Tuesday October 27th 2015. Raleigh Brewing Company. YHC, Pepe, Joule and Singlewide gathered for a beer, and to make a decision. Fresh off our F3 Custom Tough, we knew another GoRuck event was in our future. We pulled up the schedule, debated our options and decided the Memorial Day Tough, in our nation’s capital city would be a meaningful event. That was a good decision. About a month later we pulled the trigger, threw down the EH and in the end 7 PAX accepted the challenge.
- Picked up by Pepe, mentioned Nessmann’s text about the 5-0 being out in full force, was reassured that “It’s okay, I’m not really a speeder” Famous last words…
- Pepe got a ticket, of course
- Chick-fil-a pre-ruck meal somewhere near Richmond
- Arrival at Nessmann’s aunt and uncles’ place – they’re great folks for hosting 7 sweaty dudes
- Amazing taco dinner (see above about amazing aunt and uncle)
- Getting dressed/lubed up in the basement (that sounds way worse than it was)
- Feeling like we were all forgetting something
- The Tuck-mobile handling 7 rucks in the trunk like a champ
- Get to parking deck 2 hours early, thinking we should go check out the launch point sans-rucks
- Made it down there, used the bathroom at the monument, then promptly had to go get our stuff (should have listened to kanye/pergo and just brought our stuff the first time)
- Getting down to gametime and learning that the launch was moved to the Washington, not Lincoln
“I’m never doing another one of these again.” That is the exact phrase I said an obnoxious amount of times on the drive back from the October ruck in Durham. Had I completed my first GRT event? Yes. Had I enjoyed it? Yes. Did I want to do another one? No, not at all.
Well something happened. I can remember about a week later, still reminiscing about carrying Tony Robbins on a stretcher next to Azul. Thinking about all the pain of these buckets that the cadre made us carry. What was the deal? Why could I not stop wanted to do it again?
Im not sure if the cadre slip something in our water bladders or what but something about GoRuck makes the vast majority want to come back. All the sudden, I find myself sitting with Joule, Singlewide, and Nessman at Raleigh Brewing discussing another ruck event in the future. When we settled on Memorial Day in DC, I didn’t think much of it. To be honest, Memorial Day had up until recently just been a long weekend with Band of Brothers on the History Channel. Sad and sickening, I know, but true. That changed forever for me this year.
Well, yeah. I was not looking forward to it. Come early May I was sitting there thinking, “man, why did I sign up for this dang thing again.” I had been battling minor injuries and even to the M, Courtney, that I was contemplating dropping out. Well FOMO (fear of missing out) set in and I decided I could not imagine hearing the guys come back from this one and not regret it.
Regardless, I was sick to my stomach the 48 hours prior. I think the worst thing about GoRuck is the complete unknown. Sign up for a marathon, you know you will run 26 miles. Sign up for an endurance race, you know you will go through “x” amount of obstacles. Sign up for a GoRuck…..you have no idea. All you know is that these guys are going to put you through things that are supposed to break you for a 12 hour period. That’s it. It could be so bad you quit or so easy you feel cheated (less likely).
So, we head to the event. I get a ticket. Being a “non speeder” (seriously I don’t speed) I already feel out of whack. I remember my mood kept shifting as we drove from stoked to anxious, and back again. I remember Joule saying it felt good to have Kanye and Tuck. Kanye would was strong and Tuck was wise. I agreed and felt better.
Get to the event. We all are just looking around anxiously. A couple of guys who did the Heavy show up and tell us that is wasn’t that bad and they were ready for more. “Well maybe the cadre are going easy. Just making it hurt enough to be worth while, but nothing like those buckets in Oct,” I thought. We all sat in rows waiting for the cadre to arrive. I was too anxious to make small talk with the people around me. I just stared at my feet. The girl next to me was a buck 20 and looked like she had run a half marathon once upon a time, in shape but not ready to carry logs. Then that same girl forgot her head lamp…..uh oh. We are screwed. This is no F3 event, do these people know what they are doing.
