Who would have thought that GORUCK would have gone so crazy with the free patches. They have been putting on monthly virtual rucking challenge where, if you complete the challenge, they’ll mail a patch to you for free. Each month has been a different challenge and they’ve done a good job keeping that challenge a secret until right before the next month starts.
The caveat is you need to complete the challenge during the month and pre-order the patch before pre-orders close. A very, very minor inconvenience for something so awesome!
The Mile-A-Day Challenge
The Rucking Challenge for February was to ruck one mile per day for the entire month. To make the challenge a little more difficult every week you had to increase the weight. There were no set weight standards so the increase amount was totally up to you.
If you missed a day it was bonus PT plus the mile missed to get back in the game. None of the workouts looked too impossible but they were a good incentive to not miss a day!
With the challenge in place it was time to tackle everything one day at a time… literally! 🙄
The Video AAR
If you’d rather see the video version of this post (with some great shots on the areas I was rucking) make sure to give this a watch!
The Written AAR
Because there were 28 days in February the challenge broke out nicely into 4 week chunks. My goal for the event was to start out week 1 with 30 lbs, move up to 45 lbs for week 2, hit 75 lbs on week 3, and finish up with 90 lbs on week 4. I was going to ruck similar routes, track pace, and see if I could maintain a consistent pace throughout the rucks even as the weights increased.
I had a goal and weight and I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out!
Week 1 (30 lbs)
February started off with some great weather while the rest of the country froze.
I commented on this in a video and doomed myself and the rest of Seattle.
Not two days later we were living in snow with schools shut down, businesses closed, and roads unusable. A lot of my typical routes took more time to complete thanks to the snow and ice.
- Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/2117411816
- Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/2119677294
- Day 3: https://www.strava.com/activities/2122021469
- Day 4: https://www.strava.com/activities/2124708808
- Day 5: https://www.strava.com/activities/2127152711
- Day 6: https://www.strava.com/activities/2129151693
- Day 7: https://www.strava.com/activities/2131173114
I rucked this week with 30 lbs in the Rucker and didn’t miss a day. It was easy to start but once that snow came it was a little harder to find the time. Those rucks outside the house were the only moments of peace and quiet.
Week 2 (45 lbs)
The second week brought even more snow, closed schools, and closed roads. Our town owns one snow plow which was conveniently broken.
Starting this week I increased the weight to 45 lbs which still felt very bearable. There was plenty of snow on the ground which meant I had to be careful out there rucking.
I wore the GORUCK MACV-1 boots which did fine on the packed snow but suffered on ice. The sole on them is flat like a sneaker which provides little traction on real slippery surfaces.
During this week on a route I normally ruck I saw some shoe prints in the snow leading off into a wooded area. Being the smart person I am I decided to follow them because what else are you going to do in the snow?
After hiking a very short distance I came upon this frozen pond which was awesome. I had no clue this place was here. It’s not more than 3/4 of a mile from my house, I ruck or run past the entrance at least weekly, and I’ve never seen it until now. Thanks for doing something positive for me snow!
- Day 8: https://www.strava.com/activities/2132531369
- Day 9: https://www.strava.com/activities/2135446131
- Day 10: https://www.strava.com/activities/2137528671
- Day 11: https://www.strava.com/activities/2140139952
- Day 12: https://www.strava.com/activities/2144080768
- Day 13: https://www.strava.com/activities/2144003575
- Day 14: https://www.strava.com/activities/2148722081
Week two felt great however the snow was getting a little old… I was dreading increasing the weight for week three with the amount of snow and ice on the ground.
Week 3 (70 lbs)
Week 3 was (wait for it) more snow! Of all the records to break why did we have to choose the ones involving snow?
If you’re in any other part of the country that gets snow you’re probably laughing here. The amount of snow we have is no where near what you get. The problem with snow here is that we have 100 foot – 300 foot hills all over the place and no way to deal with the snow.
Driving was nearly impossible and I’d routinely see cars in ditches while out rucking.
At this point the only good thing out there were the views. My times started to dip a little bit because I kept stopping to take pictures. Honestly though… how can you walk past a view like the one above and not stop to take a picture?
Towards the end of week 3 we started seeing some of the snow melt and pieces of path and trail came back. This was both good and bad. The good was that the snow was gone and we could safely drive again. The bad was that the only thing left were sheets of ice which aren’t great for MACV-1 boots.
- Day 15: https://www.strava.com/activities/2151275507
- Day 16: https://www.strava.com/activities/2154476918
- Day 17: https://www.strava.com/activities/2156350481
- Day 18: https://www.strava.com/activities/2159302588
- Day 19: https://www.strava.com/activities/2161138483
- Day 20: https://www.strava.com/activities/2163448622
- Day 21: https://www.strava.com/activities/2165850674
Now that those seven days were out of the way the only thing left was to increase the weight and finish up the fourth and final week!
