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!

Bragg Heavy

TL;DR: Carry a bunch of shit and do a little bit of PT. The end.

After some delicious Mission BBQ, War Stories and Free Beer (double-fisting ’em like they were going to run out), and a short trip to the in Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, I headed over to Southern Pines ’cause I heard there was a thing that night. But first, to see if I could check into the hotel early (success!). Which seems like a waste of money for a night I’m not using the hotel but it let me use the facilities and pretend to sleep but not really ’cause I’M FREAKING PUMPED.

Me being pumped

The Joe Warner Bragg Heavy (JWBH) is some real life shit. There’s like, PT and coupons and coupons and PT. Simple.

A few days prior to the event, cadre told us to show up an hour early for the admin phase (waivers, check-in, weigh-in, water) so we show up and pee everywhere because that’s just what you do. After admin, we formed up into one giant group with 7 ranks of 20 people each. They asked for anyone who had previously finished a JWBH to step aside and I had to say goodbye to my friends Keith and Andrew. Farewell.

Pregame shenanigans. Kinda chilly.

There were about 25 people in that group so they asked for reinforcements. 5+ Heavy finishers? I’m back in the cool kids club with Keith and Andrew! Hello!! I ran into some other GRTs I knew in this group. This was going to be really awesome or really terrible.

Never been so excited to fail a PT test!

So we get split up into two groups, a group of 33 and The Others. The uh…crew of 33 got to stay close by and do the Upper Body Round Robin (UBRR deets here) sans the rope climb. The Others got to do the standard PT test and ruck their asses off for 12 miles (or 9 miles, then 3 miles of PT on the route home). Two things about the UBRR: first, I got to meet the latest GORUCK Selection Finisher Mark when he graded my pushups and gave me lots of pointers (more like…I’m also terrible at pushups and they weren’t pointers so much as I should quit sucking at pushups) and second, you shouldn’t try Heavy by starting your running regimen two weeks prior AKA 12’30″/miles. It gets ugly. This comes into play later.

I mean, I guess.

After the run, we head over to pick up logs from Logs-R-Us because it’s open 24/7 next door to the National Athletic Village. So, 3 logs get brought down and cadre tell us to sit in formation (3 ranks, 11 people each) and we get to chatting because it’s late and the sun should be coming up any minute now. We’re all certain of it. So after what seems like forever, people start breaking out whiskey and we eventually wisen up to penguin huddling. I start talking to Duck as I gaze into Keith’s thigh and I mention he should read the D-Day book if he goes to Normandy. Which leads to Band of Brothers chats and how he could watch it every day. I say “oh yeah our current situation reminds me of Bastogne.” Duck was like “uh…you mean except for the shelling, freedom of the world at stake, Nazis, fox holes, actual cold temps, improper gear, and snow?” Well, yeah. I mean, aside from that, I guess it was just like Bastogne.

Cadre chill session in between soul crushing. It’s hard work, I’m sure.

So no shit, there I was at Bragg Heavy and all we were doing was sitting.  This is probably the peak of my performance at this event. We sat some more. Whiskey was passed around. More sitting and drinking whiskey ’cause it warms your soul. I swear it was like an hour. I also swore the sun was about to come up but I think it was only 22:00-23:00 if I can timeline that but who knows. From here, the classes combine again and then separate into three teams.

Guess what happens next?

We did this but under cover of darkness.

(hint)

Do you like PT?

How about PT with rucks?

Rifle PT?

Duck crushing the rifle pt

There were also a few coupons and sandbags but whatever.

Not much needs to be said about the event. If you want to know, then sign up, show up, and be crushed by it (or crush it, if that’s an option for you). Don’t be fat and dumb like me. Or if you are, do it anyway, and learn you some suffering. Like any good GORUCK class, there were valuable lessons learned from this event.

Me contemplating cardio.

The first and probably most unique lesson is not to tell the cadre that meditation taught you to care less. Right after we did low crawls with our coupons, Cadre John was talking to someone about his meditation practice and I mentioned how it helped me not to care as much (“not give a shit anymore”) and live-streaming-GORUCK-social-media-manager Bomber catches it and said “y’all hear that? Bee doesn’t give a shit anymore” and cadre says “There you go. You can hang that rucksack above your head. I don’t care if it’s taken out of context anymore…rucksack over your head.” Not sure how long it was but it felt like an hour (was really ~5 minutes).

I care now.

Honest.

Some shit is going to go down in that direction.

Second lesson: my friends are awesome.

