GoRuck Navigator Core AAR Part 1-Good Lovin’

Three intrepid pax took off on Friday afternoon, March 31, 2017, for a little adventure in the woods. Linus, Audit and YHC struck out toward Asheville looking for something more challenging than the normal suck that we all embrace on a daily basis. GoRuck Navigator Core was calling, and we were picking up the phone.

GoRuck has a series of what they call "Gentlemen's Courses", which means no logs, burpees or Welcome Parties are involved. The Navigator series includes Core, Z, Legacy and Jedburgh. Core is all about orienteering, as explained below and in Part II. The Z is wilderness survival. Legacy puts both together and Jedburgh simulates a real WW2 mission behind German lines.

Our destination was Camp Bud Schiele, a Boy Scout camp, near Forest City, NC. Audit scored us a free room at the Holiday Inn for Friday night, so we all headed up together. It is always better to clown car to events, whenever possible. We all got to know each other better, which is a big part of why we do these CSAUP's.

After picking up a little last minute gear in Spartanburg, SC we hunted up some grub. YHC prefers local restaurants to chains, so we settled on City Range Steakhouse Grill. Winner, winner, steak dinner. That was some good eats. Being real men, Linus and YHC took down a nice lager. Being Audit, he ordered a cucumbertini, but not just any cucumbertini. It had to have a sugared rim and muddled cucumber. Laura, our waitress, innocently asked if a lady was joining us, due to Audit's drink order. A bunch of food and several drinks later, we headed out to the general vicinity of the hotel in Forest City, NC. Linus, being a beer snob, wanted to check out The Twisted Pear brew pub. Since it was already 10pm, it was closed. Sissies. We circled around and found a cool looking place around the corner. Linus was getting agitated at YHC and Audit, because we kept giving him conflicting directions. We had 3 cell phones barking out directions as well. Good times. This was an eerie premonition of what was to follow the next day.

Being faster and a natural leader, YHC strode into the bar first to survey the establishment. YHC knew immediately we were headed for trouble when he spied a barfly out of the corner of his eye. We sat at the opposite corner away from the bar-shark, but she sidled over and took a spot close to us. This was going to be an interesting evening. There was not enough beer in that whole town to make this woman look like something any man might want to pursue. She didn't get hit with the ugly stick. She climbed up in the tree and fell on every branch on the way down. I must say, however, that she has good taste in men. The fact that we were the only ones left in the bar that she had never hit on had nothing to do with it. We are just that good looking. After an appropriate span of about 15 seconds, bar-hag set her sights in on Linus, all the while drooling over her next blood-meal. YHC was already cultivating a brilliant plan to subvert her efforts at sinking her gnarly hooks into one of my fellow pax. I told her Linus was from Sweden and didn't understand much English. Audit and YHC would speak to him in "Swedish" and he would reply in Afrikaans, which he apparently learned while on Safari in South Africa. Linus is Strider's nephew after all. Well that primed her pump. Evidently Vicky, the bar-demonette, had never encountered anybody from outside the state, much less the country. She did slow down her speech and talked louder in the hopes that Linus would understand her oh so subtle overtures. Audit sulked and sipped his beer, reminiscing about his cucumbertini from earlier in the night.

Quote of the Day from Vickie: YOU ARE SOOOO PRETTY! I LOVE YOUR HAIR.

We had to drag Linus away from Vickie's siren song. He was truly smitten, but we knew we had work to do tomorrow. Maybe next time Linus...

We got back to the hotel and poured ourselves into bed. Linus, still feeling amorous after his close encounter of the Ugly Kind, offered to sleep with Audit, which makes sense, due to Audit's drink choice. Evidently Audit snores like a freight train. YHC, being married, is oblivious to such noises. Linus, being single, is still affected by it.

We met a few of the other Nav pax at the hotel breakfast, then went to Waffle House to get some good greasy food. It must be said that YHC was having some serious gastro-intestinal issues, starting at about Columbia and not finishing until we were leaving the hotel. I hate it for anybody that had to be around me. YHC could barely handle his own officious aromas, so you know it was bad. It stunk like Baby Beasley after eating Markette pink hotdogs and Dinty Moore chili. YHC was a little nervous the weekend orienteering trip was going to turn into a Groundblind trip of the runs. Evidently things settled down after the last explosion just prior to leaving the hotel lobby. No doubt the cleaning ladies quit their job under protest due to unsafe work conditions.

We arrived at the Boy Scout camp on two wheels, as we were a little behind schedule. (See paragraph above). Upon arriving we saw a tent city wrapping around a little cabin. None of us had a clue what to expect, so we all brought the kitchen sink in rucks. I borrowed a 70 liter ruck and had that sucker filled to the brim, fully expecting to carry it through the woods and over mountains the rest of the weekend. As it turns out, we could leave our stuff in the car and just grab what we needed as we needed it. Good thing I brought along my trusty GR1. YHC quickly unpacked a few essentials for the Nav and got in the group around Cadres Mickey and Chris Way, ready for some Good Livin'.

Part 2 is coming soon.

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GORUCK Class #2124 Hartsville

The worst part of any CSAUP is the couple of hours before it begins. At this point you have trained all you can train. You have hydrated. You have prepared. Now all you want to do is get on with it. Unless you haven’t trained, hydrated or prepared, in which case the worst part of the CSAUP is the CSAUP. Hartsville had trained, however. We took this event very seriously, adding double down rucks and welcome parties and even starting a new ruck oriented AO, Curahee, on Fridays. We discussed gear on the GORUCK GroupMe. Several Fadre's stepped up and led us through different elements of what they had experienced in previous GORUCK events. We practiced lining up in ranks by birth name and F3 name. This was an anal retentive training regimen. Being the polar opposite of anal retentive, I laughed on the inside quite a bit, but I also had profound respect and admiration for the level of detail. It truly saved our butts a lot of pain and prepared us mentally for what was to come. T-claps to ChuckyCheese. He ain't nantan for nothing.

35 guys signed up and paid for this event. I expected about 20-25 to show up. Several never trained with us, mostly due to the realities of family and work. Two in particular had to drop out for medical reasons. GreenAcres is still mending from his broken leg. He pulled me aside after a WarZone workout and told me he was a NoGo with tears in his eyes. GreenAcres has inspired all of us to Embrace the Suck. With a broken leg, he sat beside the other guys and did his own workouts, sometimes leading us in Mary. He routinely doubles down at the Fern. He even donated his ruck and various gear to several participants. GreenAcres walked every mile with us. He lifted heavy stuff. He embraced the suck.

The other one was Bowtie who received some potentially crushing news in the previous two weeks. At ActLikeMen, Groundblind said it best, "Bowtie is the standard for F3." He has completed a Heavy and a Tough already. He is faster than greased lightning. Bowtie never quits, never gives up. He has an indomitable spirit. For Bowtie not to come to a CSAUP, his world must be falling in, and it is. Klinger gave one of the best tributes to honor him by wearing a dress shirt and bowtie for the whole event. He looked like a total dork. I tried to explain the significance to Cadre Dave at the end, but I got too choked up to finish. Bowtie walked every mile with us. He lifted heavy stuff. He embraced the suck.

