SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
Patrick Jesse: I am a 41 year old, Firefighter/Paramedic for the Chicago Fire Department assigned to Squad 2 of the Special Operations Division. I have been with the Chicago Fire Department for 16 years. I am a graduate of numerous colleges including Northwestern University (MA), University of Chicago (MS), University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (MS), Depaul University (BS) and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (BA). Most of my degrees are in the sciences including Biology, Chemistry, and Threat and Response Management.
I am also a four year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Outside of that I teach quite a lot at different fire academies and medical schools.
I have been a participant of GORUCK events for the last four years. I have completed a variety of GORUCK events including Challenges, Lights, Firearms Days, Jedburgh, and Expeditions.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
PJ: I wrestled and played football throughout middle school and high school.
SGPT: How did you train for the GORUCK event?
PJ: This GORUCK Event (Ascent Expedition) was different than the other ones I have completed because of the altitude. You can physically prepare for a GORUCK by being accustomed to weight on your back and time on your feet, covering alot of miles while carrying weight. This one was different because of the altitude and it was simply hard to prepare for because you can’t change your physiology unless you are at the altitude so that your body produces more red blood cells.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
PJ: This event was called Ascentl It is part of GORUCKs expedition series where they provide training alongside of practical experiences. This one focused on altitude physiology, hiking at altitudes, survival skills including primitive shelter building, primitive fire starting, water procurement, and other basic survival skills.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
PJ: The wake up call at 0200 hrs in order to begin a 7 mile hike at 10,000 to 14,000 feet over the next twelve hours. It challenges you when every step you take is up a 60-70 degree incline with no flat surfaces.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for GORUCK?
PJ: I wish I would have done more stairs so that my legs were ready for the constant upward elevation.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do GORUCK Ascent Expedition?
PJ: Taking care of your feet is one of the most important parts of being prepared. Pay attention to hot spots on your feet before blisters develop.
SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?
PJ: I use Keen Boots for my events. I like the larger toe-box so that as my feet swell they don’t create problems for me.
SGPT: Did you use double socks or Body Glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
PJ: I use Liner Socks under my wool socks.
Since I have started doing this, I have never had any blisters and have completed nearly 36 different GORUCK events without an issue.
I have different thickness socks depending upon what the temperature.
PJ: I use a GR1 Ruck backpack for all my events except the expedition events. For those I use a GR2 because you are living out of your ruck for three days.
SGPT: What is your next big event?
PJ: I am intending on going to the 48 hour Jedburgh event in October. This event is only open to previous participants of GORUCK Trek and the 24 hour Jedburgh. It’ll be great seeing all those great GRTs!
PJ: I am currently reading Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World.
It is a very interesting read about organizational sociology and team dynamics and how they all play together to produce a successful team.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Patrick
PJ: My pleasure. Thank you for having me!
Interview with GORUCK finisher JJ Wellemeyer