Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Goruck Experience

Goruck is a military style event similar to Special Forces training.  It is a small glimpse into what Special Operators go through to prepare to defend our country.  I learned about Goruck after following Brian's Backpacking Blog.  Brian is the kind of guy I would be friends with if he lived next door.  I chose the Goruck Light version that was a 5-7 hour event--I didn't want to die too bad.   Here is a Youtube video of another class.

3 years ago I decided to do one of these events but wasn't quick to do the hard work required to prepare.  About 8 months ago while dealing with a trial I started training hard and to date have lost 66 pounds.  I am still out of shape and Goruck taught me that but I will get into that.

We arrive and were quickly oriented on first aid, how we work together (similar a Scout patrol) and the importance of working as a team in all the things we do.

We did all of the following with a 25 pound backpack.  Only my backpack was 45 pounds.  I carried extra weight.  You carry bricks in your backpack.  I have shared with some of you a letter I attached to my bricks.  Carrying these bricks was a bit emotional for me and I am glad to be done.  I no longer have to carry the mental and emotional weight attached to my bricks.  

We hiked to the first park and here is where I received my first reality check.  My sister in law was shadowing us for a little bit and I am sure she got some great pictures of me with the expression "You want me to do what????"  We started by doing 8 exercises which included: the bear crawl, pushups, low crawls (one of my least favorite exercises--pulling yourself across the ground with your butt and your head down), squats, flutter kicks, lunges and reverse lunges.  I did horribly.  It was embarrassing with my sister in law taking pictures of me just struggling.  I took my medicine though and just did the best I could. 

We traveled to park two and in the process got separated by a very busy street and traffic.  Because we got separated we learned the 8 point push up which is a push up with burpee blended in.  I think this exercise can be described as pure hell.  My class learned quickly to never to get separated again.

We refueled and filled our water bladders at a local gas station in downtown Dallas.

This shirt was made by a friend for me and fits me to a "t".  I love this quote because it is so true!!
We then traveled to another park on the Trinity River.  Normally they make classes get into the river and do water exercises but we did not and I could be more grateful to not have had to climb into that nasty river.  When we hiked to the Trinity we climbed up a wall to get onto the bridge.  I did better on this than I thought and needed almost no help.  We were then told we had 20 minutes to hike to the end of the bridge and then back.  Previous in the day we had a lady almost pass out and another guy pull a muscle so I was concerned we would not make it as we were told there would be a punishment if we did not.  We got to the end of the bridge in about 7 minutes and the Cadre (a title of a military trainer) then had us remove a shoe and hike the other half mile back.  We completed it in 15 minutes.  We then were instructed that 8 of our group of 37 were injured and we needed to carry them back to our starting point of our event.  We hiked the 3-4 miles back to our starting point with some carrying others rucks (backpacks) and 3 people alternating between carrying and being the injured person.  That took us forever.  It was painful to say the least.

Everywhere we went in downtown Dallas we got stares.  We had a Texas and American flag at the front of our group always and we were constantly running with our heavy backpacks.  It was crazy.  

We completed our course 90 minutes early--in 5 hours.  I was a bit scared by that as I have heard stories of false ends.  They tell you you are done, get you to relax and then slap you with more to do.  I knew until I got my patch in my hand, I wasn't done.  We did though over 10 miles of rucking.  I am pretty sure we did closer to 12.

I got my patch.  Am proud of it.  Will wear it often.  

My feet hurt, I am pretty sure my shoulders are bruised, I am sunburned and I am extremely tired but glad I did it.  I would do another one but I would train a bit differently.

So what did I learn from this 3 year experience?
  • I have a lot more friends than I thought.  They are constantly cheering me.  I hope in return I am cheering them.  Having this kind of support has been very humbling and my parents have constantly mention often on how grateful they are that I have such good friend.
  • I can do hard things.  I preached it to my Scouts and today I lived it.  There were parts where I questioned why I was out there torturing my body.  Either way I lived up one of Goruck's tag lines -- DFW - Don't freaking quit.
  • Team before self.  You could replace word "team" with God, family or friends.  Serving others is huge!
  • I learned by watch others who were given the opportunity to lead during the day that screaming isn't a good leadership skill.  Yes it was loud downtown but constantly yelling at those we lead doesn't work.  In fact for me, it was just the opposite.  I wanted to ignore one of my classmates.
  • I still have a lot of work to do physically.  After being overweight for most of my life and being really overweight for the past 20 years due to using eating as a crutch, I am done being fat.  It is exhausting.  Doesn't mean I won't enjoy a Code Red every once in a while but it means I am finally committed do make much better choices in my life in relationship to how I deal with stress, what I eat and the amount of exercise I will be doing.   I have 60 more pounds to go and I can do it!
  • I am proud of myself.  About 8 months ago I didn't think this was possible.  Today it is.  I wasn't the fastest or the best but I tried my hardest and I finished and earned my patch.  I am beginning to love myself for the very first time.

I can endure more than I think.
I can suffer more than I think.
I can do more than I think.
I have freakin' ridiculous friends.  What else could a guy want?

Class 675
More pictures to follow........

It has been a long day.  I am going to bed!!

1 comment:

Linda Hermann said...

Awesome! You're amazing Chad! Always inspiring others!