GORUCK Tough Challenge class 1925
We did a thing in New Orleans this weekend. Over 200 people from around the country came together to prove that there are dumb people in every state. There were people from California #ihatelindsayluna to New York and hell, even Japan sent a team of two! GRTs came out in force to highlight their disdain for a nice, relaxing evening at home. That always comes up during a Challenge – that you could be doing not-GORUCK and you know, actually enjoy your life.
We started out in this giant field in what should be called Big Ass Park in the Middle of The City with six platoons which was subsequently reduced to five once they saw how much awesome was in our platoon. That much awesome concentrated in one place would not have been fair to the other platoons so we got busted up. Here is where I got to meet many GORUCK celebrities and uh…non-celebrities I guess those people are called. I also met no less than ten Chris-es. It’s always cool to meet people you’ve been facestalking for a while. It’s always weird when someone says “it’s great to meet you” because meeting me is litrly the opposite of great. Because there are times when you have to carry me. It’s not as easy as it looks!
The Welcome Party we did like two pushups (well, I did two quality pushups before I started cheating my ass off) and then we had a platoon race and after winning, we got to have story time by John Steele who was doing this as his 100th GORUCK event. Right after the feelings we got into a nasty duck pond with actual alligators in it. This pond had this cool feature where if you were walking you could move around fairly easily but if you stood there you would sink down through what is ostensibly layers and layers of duck poop.
After getting out of the pond, our platoons were shuffled and we got promoted to First Platoon which immediately became the best atoon.
From here we got to reacquaint ourselves with the poleless litter aka hopeyoudontneedyourforearmseveragain. For those unfamiliar, it’s basically a giant towel made out of canvas with straps connected at six spots so you can carry a person on it and if you’re lucky enough to be in the middle, you can carry the majority of the weight using your forearms and tears and when you ask for help you learn that you can only count on a handful of people to swap in and out with. You also get the amazing ability to not carry anything on that side of your body. On this leg of our journey, we learned that sidewalks in New Orleans are short stretches of smoothness and and long stretches of hopeyoudontneedyouranklestoday.
We got to this Louis Armstrong Park and then I was promoted to Team Leader (TL) after trying to avoid eye contact with the cadre. I was standing there in front of Joe (Duck) when Mocha Mike asks me who my Assistant Team Leader (ATL) was so Joe was promoted to ATL. Our objective was to quickly get to the Hurricane Katrina Memorial so I started pushing people and running up and down the line trying to motivate people to ruck a little faster. If you know me then you know my cardio is…lacking. So this running up and down didn’t last too long and thankfully Joe can run like the wind and he was able to take charge of the front half of the platoon. Even with asthma, he is still faster than me.
We were running and shuffling and eventually overtook another platoon and that was fun. They did not like that so they started coming after us and that would not do so we kept pushing the pace and I got to yell at everyone to go faster and give out all the high fives. Here we did the GORUCK Mile aka “guys we’ve only got one mile left (but it’s actually 1.8 but you gotta lie to peeps).” I daresay this was my best TL performance but that was largely due to Joe running and keeping things in order for me. Thanks Joe! We got to the Memorial ahead of the other platoon (smoked em) and spent some time checking it out. It was neat and you should check it out if you’re ever in the area.
After that, we had a short movement back to the Big Ass Park and endexed. We got to hear some some speeches from the cadre and I was even interviewed by Nick the GORUCK videographer. The class took some sweet pictures and drank some beer and went back to the hotel with Jonathan where I knocked the hell out. We woke up late for the after party and well, you don’t get this body by turning down free beer and food. We showed up to the party and that’s what these events are all about. The people (and beer). I got to talk to, meet and re-meet lots of great friends. Some of these guys i haven’t seen in two years and it’s fun to reconnect in person. The best thing was a couple of different people coming up to me and saying that my blog post on finishing HTL helped them get through it. Hell yeah!! Win. A non-win was when I saw Lee outside and he told me that my cell phone hip holster instantly repels women but I told him I didn’t need help repelling women. I do that naturally, cell phone hip holster or not. All in all, we covered about 11 miles but they were all with smiles.
Then I woke up with a lot of selfies on my phone, one lost and returned phone and a bunch of new friends.