Monday, February 5, 2018

Ruck for fun?

What is a ruck? A ruck is loosely defined as getting your gear from point A to point B in a backpack and on foot. Walk or run in my case does not matter. As long as you are hoofing it and making forward progress.

I'm training for a 26.2 mile ruck that occurs in April. During this ruck I have to carry gear that weighs 15 plus pounds. That does not include the water you might drink because obviously by the time you get to the end then your pack will be lighter. My pack ONLY has to weigh 15 pounds because I am a civilian, while the military, both active and Veterans will carry three times that weight.

Last weekend I did 3.5 miles with 5 pounds in a backpack. It was great. I felt terrific. So today, in my all-knowing stupidity decided to go with 8 pounds in a ruck for a 3.1 mile run with a friend.

Being winter we dressed in layers. Thank goodness! A mile in I was ready to strip off everything. Okay, not naked everything, but definitely the outer layer. Once we hit the aid station I whipped off the pack, stripped off my vest, hat, and mittens and tossed them into the rucksack then strapped it back on and away we went. SLOWLY.

Now the pack weighed just shy of 10 pounds. Have you ever lost 10 pounds and then put it back on? You know 10 pounds is basically an entire clothing size and the weight is probably distributed. Now imagine wearing that on your back while trying and not really succeeding at running. Instead of slowly jogging, which is just nuts, we (my friend Lisa and I) used the pole method.

What's the pole method you ask?

We sprinted from one light pole to the next then walked to the next pole. We kept this up until the end. I was probably faster doing that than trying to jog very slowly with 10 pounds of gearing bouncing on my back. We did it! We made it to the finish.

What did I learn from this? That I am ever grateful for Lisa for being supportive in my test run and that I was clearly not ready for 10 or even 8 pounds in my backpack. More training is needed.

Even more important. I am grateful to the men and women who serve in our military and carry 45 to 50 pounds on their backs going from point A to point B while on foot. You have not only my deepest gratitude for your service, but HUGE respect. Thank you!


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