Team member CJ Raymond recently completed his second GORUCK Challenge (I still can’t call it a Tough). The story below, as told to Brian and I through emails, captures his thoughts on balancing training with a heavy work travel schedule and joining a team without knowing anyone else.
A big congratulations to CJ on this effort. It takes a lot to train for and complete an event without someone to experience the lows with.
CJ signed up for this spring/summer Challenge when GORUCK offered their very tempting half off sale last fall. Coming off of the the high of the Gettysburg Challenge he thought he try his hand at an event in his hometown of Madison, WI.
While many of us train months in advance for the events CJ had significant amounts of work travel that made it tough to workout with his ruck or sandbags. Utilizing our favorite squat and burpee workouts he used what was available in hotel gyms. Endurance isn’t as much of a challenge for him as he puts in significant time running. (Editorial Note: CJ averages between 110,000 and 120,000 steps per week.It’s not easy beating him in a Fitbit Challenge) With the travel easing up about a month out, CJ hit the weights hard. His main concern was his shoulder strength and being able to handle the heavy weights during the events. He tried to do Episode 10 of the NCR Workouts about twice a week followed by rucking for 1-1.5 hours. CJ rucked with a 45lb plate instead of the 30 to simulate longer times under load.
CJ’s routine for the last month is a pretty good one. During Heavy training, our group regularly worked with heavier weights and faster paces than what we would need during the events. I believe, and CJ reaffirmed, that this makes a difference. You will still feel it in the end, but you will feel pain anytime you do something for 12+ hours.
GORUCK Challenge Madison, WI Class 1979 kicked off on 10th. This was a much different event from the Gettysburg Challenge. The welcome party kicked off right next to one of the several lakes in downtown Madison. With numerous trips in to the lake the team became acquainted with hydro burpees and rocking chairs. For anyone that hasn’t done hydro burpees, they are an interesting movement. As a reprieve from the water, Cadre Brad was nice enough to help them warm-up with rolls in the sand between sets of flutter kicks. CJ said that there is nothing like sand grinding in to you for 12 hours. The 2 hour welcome party concluded with the tunnel of love.
According the CJ the movements were pretty similar to Gettysburg, with the exception of some pretty terrible logs. He said that they were too small to be carried by multiple people, but too big to feel okay for one person. In addition to the logs the group carried 5 or 6 sandbags for the entire event. For a majority of the movements the team had one or two casualties to be carried. At one point during the night the sandbags were linked up to form a 300 pound casualty. A downed street sign pole with a concrete bottom became another coupon during the event.
As this was a 9pm start, the team knew that once the sun came up, the finish was around the corner. It was a shot of energy for the team.
With a mile to the finish the team was loaded with a casualty every 5 minutes. CJ said that the mile was a fast run with a lot of weight.
The event clocked in at 16 miles and 11.5 hours.
While he was fried from the effort, he looks forward to Yorktown in October.