Some, but not all, know that I have been training for this little bit of craziness called the GORUCK Challenge. I’m signed up for the 1am class on March 30th. I actually had trained for the one held here last year but broke two toes during training and had to pull out two weeks before the event. I was really disappointed at the time but went and shadowed and took photographs instead. I’m pretty proud of the fact that most of the photos on the official GORUCK Flickr page for that event are ones I took.
The GRC, as insiders call it, started as a proving exercise for the military grade backpacks (called “Rucks” in the service) the company makes. The company was started by an ex-Special Forces guy and he wanted to make a ruck that would withstand the rigors of combat for his buddies still inside. The Challenge became more and more popular and has basically become a business all of its own. Each one is led by a former member of the special forces (called Cadre) and is meant to simulate some of the conditions and scenarios they faced. I wont go to much into detail here, I urge you to check out the site and watch the videos to get some idea. Let’s just say that it is one of the hardest physical endurance events going.
I actually have stayed in fairly good shape since beginning training for the last one. I was pretty prepared for it before breaking the toes and have managed to maintain my fitness for the most part since then. I’ve especially stepped up my running game. I’ve even run a 5k and 10k race (and have signed up for a half-marathon at the end of April). I had lost about twenty pounds back then and have managed to keep it off. So, I’m starting from a good place.
That said, I had not really kept up with the weight training needed for such an endeavor. I’ve gotten back on top of that in the last couple of weeks. I’m lucky in that my body and metabolism responds very quickly to change. Especially so when that change is designed to provide immediate and steadily improving results.
It just so happened that right before I started getting serious about the weight training again, I came across the excellent article in Everything You Know About Fitness Is a Lie in Mens Journal magazine. This, in turn, led me to the book Starting Strength, Basic Barbell Training. Both of these have been tremendous in outlining the basic, time tested, fundamentals needed for rapid strength improvement. In just a couple of weeks I’ve seen a 50% gain in the amount of weight I can squat, dead lift, and bench press. I could not recommend both of these more highly if you are looking to improve your overall strength.
I had some initial doubts about how ready for the Challenge I was going to be by March and was feeling a bit behind in my preparations. Now, I’m feeling pretty sure that, short of any broken bones, I will be physically prepared to face what ever “good livin'” comes my way. The rest, as the GORUCK folks will tell you, is all mental.
As of this writing, I’m 30 days in on my plan to publish here daily. It may not seem like much to anyone else but I’m proud of myself for keeping up with it no matter what. Trust me, there were plenty of obstacles in my way and convenient excuses I could have fallen back on to miss a day or two.
In this past month both Bethany (wife) and Beatrix (daughter) have been sick with pretty nasty virus/bugs. Beatrix has decided in the last few weeks that 5am is a perfectly good time to wake up Daddy and keep him up. This means my light-sleeping wife is also awakened too. My wife and I have been overwhelmed with starting a new business together and transitioning to it on top of our normal workloads… I could go on and on.
The bottom line is that is a minor miracle that I was able to publish most days. Some of those I had to fall back on things I had written long before. Many days, the fact that I write ahead is the only thing that made it possible. But, regardless, I have not yet missed a day. Which, for me, is something to celebrate.
Thank you to all of those who have showed up to read daily, which I understand is no easy task some days. If a writer is publishing daily they are, to some extent, asking you to make a choice to spend a few minutes reading versus a million other potentially more important ways that time can be spent. All I can do is to try my best to respect that and make the choice worth it.
Thank you to all who have seen fit to offer a free will donation to support the work. Thanks to those who have shared my writing with others. Thanks to those who have emailed or messaged me to offer advice, correction, or kind words. All of this helps so much.
In closing, here are just a few of the posts from the last months that I think stand out. Please check them out if you missed them:
Onward and upward!
Most of us have fixed routes. We are stuck in grooves and paths. From these we rarely stray.
I’m sure that path from home to work, or the store, or the gas station, or the park, or the cabin — the one you always take — was chosen for a good reason. It was the the fastest, or the most sensible, or the safest, or the most direct. So, now, you take it without even thinking about it. You often get to your destination without even remembering the drive. It is the way you go. Why? Because, it is the way you go.
Then, there are the paths you follow simply because they are set for you. You looked at the map and followed the directions. The arrow pointed that way down the trail. That was the way everyone else was going. You were just following the crowd. You take these ways because, well, that’s the way they told you to go.
Of those that visit Yellowstone National Park, for fun, over 80% never stray from the pavement. Almost 99% never stray from the path more than a quarter mile on either side of it. That means, there is a Yellowstone that only 1% ever see. It is waiting to be discovered.
I bet there are a dozen different ways for you to get from your home to anywhere you want to go. I bet you have never ventured more than two blocks on either direction on your path to work. I bet there are whole neighborhoods in your city or town that you have never passed through. I bet there is a bar, or a store, or a restaurant there that you have never been to. I bet there are interesting things to be found when you ignore the directions. I bet if you choose to go the opposite direction of the crowd, others will wonder why and be inspired to follow. I bet you will all see new things, things waiting to be discovered, if you take them.
If you got lost and found your way here, your free will donation of any amount will let me know it was worth the diversion from your regular path. Travel safely.