Gear Check – 21:30-ish
Multiple people forgot basics from the packing list, and we were penalized 160-some PT reps, which we basically paid for in the final endex of the event. “Attention to Detail” was the big learning.
Roll Call – 21:45-ish
Cadre Danny: “When I call your name, indicate that you are here. (then says hard-to-pronounce full name…)”
Rucker: “Here!” (then corrects last name pronunciation)
Cadre Danny: (menacing stare) “No, you’ve been pronouncing it wrong all your life.”
Cadre Danny: “Ben… PUG.”
Pepe: (unflinching) “Here.”
The welcome party was hell. We were crushed in the field alongside the Washington Monument. Exercises done sloppily “together” over and over because we weren’t paying attention to detail. Push-ups, man makers, flutters and squats.We were broken off into groups. Bear crawls, low crawls, crab walks, partner carries, wheelbarrows. We had 8 people drop during the welcome party. Hard to fully get across how bad it was. The whole thing was kind of a blur. I remember feeling like my legs were made of jello. We were frequently reminded to drink water but I still felt a little dizzy. I was glad to be in a group with Kanye and Friar, because the whole welcome party felt very chaotic. Somehow we made it through.
I don’t think I have ever been more nervous about something like I was for the DC Memorial GoRuck. Stomach hurt all week leading up to the start. However, I was glad to have a great group of brothers there with me pushing me through and encouraging me every chance they had. Welcome party was excruciating and it was tough seeing people beside me drop.
This event was definitely the most intense/PT heavy GoRuck I’ve done to date. I can see why some GRTs say they hallucinate during challenges. I’m not going to say it came to that, but I definitely had some double vision during the welcome party. I found it funny that the mini Murph following the welcome party proved to be one of the only breaks we would get that evening (The F3 Crew led by Friar Tuck crushed it).
This was the hardest physical and mental test that I’ve ever encountered. Unlike our October Custom, this event was heavy on PT, and light on total mileage. The Cadre successfully shocked our bodies, minds and souls with ninja-esq amounts of confusion, challenge and anguish. We experienced a true welcome party with participants that we didn’t know anything about. The true meaning of “stronger together” was on display during these initial two hours, and the group truly came together to accomplish our mission.
- After walking the extra ~1 mile we could finally get started
- High school marine, of course
- Other idiots who thought it would be a good idea to sass the cadre (pretty sure the guy who corrected Danny boy 3 times on his last name dropped during the welcome party)
- Things got real real fast
- Probably the most memorable thing about the welcome party was the atmosphere that the cadre created. Danny, Jason, Brian, and Rob did an excellent job of creating confusion with multiple groups running into each other, flashlights in the darkness, whistles, etc. It was a pretty surreal experience doing that in the shadow of the Washington Monument.
- Once the terrible part of the welcome party was over, we all crushed the mini-murph (#wheelhouse)
- Drinking basically an entire 3L bladder of water during the welcome party
So the welcome party begins. This was so terrible I think I blacked out. Seriously, I remember looking at the guy next to me who was wearing sandals and thinking, “What a gibroni, this guy.” Well, turns out “this guy” is Leonitus (as the Cadre call him) and a total badass. The welcome party consisted of a lot of plank holds, lunges, burpees, squats, ruck swings, bear crawls, crab walks, duck walks, Monkey humpers, man makers, the list goes on. It was an hour of terribleness. The worst part to me was that somehow I was split from my F3 brethren. We were split into four groups and I was the only F3 guy in mine.
Right as I was accepting being solo from my brothers, we all joined up again and were asked to do a Murph. The F3 guys destroyed this. Like literally the top 5 finishers I think were F3, led by the always speedy and wise Tuck of course.
Welcome Party – 22:00-ish
Cadre Danny blasted his whistle while the other three Cadre gave low-voiced, blue-flame angry commands: “Get down. Army crawl. Butts down. Get up. Bear crawl. Go back. Drink water, terds. Do it again.” Other Ruckers in the group dropped like flies. Overheating. Asthma attacks. Just plain despair.
We crawled in the dirt, swallowed dust, and poured sweat while the Cadre created chaos and confusion. Then we stood up at the end of being torched, and it was hard to believe we were doing all this in the shadow of the majestic, iconic Washington Monument.
