Saturday, May 14, 2016

What is Goruck?

Goruck. What is it?:

Goruck is a military style event based off of military special forces training through rucking, moving with weight on your back (hiking). One of Goruck's tag lines is to "Build better Americans". This is through introducing you to working out in team-based training similar to those who attend Special Operations training in the Armed Forces. These events are social events and team building events. They are also leadership events. They force you to forget about yourself and worry more about your team.

There are 4 typical types of Goruck events:
  • Goruck Light - 5-7 hours covering anywhere from 7-10 miles. Carry weight depending on body weight. For me (a big guy) I carry a base weight of 20#. Pass rate average is 100%.
  • Goruck Tough - sometimes called Goruck Challenge is 10-12 hours covering 15-20 miles. Carry weight depends on body weight. For me (still a big guy) I carry a base weight of 30#. Average pass rate 94%.
  • Goruck Heavy - 24+ hours covering 40+ miles. For me I would carry a base weight of 30#. Average pass rate 50%.
  • Goruck Selection - many have tried and many have failed. Average pass rate is extremely low. Usually 1-3 people pass in a class of 30-40.

    My 30# cast iron plate.
    The base weight you carry is literally just that - brick wrapped in duct tape and bubble wrap to give you a base weight to start with. You can also use a cast iron plate or a sand-filler bag (I don't recommend the sand bag as most events end up in some form of water and this would create extra weight for you). It ensures that everyone is at a similar level. Bigger people carry bigger weight. Smaller people carry smaller weight (if you weigh under 150 pounds you only carry 10# during a Light and 20# during a Tough and a Heavy). 

    Add water and other items on the packing list and you can easily have at least 30-40 pounds of gear. That doesn't sound like a lot, but I encourage you to try to ruck with 30 pounds. It might appear easy at first but it will start to wear on your feet. Try doing a push up with an extra 30-40 pounds on your back or a bear crawl or a duck walk or a belly get the idea. It can be hard! It is hard.

    Most of my gear for my September 11th Goruck Event.
    Attention to detail is important during these events. Come with the items listed on the packing list and not much more. Pay close attention to instructions. Check your ego at the door. No joke. Trying to understand why you are doing something isn't important. Just doing it is more important. As you and your team (referred to as a Class) receive instruction from a Cadre (the trainer for the event who is either ex-Special Operations military or current Special Operations military). Pay attention to detail. Act with swiftness. These Cadre are no joke and they will prove it. They can appear mean with no sympathy, but every instruction comes with purpose. They are trying to teach you something. I have often asked, "What am I supposed to learn from this?" They are there to push you to your limit and then push you further. (I left my last event feeling like I wasn't extremely physically challenged UNTIL I woke up the next two mornings. I was sore all over.)

    Sometimes you get to play in a pond with your heavy backpack on.
    Goruckers (often referred to as Ruckers or GRTs after your first event, which stands for Goruck Trained) are a salty bunch at times. You may not approve of the language, but they have the softest hearts in the world and often would do anything to help you out during an event or in life. Being GRT makes you a part of a family.

    During the event your team will carry flags and a team weight. You get a lot of funny looks when a group of GRTs are walking down the road with an American flag and heavy rucks. You usually get honks and glares (of the good variety). 

    Your patch is just a piece of cloth you earn at the end of your event. For me though, it is a key to memories. While the event lasts just hours, I have put long hours of preparation into an event by working out, packing and repacking my backpack, and sometimes picturing the worst while hoping for the best. I am not in perfect shape. In fact, I am usually one of the bigger people there- but that doesn't stop me. It never will. Physicality is a huge part of passing any of these four events, but mental toughness is probably the biggest part of being endex'ed (passing the class and getting your patch!). There will be plenty of times during these events when you will ask, "What am I doing here and why am I doing this?" Push through it. Don't let your brain tell you what you can and can't do. There are plenty of things I thought I couldn't do, but with a little motivation and a little yelling, I was able.

    I have attended 2 Lights (Class #675 and #945) and am scheduled to do a Tough in November 2015. November's event will be my first 12 hour event and, to be brutally honest, I am a bit intimidated. 

    Why I Started Rucking and Attending Goruck Events:

    My Goruck journey started about 3.5 years ago. I battled with my weight as a Scout leader. I had been overweight for about 20 years. Hiking with my Scouts was an extreme chore. For years my weight would yo-yo; I would lose 20-30 pounds and then put it right back on. To save my soul from dying while hiking, I looked into light- weight backpacking and came across Brian's Backpacking Blog. Seeing that Brian had done a Goruck event inspired me to want to do a Goruck event, but didn't provide the motivation to start losing the weight. Brian is a stellar athelete and a dang good hiker. It took me almost 3 years to get up the nerve to actually put foot to sidewalk to attempt a Goruck event. I had to get my mind right.

    Goruck Light Class #675. The young lady to my right told me humbly she had the month before broken the US Female record for 100 miles race. She ran it in 14.5 hours -- that is a 14.5 minute miles average. She was physically challenged during this event.
    So about 18 months ago, realizing my life was a mess because of my addiction to food, I started attending the LDS Church's Addiction Recovery class. I hoped to focus on what food really was after 2 failed marriages and a lifetime of not liking who I was. I started my journey at 367 pounds in August of 2014. As of September of this year, I am down to 295. I have not put any weight (other than 5 pounds back and forth) back on. I am most proud of the fact that my weight is not yo-yoing this time. Taking off weight can be easy at times, but keeping it off can be extremely hard. I actually started practicing portion control as well. At times I still eat stuff I should avoid, but I am not eating tons and tons and tons of it.

    While working on the outside by attending the LDS Addiction Recovery class, I started working on the inside. I read The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox. I have always had self esteem issues and this book convinced me that while I make mistakes in life, the Lord makes all the difference in my life. I knew that previously, but I had to put my beliefs into action. I am doing that with reasonable success.

    Two of my closest friends are also my workout partners. I workout with one at 5 AM and the other at night. My get-healthy journey could not have happened without them. Exercise is more like therapy to me as we talk about life, discuss and solve the problems of the world, and sometimes just vent about life while walking, running or yes even doing yoga when the weather is bad--I can't believe I am admitting that.  Accountability partners have also been key to my success in losing and keeping off weight. My local friends have seen the challenges I have been asked to endure and surrounded me like family.

    I have a lot to be grateful for. Setting my ship right, knowing where the Lord wants me and being there, losing weight and having friends and family that love me close, especially when I struggle. Other than winning the lottery and an eternal companion, I have everything I need in life. 

    Duck walk......

    This post was written for to introduce people to Goruck events.

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