- When: 03/02/19
- Workout Style: GORUCK TOUGH
- QIC: Cadre Heath and Cadre DS
- PAX: PAX of 37
- AO: Back Blasts
I have had a lot of questions regarding the GORUCK Tough from this past weekend in Chapel Hill and thought it would be cool to put down some of my thoughts and hopefully inspire others to do a GORUCK event in the future.
Number one question, was it hard and was it harder than the GROWRUCK Carterico hosted a couple years ago. This is my third GORUCK Tough and they all have been hard in there own way. There are some similarities in each, but they are all hard. When I arrived at the starting point, it looked like Jones Town with bodies scattered everywhere from the Heavy. Those guys looked like they had been through the ringer and 14 of them are going to do an other event. I could see the pain in their eyes. I have learned a few tricks along the way that helped me lessen the SUCK a little that I will share. The two previous events have been in the sand and part of doing this one was to get out of the sand box and try a different geography. Staying out of the sand didn’t work out as you will hear later.
This is where it all begins. You meet the Cadres and go through your gear to make sure you have the required equipment. You have time requirements as a group to show your ID, get your ruck plate in and out of your ruck, get your bladder out and over your head. Bottom line is you aren’t going to meet very many time requirements and you will pay for it with PT. That’s just the way it is. A couple of hints. Be very familiar how your gear goes in and out of your pack and make it very accessible. Not for just the Welcome party, but even during the event. At some points during the event, you may have a short amount of time to get your bladder out to replenish water or get a snack and get back to it. Another hint, don’t take any shortcuts. If you are instructed to do a task, do it as instructed or pay the consequences,. We had to run around a tree and back during the welcome party. One team member did not and paid the price by having to carry a coupon for about 9 of the 12 hours.
And we are off.
I won’t remember all of the places we went but will call out some of the evolutions that stand out as we toured Chapel Hill and Carborro Sat night and Sunday morning. We started with 15 casualties. If we meet our time marks during the night at each evolution, we would lose one casualty. How ever many casualties we had left at the last two miles of the event, they have to be carried in. Guys who did the event here, remember how much fun that was? it pays to be a winner. Our coupons in the beginning were two cans of water, log chain, a carry litter, saw gun (two sledge hammers taped together with a hand saw some how attached), a sand bag, and team weight which was two 15 pound kettle bells attached with a rope and bocce balls between them. This was not as many that I thought we would start with. We would find out soon there were more along the way waiting for us.
F3 GORUCK is really about building team work, problem solving in stressful situations with not a lot of time to figure it out. For those who did the Carterico event, Cadre Heath was one of our cadres for that event. Highly decorated Green Beret. Every other word out of his mouth is Mother Freakin. Cadre Heath will be retiring out of the Army in about three months. A true American hero. Cadre DS was in the Air Force for 9 years attached to Seals, Delta, Green Berets as a Combat Controller. He was the one calling in air strikes, where to drop bombs, etc. Cadre DS is a stud. One of the things I do enjoy about the events is hearing a little about the Cadres military experiences. What they put you through in a GORUCK is a gnat on an elephant’s ass to what those guys have gone through, but we get a glimpse of how a team functions in the military as well as how it can relate to your everyday life. One of our stops was we snuck into Fetzer Soccer complex (found an open gate though a construction entrance) and heard some war stories from Cadres DS. Pretty cool stuff.
At another time mark, we gained 10 45 pound plates that had to move along with us. We found out real quick that that was too much to put on the litter and alot to try and spread out among the PAX all night. Problem solved by someone coming up with the idea to put two plates on each litter handle, hook the chain to the front and pull the litter with the chain like a cart. This worked as great as long as we had pavement. Another example of solving a problem with what you have to work with..
And then we find some sand in Chapel Hill, very soft sand. As I said, this was one reason I wanted to try a different event. Not so lucky. Somewhere on the UNC campus, Cadre DS takes us to three beach volley ball courts for a some sand PT without packs thank goodness. We partnered up for piggy back carries, fireman carries, wheel barrows, and then a wheel barrow with a third person on the back of the person holding the ankles. This really sucked in soft sand.
Another stash of coupons that found us was a pile of sand bags that we had to move by tossing them all down a hill. If the bag busted which most of them did, you put as much of the sand in a trash bag and carried it to the bottom of the hill. These were our additional coupons for the night. A new twist was along the ruck at certain evolutions, we had Cadre challenges. If we beat the Cadres in a challenge we could lose a few coupons. One was in a parking lot hand release merkin race and one was racing the cadre up a steep hill. We didn’t win the merkin challenge but had a couple gazelles who beat DS up the hill and were able to lose a few plates.
Another cool problem solving evolution was moving all your team members by carrying them and the rucks had to be moved from one point to another, starting with one person. Those were all of the instructions and you had a minute to plan and 5 minutes to finish. One PAX was about 40 yards away with no ruck. He ran to us, carried one person back with out a ruck, Those two ran back to the group and each carried a person back to the finish line. Those four ran to the group and each carried a person back to the finish. Now we are at 8 across. Those 8 ran down and each carried a person back, we are up to 16. The 16 ran back and half carried a person and half started carrying rucks. Now we have the numbers on our side carrying gear and remaining team members. We crushed it in under 4 minutes.
As I mentioned in the beginning, events are similar and they are different. I was mentally prepared for carrying logs and getting wet in a creek, but neither happened. We did somehow find sand in Chapel Hill… go figure. The welcome party always sucks, but there is an end to it. Sometime in the middle of the event, when everyone is starting to drag, the Cadre has a way of finding something the team is doing wrong and has a little PT session to get everyone re-focused and back on track. A leader finds a way to rally his team to finish a goal. I think we only missed one time mark all night, and were able to leave behind all the coupons by hitting our times and had no casualties. We were hitting on all cylinders and it pays to be a winner. Also if you remember when Cadre Heath was here, we played that fun game Tanks and Jeeps, well we did that again. it really sucks. We also did the evolution where you pass your ruck to the right 12 spaces, it gets dropped off away from the circle and you have find your pack and be back in formation in a set time. Took us a few tries to figure out how to do it efficiently and beat the time, but we did it.
37 guys started and 37 finished. I l lost count but a group of guys finished the Heavy 4 hours earlier with a large portion of it in done in the poring rain and did the Tough. Four hours after the Tough they were back at it on a Light. Those guys are beast. Kudos to them, they deserve it and tclaps to F3 Churham for hosting a great event, These events are a personal challenge for me. It’s a challenge both mentally and physically but it also helps build leadership, problem solving, working as a team in adverse conditions, never leaving anyone behind, if someone is struggling -help them, if you need help- someone is there to help you, meeting new friends, and pushing your self to to limits that you didn’t think you could achieve. I hope I have one or two left in me and some of you guys will join in and embrace the suck.
Until next time