Once we finished the welcome party and an altered version of the Murph, we got on our way. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, Jefferson’s Memorial, the MLK Memorial. We heard stories along the way about friends and family lost, and learned some history too. Cadre Jason shared about an ambush during the invasion in Iraq where he lost his Captain (Side note: if you’ve ever seen the HBO series Generation Kill, that’s about Jason’s unit and he’s portrayed in it). One teammate told us about his best friend lost in battle just two years ago. It moved us all to say the least.
Throughout the night we had coupons and casualties carried on litters. Our communication improved generally but still had it’s flaws as we moved from location to location. Drinking a lot of water was a must, as the low was only about 70. At each stop we were allowed a few minutes to look around and relieve ourselves (probably pissed 10 times in 12 hours). Shortly before sunrise Cadre Jason and Danny Boy departed and were replaced by Rob and Brian. Brian especially was all about some PT. We worked off some penalty reps we had accrued in the Welcome Party and made our way to the Capital. You may have already heard the story about the “Bring Sally Up” WOD we did with ruck squat thrusters. I can’t imagine how our form must’ve looked at this point. That was a long three and a half minutes. The sunrise provided a lift, but we knew that we had at least 3 hours still to go.
We continued to struggle with directions and time hacks. The sun was now fully up and it was hot. We horribly missed a time hack on our way to Nationals Stadium and then headed back to the mall. We approached the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial and were greeted by James Pierce, a park ranger with a badass fu-manchu mustache. He proceeded to share his story. He was military police in the Army, and lost friends in an IED explosion. James managed to live, but lost a leg and wears the scars everyday. It was powerful to hear him speak of sacrifice, and to be reminded that among us daily there are men and women who live with the marks of war.
The rest of our morning included bunny hopping the steps of the National Gallery of Art and taking a brief dip the fountain alongside it. Finally, we made our way back to our start point.
The cadres singling out High School Marine, our official class mascot, after the first movement was hilarious. I think they genuinely respected him for being all decked out in USMC gear and jumping on a GoRuck challenge as soon as he turned 18. That’s a tough kid! One lesson I thought Danny Boy summed up well was “quit effing talking”. After a disastrous movement to the Martin Luther King memorial, Danny Boy took away our right to talk. He said that if we just shut up and observed each other our efficiency would instantly improve and that it did. We used hand signals for stops, starts, and swaps. We instantly got better at rotating the coupons and we could hear what the TL and ATL were asking of us. I’ve always been a fan of “It doesn’t have to be the right decision, they just need a decision. If it doesn’t work we’ll do something else.” That’s great but it all starts with listening and observing.
- Exploring the monuments at night. The silence was eerie at first, but allowed us to truly internalize the writings on each wall. The MLK and Korean War memorials were especially memorable.
- “Bring Sally Up” in front of the US Capitol building. Facing the sunrise, we endured a brutal thruster set just in time to realize that we were 35 yards from the Capitol bldg. It was a very powerful visual.
- Bunny hops up the National Gallery of Art Stairs. Up 41 stairs, 5x, then a quick dip in the fountain. Although it was tough, the cadence Nessman and I used was especially fitting; “BUD-WEI-SER.”
- Team weights/coupons included:
- God-awful Washington Nationals logo made of ~60lbs of steel
- PVC Trident
- Kanye’s log
- 3(?) sandbags
- Lots of water jugs
- Pony keg (team weight)
- 2x litters
- Some kind of big black pelican case thing, not sure what was in therE
- First movement was Washington Monument -> Lincoln Memorial
- Pretty straightforward, getting to know team, etc.
- Some idiot dropped the Nationals W like 20 feet from Lincoln, punished by PT
- Got 10 minutes to check out monument
- Before we left, cadre demonstrated litter with HSM/Fola
- Next stop: Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Wasn’t very far from Lincoln
- Cool to see monument at night
- Onward to MLK Jr. Memorial
- When we got to MLK, I think this is when Danny told us to just shut up and took away talking privileges, which was great. Everyone worked much better from that point forward.
