SSG Robert James Miller Memorial GORUCK Heavy – After Action Review
Start and end point: Secret Lake Park, Casselberry, FL
Date and time: January 12, 2019, 8:00 AM – January 13, 2019, 8:00 AM
Approximate total rucking mileage: 55-60 miles
Number of participants started/finished: 22/18
Event Cadre: Cadre Dan and Cadre Montreal
Special Guests: Sergeant First Class Javier Mackey, Mr. and Mrs. Miller (Robbie Miller’s parents)
Please note that I did my best to remember as many details about this event as possible. If there are any inaccuracies, please bring them to my attention, and I can have corrections made.
Please note that the opinions stated in this article are my own and not of any of the other GRTs. Generally speaking, GRTs’ names were not used in this article to protect his or her privacy with one exception for giving credit where credit was due.
There is some explicit language in this AAR. Viewer discretion advised.
Part I: Administrative Items
Before the event, we were told that we were allowed to have our cell phones on us during the entire event. Social media and the use of navigation tools were allowed. Other activities such as calling people outside of the event were prohibited unless we were to drop from the event.
Additionally, we were allowed to have our watches at hand. The reasoning was that since this was a 24-hour event, it would be rather simple to determine the approximate time of day, so there was no point in prohibiting a watch. Whether this will become SOP in future Heavy events is yet to be determined.
Another thing that was different was that we were “allowed” to visit our cars to grab items if needed. The catch was that there was a “tax” involved. We did not know what the “tax” was going to be. None of us were inclined to figure it out unless there was a dire need.
The other item that was interestingly brought up was that the environment is your toolbox. If there is a coupon that we can grab to help us with our mission, we were allowed to take it.
Sergeant First Class Javier Mackey introduced himself to us at the start of the event. He was a close friend and teammate of Robbie Miller. He started by talking about Robbie Miller and what kind of person he was. He was known to be a friendly and yet brilliant man. He knew many languages and was very resourceful with the locals in Afghanistan. He was also an avid surfer and had a knack for adventure. Overall, he seemed to be the guy with who you wanted to hang out.
Part II: Opening PT: Robbie Miller WOD
To be completed in under 3 hours:
6 x pull-ups
6 x burpee squats
6 x 4-count mountain climbers
6 x getups
The distance from the start point to Robbie Miller’s memorial is about 1.5 miles. Therefore, our 3-mile ruck was to the memorial and back. We all rucked the 1.5 miles as a group to give our respects to SSG Robbie Miller. Afterward, we were allowed to break off into smaller groups to complete the WOD.
The pull-ups got done at the playground. The only exercise that requires a ruck (weight) was the getups. You were allowed to take the ruck plate out and use that for your getups. The getups did not have to be the Turkish getup version. I held the ruck plate like the book in the Statue of Liberty and switched hands every round.
There was no report of anyone missing the time hack.
By the way, Cadre Dan periodically rode in a scooter throughout the event because he had macerated his foot (summary of how he described it). Both Cadre Dan and Montreal have said that riding in a scooter with a rucksack is actually incredibly difficult to do because of the different ways you have to have to manage your body weight. Occasionally, Cadre Dan would come off of it and walk with it because it did not necessarily make his foot feel better. They should have invested in a Segway.
Part III: Commemoration of SSG Robert James Miller and Service Project
We first met with Robbie Miller’s parents who had stories about how much of a “pain in the butt” Robbie was (in a loving way, of course). They were able to recount his presence as if he was still here. His parents were very appreciative of us taking the time give praise to a great soldier.
Javier then began to spoke of the day when Robbie Miller’s life was taken. It was during a fight that broke out against the Taliban on January 25, 2008. The one thing that shook me up about this story was the difficulty that they had of retrieving Robbie Miller’s body. The team had to make a conscious decision to get him out of the field. At that point, they knew that Robbie passed and there was no way of bringing him back. When you are involved in the middle of a dire situation, the key is to act first and then worry about consequences later. Of course, these stories are never easy to tell while suppressing some emotions. Robbie’s death is an eternal wound implanted in his surviving teammates.
