On November 7th, 2015, I participated in a custom GORUCK Heavy in honor of SSG Matthew Pucino, a Green Beret and all around great man, who gave his life for our freedom on November 23, 2009 in Afghanistan.
The event was led by Cadre Jesse H and Cadre Heath. There is no end to the imaginations of these two men and they put on a superb event. It was seriously hard! But it was also fun, creative, informative and a fitting memorial to SSG Pucino. Our team of participants was also top notch, coming from around the country representing Team SPEARHEAD, TRVLSQD, F3, Team Ninja and D Crew as part of the Blackbeard Ruck Team.
We started the event by going through "Selection". We did some PT and then we embarked on a ruck in which we were to follow a roughly 1-,mile course to be completed with a time hack that was unknown to us. We were also told that we were to successfully complete the course an unknown number of times before we were done. We pretty much sucked at this task and it took us 8 revolutions to successfully meet our time hack twice.
Our next task was to build an apparatus and wheel it around the same course. Wheeling this thing around the course was difficult but Cadre Jesse made it fun by playing music and having us dance. This temporarily drowned out the thoughts about how we couldn't have possibly made our time hack and would have to go around again. Much to our surprise, we were asked to stop short of the finish line and were relieved to put down the apparatus. This relief was only a short reprieve as the next thing was even worse: picnic table PT! This was rough! We did a number of overhead picnic table presses until most of us just couldn't lift the table anymore and then mixed in some squats before returning to presses. Once we were practically dead, Cadre Heath finished us off with 170 4-count flutter kicks on top of the tables! Cadre Heath is my freakin' PT hero! Not only can the man PT his ass off, he's my age and that gives me hope that I'll be able to do that much PT that effortlessly too if I keep working at it.
After a bit more time at our start point, our Team Leaders were able to successfully persuade the locals to provide us transport by bus to the location of our next mission. Unfortunately, however, the bus encountered transmission troubles at the bottom of a hill, requiring us all to exit the bus and pull it up the very long hill. The bus conveniently recovered it's operational ability as soon as we got to the top of the hill and it was able to return to town, leaving us to embark on a journey into the dark woods. It wasn't long before we made our way to a site where we picked up two substantial logs and we were off. We rucked through the night, chasing a cache of unknown riches, which would only be present at the next designated location if we made it there within our time hack. Along the way, we rescued hostages, shared stories about Matt Pucino, told jokes and took a chilly dip in the lake, or whatever the heck body of water we were in. (I think I saw a warning sign about a waste treatment reservoir or something). Sadly, by the middle of the night, we were down to 17 participants, from 26. We ditched the small log and were left with the one larger log, which took all of us to carry at all times. After a series of missed time hacks, we finally made one and were given the opportunity to accept a challenge - if we could move the log 500 meters within a certain time, we would earn the right to chop it in half, as long as we chopped it in half within another time hack. Thankfully, we kicked butt at both of these things. You could see the hatred of that log expressed in the feverish, violent chopping action of each team member! We carried on through the night and into the day, eventually encountering the cache and eventually getting to put down the log for good.
We were extracted by vehicle and returned to the start point, where we were informed that we were to perform the Army Physical Fitness Test. This was surprisingly kind of fun. Maybe we were all just grateful to not be hauling a bunch of heavy stuff with us as we circled the course from the beginning of the event two more times. Upon crossing the finish line from the run, we all received our patches from Cadre Heath. As a rule, I never assume we are finished with an event until I've been patched. This saves me from the mental suckfest that comes with buying into a false finish. However, with our patches in hand, Cadre Jesse H ordered us back to the picnic pavilion, back into our picnic table teams and to pull the picnic tables back out of the pavilion. Just as we are all thinking, "Are we really doing more picnic table PT? But we have our patches!", Cadre Jesse ordered us to pull out a snack and sit at the table like civilized people and eat it. It was awesome!
We ended our event by talking about Matthew Pucino and about the ways in which we honor our nation's warriors - about how we acknowledge and honor how they died but celebrate the gift of their life and time here with us. We then sang the Ballad of the Green Berets and we did it beautifully!
About the Author
I have completed 38 GORUCK events including 3-GORUCK HCL's, and have done a variety of other endurance events including Ironman Maryland 140.6 two times. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and health coach, scientist, minimalist, nature lover and single mom but on a more basic level, I'm just a woman in her 40's that likes to push her limits and write stuff sometimes. This blog is a way of sharing some of my experiences and insights.