This past weekend I traveled to Nashville with Anne, Heather and Meg to complete a Badass Babes GORUCK Tough, Basic and Scavenger Hunt. We had SO. MUCH. FUN!
I wrote last week how I was hoping this weekend would be a misogi for me. Alas, I can not claim this weekend as a misogi. However, it was hard in ways I didn't expect and easier in ways I though would be harder.
We lined up Friday night at 9pm to start our Tough. A Tough is the original GORUCK challenge and lasts 10-12 hours and typically covers 15-20 miles. GORUCK events honors the company's special forces roots and all the events are led by current and former special forces operators. All three of our events were led by two former Army Rangers who were in the battle of Mogadishu, Cadres Bellman and Whiskey Mike, and one current Army Green Beret Sergeant Major, Cadre Dan.
The first thing we did was line up in formation and open our rucks before us so that the cadre could see our hydration bladders and ruck plates. Once all 59 of us were checked in and rucks approved the "welcome party" started. Because this was a Badass Babes weekend we started with yoga led by Cadre Dan. After that, things got a bit more intense.
Ruck PT got us warm and seriously questioning the weight in our rucks as we lunged with rucks overhead, held squats with rucks overhead, did flutter kicks with rucks overhead, and anything else the cadre could think of for us to do with rucks overhead. After the rapid fire PT session we broke up into smaller squads to rotate through a ruck and sandbag version of Fight Gone Bad. After that we started our first ruck of the night.
I was concerned with the distance we would likely cover over the 12 hours. We ended up only rucking 9.75 miles, however it was HEAVY! The cadre supplied us with "coupons" in the form of 22 sandbags ranging from 20 to 120lbs. We had to carry the coupons and all of our water supply with us for the entire event. I had never trained with more than a 40lbs ruck and suddenly I found myself rucking with my 40lb pack and an 80lb sandbag draped across my shoulders. I also carried a 60lb and buddy carried a 120lb sandbag for much of the night. Every time I saw Anne, Heather and Meg they, too, had coupons and took turns rucking the heavy bags. We have some damn strong women in our TSCF Tribe!
We did workouts at various places all over downtown Nashville. We dragged sandbags while crawling up a ridiculously steep hill at the base of the Capitol building. We did a version of Chad in an amphitheater. We rucked all over the place and finally ended up in a park along the Cumberland River just before sunrise.
This is where Cadre Dan gave us our final Tough challenge. We lined up all 22 sandbags end to end, connected them with carabiners and straps and were instructed to ruck the "pain train" as a group up and over the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. If we did it well and made him happy we could break up the 120lbs sandbags for the rest of the ruck back to our start. It was a great motivator because carrying those one twentys sucked.
As the sun rose we sucked it up and carried those sandbags on our shoulders up and over the bridge. It was HARD! You could tell the struggle was real and many women were questioning their ability to carry those damn heavy bags. At our lowest spirits Anne looked at me and suggested this would be a good time for the cadence I wrote for the Tough.
The night before we started I shared a few cadence songs with Anne, Heather and Meg that I had wrote for the Tough. I told the gals I wanted to teach them to the group so we could sing them wile rucking, but I didn't know if would be acceptable to the Cadre. Ends up, singing the cadence made all the cadre smile! It was the highlight of the Tough for me. The ladies focused on singing the cadence and you could just feel everyone's spirits lift. It was so cool!
Once we crossed the bridge we were elated to break the 120 sandbags up and we distributed the 60lb filler bags amongst our group. We had more coupons, but they were lighter. We hoofed it the 3.5 miles back to our starting point and were overjoyed to drops our rucks and take off our shoes.
We raced back to our VRBO where we literally got 2 hours of sleep before we had to saddle back up for the Basic at 1pm.
We were all incredibly sore and tired and admitted to each other after the Basic that none of us really wanted to continue. If it hadn't been for Anne, Heather and Meg I likely would have gone back to bed and slept until the next day.
The Basic was much easier than we expected with only 2 major workouts and about 3 miles of rucking. We finished early and none of us complained. We still had all of the coupons to carry, but with 70 women we had lots of new fresh legs who could carry those damn 80lb bags.
The Scavenger Hunt on Sunday was just one mile. Because it was my birthday I rucked champagne and orange juice for the end. We had a great time meandering through the Vanderbilt campus and enjoying a relaxing Sunday stroll.
I encourage everyone to try a GORUCK event. We have lots of options to do them here in Bozeman with our Ruck club or you can travel and make an event out of it. Our next Ruck club event in November 6. We will be doing a Pumpkin Patch ruck and it will be loads of fun. All you need is a pumpkin and a backpack with some weight in it. If you like, I can bring the 60 and 80lb sandbags from the gym:)
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