Interview with GoRuck graduate Dan Cohen

dan cohenSGPT: Tell us about yourself?

DC: Dan Cohen, age 45. Married with 2 teenagers.

I got started with Brad when I decided to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

I registered with them as a community athlete, and hired Brad to help me prepare.

To date, I’ve run a 5k, a half-marathon, done a Goruck light, and I just completed a Goruck challenge.

Video – GoRuck Class 1224 #thisonesforjeff

Grab Your Buddies and Go Do a GoRuck Event Here

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

DC: Somewhat. I swam competitively in high school, and did some bodybuilding in college, but that’s about it. For most of my life I’ve been a casual athlete.

SGPT: How did you train for the GoRuck event?

DC: My final event this year was the Goruck challenge in Syracuse (October 10, 2014 – class 1224), and I used Brad’s Goruck training plan. I did a lot of running, a lot of rucking, and a lot of PT, a little bit of everything. Well, a LOT of everything. In total, I’ve been training heavily since around late January, early February. I started Brad’s Goruck program in late July and followed it pretty faithfully. I did add in some exercises. Sometimes I’d add running in on days it wasn’t part of the program, I lifted weights for a few weeks to further strengthen my shoulders and chest, and I threw in extra PT a lot towards the end.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event?

DC : The event was very meaningful to me, and it was an honor to be there. It was a memorial event for Jeff Proietti, who was killed during a Goruck event in May of this year. Jeff had been in a challenge event when he was killed, and I was originally scheduled to do the light immediately following. I had met Jeff during a practice ruck and like just about everyone who ever met him, realized Jeff was a great guy. His death shook me up. Class 1224 started on what would have been his birthday, and Jeff’s father and brother did the event with us (his wife did the light later on Saturday). During the event we took several breaks to honor him in different ways. We sang him happy birthday and several people talked about their memories of him. When cars beeped at us (which happens a lot when you’re rucking around with an American flag) we all yelled “this one’s for Jeff!”. We ended the event by meeting Jeff’s family at a bar/restaurant where his father and brother spoke, shots were handed out in his honor, and they played Taps for him. I’m proud to have been there.

Beyond that, it was everything you expect from a Goruck event. We started the evening doing PT in a fountain, got good and cold, and ran to where we did our welcome party. Our cadre was nice enough to give us all extra bricks to carry. The welcome party itself seemed to last for hours, for us it was endless hill PT. There were a few missions after that, which I won’t share so everyone else can be surprised if they get the same cadre. Suffice it to say they were hard.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

DC: There were 2 parts I thought about quitting. First was the hill PT. It went on, and on, and on, and on. We went up and down this steep hill doing PT, probably 30+ times. Bear crawls, lunges, carries, low crawls, sit ups, time hacks, everything you can think of. It was exhausting. Guys were whimpering and wheezing, several folks needed to be pulled or helped at different times. It took a crazy amount of endurance and cardiovascular strength. The second time was during our telephone pole carry. We picked up a telephone pole early in the morning as the sun was coming up when we were good and exhausted. Then we carried it close to 1.5 miles, up a significant hill, with our cadre screaming the whole time, “if that log touches the ground I’m going to fu—– punish you with log PT!” or “you’re fu—– inspiring me!” It was only when we worked together that we were able to get the log to do what we wanted, no small feat when we were all exhausted and trying to figure out how to work together on this task. At one point I had to chant to myself “don’t fu—- quit, don’t fu—– quit” over and over again. It worked.

There were a few things I just wasn’t able to do, like a fireman carry up the hill. I had to depend on my younger and stronger partner to carry me. While that bothered me, I had to remind myself that I needed to depend on my team members at times, just as much as I wanted them to be able to depend on me. I made sure to make up for it by doing more than my share of other things. I couldn’t do everything, and I had to remind myself that no one can. That was one lesson I got out of this. Everyone had moments like this during the event. At times we were carrying other people’s rucks or slowing down our pace so that someone who was struggling wouldn’t be left behind. No one minded.

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

DC: Overall, I was pretty well-prepared. I wasn’t the strongest member of the team, but I wasn’t the weakest and I felt like I was able to strongly contribute to the group. That said, it was far, far from easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve personally ever done physically. If I had to prepare over again, I’d probably do more PT. I hate PT, but you do a ton of it during a Goruck event and you should train like you fight. I’d also do even more mental toughness exercises. Staying positive is vital, and really worked for me during the event during times when physically I was just thrashed. There is no way to be completely ready, the cadre make it a point to wear everyone out, but I was as well-prepared as I could have been and I made it through. Even as an old guy.

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

DC : PT, PT, and more PT. Also, ruck a lot, with more weight than you think you’ll be carrying. Our cadre gave us extra bricks within the first hour of our event, and we had lots of coupons along the way. I had done my practice rucks with around 50 lbs, thinking that if I did this the 6 bricks I’d be carrying at the event would seem easy. In the end, I had about 50 lbs in my pack the entire event. Secondly, besides my long rucks on weekends I would hike around the neighborhood with my ruck when I walked my dog. This helped my shoulders and trap muscles get strong and stay strong, which paid off during the event.

SGPT: What boots did you wear?

DC: I bought a pair of New Balance Tactical Bushmaster Boot, and used a store bought pair of sports inserts. I did my light event in sneakers and just didn’t feel supported enough, and these boots fit the bill perfectly. They’re supportive but light, and the last month before the Challenge I ran and rucked in them. They drained well during the event too. I wore 2 pairs of socks and used an anti-chafe product and finished the event with no blister or foot damage.

goruck gr1 pack review

SGPT: What pack did you wear?

DC: I splurged on a GoRuck GR0 a few months ago and love it.

It came through both events in great shape.

I finished the event battered and smelling like the ass end of a swamp.

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview

DC: My pleasure, thank you for the coaching and encouragement. Without it there would be no way I would have been prepared.

Tom Rowland GORUCK After Action Report

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