- MLK Jr. was probably my favorite monument of the night
- Left MLK Jr., went through FDR, passed by George Mason to next stop at Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Group worked much better not talking, Tuck had us running like a well-oiled machine as TL
- 10 minutes to check out memorial
- Got to hear Jason’s story on the steps in front of the memorial
- 1.2 miles to Capitol building – 45 min time hack
- Made the time hack but still got PT’d by Rob and Brian when we got there to burn off some of the reps that we owed.
- Rob introduced dive-bomber push ups
- Next we headed to the other (east) side of the Capitol building
- Probably hit my low point here as we were waiting for people to fill up the water, I distinctly remember standing there holding that damn W thinking to myself “I sort of don’t want to be here right now” Meanwhile, one of those girls was being her chatty self and saying something about how it must be close to sunrise because of the way the birds were singing, blah blah blah.
- On the move again with water in-tow to the front of the Capitol
- Lunge-walk with coupons to the middle of the Capitol
- At this time we had our first and only real “break” to take care of feet/eat/sit/etc.
- Next destination was Nats stadium
- Started out with worst TL and ATL ever, went completely the wrong direction from the get-go
- Tuck and Pepe in the litters because “they looked ready to go”
- Got ~10 mins down the road and Brian asks if we knew where we were going (we didn’t)
- Tuck and Pepe get us there in style, only 26 minutes late
- Didn’t spend any time at all at the stadium really
- I think the next instruction was to go back towards the Capitol, but our next stop was the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
- Pepe and I switching off with Dave carrying Twin #1
- Hearing awesome story from park ranger with incredible facial hair
- Across the Mall to the National Gallery of Art
- Bunny hopped up steps x5
- Took a dip in the fountain
- Making fun of guy running steps and doing “pushups” at the bottom (0…0…0…0…)
- Final push down the Mall back to Washington Monument
After the welcome party we moved between a few different monuments. The Lincoln Memorial was first. Pretty cool. Then the Korean War Memorial. That was haunting. The cadre said the statues were meant to look like ghost. They looked like ghost! Memorial Day is starting to hit home for me here. Then my favorite memorial was MLK. I am not sure what it was but it felt powerful. We walked around and read quotes. I just think this particular Memorial makes a huge statement both literally and figuratively to a great man’s life. The bust of MLK was looming over us as Cadre Danny Boy informed us we no longer could speak. As mentioned previously this was a great part. No more chatter. It had almost felt like before this point no one was suffering yet. Everyone was excited and recovering from the Welcome Party. I think that after this point the event got more real. We were only 3 hours in. We had a lot more to go and a lot more to learn.
Jefferson was awesome. Particularly because the Cadre allowed people to share who they were honoring during this time. Jason told a particularly moving story about being in battle. We moved from Jefferson to the Capital building, 1.2 miles, with some serious speed. We had to make our time hack in 40 minutes and had determined some really terrible punishment if we didn’t (I can’t remember what). I felt like this was the peak for me. I was rotating out on the casualties, taking team weights, etc. I felt good.
We arrive at the Capital Building with two minutes to spare. Now time for fresh Cadre. Rob and Brian Squared show up and give us yet another little “welcome party”. We did diver bomber pushups, midget jumping jacks, more man makers, more monkey humpers, etc. It was terrible.
We moved out to the other side of the capital. This point (like others have mentioned) was my lowest point. We still had hours to go and it wasn’t even light out yet. I was exhausted. To make matters worse we performed “Sally Up” with thrusters in front of the capital building and their entire late night security crew. People were starting to break down. The Cadre didn’t seem as hung up on technique at this point. That felt good to know.
BOOM! We get a 10 minute break. Awesome, the sun is coming up. I re-lather my feet. I eat a snack. I feel better but still dread the next three hours in the sun. Cadre Brain Squared calls Tuck and I out to be casualties cause “you F3 guys look too ready”.
Being a casualty is terrible. It just screws with your head as you watch people cringing and in so much pain over your weight and you can’t do anything. I heard arguing from the TL and ATL about directions at this point.