Before the event, Luke from Palm Beach Rucking Crew organized our service project. We removed the wreaths of all of the veterans’ graves in All Faiths Memorial Park. Following the commemoration of SSG Robbie Miller, we proceeded with our service project, where we collected all of the wreaths from the veteran’s memorials at All Faiths Memorial Park. After collecting a wreath, we dictated the veteran’s name out loud prior to disposing of the wreath. Javier collected Robbie Miller’s wreath.
Part IV: Planning the remainder of the event
Cadre Dan saw me rampaging through social media on my phone after the Robbie Miller WOD. Unfortunately, that was a signal for him to pick me to be the first TL and responsible for setting the tone for the rest of the event. No pressure. Thankfully, I deal with pressure every day at my job. I have learned to roll with the punches. Plus, for all my F3 brothers reading this, they know that this would not be the first time trying to plan anything. I did my best to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. I am not sure if my compatriots at the event were able to get the intention from me.
He sent me the entire plan for the rest of the event by email (see picture). Two basic things were going to happen for the remainder of the event:
1) 12-mile no coupon ruck in under 3 hours
2) Visiting all of the listed parks (waypoint) with coupons with our given route (Star Course-like)
The rest of the details were up to us. Our phones came into play because we had to research where these parks were and figure out which order we wanted to do them in.
For starters, not everyone chose to exercise the option of bringing his or her phone. I would say about 50% did. After all the social media antics that I have already pulled, my battery was at 60%. I am sure others are on the same boat. Immediately, I told everyone who had a phone to either put it on airplane mode or shut it off.
After discussions with the group, we came up with our initial plan.
1) Ruck to Cranes Roost Park (with coupons)
2) Complete the no-coupon 12-mile ruck portion using the 1-mile loops around the lake
3) Ruck back to the Start Point
4) Ruck to Red Bug Lake Park
5) Ruck back to the Start Point
6) Ruck to Candyland Park
7) Ruck back to the Start Point
8) Ruck to Kewannee Park
9) Ruck back to the Start Point
10) Ruck to Wirz Park
11) Ruck back to the Start Point (End)
The reasoning was to get the longer rucks to the farther parks out of the way first. Though Cranes Roost Park was closer than Red Bug Lake Park (by about 0.1 miles), we decided to hit Cranes Roost Park first because the 12 mi ruck would be simplest using the 1-mile loops and we can get it out of the way first. We agreed that the 12 mi ruck would suck if we had to do that towards the end of the event. For full disclosure, it still sucked at the beginning of the event.
If you examine the Cadre Dan’s document, there were a ton of details left out. We had time to ask any questions to the Cadre. Much of the group has done events before, and it seems like we were all afraid to ask too many specific questions. Many of us have been burned by it before. If we ask if we can do something, we would probably have to do the harder thing.
In this case, Cadre Dan was appalled that we only asked two questions.
- What are the coupons?
Answer: A shit ton of sandbags and filler bags in one kit bag. Another kit bag containing a stretcher. Six buckets to be filled with water.
- What is the tax to access the vehicles?
Answer: Exercises in the Robbie Miller WOD
He understood our reasoning behind not asking more questions. However, he wanted us to ask more questions to clarify some things. Here was at least some of the additional information we obtained.
- For Cadre Dan to count the laps that we do on the 12-mile ruck, the leaders of the 12-mile ruck had to carry the flag. If the leader changes, the new leader has to carry the flag. No one may go ahead of the person with the flag unless he or she takes the flag.
- If someone is lagging on the 12-mile ruck, we are allowed to help that person out by carrying his or her ruck. Both the person and the ruck must make it 12 miles.
- If there is a danger of life, limb, or eyesight, the first thing to do is to call 911 before calling the Cadre, another reason for the use of cell phones during the event. We should always have a plan when emergencies like this happen, so we give the best chance to get out of the situation with minimal damage. No one should perform the ruck alone. One person should stay with the disabled GRT, and the others should try to pass on the message forward to get help.
