Several months ago, I had the pleasure of completing a GoRuck Light event. It involved a seven-ish mile hike through the Presidio area of San Francisco, getting a little wet, and finding some new limits for what I know I can accomplish.
What is GoRuck?
For a little backstory, GoRuck is an American company founded by some ex-special forces folks (the Cadre) that makes pretty durable backpacks and has started doing a series of military style events that physically and mentally challenge you, while training you to work together with a random group of people.
The “Challenge” is their main event, which involves a six, twelve, twenty-four, or, of course, forty-eight hour hike (or ruck) while only carrying your backpack. Your backpack must contain four bricks if you are under 150lbs, six bricks if you are over. During the hike, there is a series of calisthenics and physical challenges, which usually involves carrying heavy things around.
Quite A Challenge
My hike started at 7AM in the Presidio field. After roll call, we did several drills in the fresh morning dew, learning to work together as a team and getting “warmed up.”
As a team, we headed down to Chrissy Field, where we were dipped into the San Francisco Bay, to “cool down.” The general motto of the Challenge is a smile will help you through the toughest things and the smiles on everyone’s faces definitely reflected how cold it was. This was probably the first time I had doubts about what I was doing but I refocused and kept going.
We found several logs and the Cadre decided to that the logs would be better positioned several miles away under the Golden Gate Bridge. We had several false starts trying to carry them, but eventually figuring out a reasonable efficient way of carrying the three logs as a team, rotating out tired folks and making good progress.
We dropped the logs and then went in the water to cool off again. After several rounds of pushups in the water, we were quite cooled down. We took a short bathroom break at the hut under the bridge, and then started hiking over to the Baker Beach. Once there, we took one final dip in the water and by this point, I was beginning to like it!
The worst was over, another hike back to the starting point was all that was left and then it was over. I was pushed to some new mental limits by this challenge. There were several points I felt like giving up, but I pushed through with the help of my team. I am grateful that I am healthy and fit enough to survive something like this.
Looking Forward To Next Time
A point repeated during the challenge is that you should be useful; you should be prepared. My next event is in five days, a twelve hour Challenge going overnight, starting at 9PM. In the time since my last challenge, I’ve made a much better packing list and more prepared this time:
- I have better shorts and long underwear to prevent chaffing
- I’m bringing multiple pairs of sock in a waterproof bag, to swap out once my current socks get wet
- I’m bringing more snacks
- I have more water, with electrolyte tablets to better prevent dehydration
- I have a yoga block for the bottom of my backpack, to shift the weight of bricks to the top of the backpack
Much of this preparation was based on my experiences and these experiences:
Here’s to being prepared!