Monday, November 16, 2015

Why I Quit My Goruck Tough Challenge - AAR

My Goruck Tough Challenge was a beast. I am spent 2 days later.

9 PM is way past my bed time. I am old, fat and I love my sleep.

Most of this event was a blur but I will say that I had many on my team checking on me constantly to see how I was doing. They were caring and funny. They were foul-mouthed and hilarious. They were problem solvers and great Americans. They shared their Veteran's stories with me and I was proud to be with them. I saw parts of Downtown Dallas that I have never seen before. We rucked through a lot of it at not very safe hours.

So 14 hours later at about 11 AM on Saturday morning we were hiked across a creek, over a fence and over a pedestrian bridge. We then were put in bear crawl position and told to bear down a hill. My arms and shoulders were so spent I could not keep myself up. I ended up dragging myself down the hill. Not even close to good form. We were given 5 seconds to run back up the hill to get to our rucks and I just couldn't do it. I got back to my ruck and we were put in bear crawl position again to crawl down the hill. I couldn't do it. I grabbed my pack told the guy next to me I was done and walked away from the group. Within seconds I was surrounded by my newest 17 friends begging me to stay and telling me I could do it. I was pretty sure I couldn't. In fact, at that point I knew I couldn't do any more. Even having lost 70 pounds I am still a big dude and not in the shape I want to be, though I am heading in the right direction.

The Cadre separated me from the group and I told him I was done. He had asked us at 9 PM the night before that if we wanted to quit to think about all those who had passed during military service and to think about how they would want to be in our shoes and able to see their loved ones. I had but I was so very tired. He told me he knew I could do it if I would just come back to the group and asked me to give it a try. Cadre CT had been extremely nice to the group. Some Cadres physically smoke classes but CT had been fair. He talked about an exercise we had done in the wee hours of the morning where a classmate had jumped up and placed a sticker on a wall and then with our encouragement had been able to jump higher and place a sticker higher than her original. Nothing had changed except the group encourging her to jump higher and she had been able to jump higher. I agreed to go back to the group even though I was embarrassed as hell and I was humiliated by my actions, but I wanted to complete this event as much as my fellow GRTs wanted to complete it. I didn't want to throw 14 hours away even though I was so very tired.

I returned and we were put in bear crawl position again. We bear crawled halfway down the hill and told to lay on our stomachs and then the song below was played for us. 

I love this song. I have known it for a long time and there is some great history about it. It is worth the read. I sang along with most of the lyrics. It is a touching hymn to military sacrifice. At that point, I would have done anything we were asked to do.

My biggest disappointment in myself out of all of this is the 5 minutes of feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I couldn't do this and feeling like I "should" be done. In that moment it became about me instead of about my team. I didn't put them first, I didn't communicate with them where I was at physically and mentally, and I just gave up.

Some in the GRT community may think I am a quitter and don't deserve my patch, to which I would reply,  I 100% agree with you. I honestly don't feel like I deserve it. I made a 5 minute bad decision following 14 hours of physical, mental and emotion stretching. I am sure most GRTs have thought of quitting at some point during an event, but haven't done it. I, on the other hand, have quit. I regret it but I hope to use it as a learning opportunity in the future.

To Cadre Chris (CT) - thank you for believing in me and seeing where I am at physically and stretching me from there instead of holding me to someone else's standard.

To my fellow GRTs who suffered right beside me and probably picked up a ton of my slack - thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself. Everywhere I went you helped me. You extended your arm to help me. Thank you.