SGPT Interviews GORUCK Grad Brian Smith

SGPT: Tell us about yourself?

BS: I am 31, married and a father of three. I’ve spent the last nine years as a fireman in central Ohio.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

BS: No. Outside of little league I stopped playing sports in Jr. High.

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SGPT: How did you train for the GoRuck event?

BS: Lots of body weight exercises. Tons of push ups, pull ups and squats, abs, etc. I rucked at least twice per week with full brick load and full water every time. I went at least an hour at a time with a minimum of 4 miles. I also pushed it out to 7 miles. I rucked on road and a few times off road. Towards the end I started carrying various weights ranging from 25 lbs to 60 lbs. I used a combo of CrossFit, met cons, and rucking for the majority. I used the training plan on top of my other training for about five weeks.

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event?

BS: I did a GoRuck Challenge that started at 9pm and ended 13.5 hours later. We did mountains of PT with and without rucks, obviously we got wet, ruck marched somewhere in the ballpark of 9-11 miles (+/-), and had various “objectives” to complete throughout the event (with time constraints that we obviously couldn’t meet). We had multiple weights to carry including our team weight. Every one in the class carried something.

SGPT: Where was the event?

BS: Columbus, Ohio

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

BS: I can only speak for myself but honestly the worst part was the time you weren’t doing anything. We had a “lull” in the event and we all had a little time to sit and think about our surroundings. I saw a lot of people hit the wall and then eventually break through it like it was nothing. For me It was probably close to 4 or 5 am and it was cold and my clothes were still wet. I saw a few cabs pull up to take participants and shadows away and I thought, “wow, I bet they are warm now.” It was during this time for me that I allowed myself to think about quitting. I developed a shitty attitude and started having a pity party. Physically I believe it was a little easier than what I was anticipating. I trained for at least a few months for this and I was absolutely physically prepared. I can only say the mental part will play a role if you have the time to think about it. My Cadre were fantastic. I went to them telling them I was thinking of quitting and they basically told me to pound sound up my ass and to get over it. As soon as the sun rose and we were back on our way all of that went out the window. I finished strong and will absolutely be doing another challenge. Initially I was ashamed that I even allowed the thought of quitting to enter my mind but I realize now I am human and I am a better person for pushing through. Ultimately I powered through with the help of those around me and that’s what this event is all about.

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

BS: Three things: 1). Sign up with a friend. I think it would have helped during the harder times. I had to lean on my teammates more than once (we all did) and they were great but having a familiar face can always help. 2). Train in the cold. I had a few months of rucking during cold weather but even having the sun outside was keeping me warm. At 4 am the air is much colder with the wind blowing and zero sunlight. 3). Wear pants – not shorts.

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

BS: We only lost a few people but those lost were a majority due to the physical portion. We had a few people who couldn’t do PT very well and we all paid for it. Make sure you are physically prepared so it is a non-issue during the event. Any bodyweight PT you do normally, do it with a Ruck. Lunges, push ups, pull ups, squats (we did tons and tons of squats), carry extra weight not only on your shoulders but in your hands as well. Work on grip strength – trust me. Everyone will be sore and your back will hurt but it is what it is. We all suffer together. If you have they physical portion good to go you can focus on the task at hand and keeping a positive attitude even when you are cold, wet, tired and hungry.

SGPT: What boots did you wear? Double socks? Bodyglide

BS: I used a pair of old running shoes that were on their last leg. I used body glide, trail toes and PROSOK Socks. I never had any feet or chafing issues. I never changed socks. I used alcohol and corn huskers lotion to prepare my feet for a couple weeks before the event.

SGPT: Which backpack did you use?

BS: I used the GoRuck Zero (GR0) pack

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview

BS: Thanks so much for what you do. I look forward to telling you how my next challenge goes.

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