At one point in the morning, we were tasked with ruck running to downtown Southern Pines and I just knew it’d be bad. I knew it would be give-up-my-ruck-bad. Yes, I’m a little bitch. I’ve fully embraced it. But a sincere thank you to Alex, Keith, and Andrew #MANdley #hately. I’d make up some B.A.R. patches for them (Bee’s Ass Rescue) for them but I’m busy working on my cardio. Not having any cardio means you can’t breathe, you can get shin splints, and most importantly, you learn to appreciate your teammates. I thank you guys. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it. I was talking to Keith after this evolution and he told me to just put one foot in front of the other. I imagine they’re somewhere in that picture below.

Hey inchworm pushups, it’s been a while. Like, a few minutes.

After this, you’ll be shocked to learn that we did some more PT. This was followed up with more PT and when you think you’re done PTing, you find more PT. Why? There is no why. Perhaps it’s for the PT you cheated yourself out of earlier. If you crushed all of your share of PT, then you’re making up for the PT I skipped (trust me, lots of it).

Alex with a sweet heat map of where everyone was from.

So, yeah.

Bragg Prep

That’s the $200 question: how do you get ready for Bragg?

Get ready for Bragg?

You won’t be ready for Bragg

Bragg knows you are dumb.

Well, for starters, I recommend you don’t spend a couple of minutes coming up with a terrible haiku. Not that I know what it takes to finish a Bragg Heavy as I’ve never been. But maybe instead of writing a haiku, those precious minutes could’ve been spent worrying about all of the training you didn’t do because you were resting or tapering. Definitely don’t want to get injured the days before, right? Better start tapering last week just to be safe.

Got my crew for Bragg!
How do you get ready for Bragg? Not by rucking and breaking in your  footwear, that’s not for me. No, I’m trying a new footwear/sock combination during the event because what’s the worst that could happen right? Get blisters, lose my big toenails? Please…that’s been going on since 2013 Heavy best eavy class 010.

New shoe and sock hotness.
How do you get ready for Bragg? With great Heavies come great opportunities. That is, great opportunities to buy stuff! And then not use it because apparently all the gear doesn’t matter, just as long as you have a little bit of gear and willpower. Or ability to be tough when you aren’t smart. Also, it helps when you count on other people to over pack and bring 10 pounds of food to offset your two Clif Bars.

This is how it starts.
How do you get ready for Bragg? You throw all your gear in a giant pile on your floor as you find stuff you need throughout the week. Then a couple of nights before you go through and pack it all up in your luggage. One ruck for the event. Rolling suitcase for the rest of your gear you’ll bring and not touch at all. Then forget one thing you really thought you needed so you get to buy another one after you land. Anyone else do that?


How do you get ready for Bragg? You don’t listen to me.

This would be an incredible entrance. After you figure out how to wrap the cast and then figure out how to vibrate so hard you can break it.
How should you get ready for Bragg? Train hard. Train often. Test your gear. Test your nutrition. Drink less beer (this one is dubious at best). Test your feets. I’ll do this for my next Heavy, should one come my way.

p.s.

Drink a bunch of beer at night while packing, get Lyft at 05:15, go to gate without precheck, walk five minutes the other way to gate with precheck, get in bin precheck line, go to correct agent, get bonus screening from agent, and get bag swabbed because you brought hand warmer packets to a 40 degree event smh. I’m never traveling again for events. 

goruck dork

I was texting a friend about shadowing the GORUCKs this weekend. I didn’t plan on shadowing some of the Heavy but after some people messaged me asking if I was going I figured “why not?” I was also injured (sartorius strain) and couldn’t wouldn’t go to the gym so I figured the best use of my time was to show up in Ft. Worth and bother my friends doing the GORUCK Heavy.

Downtown Ft Worth…waiting on my peeps
That involves driving 45 minutes to not do PT and instead, watch other people do PT. You would think that it’s boring (it is) but hell, sign me up. Or don’t sign me up because signing up takes effort and you know I’m not all about that. I can not do PT at home. Hell, I’m not doing PT right now. Fuck yeah. No PT best PT. You’re probably not doing PT right now either. We should start a club…noruck.
So I show up at the Heavy start point and nobody is there because they’re in the middle of their 12 mile ruck march which is awesome because I’ll just drink some beer. I don’t have beer. Worst shadow of all time ever. I go grab some beer and wait for them in the park and it’s about 21:00 and I keep seeing people running by, mostly solo but occasionally a pair of joggers. I eventually meet up with the other shadows and we do a few more hours of drinking beer and taking blurry pictures. As we were leaving Thursday night (work the next morning), Chase would go on to perfectly state “man it’s like Murder Central out here. I wouldn’t be out here all alone.”

