Jason Butz

Passionate about the web; enjoys JavaScript more than is probably reasonable; loves learning new things; Sr. Software Engineer @ Genesys

GORUCK Light

May 23, 2013

Disclaimer: This post will have absolutely nothing to do with programming

Last month I took part in an event called GORUCK Light. The company that puts these events on is called GORUCK. They make amazing rucksacks and other gear. Don't be surprised when you see the prices. They aren't cheap, but that is because they are well made and made in the USA. The company was founded in 2008 by Jason McCarthy, a special forces veteran.

The first of their events started as a way to test their gear. They want the gear to hold up to what special forces can put it through. From that event a new business for them was born. They have 4 levels of Good Livin' events. Light, Challenge, Heavy, and Selection.

I took part in GORUCK Light #263 in Indianapolis, IN. The gist behind the light is 4 - 5 hours, 7 - 10 miles, and 10 or 20 lbs of weight in your ruck (based on your weight). Sounds easy, right? I mean, it called "light"... but it is anything but. I had to push and dig deep to make it through. I hurt for a solid 3 days afterwards, and I am planning to do it all again. It was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done and I am glad I did it. I've give you a run down of what we did as best as I can remember it.

We started off at the Circle where Cadre Matt had us form up into ranks, then he did an inspection of our gear. After all the administrative stuff was done we put on our rucks and headed off to some green space near the Eiteljorg Museum and White River. That was an easy and I let me guard down at that point, wondering if the light was going to be too easy. Then we started PT at the green space. I don't remember what all we did, but here is a short list:

  • Bear crawls
  • Inchworms
  • Lunges
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Push ups
  • Leg lifts
  • The tunnel of love (40+ people)

Everything was done as a team and with our rucks on. It was the second hardest part of the whole event for me. We had one guy who was throwing up in the bushes and another who looked like he was going to pass out. Both were made to drinks tons of water to get hydrated. We had no quitters.

At this point a team leader was selected and we were told our mission. I don't remember the details, but we had to go to the zoo to "rescue animals". And since we were going to save some animals we had to carry our packs at our sides, not on our backs. After a little confusion we ended up across the street from the zoo near the railroad tracks. I can't remember the story for this part, but we got some 5 gallon water jugs out of the bushes and had to carry those now. We went a little further down Washington Street and then cut through the bushes to get to the railroad tracks and we started going down those. As we were going Cadre saw a railroad tie and decided we needed to bring that with us, so a group of guys picked that up and started lugging it.

We kept going down the tracks for a ways until we got to an overpass. We slid down the underside of the overpass to get to the street below. We kept going along that street for a bit until we got to a place we could easily get into White River. We dropped the jugs and railroad tie and were told to lock arms and walk into the water. We were "checking if a hovercraft could land". We went out until everyone was between knee and thigh deep. The water was freezing. Cadre told us to drop our arms, turn around, and assume the push-up position. We were all a little concerned at this point. Then he called out "DOWN!....UP!". I think we did around 10 reps. He then made the observation that we were trying to keep our faces out of the water, which he said needed fixing. He comforted us by saying that it had been done in the Hudson River. We then did what he called Dive Bombers, and he wanted to year sound effects. I've seen a yoga move like it, but you basically start with your butt in the air, take your face down, then angle it back up. Then we would reverse it. He made sure all of us had our face in the water.

Once that was done we got out, and a new leader was selected. We climbed up the bank with our jugs and railroad tie and kept going towards our next checkpoint. As bad as the water was it brought us all some relief from whatever was ailing us. We were weren't moving very fast towards the next checkpoint, and that was a serious mistake. When our time expired we were 0.2 miles from our checkpoint. Cadre said that those with team weight, water jugs, or the railroad tie could continue on to the checkpoint. The rest of us had to bear crawl that 0.2 miles. This was the hardest part of the whole thing. Bear crawling short distances sucks but is do-able. Add 20+ lbs in a pack and make it 0.2 miles and you have a recipe for pain.

After everyone got there Cadre gave us a little speech about how he had to demonstrate to us why we had to be taught a lesson for missing the time to the checkpoint. We had a few minute rest while he talked with our new leader and then we kept going. This time we were really moving fast. None of us wanted to do that ever again. I think we got to the checkpoint with 8 to 10 minutes to spare. At this checkpoint we got to sit down and have story time. If I remember correctly Cadre read us the story of how Kyle J. White earned his Medal of Honor.

After the story we got to leave our railroad tie behind. We were all glad to be rid of it, but we should have known we weren't out of the woods yet. Our next checkpoint was near Banker's Life Fieldhouse. We got there in time without too much issue. We did have one person roll their ankle.

Once we were at the checkpoint Cadre announced that we had taken casualties. Guys could only carry guys, girls could only carry girls. He then proceeded to pick the casualties. Of course he picked the biggest guy there as one of them. And because he had a heart he had a canvas stretcher with him that we could use. Then we were told our checkpoint was the Circle, so we knew this was the end. We barely made it in time. We had less than 60 seconds to spare. Once at the circle Cadre has us do some push ups to make sure we were a little more tired, and then we got our patches.

Going into the challenge I thought that it might be too easy; I thought I was in really good shape. I was wrong. It was hard and I have more work to do to get into better shape. I took part because I wanted to see what I was capable of, and I found out. I didn't find my breaking point but I know a little better how far I can be pushed before I get there. I highly recommend GORUCK Events, and I highly recommend GORUCK's gear. They make amazing stuff and I can't wait for my next event.

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