ChuckyCheese put out the word for us to form up 1 hour before the event, which started at 9pm. I think he got there at about 4am, just make sure the ground was still there. If there is ever an apocalypse, I will find and follow ChuckyCheese. I don't care which side he's on. He can be a zombie. I am grabbing the back of his ruck and holding on for dear life. 31 guys showed up, which really impressed me. It also scared me a little bit, because I did not recognize several of them. How were they going to perform? Would they quit? Would they GreyMan? I put it all out of my mind and just decided "It's gonna be alright." If they drop it, I'll pick it up. As the night wore on, it became evident that many other pax had the same attitude.

Right at 9pm, Cadre Dave walked up, chin tucked, every muscle fiber tight, eyes shooting laser beams. This was going to be a long night. A hush came over the pax. We instantly transformed from jaw-boning, cocky SOB's to scared little sheep. Cadre walked among his sacrificial lambs moving along each rank and file, then he asked some very simple questions. It was a setup:

  1. What are the weight requirements for a GORUCK Tough event?
  2. Who has a plate weight? Raise your hand.
  3. Why did you use a plate instead of bricks?

He asked each person who had a plate. That's what GORUCK sold us. Fits better. Yada, yada, yada.


Cadre proceeded to call roll for what seemed like the next 2 hours. Pax started groaning under the weight, causing him some kind of sick pleasure. He told us we sounded like a labor and delivery room. We groaned louder and with purpose. Embrace the suck. Then he finished with the C's. Rucks started dropping on people's heads. "PICK UP THAT RUCK OFF YOUR HEAD!" More rucks started falling. He was on D for Driggers. We were on E for empty. That's when the punishment started in earnest.


G for Gutierrez.

Nobody has a watch during GORUCK events. They aren't allowed, but I am quite sure we set a world record for Overhead Ruck Press. Then he explained his philosophy of packing a ruck.

"When I was jumping out of planes, several of the other guys were corn-fed farm boys. Our packs weighed 160 pounds. These farm boys and their packs exceeded the allowable weight for their parachutes, so we all took some weight from them to distribute the load. The first thing I would do after landing, was give them their f*-ing weight back. All you guys with plates, tell me something. If you need to help out your buddy who is falling behind, how are you going to share the load, if he is carrying a plate? One person has to carry the whole load. If you had bricks, you could carry one brick and other people could carry the others. You made a lazy decision that could keep your team from performing at its best."

And that's why I love GORUCK events. The whole purpose is to teach you things about yourself and about working together as a group. Then he lined us up in 2 columns for our first exercise after the Admin phase.


The he set out two cones. Our mission was to duck walk, rucks overhead, around the first cone and back, a total of about 30 yards. JudgeJudy and YHC started off the two columns. We sort of squat-walked, which drew some fire from the Cadre. He demonstrated what he meant. Evidently Cadre has no knees and spends a significant part of everyday studying the movements of ducks. If the grass were 1/2" taller, he would have tickled his taint. We got lower. I really tried. (Perception). Cadre did offer a piece of advice. He said it was actually easier if you went all the way down and bounced up. He was right. I started bouncing. (Action). On the way back, I actually decided that I could do this. (Will). Everybody completed the exercise. It was obvious we have not studied ducks to any great extent, but all the pax cheered on each other and said good job. Cadre was pissed.


Again JudgeJudy and YHC started out. I wished with all my might that we were duck-walking again. I would have plowed a row with my taint. I would have bounced like a slinky. Instead I was eating dirt and shifting weight with my shoulders and chin, flopping like a fish on the pier and getting nowhere. I said something smart to Cadre, so he moved the cone about 10' further out. The Blue Falcon is here to help. Cadre offered to take my glasses, which I accepted after first refusing. Several family members were still there and were laughing and enjoying our misery. I joked that now I couldn't see the finish line, to which Groundblind said, "If you hit pavement, you've gone too far." We still owned our wills. Nobody was taking that from us. Every pax finished. Several of us have bruises and scrapes on our cheeks and chins. It sucked, but it also taught us a great lesson. Do it right, all the way right, the first time. It is always easier than doing it half-ass then getting punished for it and having to do it again.

Cadre picked out Linus to be Team Leader. Linus kept saying Sir to him, which Cadre hated. He was a Sargent, and everybody knows that you only say Sir to an officer. That would come back to bite us many times over the course of the night. Being well-raised Southern boys, Sir comes quite naturally, over 20 times naturally. YHC accounted for half of those Sirs. The Blue Falcon is here to help. The next exercise was buddy squats. One ruck had to be suspended between the backs of the two pax. If it fell we got punished. We got punished.

Mountain climbers in cadence the first time. More than I thought I could do. (Perception)

Flutter kicks and Hello Dollies the second time. More than I thought I could do. (Perception) True confession: I kept my head up and watched Cadre very closely. Every time he turned his head, I dropped my feet. There is no honor in Hell.

Cadre then took Linus, the ATL and Navigator aside and gave us our first mission. Before we could start our mission, however, Cadre told us we looked all dirty from the Army crawl, and it just would not do for us to parade through our own town in such a sorry state. The only remedy was to wash off all that dirt, so we proceeded into the toxic lagoon. Growing up, you would always see nasty oil tankers parked right there. I later learned this is the spot where they made repairs. The ground is so contaminated, the land is not useful to build on, so they covered it with some water and added a couple of fountains. That's the water we "cleaned off" in. The pax were in high spirits. We joked and laughed about it. (Will)

After emerging, the Cadre thought we needed to warm up a little, so he told us to run around the lagoon. This is where we started to see fatigue.(Perception) After getting around the first time, Cadre told us we went too slow, (1:45) so he made us do it again, with a tighter time hack (1:25). Some of the pax started falling behind. A couple guys took extra rucks. We all figured out that we had extra water in our rucks, so everybody zipped down each other's ruck to allow it to come out. We missed the hack. "DO IT AGAIN." At this point we almost lost somebody. FallGuy was totally smoked and looked like the walking dead. He started to walk away. Groundblind grabbed him and told him to hold on to the back of his ruck. Others got beside and behind him. We would make the time hack or fail together. Nobody was quitting this pain train. After 3 laps, Cadre formed us up to head out on our first mission.

We moseyed in 2 columns, maintaining no more than 2 arms length distance from the pax in front and behind. FallGuy was still in the coma state. The pax gathered around him. Schaffer took his ruck. That whole brick thing would have been useful at this time. Others were breathing heavy, but we all had good attitudes. (Will). We finished at Lawton Park, about 1.15 miles from the starting point. Cadre had pre-positioned some coupons for us. Cadre Dave is famous for his Pendulum of Pain. We knew this, thanks to Tater's websearch creeper skills, and had practiced with it the previous week. That saved us a lot of pain and suffering. This was a variant, however. Instead of a rigid beam, the weight was suspended from a rope, which had to remain taut to keep the weight off the ground. The rope was lashed to 2 beams, forming an "H". Pax on either beam had to work in opposite directions to keep the rope taught, while walking in the same direction. This took some practice and a lot of communication. Linus did a good job of breaking up pax into smaller groups to put the mechanism together and to get people moving in the right direction. In addition to the Pendulum of Pain, Cadre staged 3 more full buckets and 2 sloshy bags full of water. Everything had to be carried to the next stop--Hartsville High School. 2.25 miles of suckage. There is no easy way to accomplish some things in life. You just have to put your shoulder to the load and start moving. Along the way, we had shadows following us, taking pictures and encouraging us. Paperboy's wife and Benchwarmer came alongside. On Gandy Dr, ??? and his wife handed out water bottles, which was awesome. At our destination, Krispy Kreme showed up on his Harley all decked out like a Hell's Angel. He looked badass. Repo and LazyBoy were there as well, drinking beer and cheering us on. It means so much to have people pulling for you. I don't know what time it was, but I do know the rest of the world was sleeping, while these people stood by us.