Finally the Cadre let us out and tell us no more casualties. We are super lost. Tuck and I are TL and ATL. We have a few moments before moving forward where I am able to ask a local firefighter how to get where we need to go, the National’s ballpark. He gives me much needed directions. Leading the group is tough. You want to be aware of those suffering who do not want to admit it. My job was to tell Tuck when we needed assistance on the coupons up front. The difficulty was making sure we moved with a decent speed and stayed fresh on the coupons. Tuck was awesome to have in the back, every time I called for fresh folks they arrived quickly at his bidding. So wise, that Tuck.
We arrived at the monument with no time to spare, well more like 26 minutes late. Some girls took over as TL and ATL. I spend the majority of my time from here on out rotating with Joule and some others carrying this 18 year old girl. I felt like every time I carried her I carried it significantly less than the others. It’s probably true and still haunts me today.
We go by the Disabled Vets Memorial and hear from this awesome vet whose mustache had him looking like he was out of Supertroopers. Then we make our way to the Museum of Fine Art stairs on the National Lawn. We are informed we must bunny hop up the entire stairs five times. F3 guys dominate again. It sucked but we showed our fitness and endurance here for sure. At this point, we are invited over to the fountain next to the museum to dunk ourselves in water. This felt fantastic.
Korean War Memorial – 24:00-ish
As we approached the Korean War Memorial, the larger-than-life soldiers carved from slabs of stone were eerily quiet with their helmets, ponchos and machine guns, walking through the low brush and groundwater. Cadre Danny invited a Korean-American Rucker among us to describe the significance of US troops joining the effort to push the Communist Chinese and North Korean troops back up into the north, maintaining freedom for South Korea, and making a statement for Korean-Americans. His appreciation was genuine.
Also, Kanye basically owned the Log for the first three movements. And all six of you consistently rotated in on the Log, the Trident, the 70lb W and casualty litters. All the heaviest coupons. #teamworkiskey
From there, it was a LONG night.
Disabled Veterans Memorial – 08:00-ish
After the sun emerged in full force, we were stopped unexpectedly by a Park Ranger who asked if we wanted a tour of the Disabled Vets Memorial. The Cadre checked in with him and decided that needed to happen.
For me, this was a particularly emotional moment. I’ll say it. There were tears. I think it was partly exhaustion from not sleeping and from getting pummelled all night. But also, we were rucking in honor of fallen soldiers, and here in front of us was a man who stepped on an explosive in Afghanistan six months ago. He was inches from becoming a fallen soldier, and yet here he was. A disabled vet with an artificial left leg from the knee down, giving us a tour of the Disabled Vet Memorial. And he said he was grateful for us because we understood.
ENDEX AND TAKEAWAYS
We ended with lots of PT. This part was excruciating. We knew we were at our launch point and the end was near. There were a number of people there to watch the endex. It was hot. No shade in sight. We still had penalty reps to work off, which we did 10-15 at a time. Attention to detail was essential here in order to stay together on our reps. At that point everyone was exhausted and had little left in the tank. But we had to focus. Lack of focus meant more reps. Finally, we completed the tasks given to us and received our patches.
For me, this was one of the more moving experiences of my life in a number of ways. I was deeply impacted by the performance of my F3 brothers. Everyone pulled their weight for the team and exemplified what F3 is. We all wanted to be an example to the 47 others. That meant rushing to the front to grab coupons when someone needed it, being leaders throughout the night, and encouraging others when they needed it. I know that if I wasn’t in F3, I wouldn’t have been in DC for a GoRuck Memorial Day weekend. I’m continually humbled to be a member of this group.
Above all, the magnitude of doing this event in our nation’s capital on Memorial Day weekend was incredible. I rucked for SSG Shane Koele of the 212th MP Company, the company my brother currently serves in. He was a husband and father who gave his life in Afghanistan in 2005. I continually thought about SSG Koele, his comrades, and his family throughout the night. It pushed me forward when I felt weak. I thought about the men who died alongside our Cadre. Some in our group had close friends and family who passed in battle. These men and women laid down their lives for us and we must not forget them. After this weekend especially, I feel convicted that it is our duty to remember them and honor them. I can’t tell you how glad I am we got to experience this event, and I will not soon forget the lessons we learned throughout.
