Teddy Bear Complex
5 rounds of:
5 Hang Squat Cleans
5 Push Press
5 Front Squats
Increase the load each cycle.
Bar cannot touch/rest on the ground during a set.
Rest as needed between each round.
Compare to Jan.31/14
As most of you probably already know, Kevin and I completed a GoRuck Tough challenge in Boston last weekend. Quick re-cap of what that is, for those who aren’t familiar – 12 hours, overnight, with a team of strangers, a Cadre (former Force Recon Marine in our case) and a lot of heavy shit to carry. Some think we’re nuts, some call it inspirational, maybe it’s a little of both. I’ve thought a lot about the event both before and after and it’s taken me a while to put my experience into words.
I had a goal at the beginning of the year to make this the year to test my mental game. I’ve done some things in past years to up my mental game (Spartan races, climbing Mt. Katahdin twice in a day, white water rafting, etc.) but I wanted to push myself to a point where I knew I would break. Mental strength doesn’t have to come from crazy challenges. It could be consistently doing anything different than you currently do, for a start. I started running more (ick), I changed my diet (no more cookies?!) little things like that. Kevin was already registered for the Spartan Trifecta, so I jumped on board. Super and Beast were insane but I did it (with a little help from my Spartan peeps). We saw a video for the GoRuck thing on the CrossFit Journal. That was the catalyst and I think it was even my idea to sign up? We waited and waited, theoretically knowing we were going to do it but only bit the bullet and registered a month or so before the actual event.
Pre-event I had done A TON of research on GoRuck events. They keep most information hush hush so it’s not easy to get a good understanding of what it looks like without doing a lot of digging on Google. What I had found however scared me, kind of in a good ‘I wonder if I could do that and not quit’ kind of way, mostly. One theme throughout was most classes got wet at some point. Soaking wet. And possibly sugar cookied (use your google skills if you really want to know). I HATE water, except the clean soapy kind as found in a nice hot shower. I figured it was just what my mental game needed.
As I mentioned, our Cadre was a former Force Recon Marine, so as you may have guessed there is a very military feel to the entire event. You carry an American flag for the duration of the night and God help you if you let old glory EVER touch the ground. There is hell to pay for that infraction. Luckily we didn’t have any flag mishaps. You also have a 25# team weight that can never touch the ground. Pass it around, share the love but never put it down unless instructed to do so, same goes for your ruck. You move as a team, always. One person stops you all stop. You ‘march’ in 2 lines, flag always on the front right, you should always be able to touch the person’s ruck in front of you. If Cadre sees gaps he will yell ‘REACH’ if you’re not touching the next person’s ruck within 3 seconds you’ll pay. Probably with 8 counts. Most everything has a time hack. When you ruck up, Cadre will give you a check point X number of miles away and you have X time to get there. You had better get your asses and all your heavy shit there by X time. When you do mini-events you get a time hack. We were lucky to have completed ours within the guidelines given however we were 2 minutes over on time. One hundred 8 counts was our penalty. Actions or inactions as it were have consequences, this goes for life not just GoRuck events. If you show up late for work, what happens? Consequences. Cadre is there to teach you this. You always have each other’s backs. Literally. If you go to pee, you take a buddy. Need to go do some recon to check something out, take a buddy. Need to throw up, as a guy in our class did? Yup, he had a buddy. His buddy even offered to go with him. That’s a guy I’d take on my team any day. The guy who was sick finished the night like a tank despite that set-back.
At one point after dawn we talked about what the American flag meant to each of us. Now we’re obviously not American but we got to hear stories, some really personal, from the guys on our team and our Cadre. There was a theme of pride and perseverance (maybe as expected) but to hear it from different people from different walks of life in their own way was moving. Cadre and a few on the team also do CrossFit. I don’t remember how it came up but at some point during his flag speech he said he hates it when people lay down on the floor after a WOD. You should stand up and be proud of what you just did. That stuck with me for some reason.
Our Cadre has served in many places overseas. He told us stories all night of how they fought. Battles they won. How whatever movement or team event we were doing correlated to how they would train. From filling sand bags on the side of the road while he told stories of filling them with his Colonel, because leaders lead by example, to carrying them all night to signify the thousands (yes thousands) of sandbags they filled and piled together to protect themselves from enemy fire. We carried a giant tree for miles to teach us how to move and work together as a unit (it works trust me). We did barrel rolls and full submersion recon in some part of the Boston harbor as he told us this is how they surveyed beaches like D-Day to know if they could safely land and attack. He was a recon marine, this was something he was quite familiar with. Everything we did had a purpose. It wasn’t just to beat us down physically for fun. Yes, by the end we were tired, sore and desperately needed a shower but over the course of those 12 hours, 12 strangers learned how to be one. We learned to watch for the guy to our left, right, front and back. Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surroundings. We might have been watching for curbs and morning runners but it could easily be landmines and enemy attackers.
I won’t bore you with the details of the timeline of the night. Kevin has already made a post that covered most of everything that went down. I wanted people to know it’s about more than carrying weight on your back, giant trees or PT in a duckpond. It’s about learning that it’s not about you. There is a bigger picture. Did it break me? Almost at the end while lying face down in a duck pond that probably hasn’t been cleaned in the 100 years it’s been there. Afterward, however, my entire team stood behind me proud as heck that I had overcome my moment. I’d ruck out with any of those guys any day.
Is it hard? Hell yes. Will I be doing another one? HELL YES!