We filled water bottles and awaited the next challenge. Groundblind took over as TL, and Cadre gave him his orders. It was the big Pendulum of Pain. Evidently the first one was just a warmup. This time we had all 4 buckets suspended from a beam with a wheel on top. It moved very easily from side to side. Again we had to figure out how to lash it all together. Groundblind did a good job of delegating and channeling the pax's energy toward working together. Since we had already practiced this the week before, we were able to get up and going relatively quickly toward our next destination--5th St via the long way. After about 50yds on the Pendulum, I was looking for a ride home. That hurt everywhere. I started getting a little nervous. Was I going to be able to finish? Would I quit? Maybe I was the only one thinking those thoughts, but something tells me otherwise. Somebody else took my place, and I looked for another weight to carry. One important lesson I have learned is to do something. If you need a break from the worst thing, then find something that is less worst. Somebody else needs a break too. I got on the water balloon from Hell with another pax and took a few minutes to get my mind right. Everybody started rotating through the Pendulum. We all had to learn how to allocate resources, keeping both sides at relatively the same height, maintaining position on the crown of the road. Eventually the pax settled into a routine of Embracing the Suck and moved along step by agonizing step. It was hard (Perception), but we collectively decided to keep moving forward. (Will) 2.6 miles to the Lotto Gas Station. Along the way, we almost got run over by a guy on 5th Street. Evidently people waving lights and arms are not a clear enough signal to slow down and move over. We literally jumped out of the way just in time. After that, Krispy Kreme stepped up and provided protection in the front. He went home and changed from his Harley to his huge diesel truck. He took over as Safety Officer, swinging that big rig into our lane and daring anybody to get in the way. The Beer In the Rear boys kept drinking beer and taking up the rear. At the Lotto, Cadre gave us our first break. We were able to take off our rucks, eat some food, change socks and rest. It felt so good to stop and sit. Almost too good. It's hard enough to keep going. It's even harder to start back up.

Cadre made a TL change from Groundblind to Fudger. We loaded up and headed out, this time to the Hartsville Skating Rink. I think several of the Yankees in our crowd didn't know where that is, or else they would have wanted to quit as much as I did. Getting there was going to be hard enough, but I also knew that we would have to come back again. Hopefully we would ditch the Pendulum of Pain somewhere out in the country and walk back into town empty handed. I now know it is better to expect the worst and get it, than to hope for the best and be disappointed. Getting back under way we had a hard time maintaining balance on the pendulum. We lost our rhythm. People started getting a little chippy. While the rest stop was a good thing, it also revealed to us how tired and sore we were (Perception), which directly affected what we were able to accomplish.(Perception) As we slowly moved toward our next stop, we constantly struggled to get our minds right. Everybody had it in their mind that they were working harder than anybody else. That's a cancer that can ruin a team and something that had bothered me for weeks prior to the event. After a while everybody settled back down, and we got back to business (Will). One of the best examples I saw was FallGuy. After being so completely broken in the beginning, he started taking up weight and looking for ways to help. I was glad to see him work through his personal struggles and become a valuable member of the team.

We finally got close to the bypass and Cadre turned us off the road at a metal building. Being the benevolent Cadre he is, he allowed us to take our second break and drop the rucks. This was 8.1 miles into our journey. Nobody knew that we were halfway. Cadre took away the giant water balloons and gave us another coupon. This time it was a duffel full of weight, posing as a casualty, to be suspended between two boards and a tarp. The engineers and farmers got together and made a fine looking stretcher. All the people who were too tall to help with the Pendulum got assigned duty on the stretcher, which worked out pretty well. We also grouped up roughly into teams of four, where 2 people could sub out for the same two people. In theory this should have maintained the right height on the Pendulum. It was a good idea and worked well as far as getting a break, but the Pendulum kept swinging. As we set out toward the Bypass, we got a little nervous. 5th Street taught us a valuable lesson about being safe on the roads. Fudger lined up the shadow crew to stay in front and behind to guard against making us bugs on an 18 wheeler's windshield. We turned onto Carolina and breathed a sigh of relief. Not only were we off the Highway of Death, but we were also turning back toward town. That had to mean something.

After two eternities, we made it our destination, which was Hartsville First Baptist. This was the 3rd break Cadre gave us. At this point, he was a pretty cool guy. Several pax had conversations with him as we toted heavy stuff and he walked along like it was a day at the beach. After a few minutes of rest, he brought us together and pulled out his map. It soon became obvious to all of us that he was out of destinations. We had faced all of his challenges and completed them faster than he anticipated. He started looking for alternate locations. We got cocky, but it was a cockiness that we earned, and I think Cadre respected that. Klinger even suggested the Kalmia steps. My heart raced a little when he said it, but then I thought, "Ain't nothing gonna beat me now. Bring it!" We were 10.5 miles into the ruck.

Eventually we settled on visiting the bell tower at Coker College, a sure sign, along with dawn, that the end was near. Our spirits rose. Our wills had overcome our perception. We could accomplish anything. We got to the bell tower, and TaterSalad regaled Cadre with some straight up bullshit about the bell coming from Appomattox Court House. Goldilocks propositioned Cadre with his ball scratching skills. After that Cadre had enough and decided to show us a cool thing from Ranger school.

He sat us down and showed us how to make a one rope bridge, which was awesome. YHC will incorporate that into a workout at WarZone one day. After the rope bridge demonstration, we were pretty much done with the event. Cadre told us we just needed a place to stow the Pendulum until we could pick it up at some later time. I was all for leaving it right where it was. Nobody was going to steal it. The pax, however, had been transformed. Several of them chimed in that they wanted to carry it back to WarZone and finish there. This group of individuals was now ONEPAX. We got underway. It was the easiest stretch of the whole trip. (Will) As we crossed 4th St, we started to see family that was waiting on us. F3 guys filed in, just having finished their own workout at Convergence. They started clapping for us. I felt like a war hero, except I had not done anything heroic or praiseworthy.

Cadre lined us up in formation again. We counted off. 31 pax started. One pax finished. Or so we thought.

Cadre then reminded us that we had to pay for our errors. All those Sirs came back to haunt us. 100 Mountain Climbers in cadence. Flutter kicks and Hello Dollies. Then we did Mel Penningtons. I almost laughed. After all that, we're going to do Mel Penningtons? Really? After 45 minutes of Mel Pennington's, they started to hurt, but something came over me, and I started dancing. The crowd started laughing, which just egged me on. At this point, he could keep his patch. I was going to have a good time. (Will) Cadre was merciful to us and handed out the coveted patch. We gave him a t-shirt and got a group photo.

Afterwards we went to breakfast at the Rooster and regaled each other with stories from the night before. The bond we forged will never be broken. We accomplished something together. It was special. Each pax looked into his own soul and found more than he thought was there. Leaders emerged. Battles were fought and won. Then we went our separate ways.

Who wants to sign up for the next one?

