Ruck BEAST Squad features interviews with members of the community to highlight their lives, training, gear, and insight. Hopefully as you read through this you’ll be able to take away advice that will help you train better and perform better that upcoming events. In this issue of Ruck BEAST Squad we get to hear from Melissa Roth.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself to get us started.
A: I’m Melissa and I just turned the big 4-1. I live in Charlotte with my two kids and work as an oncology nurse at the main hospital. I grew up in Jersey and spent several years in south FL before calling N.C. my home. I have a love of running, roller coasters, and the mountains. I still have a whole lot of career goals and bucket list items I keep adding to the list to accomplish.
Q: Where did your GORUCK journey start? What was your first event? What stands out from that event?
A: I did a Light a few years back and knew absolutely nothing about what I signed up to do. Completed it as a check box of new things to try. I’ll never forget getting through and it and thinking “ok that’s cool, good challenge with some people I’ve never met before, but it’s a very cold November night and I can’t wait to go home and warm up”…that was right before we jumped into a fountain to sing songs. I looked around at everyone laughing in their misery and thought to myself, ok this is a new kind of crazy.
Q: What was your most recent event or events. What would you like to tell us about it / them?
A: Bragg Heavy! It kicked my butt. But I also had a lot of self realization on what I could do physically and mentally. I signed up after listening to a few ruckers talk so highly about it but again didn’t have a clue what I would embark on, even after reading the website repeatedly. Prepare as much as you can but when you’re knee deep in a swamp within the first hour and feel creatures swimming around your leg because the team stops for a few minutes, you quickly realize your own selfish ideas are not what’s going to get you through this. Open your ears and close you mouth. You’ll learn a lot from the Cadre and those that have done this before. I’m not the fastest and not the strongest but when your teammates are counting on you, you find yourself doing more pushups and holding weight longer than you’d ever imagine. If you don’t go into it with a strong mind, you’ll definitely finish with one. Just don’t quit!
Q: Favorite Ruck?
A: The half marathon ruck in Charlotte. It will forever hold a place in my heart. I had lost my fiancé 3 days prior unexpectedly and was a mess. Before that I had only done a Light but was encouraging him to do some events because I thought it would be a good outlet for him with his past experience in the military and all the things that come along with going to war. He agreed but unfortunately never got the chance. I wanted to do something that would honor him, show the world how great he was, and something that might help me sort through the anguish I was feeling. When I got to the race all the other ruckers were so welcoming, genuine and uplifting. I loaded that ruck. Physically challenging myself helped. And I found a new set of positive people that I’m proud to call friends.
Q: Proudest accomplishment as a GRT?
A: Finishing every event I’ve signed up for! Each one brings its own set of challenges. There’s always a moment of thinking you can just quit. If there’s not then you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. But never giving in to that voice feels damn good when you complete what you set out to accomplish. The other moment was when I turned around and went back to help out a struggling teammate. He shared his personal story with me as we got through that mud together and I felt proud of both of us as we pushed forward and eventually got back to the rest of the group.
Q: How many events have you done? What’s your favorite event or type of event? Why?
A: I’ve done 3 GORUCK events and several ruck club events. The brew ruck is a favorite for obvious reasons, lol. But Bragg had some great Cadres and was very well organized. It’s not just some everyday workout. The stories shared and the people you meet are what make it my favorite.
Q: Why do you continue to do events? What keeps you coming back?
A: The people! I don’t think I’ve ever been around such positive like-minded people that are there to make you a better human. No matter what gets thrown at them, they keep pushing harder. It’s a judgement free zone. Each of you can fall at some point during the events but someone is always there to help pick you back up. I’ve fallen apart outside of these events but they have given me strength to push forward.
Q: How do you train for events?
A: I’m not the best at training but it just goes to show you that anyone can get into it and do this! Friends have called me T Rex for a reason (little upper body strength). I do run a lot. And I’ll usually follow up my runs with an extra few miles of rucking. Little by little I’ve picked up the miles but I’m still fairly new. I’ve added some weight training and attend as many workout with fellow GRT’s as possible now. I look forward to seeing how this new training will help me as I continue to put in the work.
