A couple of weeks ago, we posted a piece on here about the good fellas over at GORUCK who are putting together a fundraiser for the wonderful efforts of the Green Beret Foundation. It is a fun idea that anyone can not only donate to but get out and exercise a bit and feel like you’ve taken an active part of.
GORUCK is a company founded by and manned by former active duty Green Berets and they recreate some fun and very challenging training events for those in the civilian sector that would like to see what it is like to get a slight taste of what it is like in Selection by providing events centering around… rucking. What else? It is the one constant that all Special Forces training is based around. GORUCK has created this fun and intriguing way to raise money for the Green Beret Foundation.
Here is how it is done:
- PRE-PURCHASE A PATCH THROUGH NOVEMBER 15 – Pledge miles & pre-order your patch online with GORUCK. Your donation amount is based on the distance you pledge to ruck: 5K, 10K, 13.1, 26.2, 50 miles, 75 miles, and 100 miles. T-shirts are also for sale with all proceeds benefiting Green Beret Foundation.
- COMPLETE YOUR PLEDGED MILES – You choose the weight (we recommend 20-30 lbs.) and complete the distance whenever you want (you’re on the honor system). Don’t forget to tag all your social media posts with #RuckingForGBF so we can keep up with all the action.
- GET YOUR GEAR – The beginning of December you will be rewarded for completing your miles and all patches and tees will be shipped. Shipping and handling fees for patches cover overhead and the cost of the patch in addition to shipping.
The Green Beret Foundation provides direct and continuous support to the Green Beret Community and its families. The Green Beret Foundation facilitates the transition of Green Berets and their families whether that transition is from wounds sustained in combat, illness, injury or “merely” from numerous deployments and/or retirement.
They provide casualty support for the Special Forces soldiers who are wounded in combat, extended support for those who are seriously injured and require a long rehabilitation program, family support and transition services for those warriors who are leaving the service. Over 88 percent of the monies raised goes to their programs. They have provided support to more than 2,515 Special Forces families since inception and have invested over $8M supporting our community.
As part of our daily articles here on SpecialOperations.com we post a daily physical preparation workout for those of our readers who are prospective members of the Special Operations Forces community. We always get a lot of emails, tweets, and questions as to what is the best way to prepare for the various Selection courses. While I am no personal trainer, (I go to one four days a week), I do have personal experience in Special Forces, having spent over a decade there and worked at Selection.
We encouraged our readers to sign up for this Challenge and our PT Prep for Sunday, October 29 included a 12-mile ruck march, which even this FOG (do you need a translation?) was going to do. Some further background on myself, I’ve had two back surgeries, which forced me out of the service and a “clean-up” on each knee which got rid of loose cartilage and fixed a torn meniscus in each. Needless to say, both knees and the back now have arthritis…the joys of being a FOG…
But since writing the pieces on the PT preparation, especially the rucking, I’ve been re-bitten by the rucking bug. While I’m no longer loading up a 75-85 pound ruck and going on a long-range movement, on days when I’m fairly limber (stress on the fairly), it is fun to put a 45-pound sandbag in there and get back out there.
Which in a very roundabout way brings us to the subject of this particular 12-miler. The weather, later in the day and night 29th and the 30th are supposed to have periods of heavy rain with high winds with gusts up to 55-65 mph. So, with that in mind, I decided to set out early in the morning before the rain hit and walk along the sides of the road and railroad before things got mucky and muddy. There was also a lesser chance to get hit by a car that time of morning on a Sunday….or so I thought. Let’s just say, there were some drivers who were either under the influence of something or just really tired as at least three times I did a double take on cars weaving badly in the road.
Immediately upon having my phone alarm wake me this morning, I knew it was going to be a tough go. The drop in barometric pressure when rain is approaching sets off arthritis in my knees and I spent a good ten minutes trying to loosen them up before heading out. It was already beginning to rain, so the light jacket that I planned on wearing was ditched in the ruck for my rain jacket which I chose to leave mostly unzipped to not overheat. I popped in my iPod headphones and began listening to some U2 to get the juices flowing. First two miles were faster than I envisioned or planned and I was breathing heavy like I’d almost been running which is what I almost had been doing.
After jogging down an incline, I reached the railroad tracks and the first 500 meters or so was already muddy from the rain earlier in the week. So contrary to what I wanted, I walked to the ties on the outside of the rails, which messes with your stride. Feeling like I was slowing down, once I hit a downhill grade, I picked up a jog again. At the four mile mark (I had this course mapped out). I was ahead of time.
The cool wet air, gave me a false sense of security and rather than keep the pace I picked it up, the next four miles were even faster than the first four and I was well ahead of the 3-hour standard and just four miles to go. It was at this time, I began to think that FOGs still rule. Then karma set in.
At about the 8.5-mile mark, that old familiar pain in the knee started to creep back in, just a little bit. Another mile and the pain was starting to affect my stride. At the ten mile mark, I stopped. Putting my knee sleeves on each leg and changing socks, the 6 minutes spent I figured would be well worth it. Just two miles to go and still within the standard.
All was well for the first mile and the pace quickened. Then just prior to hitting the blacktop for the final leg back home, the sky opened up and the dirt turned into a quagmire. That really slowed things down and by the time I hit the blacktop I had about pounds of mud on each boot clinging for dear life. By the time I had the last half mile, I began to jog, ….screw the pain in both those knees. Why? Because I’m a stubborn old fool who never failed to meet the standard, and wasn’t about to now. My time was slower than the one we did in the summer, which pissed me off.
So, I sat down with my morning coffee and an ice bag on the knees and am taking the rest of the day off, thank you very much. Watching the Patriots and eating are definitely on the agenda. I need to start rucking some more now the cool weather has hit. So if you see a FOG trudging down the road, down run him over nor throw empties at him (yeah I will recognize that truck if I see it again).
But it was a for a great cause, the Green Beret Foundation is manned by some of the best people and serves some of the best anywhere, so it was worth it. And I pledged 13.1 miles but having already 6.5 miles before today, puts me at 18.5. So I’ll hit the 26-mile mark before the 15th, which shouldn’t be hard. But it won’t be in the next couple of days…. I’m walking around the house like Walter Brennan from the Real McCoys. The hot tub will feel good later tonight. We didn’t have those around in Selection back in the day. Being a FOG does have its privileges. Oh and my time? It was still within the standard, but barely, which is why even old guys need remedial training. Two hours 58 minutes and 49 seconds. Even at my age that is unsat. More rucking is on the agenda.
Photos US Army, GORUCK, author