Cadre Dan talked extensively about the PACE plan. PACE stands for “Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency.” The PACE plan typically applies to a methodology used to build a communication plan. PACE also designates the order in which an element will move through available communications until there is re-established contact.
Additionally, after the incident at the Fort Bragg Heavy, he wanted to make sure we all knew what to do in case of a medical emergency. Looking back at Fort Bragg, it did not seem like there was anything that could have been done differently. However, we all know that even if you follow the protocol to a tee, not everything will go perfectly. These events are grueling and a medical emergency is bound to happen at some point in time. By the way, I heard the Fort Bragg event coming up is expected to have more than 180 GRTs!
Part V: Ruck to Cranes Roost Park
We filled the buckets with water from the lake. These were buckets from Firehouse Subs, which is what they use to store pickles. They smelled awful throughout the event. These were the heaviest coupons we had for the first ruck of the event. The sandbags were to be filled when we found sand.
There were 21 of us left in the event. There were six buckets. I split everyone up into three groups of 7 (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie), which signifies which group carries the buckets. There would be a rotation for a selected distance where it was safe to quickly and safely hand off the buckets. I can easily call the rotations assuming everyone remembers his or her letter. I felt it worked for the most part. One thing I could have said from the beginning to make my life easier is to shorthand the calls a little more. I was using a lot of energy telling what groups should go where (i.e.. Alpha get the buckets, Bravo gets the kit bags, flag, and team weight, Charlie hangs back). The easiest way for us to transfer the buckets was to keep the buckets in the front. Once the switch occurred, the GRTs with the buckets dropped them and hung back, while the next group picks them up and continues to ruck. Other transfers of the team weight and flag happened as needed. Some adjustments needed to be made on that front. Rucking these coupons continued for the entire trek to Cranes Roost.
Part VI: The 12-mile ruck
The 12-mile ruck was a point of contention for most of us. I can comfortably ruck 12 miles in the original 3.5 hours time hack. 12 miles in 3 hours was another animal. I was quite nervous about this. To make 15-minute miles, you need to add some shuffling in the mix. The 12-mile ruck in 3 hours will be a new standard for the GORUCK Heavy.
The leader in front carried the flag so that Cadre Dan can keep track of the laps and mileage. One loop around the lake at Cranes Roost was approximately 1 mile. Therefore, we had to complete 12 laps in under 3 hours.
We split into smaller groups. The people in the groups were very fluid throughout the trek for various reasons. Thankfully, we passed at least four water fountains along the way so being black on water was not a huge concern. It was going to be difficult no matter what.
We had a few GRT who were lagging significantly to the point where the leaders were starting to lap them. Cadre Dan instructed us not to do so which messed up our timing. We had a lengthy stoppage in time because there was a bathroom emergency too and we could not pass them. This incident happened at mile 10 or 11, and this caused the cramps and leg tightness to seep in. I tried to stay as active as possible and not stand too still for extended periods, but this messed up our flow. Many of us were well on our way to shattering the 3-hour mark.
After that break, many of us lost our stride. We got stopped at the lap marker because there was a safety concern. I was not sure what it was because I had my feet elevated immediately. Our time temporarily halted as well, thankfully. Once we were all counted and ready to resume, the person with the flag had to stand behind the last GRTs, who are one complete lap behind. To get those GRTs to move through, we had to hold their rucks to get them to move quicker.
At the beginning of the last lap, I saw that Cadre Dan had us with 11 minutes leftover in the time. We were dejected because it is nearly impossible to finish on time at this rate. My legs were getting tight, and I could not go any faster without collapsing. My hamstrings were cramping at the last few feet.
As we all recovered from the 12-mile ruck, we had one GRT who unleashed a considerable amount of vomitus onto the park grounds. I was pretty close to the line of fire and it was pretty impressive. Miraculously, he did not quit after that, but we lost two other GRTs after this ruck. We reassembled near the fountain. Many of us were black on food. We all thought we missed the time hack at this time.
