After GORUCK Immersion, I spent Sunday cleaning up the townhouse for a friend who was visiting from Virginia.
Monday, May 21:
I like to take visitors to the US National Whitewater Center, because it's a cool place to walk around, even if you don't get an Activity Pass. The man-made whitewater is cool, and the trails are good for something so close to home. I rucked it, to get some extra cardio in, and to get my body a little more ready for D-day.
There are no mountain vistas here, but there are some small bodies of water on some of the trails. Afterwards, we went out for BBQ at Mac's Speed Shop - good stuff (quality brisket, for example). I'd go back. Good food and a nice beer selection.
The next day, we went to Copper for the best Indian food I've had, followed by the airport overlook, bocce, and more Eureka, a fun and quick little game... kind of like how you'd play Tangrams or SET... trying to solve puzzles more quickly than your competitor.
Thursday, May 24:
The right timing for my last strength session before an A-event... 10 days. It had been a while since my last strength session... almost a month, since I had Immersion, and Spartan Fayetteville in the meantime. My body was ready for this reset, though. I might've strained my right outer butt from rucking.
- Plank: 4 + 2.5 min = 6.5 min
- Situps, UBRR-style: 40 in 1 min, a bit violent on my back as I went for speed... trying to get ready for GBC Behind Enemy Lines.
- 6 in: 75 + 75s
- Lunges: 100
- Single Leg Squats: 95 + 100
- Pushups, UBRR-style: 22 + 20 hard... I'm worse than ever at them, I think. I used to be able to do 40... don't know if I switched form to a harder form, and/or if I'm weaker... definitely weaker there.
- Adductor/abductor Leg Lifts: 105/130
- Pullups: 5 with hang until 60s, then 4 with hang til 40s
- Assorted Dumbell Rows
Went for a post-work run to kick off Memorial Day weekend, at the Whitewater Center.
8.5 in 1:38:27, 11:31 average. I did a couple episodes of Zombies, Run! My body beaded water everywhere from sweat and humidity. More bugs buzzing and following me than normal. Had to surge to get away from them. Cloudy and threatening to storm, and some mud to deal with.
Saturday, geocached a little while running errands. Discovered some good ones! That can be rare, when you've been caching in an area for a while.
Sunday, May 27:
Biked 16.9 miles in 60 min at the gym, while watching Naked and Afraid. I recently discovered this show (at Fayetteville in the hotel). It's actually very informative, and helps to supplement what I've been learning at the GORUCK Survival series events. The part that opens my eyes the most is usually related to understanding animal behavior, which helps you catch them or avoid predators.
Memorial Day, I worked on planning for the upcoming Europe Trip with my sister, for maybe like 8 hours. When I get focused on something, I go non-stop for hours on end.
Tuesday, May 29:
I haven't done interval work in maybe 3 months. I have been doing tempo sessions and races, but no treadmill speedwork. My body felt like it could handle it today, though, so I tried. My butt was sore and cramped initially, but it felt better as I ramped up the speed. Strange when it does that... it's only the second or third time, and I never encountered that until this year. I did a longer 1.5 mi warmup because of it.
- 1.5 mi warmup in 12:19
- 3 x [0.75 mi @ 9mph (5:00), 0.25 mi @ 7.5mph (1:59)]
GORUCK DDAY TOUGH
Because a Heavy preceded this event, it didn't start until 10pm on Saturday, which worked out well for me. It meant that I could take my time driving to Charleston after work on Friday, meet up with a college roommate on Saturday morning, nap a little, then go to the event. The event was in the same city where my parents live, so I didn't even have to drive far.
My friend has 2 little kids... let me tell you, parents of little kids should earn a patch every day for the heavy carries that they do! Those kids are heavy coupons, and they often need carrying.
At the parking lot for the starting point, people gathered. I saw some familiar faces from previous events. There were some newbies. I felt more confident, having done a Tough before, albeit 2 years ago. At least I was well-rested.
At the Welcome Party, we acknowledged the 74th anniversary of D-day. We split up into 3 groups rotating through 3 stations. At the first station with Cadre Montreal, we did 74 reps (split among sets) of squats with rucks overhead, followed by 74 reps (split among sets) of flutter kicks with rucks overhead. I'm glad we got this one out of the way first, while we were still fresh. At the next station with Cadre DS (who I met at Expedition), we did 74 reps (split among 3 sets) of ruck kettlebell swings, overhead presses, and a sprint down and back across the field. The kettlebell swings were kind of tough, since my 26L GR1 would touch the ground. I started off using the shoulder straps before the Cadre got on me about that, so I switched to managing with the handle.
