I did a 14-hour GoRuck Tough event this weekend from 6pm on Saturday night until 8am Sunday morning with the men of F3. A GoRuck is an event in which you put about 40lbs of crap in a backpack and do stupid stuff. It’s a typical weekend, only with a backpack, a team, and a couple of special forces dudes who want nothing more than to make you miserable.
I’m fixin to tell you about it.
6pm- Inspection of the rucks
We were given clear instructions on what to have in our pack and I had days to prepare. The cadre tells us to open our packs and place them on the ground. I thought to myself, “Well if this ain’t a fucking fairytale, I forgot my goshdamn ID in the car.”
So, here I am, 30 seconds into a fourteen-hour event and I have already screwed the pooch. I’m standing over there freaking out, looking like Larry Lovetits, when I get to tell the cadre, “Uhhh, man, dude, uhhh, I forgot my ID in the car.” He gives me an icy stare and tells me to grab a buddy and go get it.
I grab my best friend, Pops- who I am sure is tickled to death to have invited the derelict douchebag who can’t pack his own sack- and we haul ass to the car to get my id.
The party gets started with a mission.
We are punished.
We do another mission.
We are punished.
Rinse and repeat.
I thought to myself, “This is going to be a long night.” When I originally signed up for this thing, I thought it was a long walk with backpacks. I was not prepared to be thrown into some dumbed-down Navy Seals training lead by two highly-trained Ninjas who haven’t killed nor eaten another human being in over and week, and they looked pissed about it.
Less than an hour into the dance and we are punished with 100 overhead squats while holding our packs above our head. ONE HUNDRED. That was plenty. I felt like I had gotten my monies worth and was happy to leave glaring reviews on Lucifers website, which was clearly the cadre’s employer.
The cadres get pissed because we suck at everything and they tell us to take off our rucks and do some sprints. When we get back from sprints, he gives us ten seconds to get our packs back on our back. The problem is that all of the rucks are piled up on top of each other. The only thing to do is grab whatever ruck we can find. Of course, I grab a ruck that probably belongs to someone who is about 5’8″ and weighs about 120lbs (I am 6′ and 250lbs) and I’m spinning around like I am trying to sling a damn margay cat off of my back to get this fucking mini-ruck around my fatass. With a little help from Pops, I stand there, at attention, with my arms locked at a ninety-degree angle, Tommy Boy style, unable to place them by my side for the tightness of my pack and fatness of my gut. I am in a bad state of affairs.
After a few more exercises of ridicule, the cadre makes us get into the volleyball pit and line up across from each other. We basically spend about fifteen minutes dumping sand down each other’s backs and throwing it in each other’s faces. Low and behold, the cadre’s even found a way for us to fuck that up…and of course, there was a price to pay.
I can’t remember what we did next but I’m sure it sucked. We rolled around, grabbed stuff from the river, threw things back in the river, hoisted stuff up and cut shit in two.
At some point, we found ourselves at the bottom of the river bluff where we were told to place our ruck in our lap and crabwalk up it. As we all stared at one another with fear and disbelief, we started to get into position to essentially attempt to crabwalk up a vertical wall of mud. About that time, the cadre yelled, “Everyone will go feet first. We will not leave until everyone has reached the top.”
I slowly lowered myself to the ground, incompetently flipped my pack around to rest on my stomach, took one half crab step up the hill, and mumbled the word, “Fuck”. It was the same word which I would be repeating for at least the next 20 minutes.
Man, I was stuck. I literally could not move an inch of the crab walk. I was totally humiliated. God, I wanted to move. I did not want to be stuck in this position. It was not lack of want or effort, it was lack of capability. I couldn’t move. If I relaxed, I rolled backwards. If I tried to move, I went nowhere.
I knew we were in trouble. We weren’t under the watch of a couple of church youth leaders. They were not going to blow a whistle, tell us good job and then serve us ice cream in an air-conditioned lounge. We had another 10-12 hours left and I had a feeling that they would be fine waiting there the entire duration and watching each of us die, individually..
I was in a world of shit.
About that time, one of my teammates said, “Grab his pack.” Someone took my pack to lessen my burden. I was still unable to make it up the hill with any amount of grace or dignity but I was able to inch worm myself up in the most uncomfortable of ways. As team members started making it to the top of the mountain, they would load people up with three and four packs while going back down to retrieve other members, myself included.