Q: Best Rucking and / or GORUCK event advice you have gotten?
A: Not exactly your typical advise but I was told “Suck it up and keep pushing”. It was right after I twisted an ankle and I was beat down after 23 hours. I was falling down that rabbit hole of psyching myself out of continuing on. Right at that moment a fellow GRT said those words and kicked me out of that breakdown. I’ve used that moment when I’m training, doing events, or hit an obstacle in all aspects of life. Seems simple but has a lot of power behind it.
Q: Other than packing list items, what is a must have in your ruck for events?
A: The picture of my love. When the going gets tough I remember why I do it and how it all started. Works every time.
Q: A book or a few that have impacted your life? Why?
A: I like Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. He has an attitude I can appreciate that is contagious. I also started reading You Do You. I picked it up because it was something I’ve said a time or two and it ended up being a really good read for me. I feel like I can take on the world when I’m engrossed in the book.
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: I’ve played soccer my entire life and will continue to do so until I can’t walk anymore. I’m also training for a full Ironman right now and have done a few other tri’s. My free weekends are usually filled with races of some sort and I spend the weekdays recovering from said races, lol. I love taking my kids to the Whitewater Center as they are getting older, where we all go through the hiking trails, ropes course, etc.
Q: What’s the best purchase under $100 you’ve made in the past 12 months.
A: The Tough event. Yes I’ve purchased packs, shoes, etc but the real excitement comes when I hit the submit button for an event. It’s what all your equipment purchases are for, right? I’d rather spend more money on the activities to create lasting memories.
Q: How has rucking changed or improved your life?
A: I really got into it when I was in a dark space mentally. Even though I wasn’t the best at it, I was all of a sudden surrounded by inspirational people that have all been through things in their lives. They’ve chosen to do this as their outlet and I now can understand why. It gives me motivation to train and get better at something I have a lot of room to improve with. It’s gives me the adrenaline I think we all need that puts a smile on your face. And I get to be around people that have done some real epic sh*t in their lives. That’s pretty awesome.
Q: How do you recruit new people to ruck, or do events with you?
A: I just go out there and do it. I brought my rucksack to a running group one Sunday morning and there were quite a few questions about it that day. Friends have seen me get more into it and it’s rubbing off on them. They see how it’s impacted me and have shown interest because of that. I tell them that anyone can do an event and I can see the confidence build in them.
Q: Best Beer to drink after a ruck?
A: A cold one.
Q: Advice you would give to someone before their 1st Light?
A: Read the website and pack list. Prepare what you can but be flexible with what comes your way. Your mind is what’s going to mess you up. Keep it positive and strong and you’ll be fine. Quitting is not an option. And keep your hand down when they ask if it’s your first event! Lol, just kidding (sort of).
Q: Advice you’d give to someone before their 1st Tough?
A: Workout. Try to stay fit. Stay together as a team always. You won’t sleep but neither will anyone else so just lean on each other and get it done. It will push you much further than what you’ve done previously but it’s worth it.
Q: If you get overwhelmed during an event how do you refocus on the task at hand?
A: I can sense when my frustration level is growing. Then I look around at all the others. There’s always someone who is being the motivator so I look at them and take a deep breath. Look around at everyone else that’s putting in hard work and I take another breath. Sometimes I get caught up in the details of something and need that few seconds to realize the solution is probably much easier than I’m making it.
Q: What’s the next event or events on your calendar?
A: Now that the world has shut down it out a damper on all my plans. But I’m hoping to do the D-Day in Sanford in June and the Tough and Light in Moorseville, NC in July.
Q: Any parting shots? Things the community needs to know?
A: The ladies in these events are some serious bad asses. They come with a ton of knowledge and are very strong. Don’t count them out, they’ll probably be the ones reeling you back in when you lose it or helping you get through a task you think is impossible.
If you know someone (or are someone) who would be a good fit for an upcoming episode of Ruck BEAST Squad please reach out to Derek Hill (derekhill1 AT gmail DOT com).