Next, with Cadre Heath, we learned proper buddy carrying technique (single and triple), to not hurt ourselves. The trick to the single is getting your shoulder right between the casualty's legs, pulling their arm in the direction that you want their body to go, squatting up, and shifting them up by adjusting afterwards. Fortunately, there was a girl my size to pair with.
Next, a history lesson, drawn out in sand. The history makes the rucking more meaningful, as you think about what our heroes went through and succeeded in doing. I had no idea about the amount of cunning that went into pulling off D-day. Brilliant. That kind of stuff wouldn't work the same way anymore, because of how technology has changed, but I'm sure there are equivalent kinds of strategies that would be at play in modern times.
Now, it was time to get started with the movements. We picked up our coupons, filled sandbags, filled water at a gas station, then started off on a 3.5 mi ruck. I did a combo of ammo cans and sand bags for the first couple of evolutions. It was a little surreal rucking through the streets I used to go through in my childhood home town, in the middle of the night. At the first checkpoint, we learned about the 82nd & 101st Airborne's mission behind enemy lines under heavy fire as they cut off enemy communications and secured bridges to pave the way for the invasion that would start a few hours later.
We then rucked another 2 miles to the beach. It wouldn't be D-day in Charleston without something involving the beach. We learned about the Higgins Boats, with so many crammed in rough waters. We simulated this with a boat drawn out in sand. We didn't even have our rucks on when we were in there, and it was tight. We got in the same position in the water, then did crawls up the beach at low tide, similar to how they had low tide.
Next, we started heading back. With Cadre DS, we learned about Hedge Row Warfare, and went through some flooded fields securing positions between two teams. It had grown light by now, though with a 10pm start, we wouldn't be finishing until 10am, so we still had a ways to go, and still miles to go before we were back to the start point.
We picked up some casualties, and had to buddy carry them to our next checkpoint, a hospital. Newbies got picked for TLs, a rude awakening, but a good leaning opportunity. Things didn't feel as heavy to me this time, as they did the first time, or at least I knew how to manage the weight better and shift to different muscles in a more optimal way, so I could contribute more than I could last time. I'm glad that as opposed to many logs, like last time, they had more individual coupons, and sandbags of various sizes, so it was less of an all or nothing contribution. You could find a way that you could give the most you could, without being dependent on having 3 people of equal size to carry awkward huge objects with.
At the checkpoint, we learned about the liberation of cities like Sainte Mere Eglise. One of the team members created a custom team weight, which was the crest of Sainte Mere Eglise. The church's stained glass, and the crest, commemorates the liberators, and we learned about how appreciative the cities were of the Americans who came through. It brought tears to my eyes, which is a weird thing to happen at a GORUCK event, but it was really touching.
Next, we rucked to Shem Creek Park, where we simulated securing a bridge on the boardwalk. I've visited that park once before. It's really pretty. It was fun to put learning into action with this little mission.
We rucked a little more, almost back to the start point. I was digging deep at the time, eager to finally finish. However, right before we would've taken the turn, we found out that we'd be rucking up the Cooper River Bridge!!! That thing is huge! I had spent the remainder of my energy getting back, and I couldn't believe it. We had to dig even deeper, especially since that bad boy went uphill. It was the final bridge to take.
We made it, though! And we took a quiz on Normandy history at the top, and earned the ability to drop sand. During the second half of the event, I carried a mixture of the sandbag, the litter with my size twin, and the team weight. Fortunately, we didn't have to go all the way to downtown. We finally made it back to the start point.
My biggest takeaways from the event:
- Learned a lot of fascinating history about what went into the Invasion of Normandy
- Now that I'm less of a Newbie (still a newbie compared to most), it's interesting to see how they evolve during the course of a single event
- Glad to see that I'm able to contribute more now, and better able to handle the weight... more confidence
- Found a strange phenomenon that when you help other people, even if it's by taking on more weight, it feels less heavy
- Also became more comfortable with asking for help. A key part of teamwork is taking turns helping each other.
- And, as usual, respect for a number of women there with impressive smarts, strength, and leadership
This was a well put on event. I enjoyed this more than the Veterans Day Tough I did two years ago. I liked the way there was history, a better understanding of our military heroes, good livin, teamwork, good coupon weight distribution, and missions weaved in together. GORUCK, like all good companies that succeed, is good about getting feedback and always evolving.