relatively easy going demeanor. I don’t actually interact with people outside of chat groups or messaging apps so they may not be able to tell but I feel less assholish (asholey? ). Maybe not to them.

All of that is just to say that Ed is a jerk and I hate him.IMG_0528

 

I remember reading Ed’s Death Race review and he talked about meditating on top of a parking garage like a weirdo so I never paid it much mind. But he reached out to me yesterday to see if I’d be interested in “running” a meditation challenge for the month. I’d been kicking that idea around in my head because that’s easier than running a 100 miles but didn’t think anyone would be interested but Ed can read minds now, apparently. Meditation – It Just Works™

IMG_0529

So how about it, 31 days of meditation? How hard could it be?

  • 5 minutes a day the first week
  • 10 minutes a day the second week
  • 15 minutes a day the third week
  • 20 minutes a day the fourth week

350 minutes for the month of July (1-28) or 410 if you think you’re a bad enough dude to meditate with yourself. I won’t guarantee that it will work for you because most of you who read this are jerks for reasons but it’s a good way to test the body and mind.

I’ve included a simple chart for you to check off your meditating. Remember like everything else in life, this is a competition so the harder you meditate the more you win. Kidding.

5 Friday 01-Jul
5 Saturday 02-Jul
5 Sunday 03-Jul
5 Monday 04-Jul
5 Tuesday 05-Jul
5 Wednesday 06-Jul
5 Thursday 07-Jul
10 Friday 08-Jul
10 Saturday 09-Jul
10 Sunday 10-Jul
10 Monday 11-Jul
10 Tuesday 12-Jul
10 Wednesday 13-Jul
10 Thursday 14-Jul
15 Friday 15-Jul
15 Saturday 16-Jul
15 Sunday 17-Jul
15 Monday 18-Jul
15 Tuesday 19-Jul
15 Wednesday 20-Jul
15 Thursday 21-Jul
20 Friday 22-Jul
20 Saturday 23-Jul
20 Sunday 24-Jul
20 Monday 25-Jul
20 Tuesday 26-Jul
20 Wednesday 27-Jul
20 Thursday 28-Jul
20 Friday 29-Jul
20 Saturday 30-Jul
20 Sunday 31-Jul

Facebook event!!!!

Cadre I’m black on o2

It’s nearly pitch black and I’m standing there on the side of the road, snacking on Immodiums trying to be cool but if you know me, that’s not actually possible. I say “nearly pitch black” because you people like to wear your headlamps and turn around and blind everyone and kill their nightvision. Damn it take an astronomy class, you’ll learn about that real quick. I hear some people I know from a nearby group so I walk over and say hi to Dan from Puerto Rico best ico and some of my new teammates and Dave arms me with a pump action, paintball pistol. Everyone is standing around, talking about what is going to happen or what to expect, experiencing our usual pre-ruck jitters and I’m over here hoping I don’t have to fart so I’m not too nervous. Eventually we are told to head over to another area, outside of the parking lot and we form up. Queue more standing around, forming up into our squads and counting down the time until sunrise. Apparently the cadre were on a coffee run so that meant we got to stand around and get our gear sorted out.

 Out of nowhere (ostensibly the parking lot), the cadre show up and start telling us we are bad people doing bad things in a bad place while using bad Russian accents. Kind of hard to take them seriously when you’re laughing at their terrible accents and whatnot but hey, low crawls. Sure thing. In pants and on a smooth deck? Not a big deal. Go backwards? Sure? They did insult us and call us names and make us low crawl over the deck toward the parking lot we just left (psst…hey it would have been faster if we never left the parking FYI). We’re all made to form up into two lines and start hiking up the road but that we have to put our hands into the belt of the person in front of us. Luckily for homeboy behind me I don’t have a belt on so he gets to put his hands down my backside and feel my silkies.

