So here we are, twenty of us in class 1508, learning the rules of the ruck. We met in Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT. We received our ruck inspection and safety briefing before starting the “Welcome Party.” That was fun.
This is before I knew my new-ish, kind of expensive, running shoes which were totally inappropriate for this event, would be garbage in a few hours. That’s me, center, in the grey. One of my friends is to my left in orange, and if you’re wondering what her expression is, it is her wondering what the ruck she signed up for and also quietly cussing me out.
I have completed several road races of varying difficulty, but have never completed a race with “challenges” such as a mud run. I feel comfortable with not climbing wall after wall and splashing around in sweat and god-knows-what-filled pools of watery mud. But this isn’t like that. First of all, it isn’t a race. It isn’t brought in on trucks. There aren’t any water stops and there aren’t any swag bags or massage tables at the end. This challenge uses what’s available in the city, and you bring your own water with you, on your back and shoulders, and on your friend’s shoulders.
Why did I sign up for this? In a word–jealousy. Another word–determination.
My husband signed up for a ToughRuck, not associated with GoRuck. It’s a marathon-length ruck event with military and civilian divisions, associated with the Boston Marathon. He assumed I would not be interested, so he didn’t tell me about it. By the time I resolved to register, the registration had sold out, so I was pissed. Count me out of a ruck march, will you? Well I’ll just find my own!
That’s when I started e-mailing and researching and that’s how I found GoRuck. It’s a company that makes rucking gear, and created challenges as a way to test out their product’s durability. They have several types of challenges, the Light, Tough, Heavy, and other special challenges. I signed up for the Light. Then I got three of my friends to sign up with me. I started doing the workouts listed on the website. I thought I would whip myself into shape!
Then I stopped the workouts, which may or may not be obvious from these photographs.
So after we finished the Welcome Party, we headed on our way to our first destination in a double-column. We were on the city streets, twenty-one of us total, led by a flag-bearer, so I imagine we looked a bit out of the ordinary. We had to carry weight as a team of various shapes and loads. We had to work together, comply, and get it done. We completed exercises as a team, we carried a huge log as a team (well they did, I was a team lead for that leg of the journey), and at one point, we even carried each other. We carried on like this for hours and miles.
We received a reminder from our cadre during one of the challenges that it might feel sucky getting down on the ground and back up over and over with our 15-25lb ruck on our back in the plush grass… Just remember all the men and women who have to do that because of a real and deadly threat, with an average of 70 lbs on their backs, in much different terrain.
Hello. Yeah, what we were doing really wasn’t that bad.
At the end, we were all kind of tired, but no worse for the wear. Maybe it was because I didn’t carry the log, but I could have probably kept going if it had been a longer challenge.
We finished with some more team exercise before receiving our GoRuck Light Patches. If you’re looking for something different and you’re up for some real physical activity, teamwork, and getting dirty then definitely sign up for a GoRuck Light. Today, I feel pretty well with only some mild discomfort and stiffness but I have felt worse after running a distance road race with no weight and no other physical challenges.
But don’t forget the right shoes. Make sure they fit well, are comfortable, can get dirty, and that you’ll be OK with never being able to wear them again. And also dry socks.