Great memories:

  1. Groundblind grey-manning at the end and trying to sell Cadre a new HVAC system.
  2. JudgeJudy with the tights.
  3. JudgeJudy with the tights 2.0.
  4. Paperboy leading everybody in a very erotic moaning session.
  5. Divac's bricks.
  6. Front left.
  7. PoleDancer lifting one side of the Pendulum of Pain all by himself.
  8. TaterSalad spinning the dream about the Appomattox Courthouse bell. Benchwarmer would be proud.
  9. Little kids cheering for their daddies.
  10. Meredith (Groundblind's M) giving Cadre the stink-eye because he was keeping her from leaving for Clemson.
  11. Beer drinking, slow driving, sock giving, pissing in our path pax cheering us on.
  12. Krispy Kreme playing chicken in his big diesel rig with motorists.
  13. Backdraft's face when I told Cadre we should get back in the water.
  14. Arnold regaling us with all his sexual exploits. (Those cattle must be tired. That's all I'm saying about that.)
  15. Hanging out with my buds. In Fudger's words, "It's like a big sleepover!" So true, Fudger. So true.
  16. Muldoons
  17. Clint Eastwood, starring in The Creature from the Black Lagoon.


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VIGILANCE – GoRuck Tough – Charlotte

Conditions:  88F and clear, cooling to about 75 by morning

Why:  So why did I head off on my own to do this?  Although, we had completed a tough event in Charleston, in February, I felt that we didn’t really experience what a very challenging tough event could be like.  When I watched videos of the F3 Custom Ruck in Asheville, that was held in April, my fears were confirmed.

I really wanted to test myself with a tough and just see if I could get through it and I was worried that I could.  I intentionally did not over-train, but tried to stick with our normal F3 regimen plus my Sunday Ruck work-outs. I also wanted to see if I could handle a tough challenge mentally and get a preview of what we might face in November.

Preparation and Gear

For physical prep, I have been trying to hit F3 workouts at least 5 times a week and also ruck on Sunday.   I intentionally try to push through the pain or exhaustion during the workouts.  A typical week is:  Monday Brick City, Tuesday and Thursday Clinic AO, Friday Double Down Ruck and Curahee with Klinger and the Double Down on Saturday with an early Ruck and then convergence.

On Sundays – Ruck 1 mile, then ruck up and down the Kalmia stairs – temple style starting with 22 merkins at the top, going to bottom and doing 21 merkins – then back to the top for 20 merkins and continuing down and up until to zero.  With the summer heat, this workout has gotten to be much harder and I sometimes can’t complete it.  I then ruck 1 mile back home.

All in all – I was physically prepared.  I was able to complete the PT and while very tired and sore, was able to finish strong.  But keep in mind, the Cadre will push us to the point of failure.  That’s what it is about – the tougher the team, the tougher the challenge (No easy day)


Clothing:  I wore an F3 Tee Shirt. Under Armor Compression Tee Shirt, Under Armor Compression underwear, thin liner socks, Darn Tough medium hiker socks, Triple Aught Design Recon AC Pant, Solomon XA Pro 3D (not waterproof), F3 Tac Hat (“Embrace the Suck patch”).

I was the only guy wearing an F3 shirt to the event and there were 3 or more F3 members attending who I spoke with.  I wore the UA compression shirt as a way to prevent a rash and chaffing from the Ruck on my lower back.  It worked.  I wore long pants even though it was hot because I was expecting to crawl allot.  Only 3 or 4 people had long pants.  By the end of the welcome party, I was sopping wet, but not hot at all.  The pants and shirts dried pretty quickly.

I never had time to change clothes and since the cadre put us in the water 3 times, it wouldn’t have helped.

Gear:  Rucker, 30# of Lead sheet wrapped in Duct Tape, 3L Source Bladder, Head-Lamp: Black Diamond Storm, Extra Bladder mouth piece, Money, Drivers Lic, Phone, Moleskin, bandaids, medical tape, scissors, gloves, extra pair of socks and extra tee shirt

Food:  Four Clif Bars and 4 Clif Gu packets

Forming Up

The Cadre:  Our lead Cadre was Garrett Noonan, from Massachusetts and he was training Cadre Carl.  Both are Green Berets.  Garret enlisted right after 9/11 and has served ever since.  He is now in the reserves and working on his college degree.  Cadre Carl has served for over 24 years.  Both have served abroad and told us about some missions and activity in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Cadre Garrett started with GoRuck in 2012 and his first GoRuck event was in Charlotte.  One of the Ruckers in the team attended that event.  Cadre Garrett has led over 150 events and has also lead many other GoRuck events including Selection and Ruck U.  He was firm and tough but never abusive or unprofessional.  I would do another event with him anytime.  He was passionate and energetic all night long.  It felt like he was more excited than us to lead the event.

Flag and Team Weight:  The Ruckers are responsible for providing a Flag on a pole and a 25 lb team weight.  One lady made a 25 lb weight from a large metal disk and a chain and then painted it to look like an Olympic medal.  “GoRuck” was painted on the surface of the medal.  This type of weight was very easy to carry.  The flag was a normal 3x5 flag on a wooden pole, about 8 ft long.

Intro and Safety:  We arrived in Freedom Park and the team started to form in a parking lot.  We had been given instructions to be in a 4 rank formation before the cadre arrived.  So we walked to the field next to the lot and formed up.  The Cadre drove by in a car and told us to move to another location further south in the park.  We moved to that spot.

The Cadre were not in sight for about 10 minutes and then they came walking out of the dark…  Cadre Garrett introduced himself and Cadre Carl.  He then proceeded with roll call.  4 or 5 people were no shows.  He then began discussing safety and emphasized hydration and heat stroke risks.  We carried two 5 gallon water jugs during the whole event.  (Whenever we had a break, everyone refilled water bladders.)  He then asked if anyone had previous injuries or surgeries.  Several people raised their hands and when called on, would report.  Cadre would respond “Well, be careful.”  One younger woman said she had ACL surgery within the past year.  She dropped out during the welcome party after bear crawling for about 10 yards.

Gear Inspection:  Cadre then told us to dump out our rucks so they could inspect our gear to make sure we had what we needed.  He specifically checked to see if we had:  Weight, water, ID, money for cab fare if needed.  He didn’t seem to care about anything else.  If anyone had bricks, their name and phone number had to be written on them with a sharpie.  Several people didn’t have this on their bricks and started shouting out to ask if anyone had a sharpie.  Fortunately, 3 people brought sharpies.  When Garrett looked at my weight wrapped in duct tape, he leaned over and rubbed the writing (name and number).  Fortunately, it didn’t smear…

Unpacking and Packing:  Once inspection was completed, Cadre told us to pack our stuff up and then began to count out loud.  After 30 or 35 seconds – he would stop us and tell us to dump everything back out.  Then we would start again.  He would change the time at each attempt and we were expected to be packed with rucks on our back before he was done.  It got to the point where I just had to shove everything in fast, zip it up and throw it on my back.

Running and reforming:  Once complete with the packing exercise, Cadre told us that we would be going through training and physical tests so they could verify that we were ready for the missions later in the night.  Our first task was to run from the formation to a parking lot – around an island in the parking lot and back.  We took off for the first time and stayed together as a group but we really didn’t know where to go.  We ended up running around the entire lot.  When we got back, Cadre said we had run too far and we needed to do it again.  He told us which island in the parking lot to run around and we had 2 minutes to return and have our rucks on.  When we got back, the rucks had been moved around and some were caribeened together.  We failed by a few seconds and had to do it again.  We came back again and the rucks were spread all over and next to the woods.  But we were expecting this.  We all just grabbed the first ruck we could find and helped each other get rucks on.  It took us one more try to get it done in time.