Cadre Dan then showed us a random bag from Whole Foods. There was a woman who was interested in what Cadre Dan was doing with our group. This woman talked to him about her multiple humanitarian efforts in various foreign countries. She had at least one child with her, who we all thought was a girl, but was a boy. This boy would not stop talking with Cadre Dan throughout the 12- mile ruck. We were all wondering if these people knew Cadre Dan personally (apparently not). In this random bag from Whole Foods was a crap ton of fresh food including organic (emphasized from the woman) apples, blueberries, trail mix, and bananas. This act of generosity could not have come at a better moment. (Cadre Dan must have been one hell of a sweet talker.)
Before we devoured this food, Cadre Dan talked about the result of the 12-mile ruck. First, he told us a story about he could not count when he was in the military. A proper count is more important than you think. If you are missing a bomb, you are in deep shit, and you need to account for that missing bomb ASAFP. The exact words from Cadre Dan after the 12-mile ruck, “You fuckers. You guys just did 13 miles.” My jaw dropped. I was in disbelief. My first thought was “you could have told us that we were done, douche.” (Of course, I did not have the gumption to say that out loud.) Who knows how much better we would have felt if we only did 12 miles. I was hurting on supposed mile #13.
So where did we go wrong? Most postulate that we got our counts messed up when we had to stop and count not lap the last GRT. Our rhythm got messed up including our counting ability. I did not check the timer when we restarted again to figure out on which lap we were supposed to be. I guess we all have to assume Cadre Dan is correct in his statement. I am still in a little disbelief to this day.
Before we devoured that bag of Whole Foods items, we headed to the fountain. To get us “loosened up,” we performed a series of yoga positions. That sounded nice until the buckets doused us with cold water. Some of that water smelled like pickles. Despite how awful this felt at first, I felt pretty energized afterward. There is science to back this up. (I do not have enough time to dig up primary literature but here is a link to a decent article. (https://www.menprovement.com/benefits-of-cold-showers/) I try to take cold showers daily, especially when I have a late night workout and I need to get to sleep. Others may not have enjoyed this as much as I did.
Cadre Dan ended up getting in trouble by the grounds crew at Cranes Roost Park because removing so much water from the fountain causes the fountain to not work correctly by sucking up air instead of water. Luckily, they arrived at the end of it all, but we certainly overstayed our welcome.
One last random story about this 12-mile ruck. During our ruck, there was one individual who complained to the grounds crew that he felt unsafe because he thought that we were a militia-in-training. I never saw this guy because I was more focused on more important things at the time. The grounds crew did stop a bunch of us to tell us this information which probably also did not help us keep our momentum. Cadre Dan said that he saw the guy who complained and apparently after seeing Cadre Dan, he walked away and complained no further.
Part VII: Ruck to Red Bug Lake Park
A new TL was selected. I was thankful to get the TL position out of the way early because I don’t think I would have been nearly as active and alert after that 12-mile ruck. The coupons that we now had to carry were empty buckets, the two kit bags, the team weight, and the flag. There was also the leftover trail mix from the woman.
We were en route straight to Red Bug Lake Park. The original plan was to go back to the SP, but Cadre Dan’s foot needed a break and Cadre Montreal was going to step in for the remainder of the event. (I really would love to see the x-ray of his foot, by the way, says the radiologist.) The rate that we were going, it did not seem like we would be able to hit all the parks before 8 AM hit. The plan changed.
Anyway, we headed towards the parking lot of a shopping mall off of Highway 92. On the way, we came across two shopping carts in which we placed our team weight and the buckets. The team weight was a bit awkward to carry. There are two handles on each side, and it weighed about 50 pounds. Some people were trying to carry it individually on their backs, but it was a little awkward even to do that. The cart certainly helped with the team weight. Also, if someone needed to be relieved from his or her ruck, we were to take it off for a few minutes to get him or her a break.
