Some 50 good livin’ or so events later, with friends and acquaintances coming into the fold, and having seen lots of “noobs” do their first GORUCK event, I have been lucky enough to understand each and every stage of the life of a GRT. Without further ado, lets get going
You just found out about GORUCK – maybe from a friend, a website, a colleague, your gym – you looked around GORUCK.com and decided to take the first step. Signing up. It is, after all, the hardest part of the GORUCK Challenge right? It says so right there.
But its 2-3 months away – you show your excitement is by posting about it, working out, testing out the GORUCK premade ruck kit that came 3-5 business days later, and running with bricks. You research packing, you research food to eat, where to put your bricks, and all sorts of other tips and tricks to make life a little easier on game day.
Holy shit, what did I do?
Somehow, time passed. As it does. You sort of slacked on your training and now the Challenge is only a week or so away. People are talking about team weights, and all you can think about is what shoes you need to wear? Are you going to get cold and wet? How much food, and what food should I pack? You flip between excitement and fear. But mostly fear.
Cadre are posting about owning your souls, crushing your souls, and doing pretty much anything in their power to ensure you no longer have a soul. What did you do? You thought the hardest part was signing up!
Some people (you find out later they are already GRT) are trash talking the cadre on the event page and making it worse. Shut up people! This is going to be hard enough already.
You are standing at the start point. Some people are quiet, some are laughing and talking. None of it is making you feel any better. You need to pee, your stomach is turning over, you are so apprehensive.
Cadre arrives and does role call, talks about the rules and asks who has never done a challenge before. You tentatively raise your hand along with a good section of the class. Cadre points at you, saying “You, what’s your name?” – you tell him “Cool, you are team lead!”
WHAT?? What the hell? You have no clue what you are doing, and now you are supposed to lead this group of 20 or so people?
“Team lead, get your class in two ranks” – erm, okay. Thankfully someone knows the drill and makes it happen for you. “Everyone, front leaning rest!” – you’ve heard of the welcome party and are about to experience it. Very quickly you hate life. When will this be over? You are thankful though that you aren’t the slowest so you get a chance to break very briefly once in a while.
Time goes on, the welcome party finishes, missions get completed and thankfully someone else gets made team lead. You can sort of relax a bit now the pressure is off, but this still sucks. You get to meet cool people, but the heavy stuff, buddy carries and long distances walked are taking their toll.
When does the sun come up? Are you in f*&king Alaska or something? It feels like you’ve been going for way longer than 8-10 hours. At some point you pass a clock and it says its only 4am. Dammit – everyone else seems so fresh and strong! At least you are over halfway through. You are invested now.
A few hours later, the sun comes up and a fresh lease of life overcomes you. Energized and nearly done. Your feet hurt, your shoulder hurts (that log was a bitch), and you smell. Bad. Really bad. When your own smell offends you, things have gotten extreme.
And all of a sudden cadre tells you “Congratulations class, you’re done!”
You are overwhelmed. On more than one occasion you felt like quitting, but kept going through. This was the toughest thing you’ve ever done. Are you happy you did it? Sure. Will you do it again? Fuck no!
Home to shower and to bed. You’re bushed! So you walk back to your car convinced that everyone now thinks you are homeless.
The day after the Challenge you get out of bed. Slowly. It takes you 7 minutes and 53 seconds to lower yourself into a squat onto the toilet seat, and you can still feel the chafing from your ruck on your shoulders and lower back. You have a few minor blister. And the word “MACK” must be imprinted somewhere in reverse from where the truck hit you.
And the hunger. That Sunday brunch buffet won’t know what hit it. Except you can’t keep going up to the buffet bar because standing happens in geological time and walking is even slower.
This is the worst. Feeling. Ever. You go hungry instead.
Two days after the challenge make the day before feel like heaven. Things are stiffening up, swelling, aching. Having to do your job sucks. Everyone is asking about the Challenge (or most likely, about the race you did), and you describe the events and still can’t believe what you achieved. Even though you ache there is a certain euphoria and the memories of what you did, who you met, and what you saw, are all good ones.
3-4 days after your Challenge, all the pain has gone. You have gotten 23 new friend requests from your new brethren and are accepted into the GORUCK Tough group. You catch up on the group, try to learn the lingo, and feel such a strong sense of community.
The pains and aches are also gone and you are back in the gym. You gush about what you did, and just like a teenager that drank at a party and said “Never again!” you are off the wagon and hearing about the cool memorial event with special patch. “That sounds like so much fun!” you say, and you check out GORUCK.com and what the hell, you sign up.
As you become more familiar with the group, you find all the custom fundraiser patches and its like crack. You order a couple, they arrive, are awesome, and you order more. You are GRT and damn proud of it. As you should be.
Your second challenge arrives. You show up confident, recognize a few people, and are way more calm this time. You’ve trained more appropriately and besides, you’ve done this before. You go through the process again but this time smile inwardly (or laugh openly) at the nervous new faces. Haha, are they in for a treat!!
As you go through missions and PT you call out advice, you tell the class how to make it easier, you prevent gaps before they happen, you make sure the rules are followed, you know your shit!
The class finishes, you feel better. The next day arrives and you are nowhere near as sore as last time. Hell yes, you’re badass! You looked after your team and actually had fun this time. Sort of.
As you become more familiar with the GORUCK line, one ruck isn’t enough. You need one for work. You need a kit bag too. Oh, and sandbags to train. That gym bag isn’t too pricy so one of those can get added too. You could do with a spare tac hat as well. Every t-shirt you wear is now AA tri-blend gray. You can get spotted in a crowd by another GRT from a mile off. You go for social events with your new family, you run OCR races together, always wearing the gear and carrying the ruck.
You now have a bunch of events under your belt, maybe even a capstone or two. Almost all your friends now are in the GRT community, your morning routine is “Wake up, get coffee, check GRT page”. You always have at least one GORUCK event planned in your future and are working up perhaps to a Heavy or a HCL. You can’t even remember when 10 hours sounded scary and now you are contemplating 40+. Even Selection sounds like fun, but mostly because you are an idiot.
Cadre even friend request YOU! And you’ve met Kling.
Now when you do a challenge, you keep your mouth shut. You remember being new and want the class to experience that. You’ve hit a point when you are here for the other teammates, and for the workout. You always volunteer for stuff, and rarely interject unless the class is a complete cluster fuck.
And you are done. You completed your evolution as a GRT. Until Selection… and that’s when things get really interesting.