  

As we’re walking, Cadres Mikhail and not-Mikhail (Danny…ail?) make the rounds and start telling us we’re going to be hurting in a bad way and how we’re not going to enjoy our short futures. One of them talks to me and then tells the class I’m a Korean sympathizer and that I turned them all in. First of all, no. Second of all, I’m not Korean. I’m actually Chinese/Laotian best tian so…so I got promoted to being Korean. Turns out there’s another Asian in the group so we get jumped into the Korean Street Gang™ We eventually get to where our their Welcome Party would begin when the Cadre ask for their Korean Street Gang™ to come to the front. Kelli goes up, I go up and the Cadre keep yelling at someone in with a headband on “Get over here Street Fighter” and so I run up to him to get him to come by, maybe he’s hard of hearing…or maybe he’s not Asian. Have you met Jonathan Hurtado? I have…turns out he’s Columbian? I reckon you just gotta not be able to pass for a local I guess. No wonder he didn’t want to join the gang…he eventually saw The Light.

So the Welcome Party starts. Those who were singled out for extra good living got to come hang out with the KSG™ and they had to do headstands in the mud, more PT and then less PT and then more PT. ALL OF THIS WILL STOP IF YOU WILL US WHERE YOUR CAMP IS. WHERE ARE YOUR WEAPONS? WHERE IS THE CLOSEST MCDONALDS? (Seriously, some of us are hungry and want to know.) WHAT IS YOUR NEXT OBJECTIVE? Some of these people are tough to crack aka impossible so they send for more people to be interrogated. Flutter kicks, pushups, mud boarding, Roman chairs, dragging through the mud, more headstands. Nobody breaks. KSG™ gets cold so we ask for PT and we do about a minute of jumping jacks (10 seconds for me) and then we are all to form up. Chris Way is giving us a briefing when we come under attack and have to evac to the woods. This turns out to not be a smooth move because uh, oxygen. Or lack thereof.


CADRE I’M BLACK ON O2.

Nobody cares 😨. More hiking, more bitching, more not-breathing and we get to a pond/lake called Dude Hole. Elevation 8700 ft. Oxygen content, not enough. https://www.google.com/maps/place/39%C2%B051’39.2%22N+105%C2%B024’47.7%22W/@39.8608971,-105.4154477,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d39.860893!4d-105.413259

 

We hop in the water where it’s cold everywhere (but not here) because we are still somehow children. At the top of Dude Hole there are some rocks called Dude Throne (elevation 9200 ft. Oxygen content, still not enough. Plenty of gasping for air though. They’ve got that in spades). So as one giant class we trudge across the water’s edge and up through the cliffs. I actually felt pretty good here. Last time I was at altitude for more than a couple of days I got altitude sickness and was the biggest bitch so I guess the only difference is…I had altitude sickness last time? We climb up and take this sweet picture – thanks Kimmie! Thanks Colorado for not having o2.

 After we took our scary, on high picture we split up into three teams. One stays up top and learns to rappel, one other learns some sneak attack stuff I’m going to use on all of you and the other half learns how to get lost in the woods while carrying items that litrly keep you from getting lost in the woods aka Land Navigation. Then I got shot in the stomach with a paintball gun.


 

I don’t really want to talk about the rest of the event as it’ll give away too much but it was a really fun experience. Someone said we should do a Jedburgh but I’m just a hater so that’s not going to happen. Like many of my other GORUCK experiences, you get to meet people from all over the country and find out why they hate their free time, money and apparently, oxygen so much that they’d fly out to Denver in the middle of summer to do this. It’s fun.

Jenks throwing in the skinny arm.  

As Jenks said, “two minutes of Heaven is better than….two minutes of not Heaven.”

7-11 Hot

Two weeks ago some spots opened up for the Red Dawn 100 weekend up in Colorado, hosted by buddy John Steele. Jenks had been telling me about it and asked me to go but I wasn’t interested and I told him to shut up and go away.  I’d never seen the original Red Dawn (saw the 2012 over though), so I bought it on Amazon and then signed up for the event. Not because I wanted to do the event so much as it was a chance to hang out with my peoples. 

As soon as I was confirmed in, I got invited into another group chat (yay…?) and was inundated with packets and guides. You need to do this, this and this. Learn this. Acquire that. Wear 80s clothing. 30 page PDF full of information and I went “nope, not reading that” and proceeded to ignore it save for the packing list. 1″ tubular nylon webbing, paintball mask, paintball gun…no patches? Not your average GORUCK event, that’s for sure.