I did my best. We all did our best. My team knew this. Nobody cracked any jokes. Nobody called me a pussy. I tried my best and in exchange, they helped me the best they could (sound familiar?). People seem willing to help me the best way that they know how when I am willing to try the best way that I can.
I learned a lesson on that hill. Sometimes the best thing you can do is stand strong, wait, and accept the help that is offered. It is never a good idea to just lay down and accept the cards that are dealt to you. This was no time for pride. Conversely, this was not the time for self-pity, there was too much work to be done and it was still too damn early in the night.
Somewhere between 11pm-1am? (All I know is that Miss State had already gotten their ass kicked. I wasn’t supposed to know that but I got people on the inside…suck it cadres. J/K…swear to God, J/K)
After a series of getting kicked in the nuts a few more times, we somehow ended up with a log that was fifty feet in length and weighing somewhere between 1,000 and 50,000lbs, depending on the time of the night. We were told to carry that bigass log from Tom Lee Park to the FedEx Forum. Our reward for making it to the forum was to handsaw off 4′ of the log (making things exactly 0% more comfortable, considering there was now 4′ less people to carry the thing.) On top of cutting off part of the log, we were rewarded with hauling that big bastard to midtown.
We are talking about carrying this enormous monster of a log for miles and miles at a rate of probably 1-1.5 miles per hour, shoulders grinding into wood and toes kicking ankles each step of the way. It was a death shuffle. It was horrible. Everyone conducted themselves beautifully.
At some point, we ditched the log. I had no idea what time it was and had been looking for a sunrise since probably 10pm the night before. I was sick of this shit and ready to go home. We formed lines of two and began to march. Everything hurt.
As we made our way through the city, I began to converse with the teammate next to me. We talked about our wives. We talked about our kids. We talked about our addictions, our habits, and our imperfections. We talked about our education, our backgrounds, and careers. We talked about whatever we needed to talk about to get through the discomfort of the moment.
Honestly, I am not really sure when a conversation with one teammate ended and another began with a different member. It was late and things were foggy. I had different people next to me and one conversation bled into the other. But, that’s the beauty of it all. It didn’t matter who was next to me. I didn’t care what color they were, their sexual preference, their background, income or religion. What I needed was a human being. I needed someone to listen and need someone to listen to. Fear, exhaustion, and adversity is the great equalizer. It’s hard to know just how much you can appreciate another human spirit until you are in fear of your spirit fading away.
Eventually, the sun came up and the event was over. I was not in the mood to celebrate; I was ready to go home. I was done. I was proud. I was accomplished. I was tired.
Did I do better than everybody?
It doesn’t matter.
Did I do better than anybody?
It’s not important
Was I the worst one there?
Should everyone do a GoRuck, a Tough Mudder, a 24-hour race, a 50-mile run?
I have no idea.
I am not a lifecaoch. It’s a fucking miracle that I wake out of bed in the morning with a degree a positivity and make it outside with my pants on facing the right direction and am capable of keeping my nose out of a pile of cocaine, my face out of a bottle of pills, and my mouth off of a vodka bottle. I am not the guy to tell anyone what they need to do with their life in order to enhance it or lead it to the fullest.
This is what I know, I have been through the wringer. I have seen my share of dark times in spite of being offered the good. I have made decisions which placed me in positionss of adversity where my best and only strategy was to stay and hide under the covers until more problems mounted. I am doing things with my life that I never dreamt possible. I don’t always know what works but I have an idea of the things that don’t.
What I like is comfort. I like pleasure. I like things being delivered to my doorstep and breakfast in bed. I like to drown my pain in alcohol and ignore my problems through pills. I like disregarding all that is difficult and only showing up when the cake is being served. I love a good meal but I hate to do dishes. I like to dress nice but I don’t like laundry. I like things to be easy.
But I am not talking about what is easy, I am talking about what is right and what is good.
I have been on both sides of the tables at rehab facilities where people’s lives, including mine, are in complete shambles. I have visited with hundreds of people whose stories have led them to the bottom and seen countless cases of miraculous recovery. I have heard the testomonies of every race, color and creed and listened to how it all fell apart. Never, not even once, have a heard a story of heartache or tragedy which began with someone saying,
“It all went to hell when I started focusing on fitness and forging relationships.”
Relationships and fitness are always found on the way up, seldom on the way down.
Should you do hard things?
I’m not the one to answer that.
Can you do hard things?
You better fucking believe it.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,