We stopped at a shopping mall parking lot. There was a nearby gas station with bathrooms, and we were all allowed to get food during this break. At this point, the Cadres switched, and we had Cadre Montreal for the rest of the event.
This stoppage was also the first time I ever used my $20 during an event. The purpose is to get food and drink. I am anti-sugar. I never would get anything loaded with sugar. However, at this gas station, I was literally a kid in a candy store. Peanut M&Ms, Snickers, trail mix with M&Ms… Here I come!
During this changeover, we had lost one more GRT. He was the winner for the best puke during the 12-mile ruck. At that point, we were down to 18 GRT. We charged forward to Red Bug Lake Park.
Part VIII: Red Bug Lake Park: The Sandbag Deal
It was at this point where I started to become a “space cadet.” My feet were killing me. My legs were tightening up more and more by the mile.
While we were filling up water, it was time to meet the sandbags. We laid out all of the sandbag fillers that were in the kit bag (see picture). I think we established that the total weight was 950#. Regardless it was a shit ton of weight. We were instructed to fill them all up with sand at the nearby volleyball field.
Once they were all filled up, we carried one to the nearby dirt track. Our first objective was for all of us to run one lap (about ¼ mile) around the track with the weights. There was a time hack, but we did not know what the time hack was before the run.
We ran the track, and we ended up being pretty spread out amongst all of us. The sandbags that did not make it before 3-minutes were set aside and these were the bags that we had to carry for the remainder of the event.
Then we had to make a deal. The details of this deal were not clear to me as my brain was pretty foggy at this point. What I got out of it was that we could get rid of more sandbags if rerun the track. Any bag that can make it to the finish in less than 2.5 minutes can be emptied before resuming the ruck. Most of the bags came in in under 2 minutes on the first run-through. The bags that we had to set aside will be used for the rest of the event no matter what. We just ended up trying to rerun the track to see if we can get rid of more bags.
I ran the track pretty damn slow with a light sandbag at first. I was not confident that I could help get rid of more bags. Since we had fewer bags to carry on this run, some of us decided to run with a person with a sandbag and switch off the sandbag a the halfway point so that one person did not need to carry it the whole way through.
We ran this next loop. I ran the second half with the bag, and somehow my legs decided to push to the finish to make it in under 2.5 minutes. We had only one bag that did not make it, so that got added to our pile.
We had one more deal. The time hack was now 2 minutes. We took quite a while to perseverate on this one. Cadre Montreal brought up a common mantra that I have heard many times at GORUCK events. Act first, worry about the consequences later. We picked up weight and ran this next loop. We only added one more bag after this iteration. Again, somehow my legs were able to push that last half of the track with a 100# sandbag on my right shoulder. Needless to say, I was gassed beyond belief. We only added one more bag to our pile and thus left us with what was to be what we carried from now on. From what I overheard, this totaled to about 350#, a little over one-third of what we could have had.
We had one 40# sandbag filler bag placed in Robbie’s commemorative ruck, which is to be carried by a GRT at all times (not in a cart or other apparatus). The sandbags, Robbie’s ruck, the buckets, team weight, kit bags, and the flag are the new sets of coupons that we had to carry the rest of the way.
When introduced to a new challenge, you invariably do it better the second time around because the factor of the unknown is no longer present. When presented with the same challenge again, you know how to make the proper adjustments that you can do it more efficiently as well. Additionally, when you have a meaningful purpose to perform better, your brain will switch on and force your body to perform better. Even though we were all in an immense amount of pain and stress, we were able to surpass our previously conceived expectations. We definitely were not terribly optimistic about success. We were finding ways to create the “lesser of two evils” scenarios for ourselves, which is why we perseverated for as long as we did.
Here is another more extreme hypothetical example. If Cadre Montreal was a more diabolical person and told me that he would kill my family if I could not make the time hack, you are damn sure I will find every ounce of energy to make sure I make the time hack. The task is exactly the same, but what changed?
Part IX: Ruck to the Start Point.