Until the next one…
It was great seeing my F3 brothers always doing something during the GoRuck. We always pushed forward and helped with the coupons and making sure our TEAM was doing well. The “Endex” or welcome party at the end of the event was truly a MENTAL beat down. Through ups and downs we made it to the patch. Finishing the event was very emotional for me, partially because I didn’t think I could finish. It was a totally different experience than the F3 Raleigh/Durham GoRuck, in good and bad ways. Most importantly it was a very humbling experience. To sweat and get pushed to my limits in front of our Nations’ monuments was an awesome feeling. We were tasked to do this event in memory of a fallen soldier. I honestly didn’t know anyone directly, however I researched a man that died on my college graduation day. This let me know that the freedom I have to go to school and better my education was being fought and died over in other parts of the world. That really brought it home for me. So all in all, “Would you do this event again?” ….”Heck Yeh, just need a breather first”
Thanks to my fellow PAX for helping me push through and finish.
I rucked for my great grandfather, 1st Lieutenant Frank Lenox Williams, I. 119th infantry 30 division. He led his unit into battle four times during WWI and sustained a wound in his abdomen during the fourth. He was transported to the hospital and died of his wounds the next day. He died one month to the day before Armistice Day, the end of WWI. This was also the day that his only son, a son he would never know, my grandfather, Frank Lenox Williams, II was born.
F3 did an excellent job of pulling their weight on the coupons. Visiting all of the memorials was powerful with the Disabled Veterans Memorial being one of my favorite stops of the evening.
For our Memorial Day Ruck, I rucked in honor of Army Specialist Bradley S. Beard. I heard Beard’s story from Diego and wanted to do this event for someone with ties to, or from a PAX. Beard was at the NCSU Engineering school when 9/11 happened and he immediately joined the army. While stationed in Korea, the 2-17 needed mechanics in Iraq and he volunteered.
KIA in October, 2004, Beard was on patrol with a Humvee group when it suffered an IED blast. He is survived by his parents, and younger sister.
This was the hardest physical and mental test that I’ve ever encountered. Unlike our October Custom, this event was heavy on PT, and light on total mileage. The Cadre successfully shocked our bodies, minds and souls with ninja-esq amounts of confusion, challenge and anguish.
We experienced a true welcome party with participants that we didn’t know anything about. The true meaning of “stronger together” was on display during these initial two hours, and the group truly came together to accomplish our mission.
The theme that most resonated with me was “suffer in silence.” Cadre Brian (Brian Squared) took over around 3am and ran us directly into a 60-rep PT set. Halfway through, he told us to suffer in silence. This comment didn’t really sink in until 0500; shortly after we embarked on a 1.2 mile time hack. Shortly after sunrise, I was in the “Dark Place” that GRT’s refer to. For a while, I felt like my legs and mind weren’t in sync and had doubts about finishing. I had to dig deep and remember why we were rucking this event, and imagine what the HTL brothers next to me were feeling.
What I came to realize is that too many people are suffering in silence, all around us- they may be having trouble at work, at home, among their family, or in the midst of service to our country. Unless we make the time to ask, we will never know what the man or woman next to us is feeling, or what demons they are battling. I can’t imagine the pain associated with losing a loved one on the battlefield, or the self-less mentality it takes to willingly throw your life on the line in defense of the greater good. This event helped clarify the need to engage in meaningful conversation with people as frequently as possible. Sometimes, all people need to hear is that someone gives a shit, and are willing to take time to listen. It’s impossible to listen and speak at the same time.
This was a memorable weekend, with great brothers, that will not soon be forgotten.