Week 4 (100 lbs)
The plan for week 4 was 90 lbs. After posting about the goal on Instagram a few people chimed in and said why not just hit 100? It’s sad how easy it is to sway me…
I threw in the 90 lbs I was planning on taking then an extra 10 lb ruck plate and set off to finish the last 7 miles.
Week 4 brought the first night rucks of the challenge. With kids sick and puking at home there was no time to sneak out during the day. Thankfully most of the ice was gone or melting at this point so those night rucks were relatively safe.
At one point I was picking up medicine for my daughter and they said it would be roughly 20 minutes before it would be ready. The best thing you can do with 20 minutes and nowhere to be is get a ruck in! I drove down to the pharmacy with the ruck in the passenger seat and the car complained the whole time about someone not wearing their seat belt. I guess 100+ lbs of ruck weighs about the same as some humans.
At this point in the challenge, with 100 lbs on the back, I was beyond thankful the snow was gone. I couldn’t imagine slipping on ice with 100 lbs in the ruck. That would not have been fun.
On the last day of the event I rucked back to that frozen pond I found in week two. When I had gone the first time I had to cross a small patch of ice and when I showed up on February 28th that ice was completely melted. It’s crazy how much the weather can change in a month.
- Day 22: https://www.strava.com/activities/2168221865
- Day 23: https://www.strava.com/activities/2170921749
- Day 24: https://www.strava.com/activities/2173718217
- Day 25: https://www.strava.com/activities/2175599080
- Day 26: https://www.strava.com/activities/2178008827
- Day 27: https://www.strava.com/activities/2180498893
- Day 28: https://www.strava.com/activities/2182595330
With week four complete the only thing left was to claim the patch!
I started off the challenge with goals. Ruck the miles, increase the weight, and try to maintain a consistent pace. The miles happened, the weight happened, the pace absolutely did not happen. With the amount of snow we had on the ground, and how the levels of ice fluctuated daily, there was no way to stay consistent short of using a treadmill.
I’m obviously glad I did the challenge and will continue to complete GORUCK’s rucking challenges. It’s hard to argue with a free patch and the challenges are always good motivators! Although I’m slightly disappointed I wasn’t able to test my plan I’m thankful I was able to get the miles in. I’m also thankful we didn’t lose power and thankful the weather was never really too cold. Overall a lot to be thankful for!
Did you complete GORUCK’s February, 2019 rucking challenge? Let me know how it went for you in the comments!
Grey Crusader says
Wow, that an incredible span of weight! I only went from 35# up to 55# (but I was doing more than 1 mile at a time for each weight per day for many of my rucks). Still, you earned the heck out of that patch!
Great write up. It was fun following along on your journey on IG too.
Good luck on your tough Robert! I’m just a few hours north of you in Mt. Airy, NC.
Come on down to Raleigh, the Tough is Friday 6/28 with Cadre Fagan (plenty of time to learn Baby Shark and SpongeBob Squarepants – unless you have kids then it’s already burned into your brain (along with other annoying songs that pop up at the most inconvenient times “rolling eyes” ;) )).
Brian ADR says
If I ever am able to forget Baby Shark that will be such a joyous day! Having a nearly 2 year old and a just turned 5 year old… those songs are seared into my brain!
Yeah, same here. I have a 7, 5, 3 and 1yo. That and many other annoying song’s have been burned into my brain as well.
I’m originally from CT (grew up there and moved to Raleigh, NC in 2007) – I get the snow factor (for us in NC snow and ice can shut things down for a good while too). I did a lot of my mile rucks during my lunch break at work (10lbs – Week 1, 20lbs – Week 2, 30lbs – Week 3 and 40lbs – Week 4). Did the miles and then some over the weekend as well, but I was able to get more in then too. FWIW, I keep 40lbs in my Rucker 1.0 now on a regular basis to over train for my first Tough at the end of June in Raleigh.
Brian ADR says
Great plan! As soon as I started training with a little above challenge weight I noticed a big difference in how I did at events. I always used to train with just the challenge weight… now I’ll do 10 lbs+ or so and the difference is huge. You’ll have to let me know how that first Tough goes!
Will do, it’s also with Fagan (did my first Light with him this past November (Veterans Day) – hence the further burning of these songs into my brain….OH the humanity :) )!
Grey Crusader says
That’s solid advice, Brian. I nearly always train with 40# or more, in addition to a 3L hydration bladder. I think it does help at events, where I ruck with 30# + water. I agree that it makes a difference in your “comfort” level during events (if there is such a thing during Good Livin’ events!).