GO RUCK CHALLENGE: Class 516 Seattle, WA

SO – I said I would post about the Go Ruck Challenge ( https://www.goruck.com ) once I completed it and I haven’t … until now.

They say that anyone can complete the Challenge, as long as you are willing to stick it out and get over any kind of “tiny heart syndrome” you might have.  They say that it is a team event and that “teamwork is the key.”  Well, what they say is true.  After having only really, REALLY exercised maybe twice since my daughter was born (7 months old when the challenge rolled around), I hopped into our car with my husband at about 11:00pm and made the trip to our start point at the Space Needle in Seattle.  I wasn’t sure what to expect even though I had been searching and reading as many blog posts as I could about a Challenge before the event.  All I knew was that for the next 8 to 10 to maybe more hours, we would be rucking around Seattle carrying bricks and whatever else our cadre deemed necessary.

At the start point, we had a beautiful view of the Space Needle up close with all its lights on.  We got to stand around for a little while and check out our teammates.  Some we had met on mini-training get togethers, most were still complete strangers that we would have to work with to survive whatever lay ahead.Image

Once our cadre arrived the fun got started.  All cadre have a background in Special Ops and they love, almost seem to live on, making us do fun things like stay in the front leaning rest (push up position) and do flutter kicks (on your back, legs extended) while we get to learn about why they are a cadre and what Go Ruck means to them.  We also did fun activities to learn each other’s names – like staying in the front leaning rest until we could go through and name every single person in our group of 25 strangers … without making a mistake.  After our team hashed that out, we got started on our trek.

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The night was filled with fun.  We learned a lot about our cadre – Cadre Bert.  We mostly learned that he’s a fair guy.  Meet your time hash to get wherever you need to go and he’ll be fair … miss your time hash by 03 seconds and he’ll still be fair.  That’s where our bear crawls, crab walks, and relay race happened to us.  With rucks on.  What is in the ruck, you say?  4 to 6 bricks (depending on your weight), water, and whatever else you thought you were going to need but ended up realizing was just extra weight you had to carry around all night.

Throughout the event we had great views of the city at night and into the wee hours of the morning.  The team picked up a log to carry along the way in addition to our team weight (combined 25 lbs of Ernesto the wooden fish and Rainier beer cans), American flag, and the cadre’s keg.  It was a night of good livin’.

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And you really do everything as a team.  If you take on this event go into it with a “nobody gets left behind” attitude.  One team, one fight.  One of our teammates at the beginning said something interesting – don’t LET anyone quit because they will have to wake up tomorrow and look at themselves in the mirror knowing that they gave up.

One of our teammates was badly injured just a few miles short of completing the event.  He didn’t quit, he was buddy carried to the end.  The team stayed with him and he finished with the team.  I felt tons of support as well.  There were moments where my knees were killing me, where I thought I wouldn’t make it because I’m a mom and this stuff is hard.  But our team worked together, we kept a good pace and stayed motivated throughout the event.  It also helped that Cadre Bert told us a story at the beginning that made a lot of sense.  If you think you can’t go on because you’re “gonna die” then stop where you are and just die.  It sounds ridiculous but you realize you are not in fact dying.  And you keep on going.

Anyone can get through a Challenge.  It’s an interesting experience to have to pull together as a team in such a short span of time with complete strangers.  But I wholeheartedly recommend taking on the Go Ruck Challenge.  It’s an event you won’t forget.

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My 2013 Events

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In 2009, while my husband was in Korea, I was in Maryland with our first baby, and I had plenty of extra time to sit around and realize I wanted to do something more.  I needed to do something more with myself, something to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Something physically challenging… even just a little bit.  So, when a group of friends invited me to participate in the Iron Girl Triathlon in 2010 as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (http://www.teamintraining.org) I said “YES!”.  Since then, I have done a series of 5ks and a Warrior Dash.  This year, I want to do even more!  So, here is my (growing) list of fun and challenging events for 2013:

1.  GO RUCK Challenge April 2013, https://www.goruck.com/Events/Challenge

When my husband told me he signed us up for this challenge I immediately started reading as many blogs as I possibly could about this event.  I concluded the Go Ruck Challenge is a slightly scary mystery.  What I do know is that you have to carry a ruck around the city hosting the event for 8 to 10 hours, covering about 15-20 miles, while doing all kinds of energy exerting exercises with a group of strangers who make up your team.  I hear it involves buddy carries, bear crawls, log carries, and lots and lots of water.  I am ready.  And excited.

2.  Benaroya Research Institute Seafair Triathlon 2013, http://www.seafair.com/anevent.aspx?ID=5

After competing in the Iron Girl Triathlon I was hooked.  I wanted to compete in other sprint triathlons with the goal of bumping up to the olympic distance triathlons.  Since it has been a few years, I plan to start here.  This event highlights the fight against autoimmune diseases.  Another event right up my alley.

3.  Tough Mudder Seattle October 2013, http://toughmudder.com

Well, this event just looks like fun.  And if we can get a sitter, I am looking forward to taking on mud, ice cold water, and getting shocked throughout the course with my loving husband.  The Warrior Dash gave me a hunger for fun, but oh-so-challenging events.  Tough Mudder, quench my thirst.

I am excited about these three events and I plan to add others throughout the year!  Color runs, zombie survival runs, bikes throughout Washington state.  There are so many challenges out there and I am ready to take them!

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Ernesto the Cedar Fish

Ernesto the Cedar Fish

Ernesto the Cedar Fish is our team weight for our upcoming Go Ruck Challenge (14 days away). We’ll be carrying him, along with his Seattle appropriate slab of wood, on our 15-20 mile trek. Who knows what kind of events he will be enjoying with us! The slab is still a work in progress. Look forward to posting pictures of Ernesto’s Go Ruck adventures!

And The Countdown Begins: 34 Days

So, it has occurred to me that I only have 34 days until I take on a crazy little adventure known as a “GO RUCK CHALLENGE”.  If you haven’t heard of Go Ruck or any of their events I suggest you visit http://www.goruck.com and take a gander at what my husband has signed us up for!  From what I understand, we will be spending about 8 to 10 hours running around Seattle carrying ruck sacks full of bricks with about 28 strangers who will make up our team.  Our 8 to 10 hours will be spent crawling, climbing, lunging, squating, lifting, and just plain sweating while making sure our rucks, team weight (minimum 25 lbs), American flag, and anything else we pick up along the way stay off the ground.  Our event will be led by a group of cadre who all have some kind of military background in Special Operations and who all love the way good pain feels.  Yeah.  “Good Pain.”

They say anyone can take on the challenge and successfully complete it as long as they are willing to work as a team and never give up.  It is a test of heart.  And with the cadre out there to, uhm, motivate us, I am sure we will be reminded of this often.  I look forward to pushing through all of the fun to the end and am glad that my husband and I are taking on this event together!  In 35, or maybe 36, days I will be posting an update about surviving this challenge.

34 days.  I feel like I should lift something or go for a run right now.  Anyway, I wanted to share my stats for anyone who might be wondering what kind of physical shape I am in before taking on the challenge:

I’m 5’1″, weigh 123 lbs, and just had a baby 6 months ago.  My longest run since her birth has been 2-miles and I haven’t done a ruck in a little over a year.

Wish me luck and check back in about 35 days for my post-Go RUCK Challenge story!

Here is my husband, wrapping his bricks for our challenge.

Pictured:  My husband wrapping bricks for the challenge.  Six for anyone over 150lbs, four for anyone under 150 lbs.  Carrying bricks, and water, and snacks, oh my!