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GORUCK Challenge Class 1110 – After Action Report

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I’m pretty sure that my Cadre (aka Leader), Jesse, appeared out of nowhere on Friday night. He came walking up calmly and quietly with 2 – 5lb bags of ice, throwing them to 1 of the 28 men and women gathered at the rally point and said “Carry these. You’re in charge. Go get all the sh** from the top of hill, when you get back line up in 2 f**** even lines. You have 4 minutes and the clock started 2 minutes ago.”

It was statements like that, that would sum of the rest of the experience and the LONG (13 hours) night. I carried a telephone pole, water bottles, empty beer kegs, people’s rucks, people, sandbags, etc… all through the night. I bear crawled through grass, up hills, down railroad tracks, on aspault and through a creek. Always with a time constraint, objective, weight (your ruck never comes off), and/or penalty to make it harder.

Why did I do it? Because I think I may be borderline crazy. I’ve mentioned to you before that I had signed up for a GORUCK Challenge and even told you how I was training wrong. But the fact of the matter is: Nothing will prepare you for what you will encounter doing a GORUCK Challenge.

Sure, you can prepare for the physical, which I did. But you’ve got to have a strong mind as well as a strong body. The Cadre see this and they will prey on the week. Not trying to make you quit, but to make you WANT to quit, and most importantly PUSH PAST IT. The thing is, every single person died out physically. We were tired from lack of sleep and muscular fatigue, at certain points we were wet, forced to move silently (under fear of punishment of course), or just ready to be done. But each and every person, and I’m proud to say that I was a part of it, looked down deep and found something to hold on to in those dark early morning hours to get them to keep going.

That is the beauty of GORUCK. It’s not about being physically unbeatable. It’s about having the mental fortitude to be unconquerable.

What I’ve Learned

You come out of something like this changed, some more so than others. Mostly I’ve come out of it with lessons that were drilled into us throughout the course of the night. Lessons designed to make us work as a team, but also to turn us into leaders.

Don’t just stand there. Help Him.

We were told through the course of the night to never be more than an arm’s distance behind someone and when that distance would grow…we’d holler at people to “Close the Gap!” this was particular difficult at one point in the evening for a guy carrying not 1 but 2 rucks and a big rock. He had dropped the rock and was re-adjusting his rucks, when the Cadre looked at us and very evenly, but firmly said “Somebody could f**** help him.” That was one of the ideals that they kept driving into us. You’re a team, if an individual on the team starts to slip, we don’t leave them out to dry we adapt and help them get through it.

You. Never. Quit. Ever.

If you’re given a job or a task to do, you don’t stop. You do not quit. This obviously makes sense in the military world and I’m trying to wrap my head around how I would fully bring it into the fitness world, but there is the immediate translation of “Don’t Give Up and Don’t Stop Working”, but I really feel it goes deeper than that. In the early hours of the morning, with another 4-8 hours left, you’re already exhausted, but you’ve been told you’ve got to cover 2 miles in 30 minutes…that’s moving a pretty decent clip when you’re weighted, you’ve got no choice. Your team can’t leave you behind, you don’t want to be the weakest link, so what do you do? You endure. You push through and you do it. When you can get to the point, where you teach your head to get out of your head…things start to happen

Make The Impossible Happen

Which leads me into my next point. When we got to the point where we were ready to hit the road and start marching with our telephone pole, it dawns on everybody. I can’t do that. It’s too heavy. It’s too far. I’m not strong enough..etc… Yes. You can. The event stresses teamwork, and when you learn that your job is to check on the man on your left and right (or front and back) and make sure they are doing what they need to be doing, you’re going to be okay. Because they are right beside you doing the same thing. You won’t let them fail and they will not let you fail either. Nothing is impossible if you shut your mind up and start moving. You might not be able to do it right that second, but you can start putting one foot in front of the other on a path to getting it done.

Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

I hadn’t ever heard it phrased quite this way, but this is something that our Cadre would ask us throughout the night when we were slipping and trying to take the easy way out. If we screwed up, left someone behind (aka not doing our job), etc… we would be punished. Basically: Is the action worth the consequence? That’s another fact that they drill into you. Is what your doing right now worth the consequence? AKA: If you’re cheating on some assignment, is it worth all the punishment you’ll have to do? If you’re in the middle of a workout, is skipping a few reps going to get you to your fitness goal faster? Think of it that way…

In Closing…

Like I said, I came out of this different than when I went in. I’ve never done an event like this before, I’m not 100% sure I’d do one again, it’s tough. But at the same time there’s this metamorphisis that happens when you come out on the other side. What I’ve learned and who I know I am now after this…It was worth it. It was worth the mud, sweat, stink, and pain.

10556320 10204114617523702 2966996032417861937 n GORUCK Challenge Class 1110   After Action ReportI earned a patch. On it is says “GORUCK Tough”. That’s what it says when you look at it. When I look at it, I see what I had to go through, and most importantly LEARN and who I had to BECOME in order to get it. Cadre Jesse, if you ever read this: Mission Accomplished.