Meeting fellow ruckers – All during this period, I tried to introduce myself and talk with the people around me.  From the very start, Cadre kept reminding us to get to know each other.  There were all kinds of people, young and not so young.  (I think I may have been the oldest.)  Several of the people were very experienced ruckers, some with 8 or more events.  There were several cross-fit instructors and several F3 members from NC, Charlotte and Lexington, SC.  There were also several people doing a tough for the first time.

Welcome Party

We went directly into the welcome party after the running and time hack exercise while all of us wearing someone else’s ruck.  Cadre announced we were going to “visit the zoo.”  Having been through this before, I knew what to expect.

First was Monkey Humpers, but the Cadre call them something a little more descriptive…  For each exercise, it is just like F3.  Cadre announces the exercise, the team repeats it, he calls us to move into position, announces “in cadence” and we repeat that.  Then we start endless 4 count repetitions.  I think we did at least 50…

After MH’s, we formed a single file column and marched to a grass triangle bordered by walkways around it.  Cadre told us to Bear Crawl in single file around the triangle.  The ACL girl quit after about 10 yards of this, saying her knee was bothering her.  We went about 2/3’s of the way around.  And I think one other person dropped or tried to drop out – can’t remember.  There was lots of grumbling and groaning during the PT and Cadre told us to not make noise and suffer in silence.

We then did crab walks for another moderate distance with rucks on our chest.

Next up - Cadre told us to split up into groups of 4 and we set up to do Ranger Push ups.  Cadre told us to be careful about placing our legs on our teammates shoulders and not on backs so we don’t injure each other.  He would shout “UP!” and we would count and go back down.  We did 3 and then he told my team and another to stand up.  Then he would keep calling “UP!” until each team had completed at least one Ranger Push up as a team.  We tried to help the teams that were struggling.  I was feeling okay at this point but was sopping wet from sweat.

We then moved to a small hill and Cadre told us we would do Caterpillar Push Ups.  So we laid down and moved to have our head up to the crotch of the person in front.  Then that person’s legs would be place on our shoulders.  Cadre would call up and we would count.  When we went down, the last person in line got up and ran to the front and then laid down.  We ended up caterpillaring up the hill and back down.  We did more than 40 reps of these.  I lost my headlamp because I had my hat and headlamp in my hand and dropped it when I got up to run.  I later retrieved it when Cadre gave us 5 minute break.  This was the toughest part of the welcome party.  We were getting pretty smoked and my face was getting ground into the grass and dirt pretty had.  I had a mouthful of dirt.

Once we completed the caterpillar pushups, Cadre told us that the last part of the welcome party was to learn and completed Partner Carries.  We formed into pairs and Cadre demonstrated the safe way to complete a partner carry.  We then had to carry our partner about 40 yards and then switch out and carry the other partner back.  My partner and I were the second ones done.  When we got back, Cadre said “Great, you’re done.  Now what are you going to do?”  We immediately ran back to help others.  This first time was without rucks.

We then repeated the Partner Carry with Rucks.

After this, Cadre announced the welcome party was over.

The Rules:  At the beginning and through the welcome party Cadre would tell us The Rules.  I can’t remember them all and was not really absorbing everything he was saying.  Some rules:  Rucks will not touch the ground, stay within an arm’s length of each other, coupons will not touch the ground without permission, stay off the road – consider the road to be hot lava.  If we broke any rules, we would be punished as a team.  The Cadre also explained Flag etiquette.  The flag is not to touch the ground.  It can be furled and leaned against something.  The flag stays in front of the team.

Team stages:  Cadre talked about the 4 stages of team development:  Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.  He would remind us about these stages throughout the event.

Coupons:  We started the event with the team weight, the American Flag, two 5-gallon water containers and a large, empty ammo box.  At first opportunity, we filled both water containers.  During our first water evolution, Cadre Carl filled the ammo box with rocks and sand.  We took turns carrying these items.  It took two people to carry the ammo box and we rotated people carrying it about every 5 minutes because it was so heavy.

Missions and Rucking

It was now time for us to proceed on our first mission:

Cadre asked for two volunteers to be leaders and two guys stepped up.  One was made team leader (TL) and the other was made Assistant Team Leader (ATL).  Cadre took the TL and ATL aside and told us we had 10 minutes to get organized.  During this time, we all got our own rucks from each other and reorganized our rucks after the packing exercise.  I went with a buddy to go find my headlamp.  I also found a waterbladder mouthpiece that belonged to another guy.  One lady’s water bladder had ruptured.  And another team member actually had a spare to share.

The ruck swap was a pain for some people.  I would say about 2/3 of the people had goruck bags and then there were lots of other bags.  One guy had an Army Alice pack.  The guy that had to do bear crawls with that thing on was cursing allot.

After 10 minutes Cadre, the TL and ATL came back to announce the mission and Cadre used this time to explain the key steps of leadership and mission planning.

At this point in the night, I was having trouble getting my head in the game and trouble listening.  I started looking all around at everyone in the formation.  Cadre Garrett noticed this and came over and got in my face.  I think I was tired and just relieved to be done with the welcome party.  But my lack of attention was causing me to miss important details.

Our mission was to move to the Vietnam Memorial and recon the church nearby for Infil and Exfil point for both a helo and van.  We had to develop an intel plan to give to the cadre for review.  Cadre explained this was a prep meeting for the second mission which was to recon Bank of America stadium for the same points.

Cadre gave us a time hack to get to the memorial and also told us that stopping for water and for any reasons that they stopped us would not count.  We formed into two ranks and headed out.

This is where some of the experienced ruckers were able to help the team allot.  Since our mission was to make a map, we needed writing instruments and paper.  This stuff wasn’t on the standard packing list.  Fortunately, some of the guys brought sharpies and whenever we passed a dumpster, someone would check it for cardboard and they found some white pizza boxes, which we used for writing on.

We got about ¼ mile and Cadre stopped us and asked why we did not stop for water at the restroom building.  The TL didn’t have a good answer.  I think we did some PT and then the Cadre told the TL to have someone go and check if water is available there.  He explained the rules for sending a team out.  After the team came back and said water was available, we went and got water.  We also got reprimanded for heading out on the mission with team members having no water or very little water.

After water refill, we resumed the ruck.  After another ¼ mile or less, our path came to a road underpass and a creek.  Cadre stopped us and we went into the water to complete Hydro Burpees  - about 10.   Then Cadre told us to “Camo-up” – smear mud on any exposed skin.  While doing all this, Cadre Carl filled the ammo box with rocks.  After getting out of the water, we were inspected and if someone didn’t have enough mud.  They were sent to get more.  We then were taught hand signals.

We resumed rucking to point 1 under a semi-permissible environment – low level talking and hand signals.  About halfway to the next point we were stopped and had to do more PT for a rule violation.  I don’t recall what it was.  Then we arrived at the first point.  We had to set out formation and complete a count off for our time hack to be stopped.  We had trouble getting a group count off done and each time we made an error, we had to do more PT.  Once our count off was done, Cadre told the team leader that we had a 10 minute break and we should look around the memorial, but to be respectful.  The TL and ATL called a small team together to recon the church and make the intel map.

