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.