After coordinating travel arrangements with Brian and Jenks and Jon by basically latching onto Jenks like the liberal leech I am, we fly in Friday morning to Denver. Brian, living in Arkansas and not near a major airport, drives down and we have dinner with some local GRTs but not before he got to experience rush hour in the Dallas area. We get up at the crack of dawn after my fifteen alarms wake Brian up (but not me) for ninety minutes and head to Denver where we meet one of my work bffs, Megan.


She was kind enough to pick us up at the airport and take us into downtown Denver where we had lunch and I may have had a beer. We  have like 6 hours to kill until Jenks can get there to pick us up, so we went to a movie theater and take a nap. We chose to watch The Nice Guys, which was an excellent movie but it had the problem of us not being able to nap on the reclining chairs in that sweet, sweet air conditioning (important later). Movie being over, we head to REI where Brian and I discuss our common love/hate of the place. It’s awesome because well, it’s REI and it’s terrible because, well, it’s REI and you can rationalize buying every piece of gear in there because you “need” it. Then we went to Proto Pizza which was delicious but perhaps had too much cheese on it (more importanter later) and then we went and chilled in the park until Jenks could pick us up.


We meet and Jenks gives us a stinky shirt hug (he was at Firearms Day all day) and then takes off his shirt to change into some new freshness but a bus comes by and Jenks gets worried so we pile in the Fundra (Tundra) and head toward Black Hawk. Damnedest thing happens next, it turns out that we’re in need of beer and water so we pull into a 7-11 where Jenks parks front and center. Jenks climbs out (still shirtless mind you) and hops in the bed of his truck to look for a clean shirt. As he’s searching, a very attractive lady walks by and Jenks says “oh don’t mind me, just changing my shirt” and she looks away, slightly embarrased. Fifteen seconds pass by and another pretty lady walks by and Jenks says “dad bod by Jenks” and flexes a little…to either us or her, we’re not sure. She either heard him and ignored it or was afraid to say something. Thirty seconds after that, still-shirtless-Jenks-is-still-standing-in-the-truck-bed-desperately-looking-for-his-shirt when another hot chick walks by and Jenks starts to panic. He can’t find a shirt because it’s buried in the bottom of his luggage (where he put it) and he can’t get to it quick enough. He finds a shirt finally and says “what the hell, do hot girls just hang out at this 7-11?” 
Yes. Yes they do, Jenks. 


Eventually, we get to Jon’s cabin where he creates some delicious burgers which I skip in favor of Bud Light. We meet some other teammates and then begin to prep for our ruck in 6 hours. Paintball gun, US flag, food, glow stick (untz untz untz) and bunch of other things I don’t need but bring anyway because I have to overpack and carry it around Golden Gate Canyon State Park because I hate my life and want to make it more difficult. All packed, we settle in for the night only to wake up 4.5 hours later to get out of the cabin at 03:15. 


At 03:08 I feel a rumble.
03:10, some gas escapes.
03:12, “hey uh…I gotta use the restroom. I don’t think we’re leaving at 03:15”
03:13, “oh! gotta go!”
03:18, I think I’m done.
03:21, I’m definitely not done.
03:22 I’m done. Someone walks by the restroom and asks what died inside me.
We head to the start point and as soon as we stop I gingerly get out and start popping Immodium AD like it’s going out of style because I’m afraid. 


Very, very afraid. 

Stupid, delicious pizza. 

[ ] Yes [ ] No

The obvious answer is “uh, yeah I want to quit because 12 mile ruck marches are dumb. I’m dumb. GORUCK is dumb. Also, that wasn’t particularly fun and another thing, I feel some blisters forming on my feet.” but my mouth is faster and I immediately, regretfully answer “fuck yeah” and so does Ross. We’re told to get in line and a head count later, we were at 68/72 remaining. Then came the fun part, we were split up into two 36 person platoons by the GORUCK Heavy class 114 Draft. 


