I arrived a touch late to this event and lined up expecting the usual welcome party PT session. Cadre “Big Daddy” John introduced himself, told us his background, had us do a little PT, then told us to remove our left shoes and follow him.
WTH. This has never happened before. Game on.
All of us hobbling along in one shoe, doing our best to keep up with his aggressive pace. We hit a stop and were given 20 seconds to get our shoes back on. Mental note, look for boots that tie more quickly.
Back on the move as Cadre lead us down to the river for the real welcome party.
We started out with 5 and 10 second “bottom samples” where you hold your breath under water for 5/10 seconds as you grab a soil sample from the river bottom. I HATE putting my face in cold water, but pushed through as well as I could.
On to the bank to do the more common PT, burpees, mountain climbers, running or crawling up the hill and back.
We went back out in the water, and were told that if we could do a correct 5 and 10 second bottom sample, we would be done, could leave the water, and move on to the next challenge. As much as I hate it, I was not going to be the weak link on this team.
I tend to count quickly when I feel like I’m drowning, so I didn’t trust my own count for time. I held my face under until I heard those around me breaking the surface. Cadre was satisfied, and we were off.
We moved down the river searching for appropriate logs.
We ended up with a lady log, a test-your-manhood log, and…
Yes, that is a concrete parking stop.
Off to our destination, changing out carriers as we could, across the bridge into Kentucky.
Cadre continued to pick up random heavy objects for us to carry along. Sandbags. A concrete block.
We got to our fist destination, 10 minute break, flutter kicks as penance for missing our time hack, new team leader, new destination.
It was a brutal carry. It got worse when we had to carry everything down a set of stairs.
Cadre John then sat us down for a little talk that would have a huge impact on many of us. I cannot attempt to do justice to it here, may try in a future post. He talked about how we need to break through fear and false perceptions in order to become more mentally tough. He told us about recruits he trains, how he would not be permitted to push them the way he pushed us, and that he tells recruits who drop out about us.
That struck home with me. Some of the most badass among warriors are inspired by us. That makes me want to push harder.
We were permitted to get rid of the big log, and went on our way with the rest of the load. Next curveball was inflicting casualties when we failed to stay in tight formation, meaning we have people to carry in addition to all the rest.
We hit the next destination, got rid of the heavy items, and bear crawled, lunged, and buddy carried our way back to Ohio. Sometimes without our right shoe.
We got back to our start point. Big Daddy said a few words on what we had accomplished, ran us through pushups with all of us shouting “Attention to detail” “Teamwork breeds success” “GORUCK” “Tough”
He instructed us to stay in bottom pushup position until he came around and stood in front of us.
As each came to his feet, Cadre would shake your hand, give you your patch, and congratulate you on completing.
This event was a great time, and we all pushed hard to get through it.
It also exposed several weaknesses in me that I need to correct. I have full GORUCK Challenges coming up that will be this tough and twice as long.
So I did what any Rucktard would do. Drove the 3 hours home, put on my ruck, put on my resistance mask, and went for a training ruck. Cadre had told us to push through mental limitations and see how far we could go. Tired, feet still wet and sore from the event, legs stiff from hours in the car- still getting another 4 miles in before bed.