I don’t quite remember how and when I first heard about GORUCK, but it was most likely as a result of the typical domino effect of web browsing on my part.
I am a 20 year veteran of the US Navy and was looking for team oriented events that were similar to what I had experienced in the service.
Being a prior Naval Aircrewman, a lot of emphasis was placed on physical fitness and I want to continue that standard indefinitely. GORUCK seemed to be the logical choice!
Grab Your Buddies and Sign Up for GORUCK Challenge Here:
To “test the waters”, so to speak, I decided on an event that was physical in nature, but one that I could also enjoy with my wife. The GORUCK Kill That 5K event was just the event to fill that need! We signed up for the event about three weeks out and ordered our GORUCK gear, a GR1 in ‘battleship’ grey for me and a GR0 in black for her, with all the bells and whistles.
They arrived at our door with plenty of time to train on our local track. Because we were signed up for the “Fun Ruck” heat, any weight was ok. We decided on a 25 lb. dumbbell in mine and a 5 lb. aerobics dumbbell in hers, along with hydration and Scooby snacks. Our training ruck was a full-on 5K ruck at our track. Honestly, at about lap number five, I forgot that I even had it on! The GR1 is so well built and sturdy and distributes the weight evenly. I didn’t need a lap belt at all. At the finishing lap, we recorded our ‘team time’ as a baseline and called it a day.
On Friday, 6 March 2015, we drove to San Diego and got our hotel room and relaxed a bit. That night, we went to Crossfit 858 for the event’s “Beer & Gear” where we were fortunate enough to meet fellow GORUCKers and Cadre Flash and Cadre Garet. What a great group of people! We got our beers and decided to buy some cool swag at the GORUCK PX. I found an awesome GR2 field bag done up in desert digicam! What a great find! That will definitely be in my EDC. Bought my wife a black ‘Ruck It’ tee-shirt which she makes look drop dead SEXY! HOOYAH!
RACE DAY! We agreed on a great pre-race warm up that was rather unconventional. We went to San Diego’s Balboa Park for a long walk and visiting museums. The King Tut exhibit was in town, so it was a great pre-ruck race distraction. Back to the hotel room for last minute logistics and we were off! The ruck race location was quite possibly the most beautiful race locale that I have ever been to. Situated on Mission Bay’s Ski Beach Park, the weather was perfect for a 5K in the low 70’s dropping to high-to-mid 60’s. The feeling was electric as approximately 300 athletes of all skill levels were mingling.
The elites were talking to the ‘fun runners’, there were families with jogging strollers, and folks from all walks of life. My wife and I weighed our rucks and I was surprised to find my ruck, with hydration, weighed in at 33 lbs.! Tents lined the starting line with vendors from GORUCK PX, Team Red White and Blue, Hire a Hero, etc., but looming in the back with rays of sunlight hitting it was the beer garden sponsored by Stone Brewery. I visualized coming across the finish line and holding that ice cold beer! Suddenly, the PA system crackled to life and Cadre Big Daddy welcomed us aboard! We stood at attention for the National Anthem because ‘Merica, that’s why! The Kill That 5K was underway! A guest coach from Crossfit 858 warmed us up with 3 sets of 20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups and 20 burpees…WITH rucks on! GET SOME!!! When I say ‘Go,’ you say ‘Ruck’… “GO..RUCK” “GO..RUCK!!” First heat was the elites, then the Men’s Competitive, then Lady’s Competitive…then Fun Ruckers! “GO_RUCK!!!” We were off!
Ruck racing is actually a pseudo jog. You don’t want to sprint with a heavy ruck if you value your knees. I raced at my wife’s pace as we did for the training. I noticed a little bit of a snafu as we rounded a turn and were supposed to do two loops around a duck pond clockwise, we instead went counter clockwise. No real big deal but the ‘Mile 2’ marker came before the ‘Mile 1’ marker! LOL! My wife was a real trooper as we tore through the 5K with minimal walking breaks. By the home stretch, the Elites ran back around to encourage everyone to finish. There were a group of Army Ranger types who ran by us, noticed my NAVY tee and shouted “HOOAH, Navy!” I shouted back “HOOYAH!!!” At the final turn before the finish line, the roar of the encouraging crowd was motivating. I told my wife to finish strong! Just then, a guy with a baby stroller passed us up. Oh, hell No!! I sprinted in to the finish line then doubled back to run with my wife back in! haha!
I have to say, receiving that finisher’s patch from Cadre Big Daddy was a great feeling for both of us. Boom! Kill That 5K was thoroughly killed! Into the beer garden we went! An ice cold Stone Brewery IPA tastes oh so good after a nice 5K ruck, I might add. A lot better than a lame old banana!
The next day, my wife and I completed a 6 mile hike with the same rucks on a nature trail, but that’s a different chapter! It’s all about good livin’ and the GORUCK lifestyle!
Rob Kolinsky, AO1 (AW/NAC) Retired, USN