First off, I’d like to thank my family and friends for allowing me to be here today. Without them I wouldn’t be in DC and drafted in the 8th round. More importantly, I was freaking pumped to not be picked last. But not so fast, at the end of the draft it turned out that there was a miscount and I was traded away to the other team because the other platoon because reasons. I suspect they didn’t have enough Asians on it. Bitch, I got feelings. It ultimately didn’t matter though as both classes ended up doing SIMILAR events (different order), walking our asses all over DC, got to experience almost dying of heatstroke and do four Hero WODs (using our rucks for weight), one for a fallen Marine, Navy, Air Force and Army service member. Speaking of WODs, that shit sucked. I might have to join CrossFits. 
Making the event harder was the weather. I bet it was beautiful if you were out in it for like an hour but since we were there for about 12 hours in the light, it sucked. The sun was just brutal. It was only 88 but I’d swear it was 100. We’d walk along the avenue and you could immediately FEEL when you were in the sun or in the shade (not just because you could see you were litrly in the shade). There wasn’t a cool breeze to be found anywhere in downtown and we didn’t get wet until about 2 hours to go and like all fun classes, we got to carry jerry cans around filled with water. Am I done bitching? Not even.


Post-event-woe-is-me initial reactions: my feet hurt because I have bitch feet and also have not attempted a 12 mile ruck march in approximately 2 years, I need to buy newer Leukotape because the old ones lose their stickiness and had the sticky stuff peeling out, untested boots for said ruck march suck, blisters everywhere (ask me for pics) and give me victory beers. I’ve read about people with post-event-blues but I don’t know if I have that. I am more like “hell yeah I don’t have to worry about that event anymore.” Not that I was dreading it, just more curious about how it was going to go (it did not work out so well for me).


We actually got lucky and had the easy Brian for our Heavy and we didn’t have to do either of those, fortunately. I’ve read he likes long walks up a mountain and other dumb shit so I was happy. Brian is a hilarious dude and he was joking with Earl Granville when he went to talk to him at roll call and said “Do you go up on stage and my name is Earl and I wish I had joined the Marines.” LMAO. Less LMAO-y, the Challenge class got massacred by him later on though. Better them than us. 
Cadre Danny gave us all forearm tattoos. I asked around and some people were like “yeah I don’t know what’s up with that” and as soon as I mentioned the team weight everyone was like “that makes so much sense! that thing sucked” and it was quite litrly the worst team weight I’ve ever carried. Kevin said it was 70 lbs and my forearms believe it. Just not a good way to carry that without straps. I’m doing more biceps curls in case I see that again. I was talking to Ross about a Challenge I’d read about online in Baltimore where the police were called and it turns out Cadre Rob was leading it when someone called and said there were protestors. The police rolled up and asked what they were protesting (I suggested they were protesting nice, relaxing Friday nights and money in their wallets) but they heard about GORUCK and gave them police escorts through town.

Remember when we were going to quit but didn’t? Ross told me later that if I had hesitated for a split second longer about continuing, he would have quit. 


Of course, the event was soul sucking and terrible but I didn’t have any single bad point where I said “I hate GORUCK, screw this event, screw me and my terrible decisions and screw you, dark ass trail where I could get murdered” you know? Well, I said that last one but other than that, amazingly the mental game was strong. 
GORUCK Heavy is designed to hurt you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It did most of that but again, it’s still the best team event ever, hands down. I’d do them all if I didn’t have to pay for them.
Let me leave you with a quote from my friend G about his own 100K race last weekend (Infinitus anyone?) he crushed/was-crushed-by this weekend which absolutely sums up my thoughts about my Heavy this weekend, “I feel good about the effort, not about the performance.”


Guess I could’ve just quoted that and not written so much.

not pro tips

I’ve had a couple of people ask me for advice on GORUCK’s HCL (“HTL”) aka Heavy-Challenge/Tough-Light and I assume it’s because they’re desperate as there are better resources out there to ask than me. I guess the difference between those resources and me is that those people are in shape when they write their guides whereas I am…less in good shape? There’s hope for everyone to finish HCL if my ass can. 

The short version is to:

1. finish Heavy

2. show up to the Challenge “TOUGH”

3. profit

 

Long version:

1) Finish Heavy

2) Eat/Shower (depending on time in between events)

3) Fix your feet (lance blisters, air dry them, tape and lube etc.)

4) Reload supplies (water, food, straws to suck it up)

5) Show up to the Challenge start point and nap there if possible.

6)  After Heavy, you will hurt but so will everyone else… so the pace will necessarily be slower. And no, you won’t “slow down the team” so don’t be a bitch and come back (edit: pro-tip from G)

7) Wake up one hour before challenge, eat some more if you can and take care of feet again

BONUS: have a driver or someone in charge of transport and let them take the lead in herding you zombies around from endex to start point.