What’s in the bag?

Friday after work I head over there to shadow the end of the Heavy and the entirety of the Tough. Which is more of the same but tonight’s schedule includes going to Ol’ South Pancake House to get some sausage gravy + biscuits because it’s delicious and better than watching them get smoked. We get back to park in the park and Fortune was looking down on us today as the class walked by the parking lot so we didn’t have to run around and search for them. This is around 00:30.

The class doing PT near the Trinity River.
As the class is getting smoked, A shadow looks at me and was likely thinking “this guy is lazy, he’ll probably want a ride” and offered me a ride to the next checkpoint and sure as shit I took him up on that. You don’t get this body by walking miles in the dark. So we get to the next checkpoint and we wait. The class shows up and they get smoked for not being team oriented or something. We head 2 miles to the next checkpoint and wait some more. He wanted to nap so he reclined his seat back and I wanted to lay down so I went outside and Clint and JB did too. We walked around looking for some dry spots and didn’t find any so we decided that the sidewalk was as good as any so we got on the ground about 15′ away from each other and Clint goes near/under the bridge and knocks out. This is around 03:15-03:30. I come to around 0530 freezing my ass off. All I’m wearing are short shorts and a hoodie and that’s not enough for sleeping on concrete. It was cold. I take a second to gather my bearings, trying to figure why I’m on the side of the road and look around and I don’t see John. He’s probably peeing. Five minutes later he’s still not back.

The class needed to move from University/Trinity River to the pin. Not sure of the time hack.
Not good.

I yell “JOOOOOOOHN” and don’t hear a reply so I was like “damn, guess he’s lost to the aether.” Clint gets up from UNDER THE BRIDGE and asks “where’s JB?”

Clint thinks he might be down by the river in case he fell in while trying to pee so he takes my headlamp and walks the bank for a couple of minutes. No sign. That’s when I’m like “damn, he really is gone.” Next I’m thinking I’m going to end up on the news because my friend is gone and I’m the last one to see him alive. All we have left is his ruck. How do you explain a missing GRT? He’s a bigger guy so I can’t overpower him but I might be a crafty Asian.

No way the guy in the right would get into the trunk of a car. Never.
All that goes by the wayside when the shadow shows back up. I ask him he’s seen JB and he’s all “you try calling him?” So I do and this time that bitch picks up.

“Hey!”

“Hello?”

“Where you at?!”

“…I’m…in the trunk.”

“DUDE you do not climb into the back of anyone’s trunk. Ever.”

seriously
THIS BITCH

Clint walks over, pulls out his phone to record it, pops open the trunk and sure as shit dude climbs out of the trunk.

Check out his sweet suite.
Turns out he had gotten cold at night and went back to the car to sleep. He kept flopping around in the backseat and the shadow asks him to get in the trunk.

“There’s a pillow back there.”

“Okay.”

smh
What is this life? Sleeping on the sidewalk, sharing beers with new friends and taking pictures of strangers doing strange things at night.

A damned good one.

event musings

Similar to the quitting post where there is a lot of bitching disguised as introspection, these are some thoughts that pop up in my head during events or hell, maybe just life in general. But that’s just it – thoughts. I’ve occasionally voiced the ones that don’t invoke more PT but those are just me going to my happy place.

My homeboy Jimmie in his happy place. Carrying zodiacs apparently.

Cadre…we’re black on PT.

I thought we did enough burpees but nah, we definitely need more burpees.

Oh OK sure I’ll keep carrying this weight. I was just kidding about needing help.
[This is at nearly every event. Some more than others but thankfully some classes fight for carrying team weights. Not me though, nope.]

Sure, let’s run everywhere. Walking is overrated.

I think that time hack is too generous.

This could be more challenging.

I love bear crawls.

I’m black on beer.

I’ve actually said that last one except it was mangoritas back when those were all the rage. I mean, those are still delicious but Lime-a-ritas are still number one in my heart.

courtesy of Phil

I’m sure glad everyone brought all this food for twelve hours so we get to carry it all night.

I’m not getting into that water, that’s gross.

If I have to get in that cold ass water one more time I’m quitting. [I didn’t actually quit when we got back in the water but it was just fun to bitch out loud with Donna in Seattle]

I remember wanting more flutter kicks and ruck swings. Wish granted.