Onward we went back to the SP with our coupons and the carts. I would say the majority of us were “space cadets” at this point. It was late into the night, and fatigue was setting in quickly. We were barely making our 20-minute per mile time hacks at this rate. Lactic acid is a bitch!
Many of the events were foggy at this point. We were hoping someone was able to navigate and not add unnecessary mileage to our route.
For whatever reason, a bunch of idiots driving by yelled out “fuck you” multiple times by just our presence with rucks and an American flag. I was too tired to give a fuck about these low-life cretins because they do not deserve my time and attention. (Speaking of which, these lunatics should never deserve any attention ever. Let them waste their energy and lives on nothing.) I heard some drive-by sacks of shit spit on one of the GRTs. I was not one of the ones who got spit on to my knowledge. Either that or I was too tired to care.
Part X: Ruck along the Greenway Bike Trail to a park near Crystal Bowl Lake
We had one last stop at the SP. We needed a volunteer for a TL. Everyone was too spent to take the helm right away. Many GRTs were already in a quick catnap before launching. Eventually, we had a volunteer.
We have one more destination, Crystal Bowl Lake, which is approximately 3 miles away along the Greenway Bike Trail. We had to take the team weight, flag, sandbags, and Robbie’s ruck. We were not allowed to take the shopping carts with us. We left the buckets behind. We left the kit bags in someone’s truck.
The 20-minute mile time hack was still in play. We were making excellent time pushing through to the end. We made it to Crystal Bowl with plenty of time to spare. When we stopped to rest, we dumped out the sandbags. However, we were missing one 10-lb sandbag filler. We went through all the rucks, and we could not locate it. We either left it at the SP or we left it at one of the other waypoints. One of the GRTs thought he had left it in the buckets because the buckets felt heavier than normal. Those 10-lb sandbags can be hard to see when it is dark, and your brain is already so foggy.
Part XI: Ruck back to the SP
The danger was looming as a result of that missing sandbag filler. We rucked back to the SP with no sandbags this time, but with the thought that there is still PT leftover before we get that patch.
We made it back with plenty of time to spare. This last ruck was painful, but this did not stop us from finishing. We made it this far. There is no use in quitting now.
We had eyes on Secret Lake Park when we noticed that the Parks and Recreation groundskeeper was about ready to take away the buckets. We made it just in time back to the SP before the groundskeeper ran away with the buckets. The TL ran toward the buckets to prevent the groundskeeper from taking them. Low and behold, that one missing 10-lb sandbag was in those buckets. Our punishment would have been so severe if we made it back even one minute later than we did.
Because this was such an amusing story, Cadre Montreal spared us the PT and called for the end of the event. Finally a splash of good luck!
Part XII: Patch time
Cadre Dan arrived at the SP with our patches and beer at 8:07 am. We were getting antsy awaiting the patch. Cadre Montreal joked that we were ready for a mutiny while waiting for Cadre Dan to arrive.
We all reflected on one thing that we learned from this event. As you can see from this excessively long document, there was much to learn. We were pushed beyond our limits, and somehow we all made it to the end. What an accomplishment! My first GORUCK Heavy is complete!
Personal commentary about the event:
- I like the Robbie Miller WOD as the opening PT for the Heavy events. It is a good mix of all large muscle groups. I thought we had to do this with a weight, which is what got me nervous. Training with all these exercises with a ruck or weight was incredibly difficult. Additionally, we did not have to do Turkish getups specifically with the weight. It took me 5 minutes to get 10 Turkish getups with the 30# plate. I was relieved that I did not have to do that.
- With the original plan of rucking back to the SP after each park, I think it is a tactic to get people to quit. The more we visualize our cars (a.k.a. our escape route), the easier it is to do so. Luckily for us, this did not work out that way.
- The 12-miles in 3 hours is absolutely no joke, especially after already rucking about 17 miles. It is hard to continue to do more work after this (well, especially if we did 13 miles). Also, the stoppage did not help us at all. Fatigue accelerated after this point. I had at least three moments during this time where I thought about quitting.
