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?

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. 

Normandy Logisticsy

I went to Normandy once and I’ve had a few people ask me about it so here’s the breakdown, sorta. I didn’t do a whole lot of planning and just tagged along and threw money at the problem (logistics) and everyone crushed it (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). So here’s how I did it. Kinda detailed because of questions I’ve received.

TRAVEL TIME:

Tuesday – June 2

Left DFW – 15:00
We got there a day early so we could drive and make sure we got bricks/weight and to make the 3 hour drive out from Paris to Normandy (Omaha Beach). When you fly to France from the States you lose like 9 hours of your day.

Wednesday: June 3

Arrived CDG – 07:30
Meet team
Pick up bricks at local Home Depot/Lowes thing
Drive to Normandy
Arrive at team house
Buy alcohols and maybe food

Thursday: June 4

Drink
Prep for Heavy
Get crushed by Heavy

Friday: June 5

Heavy endex
Cry
Drive far as hell for Challenge
Freeze our asses off

Saturday: June 6

Challenge endex
Cry
Prep for Light – this involves beer
Do Light
Walk with hand in crotch due to chafing
Light endex
Win HCL battle
Walk with hand in crotch due to chafing
Lost to HCL after all

FLIGHT:

I had a non-stop on AA from Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport to Charles De Gaulle International Airport DFW to CDG (flight for me was ~$1400 because I am dumb but people were spending 7-1700 from various locales. Maybe try flying to the East Coast and then hopping a second flight to Europe). You can also use sites like yapta.com or kayak to track fares and see how they go.

It was like a 9.5 hour flight and I thought it would never end. Kind of like my first Challenge.

Luckily CDG has free wifi so when you land so you can FB messenger all your peeps to try to link up when you land. Also reboot your phone to get some sweet, sweet EuroCellularNetworks. Make sure you figure out where the hell the car pickup counter is and not the parking lot. I walked by that sumbitch like 5 times trying to find it.

GROUND TRANSPORT:

Luckily for all involved I wasn’t involved in this step.

Train – there’s a train from Paris to Caen/Bayeux but you still need a ride to get from your place to the start point and it’s not like there are a ton of taxis/uber there in the small village. Plus you have to parlez you some Français and do you really want to? Nope. I recommend the rental car.

Car – we took a car and Stacy and Sonia drove us. There were also tolls we had to pay in crazy Euro money. Car + fuel + tolls came out to be like $50 in moon money round trip.

NOTE: lots of shops close down at 8 or 9pm and no shit it doesn’t get dark there until 22:30 or so. We drank all evening and were like “wtf it’s 22:30” when the sun finally went down. Thanks, high latitude and earth’s axial tilt!

 

LODGING:

We had a rental house in Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes, France (7.8KM from house to Heavy/Light Start Point – Omaha Beach D-Day Monument). I believe ChriguTough was responsible for booking this. One thing I must stress is that you have wifi at your place of lodging or you’ll have to talk to your roommates or something. We also had about 10 people and it ended up being party central.

We had shadows (James and Sonia) who stayed and cooked us meals between events, took pics and were all around bad asses. They drove between events and town. I would’ve been so lost and probably would’ve died TBH.

For food and alcohol, someone bought a bunch of it and made it and we all chipped in. Also, stores close early plus you have to navigate there and it’s all weird and like, foreign.

france001

COMMUNICATIONS

I got the international plan through AT&T for $30/120mb. International calls were Free with that I think. Other people did some James Bond shit and bought a burner phone or secondary SIM and swapped it out. Shit wasn’t happening with the iPhone.

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

Bring your own pain meds – tylenol and an advil or whatever flavor nsaid works for you. They don’t sell that in grocery stores as you have to go to a separate pharmacy for the meds. Plus, I don’t know what hours they are open.