Maybe I can break my ankle and quit without actually quitting.

Maybe a snake or a goose will take me out and I won’t have to finish this twelve miler.” – Jeff Underwood [I have had this thought multiple times]

There’s no way they’d make us ruck back to the start point. Where is the GORUCK bus? [We actually had a bus pick us up @ Culebra 1, thanks Chad! Also at Task Force Dagger custom in 2015 in Charleston, thanks Keith! Dreams do come true!]

This log is impossibly large. No way.

Can we take our break in the shade ten feet away instead of standing out here beneath the sun?

Uh…you can’t go solo without a battle buddy. It’s like your 4th GORUCK dude how do you not know this?

Yeah yell at the dude who forgot his battle buddy. The cadre won’t hear you.

Yes, your idea is amazing. You should let the class know really loudly how you feel and try to be TL when it’s not your turn.

Bee, shut up.

“12 miles is like, 12 miles too far.” – Cristina Mendoza

Why do we pay all this money to come do shit that sucks? I hear you can vacation without doing all of this shit. Must be nice.

You know what we need? A poleless litter.

I believe most people can relate to this. Except for those who are in shape aka not the “round is a shape” population (includes me in all honesty but you knew that). So my goal was to be in shape for my next event (Light in Shreveport with Bomber Bash) but instead of rucking and running and doing PT I’ve been lifting weights and not doing anything ruck related so that goal fell by the wayside.

Culebra 1. But also looks like Culebra 2 and Culebra 3.

Instead, I’ll have to shift my goal to another event in the future where I expect many repeats of those thoughts up above.

Meanwhile, I’ve started a blog regarding tracking my workouts and you can follow it here – www.coldandbitter.com if you’re into that sort of thing.

[ ] 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.

Do you wish to continue?

Heavy class 114…that sucked. The end bitches.
Kidding…and not. It was a tough event. Not my hardest event ever (I always obsess over this during and post-event) but two things: it was relentless and such a beat down yet no time hack or objective ever seemed out of reach. It was really hard but not overly difficult. It sucked and there were almost no fun times but I still enjoyed it all. Fucking life, man!

This Memorial Day Heavy was in DC and brought to you by our cadre were Rob, Jason, Danny boy, Brian Squared and the letter ‘H’ as in HeroWOD. I’d never met any of the cadre but I’ve heard stories about all of them and I was mostly worried about Brian because I heard he likes to “walk” and do stairs which are among two of my many, many weaknesses.

 

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Thanks for inspiring as always, Jim!

After leaving Kevin’s apartment we mosey on up to the Holiday Inn off of C street and eventually meet the rest of the hotel team we are all sharing rooms with. There are 3 rooms and 12 people and not a lot of stuff to do for the day so we all try to grab a nap. I manage about 10 minutes of sleep and then we all start gearing up. It’s one of my favorite parts of doing GORUCK. Remember game day for whatever sport you were playing? You get into a routine and start setting up your gear. In my case, it’s getting my ruck ready, taping my feet and lubing up my thighs. This done, we hop in cars and proceed to the start point.
The start point is at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The start is always a nervous point for me as I am terrible with names (but not faces/asses/boots/rucks/stories) and I’m always having to ask people their name and it’s awkward when we’ve met or done a few events together. Whoops. You also get to meet all these FB people you’ve been friends with for a while and that’s always fun. I think I’m more excited to meet others than they are to meet me. We eventually line up in formation and my friend Lisa (whose boob I grabbed on my FB cover photo) comes to terms with her feelings about GORUCK (burnout) and decides to not do it. I was so jealous. I’m still in denial about my burnout.
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At the beginning is ruck inspection time and this is where cadre make sure you have a water bladder, bricks, tape, ID and quit money. People missing this or that end up costing us 105 extra reps of good livin’ to be redeemed later on. Our nice cadre take all of our food and put it in all these food bags that weighed a ton (wouldn’t know I was busy being lazy and didn’t carry it until closer to the end when a lot of us had crushed all of that food) and I received someone’s yellow dry bag with like 5 lbs of food and I immediately start cursing this stranger with all the food.

 

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W worst ouble-u

We form up and begin the PT Test in which I got crushed by holding that team weight and trying to keep homeboy’s legs down were not easy and then we rucked over to the canal (Capital Crescent Trail) to begin the twelve mile ruck march. This is an individual exercise and I immediately fall to the back of the pack. 12 miles if you’re slow and out of shape is a long time to think about your current situation, life choices and their effects leading up to this long walk on this dark ass trail.