- I have said this before with regards to Tough and Heavy events. For a GORUCK Heavy, there should be some minimum standard to be eligible to stay in the event. It can be something different and unique for every event, but it should be spelled out in writing well before the start of the event so that you can appropriately train for it. If you do not meet this standard, you should drop from the event, similar to Selection, at the Cadre’s discretion, of course. People who are well far away from the standard should not remain in the event. Dead weight is detrimental to any team. The Light events should not have this, though. I know that I will probably be carrying much weight during the Light events, but it is more to set a good example for the people who may be doing an event for the first time.
- Personally, I thought the Cadre were fairly lenient during this event because so many changes were made. Now that word has spread about the major changes, I do not anticipate that future Cadres will be as lenient. Get out there and train!
- If the Cadre allows you to have a phone, make sure one of the members of your team has a pocket charger in a Pelican case so that you can make the most out of your tool. I am not sure certain if they will allow phones in future events. This rule could be the only time it is ever approved.
- I do not think it is a good idea to pack heavy meals in your rucks for these events. Stick to smaller size foods that are easy to digest and absorb in your stomach.
- Pay attention to what you pack. They say that ounces lead to pounds. It will add up quickly. Make sure that you will have a use for everything that you pack. Refer to the packing list advice in the next section. All Day Ruckoff also has good packing advice for food.
- With the new standard of the 12-mile ruck, you need to practice rucking fast. I have also rucked heavy in short time intervals. Rucking 4 miles in one hour is one thing. Maintaining this speed for 12 miles is another.
- Three hours to do the Robbie Miller WOD is plenty of time to finish. You should practice ensuring that you could do all the exercises with proper form so that you don’t get injured. Although there is a minor advantage to finishing sooner than everyone else. You can get plenty of time to recover for the rest of the event.
- If you find a shopping cart and are allowed to use it, do not stuff it with all the coupons. Cadre Montreal pointed out that we were going slower with a filled cart. The cart was consistently lagging behind. I would use the cart for the coupons that are lighter or awkward to carry (i.e. the team weight and the empty buckets). Carry the sandbags the old fashioned way.
- Ruck plate
- Hydration bladder – I have heard from other GRTs that there have been instances that bladders have ruptured and it is not a bad idea to have a spare bladder in someone’s ruck. If you are doing an event with a group of people, this is not a horrible idea to have one person carry a spare.
- Nalgene bottle – I like have a separate container for my electrolytes and keep the bladder strictly for water. Personal preference.
- Reflective ruck bands
- Headlamp – To enhance safety, it is good to have a headlamp with flashing lights. The flashing lights can help identify you if someone is in trouble. Many people had the Black Diamond headlamps.
- Carabiner – Some people used the carabiner to carry the buckets on their sternum strap using the carabiner. I am sure there are more uses for the carabiner for similar scenarios.
- Windbreaker – It was freezing at night. The windbreaker was needed.
- Dry bag – Extra socks and shirts are useful to have especially after getting splashed with cold water.
- Boots – The MACV-1s survived the entire event, but they gained way more scuffs. We are getting to the point where shining them may become a lost cause. I think I have about 400 miles on my MACV-1s so far.
- Food – Even though I do not eat much at these types of events, I way underestimated the amount of food I needed. I will not make that mistake again next time. https://alldayruckoff.com/event-training/goruck-tough-training/goruck-tough-food-nutrition/
- Photo ID and $20 – This is the first time I ever used my $20 to get food at the gas station. Next time I am bringing a credit card too.
Stuff I recommend keeping in your car for after the event:
- Extra fresh water
- Extra electrolytes, protein bars, other food
- Extra set of clean clothes
- Foam roller, massage stick, or power massager (or a masseur or masseuse on call)
- Athletic tape or K-tape
If you made it this far, I applaud you and thank you. I learn so much from every event that I do. I hope you did as well.
GORUCK has improved and accelerated my life in more ways than I can imagine. I am thankful for the community and hope to see everyone at more events for years to come!
Until next time…