During the free time, a group of us went to check out the memorial which is a chevron shaped series of panels with the history of the Vietnam War and a listed of the fallen from Charlotte.  I read fast and moved across the monument by myself and walked around the path back to our formation.  This was my big mistake.  When I got back, Cadre immediately had us doing flutter kicks, but didn’t say anything to me directly.  After that some of the team members told me what I had done.  It still didn’t fully register in my brain for some reason and on a later break, I started to walk off by myself to take a leak but another team member stopped me.

We then had an After Action Review of the recon mission.  The Cadre explained that he knew there would be several mistakes and errors since this was the team’s first attempt.  The TL and ATL explained the recon map that they had created and the Cadre showed what could have been better done.  We then reviewed the mission as a team and the Cadre gave us feedback.  After this he asked for two more volunteers to be TL and ATL for the next mission.  Once they stepped forward, the Cadre took them aside to tell them the mission and we had about 10 minutes on our own.  We ate, pee’d and relaxed.

Mission 2: was better organized.  One team leader was marine and the other was an experienced rucker.  They announced that the mission was to ruck to the BoA stadium and recon it for a primary and secondary infiltration and extraction point into the stadium for a helicopter and for a van – 4 points.  The TL then asked for 4 people to volunteer as group leaders and each group had a specific point to go and recon. We then set of for the stadium.

On the way, each group moved together to carry coupons and also plan for their specific mission.  So when we arrived at the stadium we knew what to do.  Once we arrived, Cadre told us that any team members found on the stadium property more than 15 minutes after time start would be dead.  So the TL set a rendezvous point 3 blocks away at a park.  We then set out in groups to recon our assignments.  We did this quickly, grabbed our coupons and flag and headed to the park.  Once there, the group leaders worked together to create the recon map, following the Cadre’s guidance from the last AAR.  We had about 10 minutes to relax again.  We again ate, peed and relaxed.  Somehow, some guys got their hands on a pizza.  I think someone we passed gave it to them.  After the map was completed, the TL and ATL reviewed it with the Cadre and the team, again – our mistakes were pointed out and then both of the Cadre talked for a few minutes about real life recon.  We completed another AAR and then two more TL volunteers were requested and stepped forward.

The Cadre also took some time to comment about Vigilance after this mission.  They commented about our work to identify how to get into the stadium and that as a nation, we all need to be vigilant against the threats we now face on our own soil.  This theme stayed with us for the rest of the night.

Mission 3 was to take the recon map and place it in a concealment device and then deliver it to our contact clandestinely.  The TL and ATL were briefed on the procedure and how to make contact and also how to break contact if something went wrong.  Before departing we were directed to ruck underneath a waterfall / fountain.  With the heat and warmth of downtown Charlotte, it was refreshing.  We also rucked back to the stadium for a group photo.  We then rucked to the meeting point and the TL and ATL proceeded to the rendezvous point to make contact while the rest of is observed.  Following this, we rucked a short distance to a park and had another AAR.  Two more volunteers stepped forward for our final mission.

Mission 4 was to ruck back across town to another park to retrieve parts of a downed UAV.  Two navigators were selected and we were given a time hack to reach the park.  We set out and on the way, stopped at the NASCAR museum for another photo op and water break.  We set up for the photo op with everyone on their sixes doing flutter kicks in cadence.  After the photo, we resumed the ruck and the Cadre also picked up some concrete to add to our coupon collection.  We then proceeded to the park, formed ranks and counted off.  Cadre told us that we got there with 4 minutes to spare – except it was the wrong park.  We then set up to find the right park which was 3 or 4 blocks further.  This park was a baseball field lined by trees.  Cadre told us to search the area for downed UAV parts – aka logs.  The TL had the entire team searching and after 3 or 4 minutes, we heard him knock over the ammo can loudly and then about 30 secs later start yelling “bang-bang-bang.”  We got down on our faces and he explained that since we didn’t leave anyone to watch the ammo, someone had come over knocked it over and destroyed it.  We did some pushups.  We then resumed our search and found the remnants of a dead, fallen tree which we pulled out of the woods.  One large part was still up in the tree and the Cadre had us pull that out too.  It was most of the trunk with three large branches attached.

After retrieving all of the UAV parts, we were asked to sit and Cadre Garrett talked about building rapport within a team.  Then he began to ask team members if they knew the name of another team member that he selected.  If they didn’t know the name, he made both of them get up and sprint across the field and back.  After about 5 or more tries at this.  He had us pair up with someone we didn’t know and sprint for 5 seconds and then crawl for 5 second together while learning as much as we could about each other.  Once across the field, we sprinted back and sat down.  The sun was starting to come up at this point and we talked more about vigilance.

Return and Endex

The TL was then directed to get the team back to Freedom Park with the logs and tree parts and the rest of the coupons.  We began rucking toward Freedom Park, making good time along a path that followed a creek.  After about 100 yards of travel on the path, Cadre told us that we had to ruck in the creek.  So we all got in the creek and our pace slowed way down as we tried to make our way across loose rocks, slippery and sharp rocks with the coupons and logs.  We also had to get underneath 3 or four bridges that had about an 18 inch clearance.  I think we rucked through the creek for about a mile or more.  We proceeded down the creek until we passed the Freedom Park entrance by about a tenth of a mile.  The Cadre told us to exit the creek up a steep bank that had lots of trees and bushed.  It took allot of teamwork to get the logs, tree, coupons and each other up the bank.

We were in Freedom Park but Cadre directed the TL to take us to the far south corner of the park, where we dropped the logs and tree.  We then rucked back to our start point and Cadre had us form a tunnel of love up a hill.

This was endex – each person crawled through the tunnel of love and was met by both Cadre who awarded the Tough Patch.  Some people could barely crawl through it…. It was about 0900.  But frankly, I had no idea of the time for the entire event.

Some Lessons

Waterproof your stuff.  I had my cell phone and money in a plastic bag, in a Tupperware container.  Evidently, I didn’t seal the bag and the Tupperware container leaked.  So I now have a dead cell phone.  My ruck was fully submerged a few times.

Get your head right:  I think that I relaxed after the welcome party and stopped listening to instructions and details.  I got self-focused and was feeling “personally accomplished” after getting through the welcome party.  Then, I found myself making mistakes and getting the team punished.  I also felt intimidated by the missions.  I had a hard time understanding what they were about.

Train:  I think the F3 workout schedule is pretty good and I recommend following Kaz and other’s advice about rucking miles and running.  He is right about hip flexors.  Mine have been feeling it throughout the training and are sore now.  I also recommend getting used to PT with the ruck on.  I think my push-up / merkin exercises really helped me.  The PT was tough, but if you push yourself just a little bit on our workouts, you will be fine.

Also – focus on rucking in an up-right posture.  As the night progressed, I found myself leaning over which is more stressful.  And – get used to being uncomfortable:  wet, dirty, etc.

Communicate:  All teammates need to work together, so you must communicate.  If someone had just grabbed me or stopped me from walking off, I wouldn’t have done it.  We made several mistakes as a group that if we had just talked more, we would have avoided them.  But, I could tell that there was allot of “individual-self focused” thinking at the beginning, including me.  A GoRuck event is not about you.  We must think as a team.

Navigation:  Someone has to know the lay of the land and how to get to the destination points.  Cadre don’t give you a map or cell phone.  I don’t know Charlotte and was grateful to have teammates who were familiar.