In all I spent about ~$3,000 (half of flight, lots of it in Paris on beer and an amazing meal) and then I went to Brussels. Some went for just the H/C/L or HCL and then hightailed it out of there as soon as it was over. Some people went traipsing across Europe for a week or two before they got there and others did the event first and toured Europe second. Either way, amazing trip and fun time and I met some cool people but I don’t know if they thought I was cool. Whatever. Let me know if you have questions and shit, here or on the facebooks or twitter if you’re into that.

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!

HCL Redemption Tour 2014

So I bought tickets to this Tour and it was a great show. ~48 hours of awesome times filled with hating my feet and getting a nice sunburn. This was a follow up to my failed attempt at Seattle HCL001 and what pisses me off is that I had it in Seattle. I didn’t show up and quit the Challenge up there but instead just failed to showed up. Lesson one: show up. If I showed up, I would’ve nailed it. Oh well, time to move on but the scar of that failure will always be there.

So the Heavy. It was fun. It was long. It was hot. Definitely should’ve taped my feet up before I left but I thought I’d be fine. Noticed hot spots on the bottom and it only got worse. Standard Heavy event with excellent Cadre as usual but the two things different from Seattle were the temperature (not cold aka good feels) and the intensity level. I don’t know if they had something to prove in Seattle but there were 5 Cadre rotating out on us up there and they were on their A-game. Here in Ft. Worth it was definitely less intense but not any less difficult. They also offered us about 20 chances to quit Heavy up there and I wish they’d do that at other Heavy events. It’s always so tempting for that.

We had heat and dehydration to deal with while up there we just had it being cold. Cold was easier to manage because you just keep moving but you can’t really do that down here in Texas. We also lacked the Farewell Party at the end that we had up in Seattle and honestly, I was looking forward to them yelling at us and telling us we weren’t good enough, we weren’t low enough, we weren’t fast enough and we weren’t pushing up high enough. Really, that is what I loved about Seattle the most.

Challenge I don’t really remember because we had lots of cardio and I hate cardio (well, not really, I just don’t do enough of it) and this is where the lack of sleep set in. When we were walking I’d be fine but as soon as we stopped to get another lesson in leadership, I’d fall asleep in-place and wake up trying to not fall on my ass.

Light was really cool. My feet were hurting and I’d only had 1.5 beers in the parking lot but there was no way I was going to not finish. This is where the realization set in that I am an idiot for flying all the way up to Seattle to not only fail but to fail to even show up. Anyway, we went the same route along the Trinity River and into downtown and on our way back we had the most fun I’ve ever had at a GORUCK event. We got to do little man in the woods aka short people jumping jacks and when we messed that up we had to do short people cartwheels and it was literally the highlight of the event. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard after wanting to throw up.

At the end of the event, it was raining and for some reason there weren’t mass casualties and a time hack so we just kinda strolled back in. Everyone got their Light patches and then the HCL people were promoted to overhead press duty and when one person had to set it down, we all set it down as a team. We did that as a team and it was over! HCL Victory Dance…engage. More of a “thank God this shit is over, I just want to stand here or sit without any weight on my back.”

We heard some really good stories and leadership points. Our friend Matt told us why he did it and how hard it was for him to push through. I know it was raining but it must’ve been dusty or some asshole started chopping onions beside me because my eyes started watering. This is why I do these events – the camaraderie. I could definitely do without the bear crawls and the jogging and carrying awkwardly heavy shit but without that added stress the camaraderie and friendships wouldn’t hold the same meaning. As we were getting patched, we saw a rainbow, then a double rainbow, it stopped raining, the sun came out and then we saw two or three flocks of birds flying in their v-formation and it was an incredibly odd ending to a very fun weekend.

It was an amazing Memorial Day weekend and I have a much better appreciation of that day and what people sacrifice for this country. As a civilian you don’t really understand but to hear it from soldiers themselves it’s very moving and gives you a much better insight to what the day is for (and year should be for).

So I have a couple of Challenges and then I’m retiring. This shit is getting expensive. For my last couple of events I’m going to train. Yeah, right after I put down this beer.

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I’m kneeling because it hurts to stand.