 

As for clothing, wear wool if it’s cold. I wore UnderArmor Heatgear and Coldgear as a baselayer and then a merino wool sweater (minus33 or Icebreaker brand here), then a rain jacket. For pants I just had some hiking pants that are awesome when you bear crawl on your knees like a little bitch (that’s the only way I bear crawl). I also had a sweet balaclava. 

  
One thing I was talked out of and regret is not bringing a travel/camping towel to towel off after doing bottom samples in the freezing ass water. Just make sure it can stay dry. I imagine it would probably help in drying your feet later but that might be me dreaming. 

Wear short shorts if it’s hot. Bring more lube. Sharing is caring.

 

Shoes, wear whatever you want. Tape your feet up for at least the 12 mile ruck march. Leukotape is the stuff of dreams. I don’t lube my feet because I haven’t noticed it helping me but your mileage may vary. People say to wear boots for the ankle support and other people swear by running shoes. Just do whatever you’re comfortable with. I’ve done it with both and I didn’t die. Trust me, you might have bigger problems to deal with than boots or running shoes. Like helping out someone else.

 

Remember if you do the Heavy and don’t come back for the Challenge, you’ll have to do Heavy again in order to complete the HCL. Not that it’s a bad thing because Heavy is the best event of all time ever.

 

In summary, show up and don’t be a bitch like me and you will win. Also, lube everything. 

  
When you’re done you too can put patches on your keg or six-pack. I obviously chose the keg because it’s more gooder. 

GORUCK Normandy not-Light-Chaffing

We started at one in the afternoon at the Omaha Beach Memorial again. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and everyone is in a good mood because well, it’s a Light and uh…that little HCL thing is almost over. Like all good things in life, we start out with chugging beers in the parking lot and some lame admin stuff (roll call, lubing up your stuff). This is all kind of hazy as it’s been one or two or twenty beers since we did the thing so I’ll tell it best as I can. We started out with more offensive and defensive tactics by the cadre, there was more Higgins Boating (3x! which is fun as hell when it’s not real life), Texas flag and US flag shorts. Bloody hell it was everything you could ask for in a Welcome Party. 

  
We’re in the Higgins boats and I’m pretty sure I’m being peed on by someone, not because I can feel it but because I am peeing on the people in front of me so I can only assume my team is doing the same #dealwithit I’m actually in the back of the boat for once and beside my battle buddy Jason. This turns out to be a good thing because I don’t have to run through the water since there is a traffic jam. Once we hit the beachhead we are to low crawl to the left but since there are so many people, me and Jason end up just laying in the water. I get the bright idea to stick my head up to see what’s going on and Ranger Jason says “Bee you’re dead” and I’m sure he wants to add “idiot” but he doesn’t ’cause he knows it’ll hurt my feelings and shit 😒

  

So no shit there I am, casualty on Omaha Beach and Jason G. is beside me so he looks up and he gets the same treatment. I suppose he can’t let me be dumb alone, either! Some teammates low crawl over to our position and buddy bear crawl/drag us away. Despite being casualties, we figure out how to move our feet to help assist with the Casualty Relocation Project™

This Welcome Party was one of the most fun because the sand was so soft during the 3/5 second bounding and the badass shadows were taking some sweet ass pictures. Since we were so sandy, Cadre Montreal hooked it up and let us wash off in the surf by doing fireman burpees. “How do you put out a fire? Stop, drop and roll!” You’re standing in the surf, fall down and roll to your left. Then roll to your right. Since it’s a Light we only had to do five. I wouldn’t have minded more since it was so fun and I asked other people after it was over and they had the same idea but fuck you if you ever voice that opinion during the event!
After that we had to fill some sandbags up to 20 lbs and then we had some admin time. If I was better prepared I would have made it beer consumption time but such is life. Our next objective is to follow Montreal and we head east. Over the sand, across the road, up through some trails. Mind you I’m on dumb flag (aka not-Freedom Flag) duty and I am waddling like a penguin my shit is so chaffed. 

