Go Ruck Yourself.
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk at my box (Team CrossFit Academy) about rucking. I’m not entirely sure what rucking is… sounds kind of sexual… and when I Googled the definition, the interweb told me that a ruck is:
– Noun. (ruk)
1. A multitude; a throng.
a. The undistinguished crowd or ordinary run of persons or things.
2. People who are followers, not leaders
Well that was helpful… said no GoRuck participant ever. Rucking is nearly the opposite of its webinary definition. I still don’t get #3.
From what I’ve researched, GoRuck is 6-48 hours of pure amphibious hell. There are Cadre’s (who are all ex-military and decorated) that beat the living crap out of your body with military conditioning on land, water, sand, or any other type of physical mass they see fit.
For this article, I interviewed Raymond Fong from The Arrogant Bastards (that’s a team name lol) olympic lifting team (Team CrossFit Academy) about his GoRuck experience. Please enjoy these pictures of him in a creepy uncomfortable way.
I’ve also included bits and pieces from Eric LeClair’s infamous motivational speeches during 9am class roll out sessions. Eric LeClair is the own/founder of Team CrossFit Academy, ex-military, and 14% body fat. It’s awkward how often I hear him in my head.
As an avid CrossFitter/cult member, I would consider myself to be in decent shape. I’m definitely not the strongest woman in the box, but my specialty is speed. I’ll blow you out of the water with my double unders and box jumps, but my snatch is still <75. Normally, I do an hour of CrossFit and then an hour of Vinyasa yoga-every day. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk/jog with my German Shepard later in the day-after I had already did yoga and CrossFit. But none of it matters; and here’s why.
If what you do here at CrossFit is the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life- that’s just sad.
GoRuck is designed to break you; mentally and physically. After interviewing my bro and fellow CrossFit enthusiast, Raymond Fong, it became clear that the purpose of rucking is to break you, break you again, rebuild you, and then send you into the world with a greater understanding of your true potential.
Here’s how it works.
You have to be at a certain location at some God-awful time in the morning (like 2am) with rucks (military backpacks) filled with 50 pounds worth of bricks. Just bricks. Then you need to pack enough food and water for the day, which can equal anywhere from 10-20 additional pounds in your ruck. Are you having fun yet?
After your packs are checked, all of the participants dive head first into military-style conditioning. Literally diving. Raymond and Eric participated in separate GoRuck challenges, but both of them started their 24-hour experience in the cold-as-hell body of water that is the Pacific Ocean; with their 60+ pound rucksack. They then had to do push ups, squats, crawls, butterfly kicks, and really anything else the Cadre could think of… in the water. IN THE WATER PEOPLE.
The first 3 hours are designed to break you. If you can survive the first 3, you can survive the other 21.
– Raymond Fong
The water only adds weight because it clings to you like a crazy ex-boyfriend for the rest of your experience. After the aquatic portion of the challenge, Eric then had to find and dig out large logs that had been hidden and scattered by the Cadre on the beach. After these bad boys were unearthed, the logs were then dragged all over San Francisco on the shoulders of the GoRuck participants… in addition to their 60+ packs.
The 3 hour mark is also when the injuries start accumulating. Raymond’s team was only comprised of 11 people, with one failing to finish. Eric’s team had an unbelievable 44 participants, all who completed the challenge. But how you complete the challenge matters.
Some people were literally drug to the finish line.
5 people were practically carried to the end of the challenge because they all suffered an injury of some sort; such as, but are not limited to, a broken hand, concussions, and cramps. Some injuries were more serious than others. Obviously.
It’s important to note that while they were carrying human beings on their shoulders and oversized logs, everyone was STILL carrying their individual ruck sacks with, yup, 60+ pounds. Lets do some math.
So lets guestimate that I have 70 pound ruck sack on my back. Then we’ll add another 130 to account for a small human being thrown on my shoulders. That’s 200 pounds on top of me. For 24 hours. Let’s get crazy and say that my clothing/bag is still wet, adding another 10 pounds. That’s 210 pounds. I’m 135 pounds. This is madness.
And WHO KNOWS how heavy that stupid log is…
Take care of your feet. Bring extra wool socks, air them out when you get a break, take baby powder, do what ever you can to take care of your feet.
So why should anyone do the GoRuck Challenge?
It’s all about mental toughness. After two hours, the playing field is equalized because everyone is exhausted. This is when your true self shows. Where you are mentally. Do it for the right reasons. Do it for yourself. Do it because you want to be challenged and this is your moment to shine.
If I move back to America, I plan to join a GoRuck 12 hour Challenge (you can hold me to it LeClaire). But that move is a big IF. If there’s an international GoRuck Challenge SIGN ME UP… in 2014. See I’m trying to pace myself with the “major life challenges” that I’m currently loading up on my plate. I still need to adapt to China, learn Chinese, find a job for 2015, AND adopt my hedgehog. THEN I will go rucking in celebration. Maybe Harold (my hedgehog) will go rucking too.
Watch this insanely motivational video: GoRuck.
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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