- Good grief it was hot
- PT, PT, and more PT to burn off reps owed
- Running out and around that sign…twice because we didn’t get in formation right the first time
- Forgetting how to count cadence for overhead claps, it was backwards for some reason (#attentiontodetail)
- Great, now we’re even a mile further from the car than we planned to be
- Bud Americas at the house when we get back
- Best shower ever
- 2x mountains of nachos, Burgers/Beer at the Cowboy Cafe where the waitress must have thought we were on drugs
- Passing out on the air mattress when we got back
- Kanye is a world-class snorer
- Nats game, great seats, great time
- Bedtime Bud Americas
Tim Cunningham was 26 years old when the armored vehicle he was in rolled into an irrigation canal during a combat operation and he lost his life in service to our country. He was a beloved friend and classmate of Invisible Shirt at Westpoint and left behind a wife and one year old daughter. Tim loved his family and his savior Jesus Christ.
Next we work our way back to the Washington Monument. No more casualties, just some coupons. We make it back to where the welcome party was. Here comes the Endex. We do more PT, dive bombers, monkey humpers, burpees, man makers, etc. It was terrible. Especially when, at the end, the Cadre had us sprint to a far object and back. At this point, we are carrying casualties because they can not walk and not because we have to. The most beautiful moment of this part was the teamwork. Here we are, 54 strangers, and we are all working together to get this thing done. Funny how it takes 11 hours to finally feel like a unit. It was a beautiful thing.
We finish off with more reps done to perfection. We continually start over to the point that getting ten feels like a victory. The cadre at this point are in people face telling them, “don’t screw it up”. The event is finished. We made it. I shake hands with Cadre and others I met. We take a quick photo op with the F3 fellas. Oh yeah, remember “no headlamp” girl….her phone broke cause she didn’t protect it in her ruck. It feels good to be finished!
We walk a mile to the car. It sucks but I kind of don’t care. My mind is already on a big breakfast and beer. Our group is a hummin’ with fellas talking about the event. It is all kind of dreamy to me from here. We end up cleaning off and going to a restaurant were I think the waitress thought we were half drunk and half on something else. We make it back home to pass out for a few hours before fun at the Nats game.
- Don’t speed in VA. They have a lot of speed traps and lawyers are expensive.
- Public events are fun. It is awesome working together with random people for an end goal
- Memorial day is worth remembering. Memorial Day is now a more sombering event to me. Soldiers died for OUR freedom. It is time we as American paid respects.
- F3 is great. We were not only pulling our weight but pulling the teams. It felt good to be a part of.
- GoRuck is addicting. Here we are 10 days later and I want to do another one. And I will. I think the fact you can never “win” is what has me coming back for more. I could always contribute more, do better, be more of a help to others, and push myself harder.
- Friar Tuck, Kanye, Pergo, Les Nessman, Singlewide, and Joule are all awesome guys and we could not have had a better crew. Thanks for the encouragement, good attitudes (looking at you Joule), etc. It kept me going all night.
I rucked for Andrew Keel-Pederson. He and Invisible Shirt were classmates at West Point. Andrew was a commander in the Special Forces starting in late 2012 in Afghanistan. He was killed by small arms fire in Afghanistan on March 11, 2013. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal. Andrew was from Connecticut and left behind his fiance, as well as, his family.
I rucked in honor of Army Specialist Nick Taylor, a fellow soldier of 90210. In the year 2012, at age 20, some Afghan militants ambushed Nick’s unit as they were clearing the road of IEDs. Nick gave his life that day in service to his unit and country.
Other endurance events like road races or GORUCK Challenge events are excellent for personal challenge and having some fun, but this Honor The Fallen event was different.
Here’s my big takeaway: There are soldiers who give their lives so that we live free lives in the US, and we never know most of their names. But their sacrifice matters. This event made me grateful for Nick Taylor and the other soldiers we rucked for. Memorial Day now takes on a deeper significance.
It was great to drive up with the seven of us, stay with Nessman’s uber-hospitable aunt and uncle, feast on mountainous nachos, burgers and juevos rancheros after the Ruck at Cowboy Cafe, and catch a Nats game from great seats Saturday night. But the chance to suffer for 12 hours with the seven of you guys, and to better understand what it means that men have given their lives to keep our nation and other parts of the world free…that’s the takeaway.
Honor The Fallen.
Click the picture below to view the full album from the event: