Gary Sweeney GoRuck grad interview

Gary Sweeney GoRuck HeavySGPT: Tell us about yourself?

GS: I’m 34 years old. I am a CF-L1 CrossFit Trainer, a dad, a former Trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and an Executive Operations Manager at an engineering and manufacturing company.

What is the GoRuck Heavy?

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SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

GS: Not at all. I started running when I was about 24, and progressed into marathons, road bike racing, multisport events, and some MMA. Now I primarily do functional training; CrossFit, SGPT WODs, sandbag and kb workouts, yoga, rucking and running.

SGPT: How did you train for the GoRuck event?

GS: I rucked at least twice a week. One was an increasing distance at 15:00/mi, with the longest being 24 miles, the other a faster pace and carrying an additional 45lb. sandbag outside of the ruck. My ruck weighed in around 70lbs. dry weight during training. For WODs I followed the SGPT 60 day schedule on days I wasn’t rucking. I usually added 2 runs a week around 7-10 miles. Once a week, for the three weeks leading up to the event, I did overnight training sessions that alternated WODs and rucking. The sessions were eight, ten, and twelve hours and usually started around 2200 hours.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event?

GS : We covered some very hilly terrain, did some PT in a few rivers, and carried a ton of heavy sh*t a long way. It lasted 24 hours and we covered around 36 miles. It was blasting hot and humid the whole time, so staying hydrated was a tricky endeavor. We had 9 people drop out along the way, most of those early in the event, making the coupons that much heavier for the remaining group. Mental toughness was an absolute requirement to finish. It was a great experience.

SGPT: Where was the event?

GS: Pittsburgh, PA. We covered routes from McKeesport to Downtown to the top of Mt. Washinton, to Oakland and finished downtown by the river.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

GS: I think it varied for everyone depending on how they trained. I felt trained for the distance and duration, so it was manageable. Lack of sleep and food seemed to get some people more than others. I’d say the heat was a major factor for everyone. The hardest part for me was carrying this crazy stretcher contraption we made out of 2×4’s and put a bunch of sandbags on. I had injured my left trap muscle two or three weeks before the event, so when I carried it, it felt like my spine and ribs were trying to go in opposite directions. Luckily for me, there were plenty of other coupons to go around.

SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for GoRuck?

GS: For the next event, I would definitely carry more awkward heavy stuff besides my ruck. Carrying the sandbag was great training, but most of the coupons were diabolically awkward to carry.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do the GORuck?

GS: Don’t overcomplicate it in your mind. Gear is gear, and in the end, your body does the work. Get mentally tough. Put the ruck time/mileage in. Get mentally tough. Get your feet in shape. Do some overnight sessions to get acclimated to PT at night and not sleeping. Get mentally tough. DFQ.

SGPT: What boots did you wear? Double socks? Bodyglide anti-chafe balm ?

GS: I wore Oakley LSA Boot, which I have had very good luck with. I used a sock liner/sock setup and used Vaseline to keep the friction low.

SGPT: Which backpack did you use?

GS: I have an ILBE Gen. 2 and used the main pack from that kit. I modded it by adding some extra handles for PT sessions with it. It worked great and I believe the lumbar strap was a supreme advantage during the rucks over most of the smaller packs a lot of others had.

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview

GS: No problem. Thanks for the motivation!

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Gary Sweeney GoRuck grad interview