It’s a war-time scenario – be on edge:  Cadre will try to catch you unaware.  “Be Vigilant” was the lesson that they tried to teach us.  It is hard to stay on edge in a peaceful city in the US.  So we have to keep reminding ourselves that we must be vigilant and work as a team to think through what could go wrong.  And we have to do this quickly, because they won’t give you much time.

Support each other:  Everyone has strengths and everyone will struggle.  Cadre told us at the beginning that not everyone will be strong all the time, but everyone would be expected to contribute to the team.  So we should expect mistakes or failures and support ourselves through the event.  Things will go wrong, but we are a team and we should expect to suffer together and celebrate together.

Eat:  Bring food that will replenish your body and eat and drink whenever you an.  Cadre will not tell you when to eat or drink.  I ate Clif Bars and Clif Gu.  Later in the night one teammate shared nuts and dried cherries with me and they tasted great.  You will not have allot of time so you need to eat small quantities quickly.  On fluids – I drank water as often as possible.

Don’t carry more than you need:  With my weights, water and gear, my ruck weighed over 40 lbs and by late in the event, my shoulders were killing me.  For a summer event, I didn’t need much clothes and I had no time at any point to change clothes in this event.  While during the Charleston event, I had time to change out of wet shirts and socks.

Learn to count off fast and effectively – time hack isn’t over until count:  The inability for our team to count was really frustrating for all of us.  It was an example of mental errors one came make when you are tired and things seemed to be happening quickly.  Every time we messed up a count off, we were punished with PT. – Essentially – we have to work as a team.


This event was exactly what I was hoping for.  We had a legendary and inspiring Cadre, just enough of a welcome party, lots of water, a great group of weirdos to ruck with and challenges that took all of us to get through.  I was humbled and learned a great deal.  I can’t wait for the next one!


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Submitted by Bowtie:  Please excuse all my typos.  Still exhausted, but wanted to get this all down before I forgot it.  

Conditions:  Extremely wet.  Rained from 0200-0800 non stop.  We never took shelter even during the thunder/lightning.  It rained again off and on again once the sunlight came up.

Distance:  40+ miles
Theme:  Democracy

Event:  Goruck Heavy (Atlanta)

Times:  2000 Friday night – 2100 Saturday night (25 hours)

Disclaimer:  I hesitate to write this as I do not want this to come off as, “Hey look at what I did”.  I write this because I know some are training for Goruck Challenges (Charleston / February) and some have tossed around the idea of doing a Goruck Heavy.  This backblast is to feed your curiosity and also as a means to benefit you by learning from my mistakes.  In writing this backblast, I will highlight what I remember although much of what we did I cannot remember.

Cadre (Both bad ass Green Berets):  Both were extremely motivating.  Throughout our journey, they told us about combat experiences where their men wanted to quit, but never did as attempted motivation to get us past the many physical / mental walls we hit along the way.

Cadre Dan:  Actually developed the Goruck Heavy for Goruck and is over all the cadre who lead different Goruck Heavy events.  Lucky for us!  He told us he does not believe in doing a Heavy in the city.  Of the 2 cadre, he is the one who always had that sly little grin that made you know he had something truly sinister up his sleeve.

Cadre Heath:  He would certainly let us pay for is when we did not meet the standard, but for the most part told us we were kicking ass and don’t let up.

PAX:  46 signed up.  36 showed up.  1 hurt Achilles 2 miles in.  One we had to treat for hypothermia and carry out on a stretcher in the middle of the night (fine the next day), several quit in the night, and 1 stood before us prior to our final 12 mile road march and said, “I have hit my limit.  I cannot go on.  I quit.”  We did not let him quit.  He finished.


Everyone carries their ruck with 30 pounds + personal gear and water bladder.  You are looking at around 40 pounds give or take there.


Because this is being posted on the internet, I am going to refrain from using every profane word I know, but the cadre brought thousands of pounds of coupons.  They brought enough to be hard for 46 people.  When 10 didn’t show, we had to carry what they would have been carrying.  Some coupons are carried individually and some are carried as partners.  We tried switching around who carried what, but there was not one easy thing to carry.  As the event went on, we got better at creating plans for carrying things, but carrying that stuff sucked no matter how we did it.  It was rare that you had more than a few minutes where you were not carrying something.  Below are just a few of the coupons I can remember us having to carry.

-125 pound sandbag

-Other heavy sandbags of multiple weights.

-45 pound Goruck plate to put in your ruck


-Wooden boxes filled with heavy stuff:  I hated this one the most.  We took a heavy metal pole that dug into your back and shoulders and ran it through the handles so you and a partner could walk as a team of 2 carrying the thing.

-American Flag attached to a super heavy metal pole

-Water cans:  Man, I hated these things.  You can awkwardly reach back with your hands bend over and walk with it on your ruck or tie 2 together and drape over your ruck.  I do not know how much water these things weighed, but man they were heavy.

-Ammo Boxes
-Team Weight:  Box with 50 pounds inside and rope handles on each side

-45 pound Pittsburg steel slab

-Sandbag filled with rocks

-Telephone pole (4 men at a time ran this, with others switching their weight out to get under this thing).

-Extra ruck:  Super heavy.  Had to carry this ruck on your front while carrying your own ruck on your back.

Start:  Got into formation, did roll call, cadre introduction, and disclaimers.  I do not recall hearing, “We are not professionals” as the whole Green Beret thing pretty much covers that.  Following all of this, it was go time.  Cadre chose a team leader (Christian).  Christian was doing his first Heavy.  Awesome guy.  Interestingly, he is the VP of Marketing for Goruck.  The team leader was given 5 minutes for us to get together and figure out how we were going to carry the coupons.  The team leader, who carries his ruck and a sledge hammer, is switched out each time a new destination is reached (every 2-3 miles).

Around 2-3 miles in, we made our first stop in a field.  There, we were given several challenges.  Leaving our rucks on for everything, we had to sprint 100 yards down and 100 yards back staying together as a team, getting back in formation, and of course doing that in under a certain time.  When we did not meet our time hacks, bad things happened.  We had to do the same thing (100 yards and back, time, together as team) doing bear crawls, high crawls, and low crawls through this fire ant infested field.  During all this, we had our first injury.  We had to carry him and his ruck for the sprints.

Next, we entered the Arabia Mountain Trail system.  This is a 20 mile trail system that we carved all through for the duration of the Heavy.  Most trails were paved, but some were not.  For a period of time, we lost bridge crossing privileges.  That means only 2 people were allowed to cross bridges.  We gave them the most difficult things to carry.  The rest of us had to track under the bridges through the water.

0200:  Somewhere around this time, we were guided to huge rock mountain face.   I cannot remember everything from this experience, but here were a few highlights.  We had to bear crawl with our rucks up this rock face for what I would guess was several football fields in length.  When we did not meet time hacks, had someone stand up, or had large breaks in our single file line, we had to start over.  Let’s just say we did this more than 1 time.  We also had to go up this rock face at least 1 time in a single file line bent over reaching between our legs to joining hands with the person behind us.  This, along with everything else we did in the event was done with rucks on.  At the top, it was flat.  There were streams about 1 foot deep that had formed from recent rains.  In a single file line, we bear crawled through them as well as did merkins and flutter kicks in them.

