GORUCK Challenge Charlotte July 25

"It seems the only thing you guys respond to is threats, so I'm going to keep making threats so that you get it right."

I swear, I hate bear crawls. I left my torn up pair of gloves in Virginia Beach as well, so I ordered a new pair just for this Challenge. Then I forgot them. As I was talking to people before the start I mentioned that, and just said, "Screw it, I'll have to tough it out and pray we don't do bear crawls."

Yeah, that was a mistake and my palms are still kind of raw. Cadre Jesse really, really, REALLY loves his bear crawl punishments. So note to self, training for any event involving him in the future will involve many a Devil's Mile (1/4 mile bear crawl, 1/4 lunges, 1/4 something else, 1/4 mile something else).

Each event I do has left me wanting more, and this one was no different. It's a good thing that I have what will be the equivalent of 5 more events in the month of August, culminating in that hellish torturefest that very few have ever finished known as GORUCK Selection, which Jason McCarthy (a founder of GORUCK) repeatedly keeps telling people not to sign up for.

Every second that we were punished for bad communication, for lack of flag discipline, for anything and everything, we deserved it. We were still being bad at communication up until the very end of the event. At one point, a mysterious force snagged me front the back of the group and held me back to see if the team would notice. When they didn't, I was told to lay down and off the team went. It was a lovely time, I'm sorry the rest of my team missed it as they (apparently) bear crawled all of the way back to me, only to have to carry me back to the gear.

I think my only real personal critique of the team would come from the fact that we overthought a lot of things that really didn't require that much, and we underthought nearly everything else. A few times we had to carry things down steep embankments, and it got a little aggravating as I tried to coach people on how to navigate it, only for them to ignore me and wind up slipping and sliding down the hill. Plus, passing individual gallon jugs of water down the hills was just unnecessary. But arguing with a team lead is a big no no, and I let it go pretty quick (at the time).

I guess that kind of ties into the communication problems we were having as a team. People were zonked out from the PT fiasco at Independence Park, and team cohesion was something that was difficult for us from the moment we started to get gassed.

The first five hours of the Challenge were unrelenting. Granted, it wasn't as bad as say, the standing threat at ABSOC that "if the flag hits the ground, this Challenge turns into Selection and none of you will finish," but it hurt. As the person who was tasked with figuring out how to get the water running on a fountain to get everyone squared away on it while everyone else did PT, I felt horrible. I hated that I wasn't doing that work and that my failures to get the water flowing sooner resulted in more work for the team. Luckily an individual had one of the source fountain filler attachments and pretty much saved us. Even Jesse was impressed when he came over and saw how it worked.

I think things started to fall apart a bit at the end when we were given our final time hack. A group of us were carrying people to the final location, and we had to essentially run. Somehow we actually kept losing the team. But we all got into the park and then gutted out more buddy carries and pushups. We failed to complete the last inchworm pushup and as I lay there with my face in the grass waiting for us to start again, Jesse lightly kicks me in the arm and asks me if I'm alive. I look up and just answer "Yup, just chilling." When he told me to stand up and held out his hand, I was dumbstruck. Definitely not the ending to the event that I expected and it was awesome.

To the people who pushed through injuries (broken hand and at least two sprained ankles) you all are awesome and I'm glad you stuck with it. I hope to get to do more events with these people, since they are great GRTs and it was an honor to do the event with them.

I think the thing that makes GORUCK a beautiful event that Tough Mudder, Spartan, and other OCR things can't compare to is the fact that every event will always be different. You can train specifically for OCR stuff, pullups, pushups, running. And that's pretty much the extent of what you need to do. For GORUCK, you need to be as well rounded as possible, and after having done 4 wildly different events and shadowing two others that also were very different I keep thinking I've got a good handle on what it is that we'll have to do. Then I'll do another event and have my mind blown.

I love this company, I love these events and I couldn't ask to be part of a better community of men and women. GORUCK has changed my life in ways I never expected and I can't say enough about it.