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The trail looks like this except less lights when you’re out farther.

It’s a pretty cool trail when the light is out but at night all you can think about is “damn, it’s dark” but I don’t want to turn on my lamp because then you see things out there. Other thoughts that pass through are: man, this sucks; what if there is a serial killer out there; I could slip and fall in the canal and nobody will know my end; damn, that’s a sweet ass bench I wish I could sit down on it; this damned food bag I hate you; I can turn around and quit now and be happy; I wish I’d roll and break an ankle and not have to continue on; maybe I’ll get lucky and a snake will bite me and I’ll have to have a different ending (stole this one from Jeff!). None of that happens and I ended up ruck running 20 steps on/20 steps off for a few miles on the first six miles. Eventually I hit my cardio wall and I couldn’t go faster if I wanted. I tried to run for a bit and I’d be like AHHHHHHHH I’m going to win and then my body is like “lol nope.” It’s a constant back and forth, I love that shit. Eventually I go black on water and my hamstring starts tightening up so I have to stop a lot and stretch it out. This doesn’t help my time.

Sidenote: rucking a long, dark trail is a lot like meditation. Thoughts come in, thoughts go out, keep walking. Think about what you’re feeling and how you’re feeling. It’s great. Except it’s not.

 

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Rob playing Candy Crush

Nobody will be surprised to learn that I lost this event – 3:38 on flat trail?? GTFOH with that weakness. I actually passed someone with a knee injury but ultimately it didn’t matter. We had an issue with one participant who needed a ride to the hospital for hydration issues. After that gets sorted out Danny says to us “you have failed the twelve mile ruck march. Do you wish to continue?”

 

 

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. 

patches

Everyone has been uploading their patch collection to the Tough page but I’m not about that life. My favorite patches I have are the allegedly™, original 1,001 manmaker patch and my first Heavy patch. Apologies to those whose patches I didn’t favorite.

  1. The allegedly™ I just wanted one but you can’t really buy one so I figured I’d buy 50 and see if I can’t get close to breaking even and sure enough my friends were dumb enough to pull through and help me get near break-even.
  2. 1,001 manmaker patch was probably my first foray into doing dumb things for a patch. It immediately became my favorite dumb thing to do because if you take 15 hours like I did that first time, you realize how valuable time is. You start daydreaming about all the cool shit you could be doing. Immediately coming to mind is not doing manmakers. Watch TV. Not do manmakers. The possibilities are endless!!
  3. My first Heavy patch. I don’t know which one is the actual original but that’s not important. What is important is that I remember earning the shit out of this one because in my mind I was going to die in Austin and after Jason patched me, I hated him and loved him at the same time. I was raging but wanted to be happy. But most importantly, I wanted to sit down. Hell, we all did. My favorite event of all time still.

SuperScavenger was one of the most mentally draining of all my events but that’s because everything was foggy and hazy. I traded my FAD patch away for a charity donation. I can’t think of a patch I want to get. Maybe the Bragg one but I might be injured which, either way it goes I’ll be OK with because I’m a bum. It’s been a good three years I’d say. I remember earning my first patch and thinking that was the dumbest thing I’d ever done and that nope, no freaking way was I ever going to do it again-IMG_395539 months later…stupid patches. 25 h/c/l, 4 Scavs, 1 Trek, 1 FAD

I’ve been organizing my patches in order to make a patch board so I guess the posts help. I am going to make a patch board and, really, I think it’s dumb but clearly just because I think it’s dumb doesn’t mean I won’t do it. In looking at them, I realize I’ve lost a Light patch somewhere. It’s probably in my ruck but I’d have to go digging around so I’ll do that this weekend I guess. Or I’ll just Trek one from one of my peeps.

After I got my first patch and swore to never do an event again, I signed up for one that next day because you have to know if you really don’t like it and what better way to find out than to do it again? So the second event I signed up for (Wichita 553) ended up being my third event because there was a Light in between and somehow it became all about getting patches and shit. You keep buying patches because they’re cool or someone will say “run this far and donate money to charity and get a patch” and suddenly you’re like $200 into patches that you never look at (hence the patch board…oh). So you cut back on buying patches but keep going back and start giving less of a shit about getting a patch and more about earning it and helping others get theirs.

Then you figure it’s actually been about the people all along and hang the patch. Damn you GORUCK, I just wanted a sweet backpack and now I’ve got new friends and fucking like 50 new Facebook groups and shit.