  

Check it out (Jenks), if you’re chaffing…don’t put leukotape on your nether-regions. It only kind of works and you need to start and the top and I did not. So I have this wide-legged waddle like I have a huge-set-of-balls-but-I-don’t-cause-I’m-Asian and people are laughing at me but I can’t do anything about it because I’m laughing, too. Note: lube up plenty when rucking. All the lube allthe time! Also note: leukotape takes like 4 days to rub off of your crotch before you can peel it off comfortably. 

We are Oscar Mike (“on the move” via Call of Duty) and climbing up some giant hill when we hear “slow up the front” and Montreal says “nah bro it’ll slow down naturally” and then we climb. And climb. And climb some more stairs. I turn around to see how far ahead of someone I am and I’m six steps ahead so I take a breather and Charlie Mike. So that’s another reason I love to GORUCK. I get to play Army man and use cool shit terms that nobody thinks is cool save for me and AHHH!!!!! Fuck yeah only one event until retirement again. 
Eventually we arrive at the base of the path that leads up to the American Cemetery in Normandy but since we suck as a class (as classes are wont to do) we get to bear crawl and then crab walk like 25 meters. Not a far distance but when you are Crampy McCramperson like me then it’s lots of bitching and moaning (and chaffing). We finish that and we learn about some people in WWII that were connected to our teammates. We get some instruction and are to head up to the Cemetery to find people from our state or city. 

I don’t have the right combination of words to articulate what you feel when you see the cemetery. I’m sure you can find a review somewhere to stir the senses but best I can come up with is “holy fucking shit!” It’s a beautiful tribute and personally, as bad as 9/11 was, I think this had the potential to be so much worse. Without this sacrifice, we might be speaking German, Russian and Japanese right now and I would have never been bitch slapped by Freedom. If I’m wrong tell me I’m wrong. Won’t hurt my feelings any (I don’t have any – I’m dead inside). 

So we’re at the cemetery and I feel it is my duty as an American to walk out and read some of the names on the grave. I don’t want to make light of the situation but I have to walk out and read some names and it takes me ten minutes to cover 200 meters. Who knew waddling took so long? I get out there and read some names but don’t tear up or feel much of anything like I did in OKC two months ago but it’s hard to take in. I think that part is leased to us as American Soil so it felt good to get some America in. 
We rendezvous with the rest of our six-man team and head down to the endex. We sit around and hear some awesome stories and we hear the sweet, sweet words of “Congratulations! You get to bear crawl backwards up these steps!” KIDDING!They never said that but man that would be some shit, wouldn’t it? We are endexed, the class is secured and the HCL people are shoved off to the side to get patched up. Personally, I don’t agree with that at all, we are one team until the patching ceremony so patch us as one Light team, damn it. Give us the HCL patch after the fact. 
We finish and get patched up, I think there are around 21 of us and I wish we would have gotten to know each other more. I can’t tell who is who by looking at the picture but let me see dat ass and a sandbag on their back and I’ll tell you their life story. Nature of the game I suppose. 3 repeat offenders as far as I could tell. 

  
So HCL Class 014, solid work! It wasn’t as much of a beat down as some of you wanted (some people mentioned they wanted more PT after it was all said and done and I told them to keep their dumb thoughts to themselves) but it was good work. I am confident that everyone who finished this HCL would have finished any other HCL. It all sucks, keep going! AHHH!!!!

  
My takeaway from the HCL is this:
1) Single ladies, if you like long walks on the beach, have I got the date for you 😍😍😍
2) If you want an up close and personal tour of WWII then do the Normandy HCL. Rumor has it you’ll rappel down Pointe Du Hoc next year and climb up the ladder
3) HCL number two completed. People were talking about how much they trained their asses off and I feel bad because I didn’t do shit. I started run-walking about 7 weeks ago and it took me 73 minutes to run 5 miles on my last run before HCL and I can do one (1) pull up. I know lots of you out there who can do way more physically than me yet haven’t pulled the trigger on an HCL and I can’t figure out why. If my fat ass can do it then literally anyone can. I suppose it’s all in how you approach it mentally. I’m weak at most everything in life (being sociable, hitting on women, cardio, PT) but for some reason my mental game is pretty strong. So sign up for HCL, use whatever cheesy motivational shit you have to use to see it through and join us on the HCL Finisher side. Guess what, there’s a FB group for that shit, too!