0300:  The rain, lightning, and thunder started.  Did not let up until around 0800.  At some point there in the monsoon, we reached a shelter and were called under.  Apparently we did not do it right and were sent back in the rain to bear crawl and do those reach between your legs and grab the person behind yours hand thing.  Following this, we were back on the trail rucking.  Four quit when we started back rucking.

0400-Sunlight:  This was kind of a blur.  I know we all looked so forward to the sun coming up hoping as it would warm us up and also be a milestone to know we had gotten past.  Somewhere during this time, we lost a man to what could have been hypothermia had appropriate measures not been taken.  Military medics who had signed up for the Heavy got him in dry clothes, wrapped him in a tarp, and we then carried him uphill out of the forest until we could get him to a vehicle.  We saw him the next day and were all glad he was okay.

Fire Ant Field 2:  5 men come to center of circle.  As group of 5, hold telephone pole above head for 30 seconds.  Next, alternating shoulder presses with pole.  Next, squats with pole.  Next, bent over ab thing with pole.  Next, derkins on pole.  Lastly, flutter kicks above pole.  Those who were not in the middle did the same exact exercises with their rucks (ruck above head, etc.).  We went all the way around circle.  Sometime before or after this, we ran sprints without rucks.

Time Hacks:  For the entire duration of the event, we would be given a distance to get to before a certain time.  When we didn’t meet that time, pain would follow.  When we did make the time, we could as a group vote to do a physical challenge with the opportunity to get rid of some weight (100-150) or keep the weight and skip the challenge.

For one of the 2-3 mile time hacks we had to meet, we had to head out carrying all those damn coupons.  We met Cadre Dan at a bridge.  He pulled 4 men out and gave them a task.  They had to fill up buckets with water from top of bridge.  Could not walk below bridge to fill up or talk to us for suggestions.  While they were doing that, we were running suicides with rucks.  Guess what the buckets full of water became?  You guessed it…..extra coupons.  We then rucked on to our destination and filled up our water bladders.  Cadre Dan then dumped out our buckets and told us we had to get back to the field where we had the telephone pole fun in a certain time and also had to have water buckets filled to black line.  He said he was giving us a 5 minute head start and we were told we had to beat him.  Filling up buckets at the bridge and walking with all that weight of course slowed us down.  Cadre Dan caught up and passed us.  That required us to run and walk off and on until we were able to pass him and beat him back.  We just did beat him.  Walking with a bucket full of water is a difficult thing to do as they are heavy and water sloshes out.  We did however by maybe 1 mm reach the black line in all our buckets.

1515 (?):  Reached a park.  Were told we were getting in pond.  This never happened, but it messed with our heads.  This is when 1 participant stood in front of the others and said, “I have reached my limit.  I cannot go on.  I quit”.  We did not let him quit and he did end up finishing.

Having a little time to rest and refuel, Cadre informed us that we were about to start the last portion of our Heavy.  It would be a 12 mile ruck back to our cars.  We loaded all the coupons in their truck, but were told we were not allowed to carry anyone else’s ruck if they tried to quit or got hurt.  We were given a time we had to beat that I think had to average a 17:20 mile pace.  When you are that physically and mentally exhausted and have wet blistered feet, that is a heck of a challenge.  As motivation, we were told that if we met the time hack we would “index” (be done).  If we did not, we were unloading all those coupons and heading back out.  Additionally, we were told we better know everyone’s name by the time we got back or we were doing up to 1,000 burpees.  As luck would have it, the rain started back just as we were to begin.

During this march of death, there was much fatigue.  There was a little bit of bickering as some thought others were going too fast and some thought others were not pushing and as a result were going to cause us to have to get those damn coupons back out.   Considering the circumstances, we worked well as a team physically pushing and pulling some.  Water bladders empty.  During this time, there were tears, profanity, and a constant thought of just quit.  Some were doing an awesome job starting conversations with others trying to get their minds off of what was going on.  During this death march that was up hill (steep) most of the way, your mind just kept saying quit, quit, quit.  Though I went to the event by myself, F3 in part helped get me through.  The training we do helped.  Knowing you guys were rooting for me was some of the accountability I needed as I kept telling myself I could not face you guys if I quit.  You know the thing was terrible if you want to quit with 1 mile left.  I think we were all there.  Cadre has said they have had guys quit 300 meters from the finish line.  Anyway, we finished with 1 minute 30 seconds left on the clock.  This required some hard pushing and a good bit of running with the rucks.  We ran a good portion of the way and all ran the last 3/4 of a mile.   Additionally, we got the name thing down and avoided the burpees.  Next, we received our patches.  This was an emotional time as there were screams, hugs, and tears.

Lessons Learned (Gear):  
Shoes:  Some did, but I would not wear tennis shoes.  I wore Solomon boots and thought they did really good.  Feet hurt like hell and were blistered up, but do not know if I could have finished with tennis shoes.  There was however 1 guy who finished wearing Chucks.

Socks:  This is probably the most important item you pack. I had researched this and brought the socks and sock liners that are recommended for this event.  What I would have done differently (especially for a Heavy) is pack more of them.  I ran out and had to keep wet socks on.

Towel:  Did not think to bring one, but when I did change socks, I had nothing to dry feet with before putting on more socks.

Chafing Stuff (“Body Glide”, etc.):  I had not used this and paid for it.  Not going into detail, but let me just say it was a painful mistake.

2 shirts:  As most guys did, I wore long pants and a short sleeve shirt.  Not far in, the small of my back began rubbing raw.  It was too late, but I put another shirt on to where I had 2 short sleeves on.  That cuts down on skin friction the same way wearing 2 pairs of socks do.  By the way, do not wear a 5K shirt to a Goruck event.  Cadre love 5K shirts!!!

Hip Belt:  I had a Goruck hip belt.  Really helped with bear crawls, etc.  As my lower back was getting raw, I became jealous of a guy who had bought a JanSport like padded belt that included a thick lower back pad.  Would have been nice!

Training:  How do you train for these things?  Run, ruck, Pathfinder, etc.?  You know, everyone has different opinions about that.  I do not think there is any one way to do it.  Just get out there and push.  If you no longer get sore, you need to push more.  My opinion before and after is that you need our F3 boot camp type stuff, some running, and some rucking.  I think those things prepared me as well as you could prepare.  The Temple prepared me to ignore the Devil that sits on your shoulder telling you to quit as I hear that voice every Wednesday when I run that damn thing.  The only thing I would say to possibly consider with the rucking is carrying way more weight.  Even though I did not do it much, I love rucking with our guys here in Hartsville.  It is fun and I enjoy walking, talking, and building those relationships with our awesome group of guys.  This was nothing like that.  I cannot remember one time where we walked without a purpose carrying on conversations and joking.  It might be good to carry more weight to make it suck more now so that it sucks less during an event.  We are on the way though as F3 Hartsville has highly motivated pax.  Any pax that has the mental toughness to get up and ruck at 0430 and then go to boot camp has what it takes to finish a Goruck event.

Conclusion:  Cadre said it best right before they gave us our patches.  The said there are a lot of people out there in better shape than you that would have quit.  That is so true.  You do not have to be the one out in front at our F3 workouts to complete a Challenge or Heavy.  You just have to not listen to that little devil that sits on your shoulder telling you to quit.  No one can make you quit but you.  The event was definitely one that pushed me to my mental and physical limits.  It has made me stronger.  There were plenty of times where I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing here?”  Be that as it may, I would not trade the accomplishment for anything in the world.

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